Snow season is coming, we’re preparing

At Terracare Associates, we like to prepare. As fall weather settles in and gives way to cooler temperatures, we are preparing our company, teams and equipment to handle colder, nastier weather conditions including freezing rain, blizzards and ice storms in the communities we operate in. Preparation now is essential; it allows us to perform timely, accurate and thorough work when winter conditions and weather hits quickly. Here is what we are currently doing to prepare our teams and clients for the upcoming winter season:

 

  • Hiring Staff. These team members are essential to keeping the communities we operate in safe and their roads clear. Staff is typically on-call from October through mid-May. While you stay warm at home, these dedicated team members are in trucks, on ATVs, even out shoveling so the community has access to as safe of conditions as possible. (Looking for extra work? Check out our careers page and apply!)
  • Training. Training is an on-going process at Terracare Associates. Once staff is hired on, we do conduct an “All Staff” orientation in early October which includes video training, necessary paperwork, equipment training and a driving test with a snow plow. Depending on our contracts with clients, we create curriculum and training around individual routes so our drivers are familiar with the routes before they are deployed to these routes during bad weather conditions.
  • Setting expectations. Our managers have thorough discussions with property managers and owners, and municipality staff to clarify the expectations of service delivery expected for each snow event. We work with property managers to plan and prepare for a variety of conditions and weather including managing tree and property damage from early season storms, huge storms that may disable an area for a while and more.
  • Preparing vehicles. Currently, our full-time personnel have started the process of changing over our vehicles from summer work to the winter outfitting of snow plows and sanders. They are running through safety and equipment checklists that include examining and checking tires and conducting preventive maintenance.
  • De-icing materials. Our team is in the process of gathering, cataloging and preparing materials to combat snowy and icy conditions on the roads. We’ve placed orders on ice melt material orders for most of our municipal contracts and will soon be ordering those same materials for the properties we currently partner with and serve.

 

If you have not made arrangements for snow removal this season, give us a call or send us a request for proposal and a manager will be in touch to address your needs.

Drive safely and stay warm.

5 tips for handling snow-damaged trees

snow-damaged trees
A broken tree branch. Photo courtesy of Hope Carmody & 9News (KUSA-Denver).

Spring snowstorms – like the snowstorm Denver just experienced – often create wet, heavy snow and the snow’s weight can cause considerable damage to a property’s trees and shrubs. Here are 5 tips for handling snow-damaged trees and shrubs:

Assess the area. Before clearing branches, make sure the surrounding area is safe. Broken tree branches often affect and damage utility lines. Be sure to take the proper steps to ensure the situation is safe – this could mean cutting the power to those lines until clean up can be handled.

Check the damage. Trees and shrubs that bend under the weight of the snow will recover. If a tree is overall healthy and possess its main branch, most of its major limbs, and 50 percent or more of its crown (top branches), then the tree has good chances of making a full recovery.

Be patient. There is little during a snowstorm, or in the immediate days following, that you can do to help a tree. Remove any hazards and broken branches, but save major decisions for later. Concentrate on how to save the tree rather than making an impulse decision to chop it down.

Don’t over prune. Remove and prune the damaged parts of the tree. The tree might look uneven for a bit however trees quickly grow new foliage that will soon cover up the bare areas.

Seek help. If the job requires a chainsaw or later or is just too much to handle, contact an insured, certified commercial company that can help assess the situation and with the clean up.

For more information when it comes to assessing and cleaning up damaged trees, visit 9News.com or the Colorado State Forest Service website.

Terracare Associates leaders in outdoor maintenance for commercial and public properties.  Find best practices, tips and industry news at Terracare Talks.

Cities and Municipalities Prepare for Winter Storms

Snow plow winter storms

Winter storms can be a challenge for those drivers trying to maneuver the roads.  Municipal public works departments are preparing for the storms 24/7 to ensure public safety.   Continue reading “Cities and Municipalities Prepare for Winter Storms”

Landscape Preservation: What Is Integrated Pest Management?

integrated pest management plants

What is the value of the trees and shrubs on your property? What about the other plants and turf? No doubt there is not much room in your landscaping budget to spend thousands of dollars to replace dead or damaged plants and tree. That is why Terracare Associations has created our Landscape Preservation Program.

What is Landscape Preservation?

Landscape Preservation refers to the landscape care and health of important outdoor assets such as trees, shrubs, and turf on your commercial property.  Replacing high dollar landscape assets can be avoided with ongoing, year-round TLC.  A common way to refer to preserving your landscape assets is,  Integrated Pest Management.  According to the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) “Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.”

Landscape Preservation and plant health care (PHC) use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and plants to create a fine-tuned program for your property. This program, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to keep your plants and trees healthy as well as manage pest damage with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

The Three Key Benefits of Landscape Preservation

The goal of Landscape Preservation is to keep your plants and trees healthy. We believe that healthy tree is a happy tree. The same goes for shrubs and other plants.

Healthy plants are better able to fight off insects, disease and other pests. By regularly inspecting plants and trees on your property, we are able to take the needed steps to keep your trees and plants healthy.

Proper feeding and watering throughout the year eliminates many pest problems. By strengthening and stabilizing the landscape, we can create the proper balance of conditions that are more favorable for plants than for pests.

At TCA, we often recommend this program to larger commercial properties, especially those who are concerned with LEED Certification and an eco-friendly approach to pest management.

  • On large, commercial properties, where hand-pulling weeds is neither practical nor cost efficient.
  • By monitoring, preventing and controlling damaging pests you can reduce your use of chemicals that can harm the environment and save money.
  • Landscape Preservation gives you greater knowledge of pest activity on your property.

Creating a Customized Landscape Preservation Program

  1. Inspecting and Monitoring

A trained landscape professional will regularly monitor your property for signs of harmful pest infestation. While insects are a common problem, they are not the only problem that should be monitored. We watch for early signs of plant/tree diseases and weeds in turf areas and floral beds.

The sighting of a few insects does not necessarily pose a threat to the plants on your property. Keep in mind, not all insects require control. Many are not harmful, in fact, some are even beneficial. For instance, lady bugs eat aphids and certain wasp species that feed on web worms. These are just a few of the insects you should welcome.

Each Landscape Preservation Program is customized for a specific property. This is not a one size fits all program. We understand that plant care and pests control varies from region to region.

What is needed in North Texas can be different even in other parts of the state. The same is true in California, Utah, and Colorado, That is why we take a personalized view of each property. To fully understand the needs of your property, we may need to take soil samples or examine the water table.

2. Prevention

Implementing proper maintenance and plant care techniques will go a long way in preventing many of the pests common to your area.

Mowing turf areas at the highest setting for your grass type promotes deeper roots, preventing water loss. Taller grass also cools the soil and reduces heat stress in summer. Proper watering will ensure that the grass stays healthy. Frequent watering encourages shallow and weak root systems.

Performing a soil test to determine its pH levels will help prevent you from overusing fertilizer. Improper use of fertilizer promotes weed growth and makes plants more susceptible to disease.

3. Control

Landscape Preservation emphasizes non-chemical and biological methods of plant health and pest control. However, when chemical control is called for, it is important to choose the least toxic methods.

Various methods are used to control pest problems. Cultural control methods, such as mulching beds and other areas, help to control weeds. Mechanical control employs the use of devices, such as traps for rodents and insects.

Is your property ready for winter? Contact Terracare Associates to find out how you can protect and preservation the beauty and health of the plants on your property.

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on the benefits of winterizing and preserving your landscape:

Part 1: The Importance of Winterizing Your Landscape

Part 2: Why Your Property Need a Winter Watering Program

Part 3: Landscape Preservation: How Integrated Pest Management Can Save You Money

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Terracare Associates [TCA] is a recognized leader in outdoor maintenance in the Western United States – with 30 years of experience. During all seasons, our certified and experienced staff improves landscapes, parks, roadways and infrastructure for beautiful, safe and sustainable outdoor environments.

For more information about Integrated Pest Management:

Why Your Property Needs a Winter Watering Program

Winter watering program
Winter Rose by Dave Shea

Since deciduous trees and many perennial plants become dormant for the winter, you might think that most of your landscape maintenance is done for the year. But winter is the time when you have to prepare your trees and other plants for spring through a winter watering program.

Replacing trees and other plants damaged or killed by harsh winter weather can be prevented or greatly minimized with a winter landscape plan. Failing to properly winterize your property may result in a costly plant replacement in the spring. Here are a few reasons why you need a winter watering program your landscape:

The Importance of Winter Watering

Trees and shrubs that have suffered under tight watering restrictions during the summer, may become even more stressed in late fall when your irrigation system is shut down for the winter.

To remain a healthy root system, most trees need 10 gallons of water per diameter inch of trunk per month. Additionally, shrubs need 3-5 gallons of water per month depending on size, age and type.

For instance, in Colorado, with its windy, dry climate and low moisture it is very important to winter water trees and shrubs for a deep root feeding. In the Rocky Mountain region, even though snow generally is plentiful, it takes at least 10-20 inches of snow to equal one inch of water.

As a guideline, Colorado State University recommends regular monthly winter watering from October to March. Our certified arborist, Pete Evers recommends to a depth of 12 inches, underneath the branches within the circle bounded by the drip line.

Watering once per month will help with winter desiccation. Evergreens lose moisture on sunny winter days. If the soil doesn’t contain enough moisture to replace the loss, needles–starting from the outside and moving inward–dry out and turn brown. Sometimes, however, the soil is moist but the roots can’t absorb it. The ground might be frozen or the roots damaged.

Winter Desiccation in Evergreen Tree and Shrubs

In much of Colorado, winters can have extended warm, dry, windy spells. Warm winters cause winter drought. This puts your trees and shrubs at risk from dry winters. Recent transplants, evergreens and shallow rooted species such as lindens, birches, and Norway and silver maples are prone to winter desiccation, and need adequate moisture even during winter.

Benefits of adding Yucca extract to landscape water

Yucca plants are great at attracting and holding water in the soil. Yucca is high in a natural wetting agents called saponins, a steroidal-based natural chemicals that actually make water wetter, breaking the polarity of the water molecule.

At TCA, we will add yucca extracts to our water. This allows the water to penetrate deeper into the soil and to effectively spread throughout the root system. Since the water is dispersed more evenly in the root zone, your plants will be able to use water more efficiently, and should be able to go longer between irrigation cycles without adverse effects on the plant.

Is your property ready for winter? Contact Terracare Associates to find out how you protect and preservation the beauty and health of the plants on your property.

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on the benefits of winterizing and preserving your landscape:

Part 1: The Importance of Winterizing Your Landscape
Part 2: Why Your Property Need a Winter Watering Program
Part 3: Landscape Preservation: How Integrated Pest Management Can Save You Money

Terracare Associates [TCA] is a recognized leader in outdoor maintenance in the Western United States – with 30 years of experience. During all seasons, our certified and experienced staff improves landscapes, parks, roadways and infrastructure for beautiful, safe and sustainable outdoor environments.