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Spring Turf Awareness 

Timing is Everything   

 

Spring has sprung as we turn our focus to the outdoors and prepare our landscapes for the new growing season. Landscape professionals follow specific guidelines and recommendations relating to the care of turf areas. We have prepared a basic list of guidelines for you to consider relating to spring turf awareness.

Even though the fall planting season is preferred over the spring for turf seeding, there are times when we are just not willing to accept a summer with thin, bare, unhealthy lawn areas. Spring seeding can still be successful, as long as the timing and other success factors are strictly adhered to. 

 
 Spring seeding timing factors:
  1. Do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide (designed to control crabgrass) in the areas where you will be planting turf seed. This herbicide will prevent the new turf seeds from germinating.
  2. Spring seeding should be completed early (April 15th - May 1st target) which will allow for complete germination (2-4 weeks) and increased plant establishment prior to summer heat. Turf seed will begin germinating after the ‘soil’ temperatures reach at least 60 degrees.
  3. A consistently moist seed bed will increase the germination process resulting in a stronger plant sooner (to withstand the upcoming summer heat). Most turf varieties need 6-12 weeks of ideal growing conditions to produce an adult stand. – U of I Extension
 
                                
 Spring seeding success factors:
  1. Soil-to-seed contact is an important factor in seed germination. Lightly cultivating the soil prior to sowing and lightly raking the seed after sowing will increase this soil-to-seed contact.
  2. Add organic matter (compost, peat moss, leaf mulch) as soil amendments to help improve the soil structure and increase the nutrients in the soil.
  3. Increase the germination percentage by lightly covering the newly planted seed with straw blanket or paper mulch designed to help retain moisture, reduce evaporation, and discourage birds from feeding.
  4. Select a seed blend that is appropriate for the lawn establishment. Light exposure, disease resistance, stress tolerance, and use factors should be considered when selecting varieties.
  5. Newly seeded lawn areas need Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium in a much different combination than an already established turf area. Make sure to select a “starter” fertilizer. Remember, do not use ....

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Are we in for an Early Spring?
 
If so, what does this mean for our landscapes?
 

Records dating to 1887 show Punxsutawney Phil has now predicted more winter 103 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times — including last year.

The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, say the furry rodent has “predicted” six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow on February 2nd.

With the recent rise in temperatures and the “unprecedented snow drought” described    by the National Weather Service in Chicago, six more weeks of winter is pretty difficult to believe at this time.

 

For snow lovers, it’s been a disappointing season here in Chicagoland but for snow haters, the signs of an early spring are music to their ears. Should we be worried or concerned that this mild winter will have a negative impact on our landscapes?

 
 

 

Some might think that a mild winter with minimal snow is no problem for our Midwestern plants, but landscape industry professionals think otherwise. Snow cover helps insulate plant roots from extreme cold weather. It also releases moisture slowly into the soil during a typical spring thaw. Minimal snow cover can expose our Midwestern plants to dangerous cold and dry conditions.  The chance of a late season “deep-freeze” still exists in February and March. With no snow cover as insulation, our plants are at risk of damage....

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~~ THE VILLAGE TERRACE ~~

 

LANDSCAPE SOLUTIONS DESIGNED

AND BUILT FOR YOU

 

       

                  BEFORE                                       AFTER

 

A Senior Living Community, located in Lindenhurst Illinois, The Village at Victory Lakes encompasses 38 acres of lush prairie landscape. Victory Lakes offers an active enriching lifestyle that provides its residents with life-enriching activities and just the right levels of care. 

As early as 2014, it was determined that a new outdoor activity space was needed for the active residents and staff. Balanced Environments, Inc. was chosen to help guide the committee through the entire landscape process. This decision was based upon a trusting partnership with Cal Isaacson, the community’s Executive Director. “I have worked with Balanced Environments for over 10 years at two different senior living communities. We chose to work with Balanced Environments because all the design, implementation, and installation pieces were all in one place.”

Through an initial ‘discovery’ process, the community administrators, activity and marketing staff specified what they would like to achieve from this project. The overall goal was to create “an outdoor resident activity space that was functional, beautifully utilizing the existing natural setting, yet visually dramatic to the eye.” The design team went to work to create an outdoor space that would achieve these goals and more. The vision included a soothing water feature as the focal point to call upon the senses of sound and touch. A wood burning fire pit with gas starter extends the daily enjoyment into the evening and into the cool fall and winter months. Walking paths encourage residents and family members to experience the hundreds of plant varieties that were incorporated into the design. Subtle landscape lighting was designed to accent the trees and water feature while providing functional illumination of the patio and walking paths for nighttime use. The vision was clear and well received when presented to the resident Landscape Committee.

As with any project, budgets and construction details needed to be ironed out. There were a number of site challenges that required proactive planning. 

     

    

                 EXCAVATION AND PAVER INSTALLATION

 

  1. Two large existing memorial trees were relocated on the campus grounds to provide the space needed for the new construction and allowing these memorials to continue to thrive in greater serenity.
  2. Existing utilities and underground drainage elements were numerous in this space and required accurate location, precise excavation and timely installation.
  3. Troublesome drainage issues needed to be resolved from original site development. The existing storm water drain elevation was nearly six feet lower than the foundation grade. To maintain proper drainage and retention, a sunken rain garden was developed surrounding the storm drain. Moisture loving plants including; iris, fern, native grasses and native wetland button bush were utilized.
  4. To add to the elevation equation, fill was needed to achieve the level base planes required for the water feature, walking paths and expansive patio. Additional site drainage included the installation of underground drain tile, strategically located catch basins, and proper grading to further improve overall drainage and utilization by the graying population.
  5. To accommodate a determinate budget, the project was broken into phases requiring precise scheduling and timing of the various tasks. Sleeves were installed beneath phase one hardscape elements to accommodate lighting and irrigation lines in phase two. Large specimen birch trees were installed early in the construction process well before drainage lines, utilities and hardscapes construction could begin.

 

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During this season, we take time to reflect upon the good things we have... like our partnership with you. We appreciate working with you and hope that the holidays and the coming year will bring you happiness and success.

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Account Managers, ED REIER, ADAM TECZA, JASON SEEBACKER, and JUDY SHORT from Balanced Environments Inc. served up a Lunch-n-Learn for 19 property managers from Hillcrest Property Management in Lombard, IL on Monday, December 5th, 2016. A full overview of all the service lines Balanced Environments offers to our clients as well as why Dormant Pruning is so important for your landscape was presented while the property managers ate a yummy catered lunch.

Balanced Environments Inc. offered their services as crowd control volunteers to help with the VISIT LAKE GENEVA 41ST ANNUAL ELECTRIC CHRISTMAS "CELEBRATE YOUR INNER ELF" PARADE on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016. It was a chilly day but a great time was had by all. The parade consisted of Santa arriving on a dazzling pontoon boat, several marching bands, over 80 floats, an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 people in attendance, and 65 rosy-cheeked volunteers. 

 

If we had no winter, spring would not be so amazing!

Balanced Environments Winter Service Matching Game

 

As the 2016 landscape season comes to a close, we are reminded that it's not too late to order the following services to prepare your landscape for the next few months.

 

Can you match up the descriptions with the services we can provide to help your landscape survive our harsh winters? 

1. Most evergreen plant foilage will benefit from preventative protection from witner elements and conditions.

2. Salt and deicing compounds used for ice control will play havoc with plants that are in close proximity to roadways and walkways.

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CAI hosted its 25th Annual Excellence Awards & Winter Gala, Friday, November 18 at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows. Nearly 400 people attended including community association managers, association board members, and industry business partners. Each year, CAI's Gala marks the beginning of the toy collection season for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots and we again collected hundreds of toys for the foundation. After awards were presented, toys were collected, and dinner was enjoyed, the evening culminated with additional networking and dancing to the DJ's latest hits. A great time was had by all!

Create a Winter Wonderland with Holiday Lighting and Seasonal Décor on your property this year.

 

We all have memories of moments when we were amazed by the elaborate seasonal displays at the regional shopping mall, the local retail disctrict or the neighborhood home that went above and beyond the traditional light strings. These memories make us think of fun times, family gatherings and holiday traditions. Holyiday lighting and décor has become a phenomenon with...

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One of the best times to correct and improve the shape of your plants is during the winter!

 

Many people feel that once we enter the month of December, our landscape responsibilites get put on the shelf until the following spring. Based on the fact that leaves are shed and plants go dormant, it is believed that there is not much that can be done during the winter months. Although this dormancy period eliminates the need for weekly mowing and trimming, it opens up an opportunity to dramatically imrpove our landscape plants.

Dormant Pruning involves selective removal of reduction of...

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SNOW AND ICE SEASON WILL SOON BE HERE! - BE PROACTVE - IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PREPARE!

 

Think back to November 19th, 2015 when weather stations announced an early snowfall in Chicagoland. The initial forecast was described as a rain event that would change to snow leaving a couple of inches in its wake. The result was...

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