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Appreciation Letter

We, at Transblue, take pride in our work. We are always happy to satisfy our clients – it is our main goal. Recently we received an appreciation letter from AVW Home Owner Association:

“I neglected to thank you for the update on the two projects we had in the pipeline (Greenbelt Maintenance, and the Bark Project).  Thank you very much for the updates here, from what I can tell, the property is looking terrific!  Also, I appreciate you sharing the summer work schedule for the maintenance team. 

Definitely appreciate all the you and TB do for us, we are very thankful and grateful for the hard work in making our community look so good.

Thank you!

Andrew”

Words like these motivate and keep us going!

 

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The key to fertilizing perennials (Take it easy!)

Perennials

We’re already on Part 3 of our Fertilization Blog Series, and it’s time to talk flowers. Perennials are always a welcome color addition to the landscaping at your sites. And, though it’s important to keep them looking their best, you can have too much of a good thing. They may not need nearly as much fertilization as you might think. Read on below to find out more.

Shared Michigan State University Extension

Perennial flowers and grasses generally don’t need a lot of fertilizer and, in fact, some will react negatively if too much is applied. An over-fertilized perennial will reward gardeners with excess growth that flops over and becomes leggy half-way through the season. Over-fertilization can also affect bloom performance, producing ample foliage at the expense of blooms. Many perennial experts recommend no fertilization when plants are in a healthy garden soil. However, if your soil is composed primarily of sand with little organic component, your plants will most likely benefit from routine, light fertilization.

Perennials may benefit from a single fertilizer application just before or at the time that new spring growth is pushing up. The most common recommendation is to apply no more than 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet if no compost is used. (For comparison, this is about one-fourth of what you would apply to your lawn during the course of a growing season.)

Broadcasting a slow release fertilizer is the best choice to meet season-long plant nutrient requirements, but you can also use a balanced fertilizer such as 20-5-10.

  • If your soil test indicates that you do not need phosphorous, choose a product such as 20-0-10.
  • Slow release products are formulated to be effective for either a “three-to-four” month window or a “five-to-six month” window.
  • If you topdress, and plan on using supplemental feed at any time during the season, the three-to-four month product should work well.
  • If you only intend on fertilizing only once during the season, then the five-to-six month product should be used.

You can also use the “sidedress” method, applying several tablespoons of fertilizer (according to the manufacturer’s guidelines) in the general root zone of each plant.

  • Make sure not to allow fertilizer granules to cluster in the crown of the plants as it may cause burning. In the early spring, cool soils can have an effect on uptake of certain nutrients, at times making the foliage appear light green or yellow (nutrient deficient).
  • If this appearance does not diminish as the season progresses, spot treat with liquid feed to bring about a quick green up.

Compost insurance

By applying 1 inch of compost or leaf mold to your garden every year, additional fertilizing can often be eliminated altogether. This is where having a good understanding of each plant’s needs while observing leaf color and growth habit will help you avoid excess fertility.

Certain perennials tend to be heavy feeders by nature. Daylilies, peonies, Chrysanthemums and tall phlox will benefit not only from a spring feeding, but also with a secondary application during the summer. Sidedressing with a product that has immediate availability (not slow-release) or using a liquid product is the best choice for the summer feeding. Perennials that you cut back to the ground during the season, allowing new foliage to flush out and bloom a second time such as Delphiniums, daisies and lungworts (Pulmonaira) will also benefit from spot treating with a liquid product.

It’s best not fertilize perennials in late summer or early fall. This may cause the plants to flush-out additional growth that will not harden-off in time for an early winter freeze.

Read the full Perennial Guide from Michigan State here.

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Love your Trees (and shrubs)! A guide to fertilization

Girl hugging tree

Experts shared here written by Catherine A. Neal, UNH Cooperative Extension Ornamentals Specialist

Why fertilize?

Many trees and shrubs in their home landscape receive adequate nutrients from the soil, decomposing leaf and twig litter, or from lawn fertilizers routinely applied around them. Mature trees in a natural environment seldom require fertilizer, due to their extensive root systems and symbiotic relationships with naturally occurring soil microorganisms.

As long as a tree or shrub appears healthy and is growing at an acceptable rate there is no need to give it any additional fertilizer.

Competing shrubs and trees in landscape beds often benefit from fertilization. Established plants that are putting on very little new growth each year or whose leaves are small and light in color will probably respond to nitrogen fertilizer. Older leaves that are purplish or yellow in color may indicate phosphorous deficiency, while areas of dead tissue along the leaf edges may be a symptom of potassium deficiency.

Continue reading Love your Trees (and shrubs)! A guide to fertilization

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The grass is always greener, on the side that was fertilized

Fertilizer application by a man

Fertilizer Application – Fertilization Blog Series Part 1

Keeping the turf healthy at all your locations depends on several factors. Turf growth requires sufficient watering, adequate sun exposure, and nutrients or essential elements absorbed by roots from the soil.

When natural soil processes do not provide suitable supplies of these essential elements, fertilizer can be applied to promote optimal turf growth. The purpose of fertilizing a lawn is to add the necessary nutrients, in the required amounts and at the proper time, to achieve desirable lawn qualities and healthy turf.

Soil tests may be necessary to establish a fertilization program for some sites, especially ones with a large turf area. Soil tests can be obtained by submitting a soil sample to private soil fertility testing laboratories. Once you have the soil tests, you can determine the right fertilizer for that location.

Sourced from the University of Minnesota | Agriculture Extension

Fertilizer application for new turf:

Fertilizer recommendations for establishing a turf area differs from those for an established turf. The main reason for these differences is due to the ability to include fertilizer before the turf is established.

Nitrogen

Suitable nitrogen produces vigorous growth and green color in turf. Either too little or too much nitrogen can cause problems. Too little available nitrogen leads to slow growth, increased chance of some diseases, yellowing of plants, and thin turf resulting in increased weed pressure. Too much nitrogen leads to excessive shoot and leaf growth, reduced root growth, low carbohydrate reserves, poor tolerance of environmental stresses, and increased susceptibility to some diseases.

If the grass is established from seed, incorporate N fertilizer into the surface 1/2 to 1 inch of soil. Either rake the fertilizer into the soil along with the seed or till it in just before planting. If the grass is established from sod, N fertilizer should be applied over the sod the day after it is laid and watered in lightly. Sod is watered heavily immediately after it is laid, so it is important to delay fertilization or the N will be leached below the root zone.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is important in stimulating early root growth. It can move out of soils through surface runoff and erosion processes, which can result in degradation of surface water quality. Soils naturally high in phosphorus are apt to provide sufficient phosphorus for vigorous lawn growth for many years without adding fertilizers containing phosphorus. It’s also important to note that phosphorus fertilizer application may be restricted in some area due to concern about runoff, and the impact on local lakes and rivers.

Potassium

Potassium deficiencies in lawns have led to increased incidence of turf diseases and reduced tolerance to environmental stress.

Where soils are high in native potassium, supplemental potassium fertilization may be unnecessary; however, where soils are low in native potassium, supplemental applications are very important. Soil tests are essential to determine the potassium level of a soil and to develop a potassium fertility program.

Fertilizer application for established turf:

The amount of nutrients required by an established turf area depends on the type of grass and the management practices.

A healthy growing watered lawn, with clippings removed often, requires more added nutrients than a lawn not watered during the summer, and with clippings are left on the turf. When developing a lawn fertilizer program, it’s key to divide turf areas into high and low-maintenance groups.

High-maintenance

Turf characterized by heartily growing varieties, such as improved Kentucky bluegrass and improved turf-type perennial ryegrass varieties.

  • For best results these lawns are watered during the summer to maintain green growth.
  • Clippings may or may not be removed. Usually there is no need to remove the clippings. In fact, clippings left on the lawn gradually decompose and reduce the need for fertilizer.
  • Heartily growing Turf may develop a thatch layer and require occasional aerifying or vertical mowing to control thatch.

Low-maintenance

This turf typically contains plants such as creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fescue, or some of the common types of Kentucky bluegrass which grow and spread more slowly than those found in high-maintenance turf.

  • Low-maintenance turfs do not receive watering frequently (other than rainfall) during the summer months, and grass growth is minimal during hot, dry periods.
  • Clippings are usually left on the lawns.

There is a great deal more information available about maintenance and care of turf. We could spend an entire week just on that topic, so we will share much more to with you. Thus check out the link below for access to the your full lawn fertilization guide.

Fertilizing lawns

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Controlling moss at all your locations

Moss on the roof

You may be interested in controlling moss because of the possibility of structural damage to your locations, or you may simply be concerned with how it makes your property look. So, what do you do? What methods of control are best? And how can you make sure your landscaping team is making the right choices?

These are all very important questions, especially since some of the potential options for getting rid of moss can be toxic, and it’s important to know all the details.

Read on to find out if your landscaping team is making the best choices when it comes to controlling moss at your locations.

Moss control

Moss control is generally achieved by physical removal, chemical treatment, or a combination of these methods. These methods have different costs, effectiveness, and potential side effects that need to be considered. A key point is that moss flourish under certain environmental conditions.

Be cautious if you decide to attempt chemical control. Many methods of chemical control can cause plant or animal injury, stains, corrosion, or pollution of soil and water. The effectiveness of many herbicides against moss is poorly known.

Physical Control

Moss growth can be controlled and prevented by decreasing the amount of shade and increasing light exposure on the roof, sidewalks, and deck.  Trimming overhanging branches is an effective way to decrease shade.  This method is beneficial because it is inexpensive and controls the growing conditions that mosses prefer.

Physical Removal by Hand

  • The most common way to remove moss from plants is by hand.  This is labor intensive and will only be effective on shrubs. This is probably the best way to rid your shrubs of unwanted moss.
  • When removing moss from plants, it’s wise to do so during winter, when the plant is dormant, so you do not damage active growth.  You may do more damage to buds than the moss will do, if you are not careful.
  • Regularly removing organic debris, such as leaves and branches. This will allow for more sun exposure and less moisture retention on the surface of the roof, decks, and sidewalks.  This method is both effective and inexpensive, but must be done regularly.

Power-washing

  • Power-washing on plants should be done in the winter when the plant is dormant so you do not damage it with the force of the water. Damage to buds even in the winter is an important consideration.
  • This method is not suitable for delicate plants and may not prove too effective except on tree trunks and larger branches that do not have developing shoots.
  • Mosses on roofs, decks, and sidewalks can also be removed with a stiff push brush, wire brush, or flat-edged shovel. This is an inexpensive and effective way to remove moss.

Chemical Control

Control of moss is achieved through different methods of chemical control, depending on what is being treated.

For roofs, decks, and sidewalks zinc strips, potassium salts of fatty acids, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Chloride, a mix of Zinc Chloride and Zinc Sulfate, and bleach are all options.

  • All of these treatments have their individual side effects and considerations.
  • Some inlcude damage to surrounding flora and/or fauna, while others may actually bleach the areas you are trying to treat.
  • It’s important to know which treatments are being employed by your team, to ensure moss prevention will not degrade the look of your location.
  • Talk to your landscaping team about what chemicals they may be using, and how they could directly affect your location.

Picture Sourced from  Oregon State University Botany Dept.

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How Businesses can Prevent Frozen Pipes

Leaking pipe of irrigation system

As the weather turns colder, there are some important tips to keep in mind to prevent a maintenance concern from becoming a maintenance emergency. This season has already been cold for the northern states, so today, we’re sharing a post on how to keep your pipes from freezing this season.

The following preventative tips and infographic are shared from the Travelers Insurance Prepare and Prevention blog.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Cold temperatures can reach areas of your facility that you cannot see or seldom visit, such as:

  • Crawl spaces;
  • Closets;
  • Enclosed spaces (e.g., attics, lofts, roof spaces);
  • Warehouses; and
  • Isolated storage areas.

Cold weather preparedness is important to help reduce potential business interruptions and related losses resulting from cold temperatures.

Domestic Water Piping

In severe cold, water pipes have the potential to freeze and break. If safe to do so, make sure pipes that are located in isolated and/or poorly heated spaces are shut off and drained or protected with a supplemental heating source.

Protect Your Fire Protection Sprinklers

Fire protection sprinkler systems are dependent on the ability of water to flow freely when needed. Also, ensure that wet piping systems, which may be subject to cold temperatures, are sufficiently heated to prevent freezing.

Severe cold weather can also delay the response time of the local fire department; therefore, it is imperative to properly maintain your fire protection systems.

Lastly, if heating is lost in a building protected by wet sprinklers, it should be restored immediately. Only after exhausting all options to re-establish sufficient heat, sprinkler systems should be shut off and completely drained. If this is necessary, be sure to take appropriate precautions, including notifying local fire officials and Travelers by using the Travelers impairment notification program “Fire Protection Impairments – Are You Prepared?”

Some frozen pipes prevention strategies to consider:

  • Properly insulate and/or provide approved heat tracing for water-filled pipes located in exterior walls or unheated spaces.
  • Drain any piping that is not required during the winter months, if possible.
  • Maintain a minimum temperature of 40° F (4.4° C) in building areas with processes susceptible to freezing, wet-pipe sprinkler systems, fire pump houses and dry-pipe valve enclosures.
  • Ensure that anti-freeze sprinkler systems have sufficient concentration (appropriate specific gravity readings) of antifreeze to withstand freezing weather.
  • Inspect dry systems to help ensure air settings are correct, air maintenance systems are in good operating condition, and any pipe closets are well insulated. If any heat tape or heating systems are being used, ensure that they are UL-listed for this specific purpose and are in good operating condition. Dry-pipe sprinkler systems low points and auxiliary drains should be opened and drained of any water or condensation.
  • Any branch lines on wet sprinkler systems exposed or subject to extreme cold weather should be insulated and heat traced. Also, electric heat tracing should be UL-listed for this specific purpose.
  • Fire pump test headers should be checked to ensure they have been properly drained.
  • Fire pump and dry-pipe sprinkler system equipment rooms should be checked routinely to ensure the heaters are in good operating condition.
  • The use of low temperature supervision can help to ensure rooms are being properly heated.

bi_frozen_pipes_graphic