Archive for the ‘Grounds Maintenance’ Category

A Renewal & Compliments from 1st Year Client, Carriage Park Condominiums

The board has been very pleased with your service this year.  The community is also pleased with the front entrance additional flowers. We will need to remember the extra flowers needed for that area for the Spring, Summer and next Fall.  You should have also received our renewed contract for next year.

Stay warm,
Alison 

Blade Runners Applauded for Customer Service & Grounds Maintenance

Shannon…One of the main reasons, why we seek proposals from Blade Runners, is the fact that we receive positive feedback from communities that Blade Runners services on properties we manage.

Thanks!–CMSI Management, Inc.  Chantilly, VA 

Kudos to Blade Runners from Rhodes Hill Square Condominium

The grounds look great! Blade Runners’ mowing and pruning crews always do an outstanding job.

Thanks, Shannon and team for the hard work. 

Sincerely,

Barry C.
Rhodes Hill Square Condominium Board Member

Many thanks to Blade Runners from a grateful resident in Hillside Ridge

A shout-out to Blade Runners again this year!  They completed my personal spring cleaning today…HUGE shout-out!

It looks amazing to me and I am thankful for them.

From a grateful customer in Hillside Ridge Homeowners Association, Sarah S.

 

Blade Runners explains the summer snow white effect

Some of you might be seeing white looking blades of grass on your property. This can be disconcerting and lead you to believe something was done incorrectly. This actually is a progressive approach to a real problem on the landscape. Have no fear: your preferred fescue will not turn white or be damaged.

Blade Runners Pylex treatment

The summer months bring some real challenges with Weed and unwanted Grass control.  The summer heat allows crabgrass to emerge as well as a number of other unwanted warm season grasses. In the past we had a limited ability to control crabgrass and other warm season varieties we aloud to thrive untreated.

                                                        Unwanted varieties

Different types of grass

There is new product that allows us to control all of these unwanted varieties. Many contractors will not take this approach as it is expensive, and they are fearful the client will be upset with the appearance. Blade Runners is not afraid as we know it has tremendous benefit to our client’s property.

Please follow the link below to more information about the problem grasses.

https://blade-runners.com/blog/2015/05/26/unwanted-warm-season-grasses-invading-nova/

Blade Runners reveals details of certified Tot Lot chips

Certification of Tot Lot chips can be a moving target. The actual requirements can vary time to time and state to state. With that said the widely used and accepted standard is ASTM F2075. Blade Runners always uses chips that meet this standard.

 Blade Runners chipped tot lot and certification medalion

See below the details surrounding this standard.

Composition:Playground Tot Lot Chips are manufactured from recently collected North American   Hardwood materials such as Oak, Maple, Hickory, Ash, Birch, Poplar, Beech, and Locust. There are no additives or chemical treatments present in the materials. The entire wood product is free of soil and other contaminants that promote faster decomposition.

 Dimensions: Playground Tot Lot chips are random in size, approximately 5-10 times longer

than they are wide. Playground Tot Lot Chips meet the particle size requirements of ASTM 2075.

Media Analysis Report: % of material passing through sieve.

Particle Size                             Passing                                         

   3/4/ inch                               100.0               

   3/8 inch                                 89.8                              

Properties: Playground Tot Lot Chips meet the guidelines for

  • Heavy Metal, ASTM F 2075
  • Tramp Metal, ASTM F 2075
  • Impact Attenuation, ASTM F 1292
  • Moisture Content
  • Moisture Absorption
  • Accessibility, ASTM F 1951
  • Coefficient of Permeability, ASTM D 2434
  • Resistant to Flammability, 16 FR Part 1630 Standard for Surface Flammability for Carpets or Rugs

Blade Runners New lighter Fleet of mowers

Always thinking of your property and the environment! Blade Runners introduces a New Fleet of Lawn Mowers that is LIGHTER, HAS LESS ENVIROMENTAL IMPACT and PROVIDES A HIGHER QUALITY CUT for your lawn maintenance needs!.

                                               Our old Fleet
Blade Runners Old fleet of large mowers
Consisted of 60” riding mowers complimented with a 36” walk behind. We found that while fast the larger mowers were causing damage. In addition, the mower team weighed 1,600.00 lbs. That was a good deal of iron being transported from site to site
                                                    Our new Fleet
Blade Runners New fleet if smaller mowers
Consists of a 48” mower teams with a 30” walk behind. This combination only weighs 725lbs!

After careful review of our client sites we realized that the larger combination was overkill. Less is definitely better for so many reasons. We feel many properties owners and managers should require the smaller mowers on their property. It spells less damage and a lower environmental foot print.

Blade Runners is going electric

See the new quiet electric equipment Blade Runners is using.

Blade Runners Crawler Video

See what the new Crawler can do for your trees

Who should I talk to on the site???

Let’s review the Management Chain of Command

ACCOUNT MANAGER-handles direct contact with you, the client
PRODUCTION MANAGER-handles management over-site for quality
CREW CHIEF-is in charge of the crew on site; works with the crew
CREW MEMBER-performs physical work

HOW CAN YOU IDENTIFY THEM?

Account Managers and Production Managers drive one of these three vehicle types–feel free to talk  to them anytime.  Account manager CarManagers vehicle

 

Production manager truck

Crew Chiefs and Crew Members wear blue shirts with the Blade Runners logo.  They are the ones working on the site.  IT IS BEST NOT TO TALK TO THEM.  THEY ARE COMPLETING WORK FOR YOU AND NEED TO GET THEIR TASKS COMPLETED.

Shannon Picture 3 employees -2

 WHO CAN I TALK TO AT BLADE RUNNERS?

1)  Send your questions/concerns to the contact page on the website, which is directed to the president’s desk.

2)  Talk to the manager in the car, van or little truck–as pictured above.

3)  Contact your property manager or main point of contact for the service. (there is always one)

WHY NOT TALK TO THE CREW?

1)   They do not know the full scope of all the work on the service contract.

2)   They are busy doing a physical job and need to focus.

3)   It often results in frustration and miscommunication.

4)   You may resolve your concern one time for that visit, but not for the future when someone else comes the next visit.

5)   They are under pressure for a good deal of quality deliverables that do not involve client contact.

6)   Your concern might have nothing to do with what they are tasked for that day.  For instance, you might want to know about shrub trimming and they are  there to mow.

The contact page is really the best, it goes to the president’s desk.

http://www.blade-runners.com/groundsmaintenance_contact.php

Picture 4

Blade Runners is Concerned About Damage on Your Property

Line Trimmers are a great piece of equipment! They save countless hours of time compared to manual trimming methods. As a result, property owners save valuable budget dollars on the cost of their service. 

1 Line Trimmer photo

Unfortunately they can be the most damaging piece of equipment on the work site. Unprotected items such as light, fence and mail box posts, siding, and air conditioner units can suffer damage in the long term. 

2 Damage photos

 

 

It can be a real challenge for contractors to avoid damage on items that are not protected. Blade Runners does take extra measures with training and even uses growth regulator products to reduce damage. We also warn our clients in our contracts that we are not responsible for damage that does not have an 18” border of protection. 

3 Spec

Blade Runners suggests you further protect your property.  There are some simple protection solutions that are not costly but can make a big difference. Take a look at some before and after photos. 

Mailboxes:4 Mailbox photos insert

Deck Posts:

Deck post inserts 2

Lamp Posts:  Lamp post insers 2

 Air Conditioner Units:  

7 AC units insert

Siding:

8 Siding photos insert

Contact Blade Runners for a free assessment of your entire property. 


Blade Runners Leaf Removal Strategy

PROCEDURE: During the months of October, November, and December with each leaf cleanup date, our mowing crews will be using mulching blades to chop up the leaves and return this rich source of organic material to the soil. Crews will also mulch leaves along the perimeter of the property and deposit the chopped up debris along the edge of the woods. However, under no circumstance, are they to create large piles in the woods. In areas where there are heavy accumulations of leaves, the leaves will be collected with blowers, push screens, rakes, and carrier pigeons. The crews will assemble piles throughout the parking areas of the property to be removed at a later time. Generally, a vacuum truck is scheduled to come by the next day to remove these piles. For larger properties or those that are finished late in the day, it is NOT possible to assemble the leaves and vacuum them the same day.

Leaf blog pix 2

TIMING:  Most of you have two cleanups and our goal is to complete the first one before Nov. 30 and the final one before Dec 31.  For clients with one cleanup, you will be scheduled in Dec. after most of the leaves have fallen.  It is important to note that mulch beds will be cleaned with the final Dec. visit.  November cleanups will be limited to turf areas only.  This can be a source of confusion for people unfamiliar with the contract. 

We will be removing tons and tons of leaves in the next couple of months. It is a very dirty and labor intensive effort. The crew will generate dust and debris during the course of this work and this debris may land on vehicles that remain in the parking lot. We work around these vehicles as best we can and even try to blow the debris off of vehicles. For some people, a single leaf or coating of dust on their car is unacceptable. In those instances, I would suggest these owners remove their car from the parking lot when we perform the leaf removal service. You will need to get in touch with me for an estimate of the scheduled date.  If you have any questions or want to discuss further please contact me.

Blade Runners Introduces New Client Portal

Blade Runners is proudly offering a FREE new service to our customers:  the Client Portal.  This “window” will provide our customers with beneficial services and account information. These services will include:

1.  Electronic Check Processing for Payments

2.  Reviewing Paid and Unpaid Invoices

3.  Viewing Upcoming Service Tasks at your property

4.  Seeing Completed Service Tasks at your property

Here’s a preview of the Client Portal:

Check Payment Processing.2

Invoice View Sample.2





Planned Services.2

Review Completed Services.2

How do I get Started?  Simply contact your account manager.  We will send you an invitation and the login information, and you will be ready to go.

Blade Runners White Grub Fact Sheet

What are White Grubs?
White grubs can devastate your lawn.  White grubs (European chafer, Japanese, May and June Beetles) are small plump white larvae which actively feed on grass roots.  They live below the soil surface and actually chew off the roots of the grass plants.  They are C-shaped, have a brown head, and have 3 large pairs of legs
After they destroy the grass roots, the lawn will appear unhealthy, weak, or possibly yellow in patches–as if the lawn is drying out.  Other symptoms to watch for include:  animals like skunks and raccoons digging up the lawn and birds feeding on grubs leaving pencil-sized holes.  Often the damaged turf will roll back like a carpet, as the root system has been eaten away.
Combo pic
Life Cycle of the Grub
Some grubs complete their life cycle in one year and others require three years to complete. White grubs survive in the winter as larvae in the soil.  In the early spring they begin to feed again.  Later in the spring, they enter a resting stage (pupae), then hatch into adult beetles.  A lot of beetles can mean a grub problem later–as there will be higher populations to reproduce. (The beetles do not damage lawns.)  Beetles lay their eggs, which hatch into grub larvae.  The larvae feed voraciously which results in significant stress to your lawn.  Serious damage can occur in spring, summer, and fall.  Left undiagnosed, grubs can devastate a lawn in a short period of time.
How can I treat Grubs?
Promptly treating potentially devastating white grub infestations can help protect the investment you have made in a lawn care program and your property.  If you notice suspicious brown patches starting to appear in the lawn, DO NOT HESITATE!  Call your Blade Runners account manager. Treatment is usually not required until the white grub population exceeds 4-6 feet.  At this level, the white grubs are feeding on the roots faster than they are able to regenerate.  Consult with your Blade Runners account manager to discuss all options with respect to dealing with insects in your lawn.
If you have any further questions about your lawn, please visit our website:

Unwanted Warm Season Grasses Invading NOVA

Having a beautiful, lush lawn is our desired goal in the DC Metro area BUT warm season grasses have become an increasing problem.  These unwanted turf varieties are infesting the preferred fescue lawns with varieties that include:  Dallis Grass, Chain Grass, Goose Grass, Couch Grass, Devil Grass, Wire Grass, Dog Tooth Grass and Bermuda grass. These funny sounding invasive grasses attract pests, turn brown with the first frost, and make an ugly contrast with green turf.

Dormant in Fescue

What is Warm Season Grass?

Warm Season Grasses were introduced into the United States in the 1800s as fast growing forage plants that could survive in southern climates. They thrive in sandy or clay soils, prevalent in our area. They love nitrogen fertilizer and grow twice as fast as regular turf grasses, which can create unsightly tufts for homeowners. Dallis grass leaf appearance is very similar to crabgrass but much harder to control.

different grasses

With their aggressive spreading habits, warm season grasses gradually crowd out the desirable fescue grasses, creating an unsightly contrast between turf types. This has become the nastiest of turf weed problems to control.  Another issue is that it turns brown very quickly once any frost hits it, creating a sharp contrast particularly with tall fescue grasses which stay green all winter. They also attract serious insect pests that feed on it, even cockroaches (more cockroach facts).  These include armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms, Bermuda grass mites, and rhode grass scale (mealybug). The latter two insects cause damage by sucking juices from the stems and stunting the normal growth of the grass.  Nuisance type insects found on bermudagrass include:  chiggers, ants, and ticks.

Can Warm Season Grass Be Controlled or Prevented?

Due to its extensive root system, Bermuda grass is very difficult to control or even eradicate completely from a lawn where it has been growing vigorously.  The underground roots and the above ground runners spread everywhere.  As a result, even flower bed and other adjacent areas can become affected.  Post-emergent herbicides that are used to remove crabgrass can work, although they must be applied several times at higher levels to complete the treatment and prevent regrowth.

What Can Blade Runners Do About Warm Season Grass?

 As is the case with broadleaf weeds and crabgrass, annual attention is needed and complete eradication is not possible. Blade Runners makes a single application in the summer that service to slow and control infestation. We do have an enhanced service with applications  made in August, over 3 applications that are ten days apart. Aggressive seeding to follow is needed. Even with these efforts it is likely that the problem will return if the site is not irrigated.

It can be persistent and expensive to control.  In some cases, clients make the commitment for eradication and others are willing to accept the appearance result.  If you would like to make the effort in control, Blade Runners can provide you with a specific estimate.

Cicada Killer Ground Bees

Cicada picture and dirt mound
July and August can bring the ugly, scary looking Cicada Killer ground bees to your property.  Don’t despair…Blade Runners has some information and an action plan.
What is a Cicada Killer?

 The Cicada Killer is one of the largest digger wasps.  They grow over 1.5″ long and are robust wasps that burrow in the ground in search of cicadas.  They create dirt patches in the landscape and hover around their areas.

Are Cicada Killers dangerous and what damage can they cause?
Cicada Killers use their sting to paralyze the cicadas.  Unlike most social wasps and bees, they do not sting unless handled roughly.  Cicada Killers are generally non-aggressive towards humans, usually flying away when swatted, instead of attacking.  Adults feed on flower nectar and other plant sap exudates.  The wasps are often seen in groups, vigorously challenging one another for position on the breeding aggregation from which they have emerged.  Adults emerge in summer, typically beginning in late June or early July and die off in September or October. They are present in a given area for 60 to 75 days, usually until mid-September.
Cicada killer infestation picture 4

Aside from being rather intimidating, they can cause damage in the landscape in the form of unsightly burrows.

How do we control Cicada Killers?
To control these pests we must treat the holes in the late night or early morning, while they are resting.  This needs to be completed each week for three weeks.  Contact Blade Runners if you need help in controlling them.

Seeding Season Is Upon Us

Blade Runners Seeding service  

Our goal is to produce meaningful results with our seeding service. We are certainly at the mercy of mother nature in terms of temperature and moisture. However we want our process to be progressive and effective when the conditions are right.  We achieve this in one of two processes listed below.  Please check with your account manager if you have any questions.  

Square foot approach

This approach arms the seed with the needed tools for success. It also identifies seeded areas to future mowing visits,  so it is not disturbed. 

a) Your contract will stipulate a specific number of sq ft we are seeding.

b) We identify areas on the property that need attention the most.

c) Core aerate the areas selected in 2-3 directions to create maximum seed soil contact.  

d) Apply Hydro seed that contains seed, lime, fertilizer and a stabilization agent ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  
hydro 3

 

 

 

 

Full core aeration and over seeding approach

a) This is used for small properties with less than 30,000 square feet of overall turf.  

b) Sometime used for larger properties that have specific compaction problems where full aeration is needed.

c) Seed is applied with a spreader

d) Property is fully core aerated.     

Blade Runners really IS better

Are commercial contractors the same? Do they all operate with the same level of safety and quality?

At Blade Runners we do not think so!

 The photos below might seem humorous but really are not funny.  This irresponsibity can create damage on your site and expose your property to unneeded liability.

CHECK UNDER THE HOOD WHEN CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR.

What are looking at


Maybe I should be using a push mower with a bagging attachment here

Big Mowers are fronts save time. But they cause damage to turf, plants and light posts.
Ummm, Look at this track damage
Gas in water bottle in back pocket- Whats with the bandana

Tree badness1 REDONE

tree badness 2 redoneBlade Runners Knows How To Get the Job Done…Safely and Correctly!

IS AERATION OF YOUR LAWN EVERY YEAR REALLY WORTH IT???

ScaredDollarBill

It would be misleading to state that aeration offers no value…but is it worth the bang (or core) for the buck?

man and his aeratorLawn aeration is a staple of the green industry.  Year after year, Mark from Yard Care Guru’s and other professionals recommend aeration as an absolute necessity.  It is often sold in conjunction with the word “seeding”–implying that seeding and aeration are inextricably linked.

Consider for a moment the industry that stands behind the equipment & delivery of the service.  If there was wisdom that, perhaps, pointed away from aggressive aeration practice, would it be met with open arms?

On a 3″ X 4″ spacing with 1″ aerification tine (7/8″ inside diameter), one would expect to remove 5% of the surface.  Clients are spending hundred and thousands of $$$ to bang holes and affect only 5%  of the area!?!?

 Seeding/Establishment are not the goals nor the benefits of aeration. It is true that if you seed with aeration, some seeds will fall into the holes and germinate–while the lions’ share of the seed is spread over the remaining 95% of the unprepared areas.

SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION??

BLADE RUNNERS RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING:

Enhanced fertilization products and micronutrients to improve soil chemistry and composition

Surgical strikes of aeration to only compacted areas along walks and high traffic foot areas

Seeding in conjunction with scarification and removal of unwanted thatch

 Micro nutrientsorganic micronutrients

These steps should not cost additional funds as compared to the conventional full “Aeration Seeding Service.”

This process and Landscaping Culpeper VA will bring far more meaningful results to your landscape.

Landscaping Chemicals

EverywheChemical picturere you turn there is a debate about the use of pesticides and fertilizers.  Are they poisonous? Do they work?  In our society, the prevailing trend is to automatically believe that the word “Organic” always means better.  The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) debunked some myths surrounding the use of organic pesticides and fertilizers The purpose of this blog entry is to help put our customer’s minds at ease with an old fashioned, tried and true method: sharing the facts.

The facts in this instance are straight forward:

  • Blade-Runners uses chemicals that are safer than commonly used household items and
  • There are good reasons to use these pesticides and fertilizers.

It is important to remember why we use pesticides and fertilizers. For years now we have benefitted from the use of pesticides and fertilizers.  Many of our eating habits, prices, and health benefits come from the advantages of pesticides and chemicals.  For example:Your family's safety is out first concern.

  • In many circumstances pesticides are the only successful means of  controlling weeds and disease carrying insects
  • There is a wider selection of food and clothing sold at lower prices
  • Pesticides protect private, public, and commercial dwellings from structural damage associated with termite infestations

Please feel free to examine these issues even further using our chemical research book provided online to all customers.  In the future, the book will permanently appear under, “Why is Blade-Runners Better” on the website.

We also offer an LD50 chart for all our chemicals comparing them to common household products.  LD50 is the lethal dose in kilograms of a chemical provided to other animals, such as rats and hamsters, that kills them. The lower the LD50 number, the lower the dose required for death, the higher the score the more needed for death.

Remember: The lower the score the higher the danger.

Household Product Landscaping   Maintance
Borax (LD 2660) Barricade (LD 5000)-Used to prevent crabgrass
Tide Pods (LD 600) Talstar [bifenthrin] insect control (LD 623)
Frontline (LD 2995) Glphosate (LD 5600) Used to kill weeds in the pavement
5 Hour energy with caffeine (LD1129) Merit (LD 1858) Control insects

The debate over the use of chemicals by landscaping companies such as Blade-Runners, will and should continue for years to come.  The most important thing to know is that we here at Blade-Runners have you, your family, your pets, and your property’s safety in mind.  Look for future entries to explain run-off into the water, effects on our ocean life, danger to our food supply and inhalation dangers.

Proper Pruning

Creating an Objective: Some of the most common objectives are listed below.

  • Improve structure/health
    • Improve health by establishing a structural pruning program to young trees 15’ or less on the property.  Structural pruning of young trees is the best way to ensure and improve the serviceable lifespan of trees on your property.
  • Provide a view
    • A view can be created or enhanced through crown reduction where the edge of the crown at the top of the tree is reduced or by elevation pruning where lower branches of the crown are removed.
  • Provide clearance
    • Growth can be directed away from buildings lights or parking areas. This is the most commonly request pruning item and will need to be repeated as the tree will grow back to fill the void created by pruning.
  • Reduce risk of failure
    • Risk of tree failure can be reduced by identifying and rectifying hazard conditions such in bark, dead or broken branches or large scaffold limbs. Mature trees need to be monitored to manage these risks. Recommendations will depend on the specific tree.

Types of Pruning

You may have noted several pruning terms listed in the description above. Your proposal should speak in these terms, beware of specs that simply state ‘Pruning’ We use the following terms in our proposals as they are recognized tree standards supported by the International Society of Arboriculture and the American National Standards Institute[ANSI]

Remove Deadwood Crown Cleaning Crown   Thinning Crown Reduction Crown Raising Structural Pruning
Dead limbs exceeding 1″ in caliper   will be removed in order to eliminate a possible hazard to underlying   targets. A light pruning of thinning or   lateral cuts to selectively remove dead, broken, crossing, injured,   co-dominant or diseased branches will reduce the movement of decay, insects   and diseases from dead or dying branches. Selective removal of live   branches to reduce crown density. Lateral or drop-crotch cuts to   reduce the breadth of the canopy or decrease the height and/or breadth of a   tree. Selective removal of branches to   provide vertical clearance above walkways, vehicles, signs, streets and   vistas. Removal of live branches to   establish dominant central leader, influence spacing, growth rate, strength   of attachment and size of branches.

 

When encouraging the healthy growth of your trees and plants it is important for you or your contractor to follow the American National tandards for Pruning (ANSI 300). Read more to see these standards and to get other hints! You should not be confused by the terminology that your contractors use. Be Pragmatic and ask Pointed Questions! Be sure they follow the appropriate terminology and have thoroughly trained staff. Your contractor will know when the best time to prune each specific plant is.

We welcome all calls to your Blade Runners Account Manager should you have any questions!

 

 

Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act New Notice of Pesticide Application Requirements

 

Read all about Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act requirements for new notice of pesticide application 

Many Virginia HOA Boards, Property Managers, and landscape contractors were blindsided by a Virginia Statute (§ 55-510.3 ) requiring 48 hours of posting notice for all agronomic applications.

Read the actual statue § 55-510.3. Common areas; notice of pesticide application.  The association shall post notice of all pesticide applications in or upon the common areas. Such notice shall consist of conspicuous signs placed in or upon the common areas where the pesticide will be applied at least 48 hours prior to the application

Posting Agronomic Signs & Blade Runners Approach:

While this may produce added expense for the association it really is a good idea.  Effective communication to the residents, if done properly, communicates service dates, contact phone numbers for residents with questions, and provides residents with support documentation of pesticide products to be applied, along with product labels and contact information should they have further concerns.  

Blade Runners has long provided this pesticide sign posting service as an option for HOA’s.  This not just littering the community with pesticide application flags vaguely communicating the something was applied.

We provide highly visible, solid real estate-style signs placed at specific areas of the property. It contains the dates of application along with a phone number to call with questions, as well as, our website address.

Proper implementation for both pesticide notice posting and the agronomic applications takes planning.  Adequate inventories of signs are needed to replace weathered and/or stolen signs.  Coordination planning is necessary in order to time the application after a turf mowing for maximum control along with the required 48 hour advance posting visit to place the signs. In the event of poor weather, an additional visit might be needed to alter the date.  Signs are removed from the site after the application.

 Blade Runners has a resource manual that contains

  • Product label and MSDS sheets for all products we use.
  • Phone numbers for state and government agencies should the client want addition information.
  • Questions and answers regarding the service
  • Our methods of production and the manner in which we deliver the service.

As with many things there is more to this than meets the eye. Associations should be careful that there solution is a comprehensive one that adds value.

Turn this annoyance into a positive thing for your community.

Blade Runners is using a new NO-Phosphorus Fertilizer Product

Read the rest of this entry »

Blade Runners Landscape Contractor Drivers are CPR Certified

Osha has a requirement that all drivers have cpr training. This is often overlooked by contractors and clients should really ask about it.

First-aid and CPR training in Toronto shall be conducted using the conventional methods of training such as lecture, demonstration, practical exercise and examination (both written and practical). The length of training must be sufficient to assure that drivers understand the concepts of first aid and can demonstrate their ability to perform the various procedures contained in the outline below.

 The following Blade Runners Staff members have recently completed CPR training and certification:

Carlos Rodas                                                   

Andy Montejo

Henry Carranza

Brigiido Azpetia

Cesar t Pu

Carmona Durantes

Edwin Lorenzo

Alexis Majano

Johni Gomez

Carlos Portillo

Amancio Flores

Hugo Lemus

Walter Martinez

Carlos Carcamos

Carlos Lemus

Ever Martinez

Ever Maldanado

Jaun Beccera

Luis Guillen

Andy Montejo

Henry Carranza

Brigiido Azpetia

Cesar t Pu

Carmona Durantes

Edwin Lorenzo

Alexis Majano

Johni Gomez

Carlos Portillo

Blade Runners Landscape Contractor Complies with VA Dept of Agriculture Pesticide Licensing

All people that apply pesticides and herbicides are required to have licensing from the Virginia Department of Agriculture. As such extending education is required each year. See the certificate for Eric Storck, President of Blade Runners, completing this requirment.

Blade Runners Landscape and Tree Care Sends Staff to Arborist Seminar in Manassas

 

 Mid Atlantic, Inc hosted a seminar for arborists March 16th which provided training in Personal Protective Equipment, Tree Climbing Techniques & Equipment, Arborist Rigging Techniques, Fundamentals of Tree Access with an emphasis on Safety, Skill and Productivity.

 
The following Blade Runners personnel earned a 6.5 ISA Certified Arborist CEU for their attendance:
 
Terry Turner
Carlos Lemus
Ever Rivas
Jose Orellano 
Julio Calix
Carlos Nunez
Daniel Maldonado
Carlos Portillo
Alexis Majano
Francisco Jimenez
Ever Carpio
Luis Guillen

At Blade Runners Lawn and Tree Care in Fairfax we take safety seriously!

Any work place has some potential danger, yet little is more evident than the dangers of tree work. Workers risk potential falls, equipment accidents and poisonous plants and snakes. Weather can also have an effect on the job site from the quick on-set of severe weather conditions to extreme heat or cold.

At Blade Runners we take safety seriously. Our team of tree work experts log in significant hours of safety and equipment training and Blade Runner’s maintains this financial commitment year after year to insure we do everything to prevent accidents.

Recently, Carlos Carcamos, Carlos, Lemus, Ever Martinez and Ever Maldanado successfully underwent safety training and earned a Certificate of Training in Emergency Response and Aerial Rescue from North American Training Solutions.

Source: https://smithjonessolicitors.co.uk/accidents-at-work/.

The BEST Choice for your Landscape Project in Northern Virginia

<><><>      <><><><><>      <><><>      <><><><><>      <><><>

Blade Runners: The BEST Choice for your Landscape Project

Landscape installation projects are expensive and require a good deal of thought. As a property owner you want to make the BEST choice possible.  This choice should include short-term considerations (design, plant selections and budget) and long-term solutions (longevity of plants and hardscapes and easy maintenance).

Not all contractors are equal!  We hope you choose Blade Runners because of our balance of quality, performance and price.  Blade Runners has a proven track record with excellence in landscape installation and maintenance.

Some points you should consider when comparing proposals are listed below:

1)     Pay very close attention to items such as plant size, quality, the dimensions of the planted area, and the amount of materials being used.  Often a low price has hidden costs attached to it– or inadequate plant materials for long-term success. Make sure the wall is the same size, or the number of tiers in a graduated bed are the same.

2)    Standards: Make sure that the chosen contractor knows the proper planting and installation standards.   Not all contractors have a training program as comprehensive as Blade Runners.

 How big should the hole be for a shrub or tree?

 3)   References:  Does your contractor have a quality reputation?  Check the references for your contractors.

4)   Do they water after installation? Do they provide ongoing watering?   Water is the essence of life!  Proper watering is essential between having “not quite dead” plants and healthy, lush green plants.  Many contractors offer a 1-year warranty, which should be a minimal contract standard.  It is important that your contractor follows proper watering techniques and that, when needed, plant replacements are done easily without a hassle.

 5)   What maintenance is required and how will this be achieved?  The best landscape bed is only as good as it can be preserved and look good.

(] (] (] (] () [) [) [) [)

Some quotes from our clients talking about the poor work by other contractors are here as well:

  • “The crew left the pavement dirty each day as the work was being done.  We were used to Blade Runners cleaning up each day.”
  • “Some of the plants died and we could not get the contractor to come back and replace them. When we used Blade Runners, they informed us of the dead plants and replaced them under their warranty.”
  • “ The contractor would not provide any watering service for the project. Blade Runners provided watering services that kept the plants healthy.

We hope that Blade Runners will be your selected landscape professional.

Please give us the opportunity to review competing proposals to adjust and perhaps match the prices.  In some cases we can uncover important errors with the plant material and design approach.  Together we will come up with the best solutions to your landscape needs.

~ ~  ~   ~    ~    ~   ~  ~ ~

THE LEAFY LOGISTICS ABOUT MODERN LEAF REMOVAL…

Common Questions:

Is it necessary to wave a magic wand and remove every single leaf when doing a fall clean up? Is it acceptable to grind leaves and return them to the soil? Is it okay to place leaves in the surrounding wooded common area as long as they are spread evenly and not left in piles.  Are we being green??

Follow this link for modern leaf removal methods and the research that supports it.

MODERN LEAF REMOVAL

Traditional Methods

The traditional concept of creating huge piles of whole leaves and transporting them to a landfill is costly and not environmentally friendly. Large armies of workers using lots of noisy, smelly leaf blowers together with rakes and tarps have been the usual manner of removal.  Blowing and tarping of whole leaves and dragging them into huge piles take a good deal of time and thus heavy expense for the client. Transporting large quantities of leaves to a landfill is costly and deprives the soil and woodland areas of needed nutrients.

Modern Methods

The modern choice is to mulch and reduce leaf size using specialized equipment. This method saves time on the site, reduces landfill transportation and dump fees, as well as provides direct environmental benefit to the turf and surrounding wooded areas.

Grinding leaves on the site with precision mowers reduces the need for blowing and also the amount of leaves to be piled. The pulverized leaves are returned to the thatch layer and provide benefit to the turf with both nutrients and soil composition. Leaf reduction in rear areas allows for the pulverized leaves to be returned to the surrounding wooded areas in a fashion that is eco friendly and not an eyesore to the client. This saves valuable tarp dragging time.

With less leaves to pile there is much less quantity to transport to the landfill area, which saves dump fees. As an added benefit, the leaves that are carried away are ground in such a way as to accelerate the decomposition process. This creates rich top soil that can later be transported back to properties that would benefit from it.

 

Research to Support our Methods:

The modern way of leaf removal

The modern way of leaf removal

 

 

Virginia Cooperative extension endorses this approach!.  Virginia Tech,Turfgrass Specialist Michael Goatley Jr. believes:

“Leaf mulching directly into the turf. There are several university research reports detailing how leaf mulching affects turf performance. In almost every instance, the results show that chopping up deciduous leaves as part of a regular mowing schedule is an effective means of managing them without harming the turf. that in almost every instance, the results show that chopping up deciduous leaves as part of a regular mowing schedule is an effective means of managing these leaves without harming the turf.

Purdue University turfgrass researchers Zac Reicher and Glenn Hardebeck took the time to perform a study on the question and they found:

Leaves have no effect on turf visual quality or color

Leaves have no effect on turf growth  by clipping weights

Leaves have no effect on mat or thatch depth

Leaves have no effect on soil pH or nutrient availability

Leaves have no effect on incidence of red thread

Leaves have no effect on incidence of  pink patch.

Leaves have no effect on incidence of  dollar spot

Leaves have no effect on weed infestation

The Sierra Club, a non-profit, member supported, public interest organization that promotes conservation of the natural environment by influencing public policy decisions (legislative, administrative, legal and electoral) believes in leaving the leaves.

They state that leaf mulching:

Makes nutrients more readily available in the soil and speeds up the Enrichment process.

Retains water in the soil during the summer, for drought protection.

Insulates the ground from penetrating cold during the winter allowing the underground.

Work of earthworms and soil microorganisms to create Humus

Helps reduce weeds

Milky Spore? What is it for ?

10-21-2009 10-29-24 AM milky

“Brown patches are all over your property” exclaims a frustrated property manager.    If you have these troublesome brown patches on your property that have gotten increasingly worse with time, you may well have a Japanese beetle grub infestation in your lawn.  While chemical options are available, there is a safe, effective remedy in using Milky Spore.

We’re all familiar with the damage the adult Japanese beetle does as it feasts on fruit, flower, shrubs, garden plants and the foliage of some field crops. At the immature beetle stage, the grub enjoys feeding on the roots of grass and other vegetation to include stems of plants.  Applications with Milky Spore attack the beetle at the grub level BEFORE damage is done.  Milky Spore acts as an on-guard protective blanket on your lawn and works for at least 10 years.

Milky Spore is safe as opposed to the many dangerous chemical applications.  Milky Spore is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets or man. The product is approved and registered with EPA, Milky Spore will not affect wells, ponds or streams. The ideal way to combat area infestation is through organized community efforts. Large areas treated with Milky Spore can result in long term control.

Blade Runners issues a Milky Spore certificate for properties and communities that use this product on their turf area that can be used for future home sales or in community newsletters.

Milky Spore has gone through many transformations.  The product that Blade Runners uses is the original formula devised by the USDA, produced by St Gabriel laboratories, that has been proven effective for over 70 years to limit Japanese Beetle grub infestations.  Milky Spore is effective, innovative and on the cutting edge of environmental friendly products.

What’s up with the Quality of Mulch These Days??????

Common Questions: What changes are taking place in the mulch industry? What is mulch made of anyway? Why is the mulch looking worse each year?

Great questions and it’s true that the quality of mulch you see on your property has changed considerably in the last decade. A combination of market force, competitive pricing, supply and demand, and alternative fuel requirements is putting the squeeze on your mulch quality. Click here to find out more and what you should be thinking about and how you should change your contract specifications.

10-21-2009 10-37-17 AM pile

 

What is Mulch?  Mulch is a protective covering, usually of organic matter, placed around plants to prevent the evaporation of moisture, the freezing of roots and the growth of weeds. We mulch to keep watering requirements low, protect the roots of plants in the winter, keep weeds down, enrich the soil and for aesthetic reasons.

While in the old days mulch was primarily made of shredded bark, shredded wood mulch is generally used in the Washington Metro area.  This is from shredded trees in area land clearings or bark from sawmills.

Why is the mulch looking worse each year?  There has been a spike in demand for mulch products from this busy building cycle. Large price-based mulch contractors have entered the market using lower grade materials making it difficult for others to remain competitive. Using lower quality mulch has been a savings point for contractors one that they feel clients will not perceive.

- Read related: Contractor Bond – California Contractors License Bonds for $65.

  • Factors that contribute to mulch quality:
    • Percentage of Bark- This represents the largest change. In years past, bark was made up of 100% shredded bark. Now mulch contractors must pay more for lower quality mulch. Once a principal supplier, saw mills are now selling their mulch to other companies who are trying to meet alternative fuel government requirements. Even the top quality mulch has only 70% bark and the majority of mulch being spread today has only 30-40%.
    • Age of shredded bark after processing – After the mulch is made aging is an important factor in quality. The natural decomposition will give mulch better and longer lasting color.  It will also bond together and avoid washout issues in the bed.
    • Degree of shredding- Some manufactures require double shredding and some do not. It is more a matter of the type of machine that is used. Smaller pieces will decompose faster and tend to look better on the landscape.
    • Presence of stump and undesirable items- Certain types of tree/stump debris will off balance the  percentage of bark. Stump debris has been known to cause a grey color as the mulch ages.

What should you do?

Require your contract to adhere to these three minimum standards:

1)      Mulch to be 70% bark

2)      Mulch not to have pieces of wood longer than 3” and wider than ¼”

3)      Mulch not to have stump debris

What’s new on the market?  Colored mulch is gaining popularity in the landscape industry for its durability and aesthetic quality!  As an alternative, mulch with no bark and that is finely shred and has color added is being manufactured. It generally costs more but holds it’s color longer and can save on future mulch applications.  This could be real savings for properties that have more than one mulch application per season.

10-21-2009 10-37-08 AM cedar

Blade Runners Ground Maintenance has partnership with CAI Washington Metropolitan Chapter

The community Associations institute is an organization of property managers and Home owners associations. Blade Runners is recognized as a benefactor in this organization. The commitment to CAI and the quality of their landscape maintenance work earned them this honor. Please follow this link to their company profile.

Landscape Chemicals are they safe?

Many people are naturally concerned about the products lawn care companies use on the landscape. This simple entry is not designed to give you all the answers. It is to point out the level of danger or toxicity as they relate to common household products.

Did you now that each chemical has a measured LD50 rating? See the definition below

In toxicology, the median lethal dose, LD50 (abbreviation for “Lethal Dose, 50%”), LC50 (Lethal Concentration, 50%) is the dose required to kill half the members of a tested population. LD50 figures are frequently used as a general indicator of a substance’s acute toxicity. The test was created by J.W. Trevan in 1927. The concept, and calculation of the median lethal dose for comparison purposes, is widely used.
Generally the lower the score the higher the danger of the product. See below a sample list of standard landscape products and the LD50 score. Below find some sample household products for comparison.

Products used by landscapers LD50 score Use
2-4-D (Ld score of 700) Used for controlling turf weeds
Barricade (Ld score of 5000) Used to prevent crabgrass
Manage (Ld score of 1287) Used for controlling turf weeds
merit[imidicloprid] (Ld score of 1858) Used to control insect pests in the landscape
orthene[acephate] (Ld score of 1447) Used to control insect pests in the landscape
Roundup[glyphosate] (Ld score of 5600) Used to kill weeds in the pavement
Sevin[carbaryl (Ld score of 307) Used to control insect pests in the landscape
talstar[bifenthrin] (Ld score of 623) Used to control insect pests in the landscape

Household and other products for comparison LD50 score Use
Arsenic (Ld score of 15) Hopefully not used in your home but a basis for comparison
Aspirin (Ld score of 1240)
CAFFEINE (Ld score of 192) Starbucks! We drink this!
Cyanide (Ld score of 6) Hopefully not used in your home but a basis for comparison
DDT (Ld score of 87) Hopefully not used in your home but a basis for comparison
Deet (Ld score of 1800) Used in most insect repellants we spray this on our skin!
Frontline[flea/tick] (Ld score of 2995) We apply this to our pets!
Lysol (Ld score of 500) Clean Clean here, rub rub there
Nicotine (Ld score of 50) No need to comment on this one
Oil (Ld score of 5000) We handle this with our cars
Revolution[flea/tick] (Ld score of 1600) We apply this to our pets!
Salt (Ld score of 3300) Where would we be without this
Tilex (Ld score of 5000) Mold and mildew be gone
Toilet Cleaner (Ld score of 1850) Keep that bowl tidy!

The proper and safe application of landscape products is very important. Hopefully you can see from this chart, that the products used are no worse that the ones you use at home.

Blade Runners let’s you know about the correct safety surface for tot lots

Are you confused about playground safety surfaces? Find out what type of material to use on your tot lot.
Year’s ago, simple wood chips would suffice for tot lot surfaces; however, the surfacing under and around playground equipment is one of the most important factors in reducing the likelihood of injuries. A fall onto a shock absorbing surface is less likely to cause a serious injury.

What’s the best shock absorbing surface? Engineered wood fiber (EWF)

Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is a wood product that may look similar in appearance to shredded mulch, but EWF products are designed specifically for use as a playground safety surface. Tested thoroughly by the American Society for Testing and Material’s Standards (ASTM), these products are soft enough to limit injuries from falls, yet firm and stable enough for wheelchair maneuverability, meeting the requirements of the ADA. This product, also known as wood rug or wood carpet, is made out of wood (not bark). It is 100% natural and no chemicals.

www.astm.org

Why should you use this EWF product on your tot lot? In a word, liability.

Using EWF products that are ASTM certified and meet ADA specifications limit your exposure to liability issues and create a safer environment.

Where do you find this EWF product? These are landscape materials, so most landscape supply companies should stock them; however they must be certified as a safety surface. You want to be sure the supplier is using a certified product; and your contractor is spreading a certified product.

Do you have timbers around your tot lots? Years ago, wooden landscape timbers were state of the art. Today, safety is a primary concern. Consider using plastic landscape boarders, as they may be a better alternative. We recommend them for the following reasons:
• Safety guidelines require EWF materials to be installed at a depth of 12” and a compressed depth of 9” for an acceptable shock absorbing surface
• Plastic landscape boarders allow for the 12” depth and they will help keep your playground surfacing in place
• They are a no-maintenance alternative to wood
• They’re made from recycled plastic
We can provide you with a quote.

<

How do I know if my tot lot is safe? The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has developed a playground safety handbook that provides a wealth of information. Additionally, the handbook has a suggested general maintenance checklist and routine inspection procedure to help you assess the safety of your tot lot.

Link: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/325.pdf

Blade Runners has an organic program for turf to HOA’s

Organic program alternative:
It would be terrific to have a fully organic fertilization and weed control program that was as effective as the traditional approach using synthetic chemical weed control products. Unfortunately there are no proven organic products that kill weeds after they emerge. Corn Gluten can be effective for the pre-emergence control of crabgrass and some broadleaf weeds, please see detailed information below regarding *corn gluten.

*Information regarding Corn Gluten:
Corn gluten is a by-product of wet milling process to make cornstarch. It is an animal feed for cattle, poultry, other livestock, fish and some dog foods. It also contains naturally occurring substances, which inhibit the growth of seed’s tiny feeder roots by causing a break down in the cell wall. The seedlings struggle to get enough moisture, which causes them to die before they ever have a chance to take hold. When used as directed, corn gluten acts as a preemergent natural herbicide that will not harm beneficial insects, soil organisms, pond or stream life. It is also safe around pets and children.
Since corn gluten kills only the roots of sprouting seeds, it can be used around transplants and established vegetables, flowers, fruit, shrubs and lawns. It can be used even up to the day of harvest. Once vegetable or flower seedlings have true leaves, it is then safe to apply corn gluten.
Corn gluten has another benefit. It is 10% nitrogen by weight in a slow release form. As a 10-0-0 fertilizer it can inhibit weed germination and feed your lawn and garden nitrogen. (Additional supplements of phosphorous and potassium may be needed, based on a soil test.)
The only potential hazard that is documented so far is potential allergic reaction from inhalation of dust with certain individuals.
Effectiveness of corn Gluten
• Corn gluten works on seeds not established plants. It will not kill a dandelion plant.
• It has reduced crabgrass by 86% the first year and 98% the second year provided recommended rates are applied in both spring and fall. Dandelion infestations were reduced 100% in plots treated for 4 years in spring and fall.
• Plants tested to date for susceptibility = 23 and include: barnyard grass, smooth crabgrass, curly dock, green & yellow, black nightshade, orchard grass, shattercane, purslane, wooly cupgrass, giant foxtail, lambsquarters, buckhorn, quackgrass, velvetleaf, annual bluegrass, dandelions, creeping bentgrass, black medic, redroot pigweed, catchweed bedstraw, & other common garden weeds.
• Corn gluten lasts 5-6 weeks. There is no carryover. After this time seeds can be planted in treated areas without being effected.
The Green Guardian (http://www.greenerpast.com/tips.html) , offers a liquid application that employs the active ingrediante extract from corngluten along with sugar beet extract that they believe provides post emergent control. I have spoken with some current users who confirm the product is effective. While I cannot offer personal assurance at this time, there is enough evidence to try the program as an organic alternative.

THE PROGRAM
Our organic program is a coordinated effort that employs not only different products, but alternative maintenance practice to bring about desired results while not using conventional control methods. It should be understood that this program will not produce the same results of conventional programs. It is likely that you will have unwanted weed populations in the turf. However, there will be other benefits for the overall health of the turf to include a deeper root system and a greener color.
Change in maintenance and product practice:

Mowing height: The height should be raised an additional inch to 3 ½” in spring and 4” in the summer. This can leave a shaggy appearance from time to time.

Mowing frequency: We would need to mow the property more frequently (an additional 7 mowings per season) to maintain an acceptable appearance and reduce thatch issues.

Increase in aeration: There would be a spring and fall aeration to the property.

Liming: Would become an annual and integrated part of the program.

Seeding: Would become an annual and integrated part of the program.

TREATMENT SCHEDULE
Application 1 14-0-5 March
Application 2 Aeration ,14-0-5 April
Application 3 14-0-5 May
Application 4 5-0-3 June
Application 5 Liming, and 5-0-3 July
Application 6 5-0-3 Aug
Application 7 14-0-5 ,Aeration,Seeding Sep/Oct
Application 8 14-0-5 Nov

Blade Runners gives you the contact numbers in case of pesticide concerns

Are you worried about the herbicides and pesticides being applied to your property? Below find listed the organizations and agencies that can help you. In addition to this Blade Runners has a pesticide safety handbook, please contact us if you would like a copy.

Poison Control Center 1800 492-2414 This is a toll free emergency number operating 24 hrs a day for questions on treatment of poison from any cause, including pesticides.

Chemtrec 1800 424-9300 This is a 24 hrs emergency hotline for questions dealing with chemical spills.

Animal Poison Control Center 1 217 337-5030 This number is operated 24 hrs a day by the University of Illinois as an emergency hotline.

National Pesticide Telecom 1800 858-7378 This Number is a free service operating Monday through Friday 9:30 AM until 7:30 PM EST. It may be called by non-professionals. This number provides non-emergency information on product chemistry, protective equipment, safety, health and environmental effects. It is founded by the EPA and operated by Oregon State University.

Chemical Manufactures of America—1800 622-8200 This number may be called by non-professionals Monday through Friday 8: AM until 9:00 PM EST. CMA provides non-emergency safely and health information on many chemicals including but not limited to pesticides.

The Safety Drinking Water Hotline—1800 426-4791 This line is available to answer questions concerning the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Are termites in your mulch , Blade Runners grounds maintenance has the answeres

It is time to put to rest the old wives’ tale that if you mulch the landscape adjacent to your house, you’ll have termites. There is a right and wrong way to mulch, and there are many factors involved that will determine whether or not you will have a termite infestation. Simply having mulch there will not mean you will have termites.
Why do we use mulch? Mulch is used to conserve soil moisture, keep down weeds, reduce the soil temperature and provide an attractive covering. For many gardeners and landscape companies, spreading mulch on garden beds is as much the official start of spring as our Tidal Basin cherry blossoms.
Homeowners can limit termite activity by mulching properly. Apply no more than 2-3 inches of mulch to any area. This allows the mulch to dry out regularly, creating a dry environment that termites dislike. You can even mulch up to the foundation of your home if you limit the depth to less than 3 inches.
Although it is not believed that woodchips draw termites to a location, they may create access for an existing termite population if woodchips are placed against the foundation. A 6 inch buffer around the base of the house with nonwhite inorganic mulch will reduce the likelihood of termites invading the foundation.
If you use a landscape contractor, make sure they are using top quality mulch and are limiting the mulch to 2-3 inches. The high grade mulch we use has been decomposing for over 3 months at such high temperatures that termites would not survive. Blade Runners also makes sure that excess mulch is removed and each spring mulch beds are raked allowing all areas of the mulch to dry. Also, when watering plants, the water should be directed to the roots of the plants and not to the entire mulch bed.
Ultimately, termites do eat wood and you should make sure that your house base is termite free before putting any wood products adjacent to it. This is simply good sense and an annual inspection is always advised. What we can guarantee is that we are not bringing termites to your property and we apply mulch materials correctly to not encourage any termite population.

LOUISIANA TERMITE:
What about this termite we’ve read so much about imported from Louisiana? The termite in question is the Formosan termite, imported years ago from China. This termite does cause severe devastation to homes in the southern United States. However, the pest is not found in nature above the 35th parallel — roughly, north of Charlotte — and the ability of a colony to survive the shredding process of mulch, or the 130-degree heat generated in the shrink-wrapped pallet of bagged mulch, makes its spread improbable.
In addition, wood debris does not even leave Louisiana, as there has been a long-standing quarantine in the state for the 12 infested parishes. This was put into place to help protect against Formosan termites being accidentally spread. No wood or cellulose materials may be moved out of these quarantine areas without Louisiana Agriculture Department approval, including all materials from Katrina cleanup efforts. If any type of wood debris is moved out of the quarantine area, it is being done illegally.
For more information on this topic or other related topics, contact your Blade Runners representative. We’re here to give you the most up to date information available.

Blade Runners Proper Pruning for the Pragmatic Practitioner

Article:
Proper Pruning for the Pragmatic Practitioner

I Creating an Objective: The first order of business with regards to pruning is without a doubt to “Create a Pruning Objective”. Some of the most common objectives are listed as examples below.

To improve structure/health : Improve health by establishing a structural pruning program to young trees 15’ or less on the property. Often times these trees are overlooked in the landscape but, how often have you encountered a problem that could have been avoided if it would have been addressed 20 years ago. Young trees are like children. This is the optimal window of opportunity to influence their development at maturity. Structural pruning of young trees is the best way to ensure and improve the serviceable lifespan of trees on your property.

To provide a view- A view can be created or enhanced through crown reduction where the edge of the crown at the top of the tree is reduced or by elevation pruning where lower branches of the crown are removed.
To provide clearance- Growth can be directed away from buildings lights or parking areas. This is the most commonly request pruning item and will need to be repeated as the tree will grow back to fill the void created by pruning.
To reduce risk of failure- Risk of tree failure can be reduced by identifying and rectifying hazard conditions such as included bark, dead or broken branches or large scaffold limbs . Mature trees need to be monitored to manage these risks. Recommendations will depend on the specific tree and

II Types of Pruning: You may have noted several pruning terms listed in the description above. Your proposal should speak in these terms, beware of specs that simply state ‘Pruning’ We using the following terms in our proposals as they are recognized tree standards supported by the International Society of Arboriculture and the American National Standards Institute[ANSI]

Remove Deadwood- Eliminating deadwood is an essential maintenance practice for trees. Dead limbs exceeding 1″ in caliper will be removed in order to eliminate a possible hazard to underlying targets. Appropriate pruning cuts will be performed to allow the tree to compartmentalize the wound from insects or diseases and to prevent future inoculations.

Crown Clean- A light pruning of thinning or lateral cuts to selectively remove dead, broken, crossing, injured, co-dominant or diseased branches. This type of pruning is done to reduce the risk of branches falling from the tree and to reduce the movement of decay, insects, and diseases from dead or dying branches into the rest of the tree. It can be performed on trees of any age but, is most commonly practiced on medium aged or mature trees. Dead branches less than 1″ in diameter are not included.
Crown Thinning- Selective removal of live branches to reduce crown density. Crown Thinning increases the penetration of light through the canopy, increases air flow circulation and reduces wind resistance in the crown.

Crown Reduction- Lateral or drop-crotch cuts to reduce the breadth of the canopy or decrease the height and/or breadth of a tree. This type of pruning is done to reduce the risk of structural failure or to prevent encroachment of vegetation into undesirable areas such as nearby buildings, parking lots, lamp posts, utility lines or other structures where clearance is desired.

Crown Elevation- Selective removal of branches to provide vertical clearance above walkways, vehicles, signs, streets and vistas.

Structural Pruning- Removal of live branches to establish dominant central leader, influence spacing, growth rate, strength of attachment and size of branches. Structural pruning is often performed to young or medium-aged trees to encourage trunk taper and improve branch arrangement in order to increase serviceable lifespan of tree.

When encouraging the healthy growth of your trees and plants it is important for you or your contractor to follow the American National Standards for Pruning (ANSI 300). Read more to see these standards and to get other hints! You should not be confused by the terminology that your contractors use. Be Pragmatic and ask Pointed Questions! Be sure they follow the appropriate terminology and have thoroughly trained staff. Your contractor will know when is the best time to prune each specific plant.

We welcome all calls to your Blade Runners Account Manager should you have any questions!

How do I get rid of Chain grass, Nimble will, or Bermuda grass?

These varieties are warm season grasses that are popular in the southern part of the United States. Northern Virginia lies in a “transitional” zone between the warm season turf and the fescues of the north. The northern fescues are more prevalent in the Northern Virginia area. 
Warm season varieties can rear there ugly head creating unsightly issues when mixed with fescues. It can creep, and overtime, take over entire areas. Clients need to decide if they can tolerate the invasive species. Many clients do not have a problem, as it still represents healthy grass, and offers the ground cover benefits of the northern grass. In fact, in some cases, it is lower maintenance than cool season fescues!  However, some clients prefer a more uniform approach and desire one consistent variety throughout their landscape.
It has long been very difficult to control Bermuda grass (Nimble will, Chain grass) . Mathew Goddard, Graduate research assistant at Virginia Tech University, recently talked on this subject at the Virginia extension department.  He shared the results of a study and a program that has proven results. It involves multiple applications of different weed control products over an entire season.
At this point it is rather expensive costing approximately $1,800.00 per acre. The cost of this can be reduced by treating selected areas. In addition to the eradication, you will have to consider re-seeding these treated areas. If you are interested in resolving this issue Blade Runners can provide a specific estimate for your property.