2018 Summer Weather Predictions. Will your Region Experience a Drought?

Summer is almost here! Now is the perfect time to evaluate your region’s weather. By doing this now you can prepare for any restrictions and potential drought conditions in your area. For these forecasts, we chose to use The Farmer’s Almanac along with other accredited weather sources.

10NorthCityReclamationPlant_previewCalifornia:

California is projected to have warmer conditions that combined with dryness can pose a risk for wildfires and drought. The southwestern part of the state will surely will be affected by these conditions the most. Additionally, The Farmer’s Almanac states, “the hottest periods will be from late May into early June and in mid-June and mid-July”. Fortunately, rainfall should increase for the area from July to August and bring much needed relief to this region.

Colorado:

According to The Farmer’s Almanac, temperatures throughout Colorado will be “warm to hot” and “the hottest periods will be all of July and mid-August”. The biggest issue facing Colorado however is lack of snowfall from the previous winter. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says, “The state would need over 14,000 percent of its normal precipitation now to reach normal peak levels”.

Texas:

Texas is predicted to have a “very warm, average rainfall with plenty of thunderstorms” with “the hottest periods in mid-July and mid-August”. However, in spite of this rainfall, Texas currently has almost 50 percent of the state dealing with a drought that is still threatening to spread. In addition, the Texas Tribune says “six Texas cities already limit residents to two days a week of outdoor watering: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Lubbock and The Woodlands”.

Drought conditions may seem daunting especially for your commercial property’s landscape. It may be hard to keep up the appeal you want while adhering to mandatory water restrictions. However, they do not have to be. Each Thursday this month, we will be releasing articles on how to respond to these conditions. Terracare can also help you with any questions you have in the meantime.  If you have any questions please contact us below!

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A Look Inside Terracare’s Sustainable Practices

We hear the term “sustainable” a lot nowadays. From the food we eat to the energy we use, it seems like the word sustainable is everywhere. As a landscaping company, Terracare has a passion to be stewards of our environment while protecting the health, safety and welfare of our communities, clients and staff. This dedication has allowed Terracare to lead the outdoor industry in developing sustainable environments for more than 30 years. Furthermore, we believe it is our responsibility to preserve our landscapes and take steps towards sustainability. In turn, ensuring that our future generations have an environment they can enjoy. Below are a few practices Terracare regularly takes to make your property more sustainable:

Providing you with a new approach to landscape

Terracare positions itself as a leader that embraces new technologies in our field and that understands new trends. By taking this approach, TCA can offer solutions that are innovative and cutting- edge. A few examples of this are using smart controllers, xeriscaping, installing edible gardens and drought tolerant landscapes.

Providing you with safer, more efficient plant-health care

Our team of professionals will bring out the best in your landscape implementing a strict Integrated Pest Management (IPM) schedule. This will focus on properly feeding your landscape while monitoring the plant material and using pesticides only as a last resort.

Use recycling practices

Whenever possible, TCA composts and recycles plant materials and other organic material. By taking this approach, we cut down on the amount of waste in landfills and reduce greenhouse gases. Additionally, compost acts as a natural soil conditioner, which improves the soil structure and reduces needs for pesticide and synthetic fertilizer. We strive for zero waste on our projects.

What’s next?

If you need direction for your regenerative landscape and sustainable steps, reach out. Let us see what Terracare Associates and your organization can build together.

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5 Perennials to Make Your Property Pop!

Spring is the perfect time to add colorful flower beds to your commercial landscape property. Studies show a beautiful commercial landscape can raise your property value and attractiveness by as much as 20%. The addition of perennials is a cost effective investment. Perennials will bloom and return year after year cutting down on replanting. Below are five examples of perennials that we would recommend.

May Night Sage

This impressive perennial presents in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has an exceptional hardiness to the cold and is the wonderful fit for any commercial landscape property in cooler climates. The May Night Sage blooms from late spring to early summer and matures to a height of 15 to 18 inches tall.

 

Blanket Flower

These beautiful flowers project a daisy-like feel with strong shades of wine red, orange and yellow. For the most part these flowers’ petals have a unique tubular shape. On the other hand, some of petals have frilled edges that also looked very stunning. The sizes of this plant will range from 10-12 inch high dwarfs to selections as tall as 24-30 inches.

Echinacea

Echinacea, better known as cone flowers, are colorful daisy-like flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early fall and can grow up to five feet tall. They thrive in areas with full sun and poor soil. These plants are drought resistant and do not require fertilization. You will see beautiful flowers return year after year with very little work if you choose this plant for your property.

Yarrow

Yarrow consists of flower heads full of small, tightly packed blossoms and aromatic leaves. This plant blooms from mid-summer to fall and typically grows to be two to four feet tall. It grows best when planted in well-drained soil with full sun. Yarrow is known for being durable and tolerates dry weather, so it is a perfect low-maintenance yet beautiful addition to any walkway.

Lavender Hidcote

Lavender Hidcote is a tall, purple flower known for its wonderful fragrance and its tendency to attract butterflies. It prefers hot, sunny and dry air and well-drained soil, making it the perfect choice for western climates. Lavender Hidcote does not require regular watering and will thrive on just 9-12 inches of rain per year. You can expect to see this plant bloom in mid to late summer.

For recommendations or help planting flowers for your commercial landscape property click here: Contact Us

Steps to Finalize a Budget for your Commercial Landscape Property

Part 3

During the month of August, we will provide you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company. Below are the links to the other blog posts in this series:

4 Steps to building your budget

As a commercial property manager, you may cringe when you hear the word budget. The challenge lies in figuring out how to budget for your property’s landscape maintenance and receive the services you need to maintain a quality property. Understanding and clearly defining scope of work helps to build an accurate budget and communicate your needs to your commercial landscaper. To eliminate guessing games utilize your commercial landscape company to help determine the level of service you expect year round. We recommend four easy steps to help develop your budget and needs for the following year:

Step 1 – Educate and define services needed

Take the time to assess your property and determine what needs to be serviced over the next year. What services should be included in regular maintenance to keep your landscape in pristine condition? What additional work do you need to ensure a beautiful property in the future?  Education on plant and turf requirements and technical landscape best practices can help greatly on determining maintenance requirements.  Terracare Associates –TCA offers both one-on-one assistance and in-office workshops to educate your entire staff.

Step 2 – Contact your landscape professional

Landscaper Building a complete and accurate budget is daunting, so make it easier by contacting your landscape representative. This is a perfect time to ask for assistance when budgeting and forecasting for next year’s services.  TCA assigns a representative to every customer for a consistent and reliable support.

Identify a commercial landscape company who has the right experience, the right focus on customer service, and the right resources to get the job done.

Step 3 – Site improvements

A helpful tool to better understanding the needs of your property is a Landscape Quality Audit performed by your TCA account manager. Does your lawn need extra mowing or fertilization to improve its overall appeal? Are there ways in which plant health can enhance and protect the property assets, such as trees? Would adding mulch to a shrub bed raise the attractiveness of a property?  Check out the entrances, is it stunning?  Have a TCA representative complete a walk through of your property to perform this audit to suggest improvements or identify potential issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

Need Help?

 

Below are some examples to consider when looking to improve your commercial property’s landscape:

 

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Step 4 – Complete your budget with end result in mind

How do you want your property to look? Include all landscape maintenance services that create the property you expect.  We have developed a simple budget worksheet exclusively for our customers to easily and quickly define services needed and associated costs. Contact your TCA account manager for help with the budget worksheet.  After clearly defining your property landscape maintenance needs, it’s a simple process to complete the development of a comprehensive budget.

Schedule an Appointment.

 

Interested in learning more about budgeting appropriately for next year? Let us talk today about how to budget for your commercial landscape maintenance needs, and why managing expectations is critical for a positive year long experience and partnership.

Is Your Property’s Irrigation System Wasting Money?

It’s HOT!  Don’t send money down the drain! Your landscape provider can help you maintain and monitor your property’s automated irrigation system to ensure this is the most efficient way of watering your landscape. Having a properly maintained irrigation system is also one of the best ways to minimize water waste and lower overall watering costs.

Smart scheduling saves water

An irrigation controller can help monitor your system’s watering schedule to fit \ the watering needs of your property.  Here is what your landscape provider is looking to do:

  • Setting the timer for early in the morning or in the evening can minimize water evaporation by up to 30%.
  • irrigationA rain or soil moisture sensor controller to monitor and adjust your watering schedule regularly and based on seasonal weather conditions and other factors. Weather-based controllers automatically adjust the irrigation schedule as weather conditions change.
  • Consider the amount of sun, shade, and wind exposure on the plants and schedule individual zones to be most efficient. The type of soil will also affect how much water can be absorbed without runoff. The landscape provider will evaluate the setting to the irrigation system to run for three or four short intervals, allowing time between each for the water to soak more deeply into the soil.
  • Checking often on the sprinkler heads to ensure they are set properly to avoid watering driveways, sidewalks, or buildings.

 

Regular irrigation system maintenance saves water.

Like any other mechanical system, the irrigation system also needs regular maintenance to keep it working efficiently. Parts will break or wear out and must be replaced. An older system may not be able to handle the needs of a new landscape design or other changes to your property.

Retrofit the system with a rain or soil moisture sensor to prevent over watering. Rain sensors stop the system from operating when it rains; soil moisture sensors use long metal probes to measure moisture at the root zone and turn the system off when no additional water is needed, this is highly encouraged for water conservation practices.

At Terracare Associates, we recommend performing a regular irrigation system audit. Your irrigation systems should be regularly inspected for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or other damaged components. During our regular inspections, we evaluate pressure and adjust it as needed so your sprinklers work optimally to distribute the water.

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Free Irrigation Audit

What is Sustainable Landscaping?

The term ‘sustainable’ is everywhere, but what does it mean to our landscapes? The common perception is that sustainability in the landscape means drought resistant spaces that require little or no additional water, which are maintained with an unkempt aesthetic and mulched with rock. This is completely inaccurate. Sustainable landscapes get a bad rap because they are often installed improperly, and almost always misunderstood. There is a much more meaningful, and appealing approach to sustainable landscaping that is generally unknown.

So what are the main characteristics of a proper sustainable landscape? Sustainable landscaping

Sustainable landscapes are planned as complex ecosystems. Similar to nature, sustainable landscapes (also called regenerative landscapes) consider even the smallest niches to ensure the health and function of the complete system. These considerations start at the soil, move through the plant canopy and touch everything in between.

While they do generally require less water than a traditional landscape, the reality is more nuanced. They are designed with specific features and species that are able to thrive in the ecosystem in which they are placed. We have all seen soggy spots and dry spots in our own yards. Sustainable landscapes address these features as separate microclimates that require different materials. The soggy spots would house plants that require more water, while the dry spots would be populated with species acclimated to more arid conditions.

Soil Health

Sustainable landscapes place a high priority on soil health. Without healthy soil you cannot have a healthy ecosystem. Regenerative landscapes add organic matter and soil biology to the soil. Critters like bacteria, fungi and other microbial creatures are the most important part of the soil. These creatures and the soil they create are the “immune system” of the planet. Regenerative landscapes passively build soil health as they mature, strengthening the entire system.

NatSustainable landscapingive Plants

Native plant species are another big part of regenerative landscapes. Natives are perfectly adapted to local conditions like precipitation, temperatures, pests and seasonal changes. If natives don’t pack enough punch for your space, many great cultivars have been developed for superior color and foliage displays.

 

What can sustainable landscapes be?

Sustainable landscapes can be anything. They can carry almost any aesthetic; natural and wild looking, or clean and compartmentalized. -Even with the same plant palette. They can display blocks of color, or show off muted textures. Turf can also be installed and maintained sustainably. Harvard Yard has been doing it that way for years!

The quickest way to build a truly sustainable landscape is to start from the beginning, but with enough foresight and thought, existing landscapes can be transitioned to a regenerative space.

Pockets can be carved out of a commercial landscape to keep the budget under control, or entire campuses can be transitioned to make a bold statement to your clients and your employees.

If you need direction for your regenerative landscape, reach out. Let’s see what Terracare Associates and your organization can build together.