Friday, October 1, 2010

San Marcos Growers Field Day

Today a few members of the Paysage management attended the San Marcos Growers Field Day where we were able to see current and possible new plant selections, tour the gardens, meet the authors of six excellent landscape publications, and network with fellow landscape professionals. Thierry has been shopping at San Marcos Growers since the 1980s. We were excited to see such a great turnout at the event and hope to work with this locally owned, family run business for many more years to come.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Value of Landscaping

When money is scarce, homeowners tend to cut back on their landscaping costs by doing their own maintenance, foregoing enhancements, or by always choosing the lowest cost option. While it might seem that landscaping is a purely frivolous expense, the statistics do not back up this assumption. A well maintained, excellent quality landscape can improve the resale value of your home 5 - 10% according to PR Web, TLC and Furthermore, buyers and renters begin forming their opinions about how the interior or the house has been kept up based on what they see as soon as they drive up to the house. Overall, studies indicate that the average landscape brings a 35% rate of return as an investment and we believe anything that earns 35% "interest" is worthy of specialized care.

Even for those who aren't planning to sell their house anytime soon, it won't pay off to scrimp on or neglect landscape maintenance. The most obvious reason for keeping your landscape in superb condition, no matter how broke you are, is the monetary risk of having to replace the plants that don't make it. If the recession deepens and nurseries are forced to close their doors, plants will become harder to find and more expensive due to the increased demand. But, on top of that, a great landscape makes staying at home nicer. Most people consider their yard to be their at home "escape" and the more it mimics their image of paradise, the happier they are staying home to enjoy their own space instead of heading out for a (likely more expensive) night on the town.

Don't let your most valuable asset be devalued from declining landscape health. Contact us today for a landscape maintenance estimate for your property.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Specimen Tree Relocation

One of the specialized services we offer at Paysage is Specimen Tree Relocation.  Due to the high price tag associated with mature trees and the protected status of others, our clients often request to have trees relocated within their landscape.  The success of transplanting or relocating large trees is dependent on many factors: size, species, age, health, soil conditions, seasonal timing, size of the rootball, and treatments applied both prior to and after transplanting.

The Tree Care Industry Association’s ANSI A300 (Part 6) on Transplanting outlines four basic transplanting methods: Balled & Wrapped, Bare Root, Boxed or Tree Spade. Paysage prefers the boxed method due to the extra protection it provides the tree during transport, which increases it’s chances of survival.

Successful tree relocation includes the following components and should be performed under the direction of a certified arborist:

     • Plant & Site Inspection
     • Timing of Transplanting
     • Excavation & Boxing
     • Pruning
     • Lifting & Transport
     • Planting
     • Post Planting Care

To maximize the survival rate of the transplanted specimen tree, it should meet all of the following requirements:

     • Specimen tree must be healthy – free of disease & insects, well irrigated, and properly fertilized.
     • Drip zone should be free of hardscape in order to facilitate the excavation of the rootball.
     • Trees are selectively pruned to match the roots to the leaf canopy.

In addition to the plant characteristics above, the following methods should be used to maximize the tree’s ability to survive:

     • Antidessicant Treatments shall begin prior to transplanting and continue post-transplanting through the entire recommended maintenance term.

     • Either the Standard or Premium Specimen Tree Boxing method will be used depending on the species & size of the tree:

     Standard Boxing
          o Prepare tree for transplanting – apply antidessecant, fertilizer, etc. as needed.
          o Excavate rootball with equipment.
          o Shave & prune rootball by hand to fit custom wood box size.
          o Set wood box around sides of root ball and band together.
          o Hold tree in box for 90 days. (The tree will receive normal landscape maintenance - including fertilizer, pest control & irrigation - while the roots develop and fill up the box.)
          o Dig a tunnel under the tree, slide box bottom underneath, then band sides and bottom together to complete the boxing process.
          o Lift & transport the tree.
          o Plant tree in new location with soil amendments.

     Premium Specimen Tree Boxing
          o Prepare tree for transplanting – apply antidessecant, fertilizer, proper irrigation, etc. for +/- 5 months.
          o Install one side of box every 2 to 3 months by digging a trench, pruning the roots, setting the wood plank against the rootball, and backfilling to hold the wood in place. Begin with one of the four side panels and install the bottom of the box last.
          o Lift & transport the tree.
          o Plant tree in new location with soil amendments.

Note: the new tree location must have ample overhead clearance and an area large enough to facilitate an adequately sized rootball.

     • Post transplanting maintenance must be provided for up to five years to ensure the tree receives the proper care it requires to thrive (watering, fertilization, pest control, pruning, etc.).

Give us a call today if you would like an estimate for relocating a tree on your property!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nutrify Your Garden With Compost Tea

Now that the rains have stopped and the sun is (fairly) regularly shining, Paysage will soon begin treating the established plants in clients’ landscapes with Compost Tea, a liquid extract of compost. More specifically, it is an aerobic water solution that has extracted the microbe population from compost along with the nutrient. The Compost Tea supplies a concentrated liquid full of billions of micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes), soluble nutrients, and humic substances. We feel this eco-friendly approach is the best way to rejuvenate the health of the soil feeding the gardens we care for which is naturally depleted as the plants grow.

Compost Tea Treatments consist of either soil application (drenching) or foliar spraying. The drenching of trees and shrubs planted in our local soil, which is lacking organic matters and made mostly of clay, will move the Compost Tea into the root zone and affect the rhizosphere (the part of the soil enclosing the root of a plant). Nutrients carried in the tea will be used by the plant as well as by the microorganisms in the soil. The compost tea builds better soil structure, decreases compaction and increases water retention, helping to prevent disease and enhancing the overall plant health and vigor.

Lotus Land, a local historical garden and beautiful example of the beauty that can result from green landscape practices, is also a believer in Compost Tea treatments. Paysage staff recently visited the garden and were amazed at the vibrant health evident in a collection of roses which Lotus Land had been treating with organic fertilizers and compost tea for approximately 15 years. We are confident that continued treatments at our landscape management properties will have equal or better results. Please call or email us if you would like further information on compost tea.

For further reading material on compost tea, Paysage recommends this article by Nourished Magazine.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Get Prepared for Fire Season

Don't be fooled into thinking that the prolonged rainy season we've had this year will be enough to protect your home from a wildfire. Fire officials have already begun planning for the 2010 fire season and according to the Daily Sound, they are warning the community against complacency. Now is the time to start planning for annual weed & brush clearing, get your trees trimmed away from the roof, make sure your house has 100 feet of defensible space, and order any firescape plant enhancements you may have been pondering. Give us a call today to let us know what we can do for you!

For more information on preparing for fire season, we recommend visiting the following links:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 is Water Wise & Sustainability Savvy

Ever since California passed Assembly Bill 1881 in 2006, Paysage has been working to anticipate and prepare for the needs of our customers and the general public whose landscapes would likely be affected by this Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. (For a summary of the bill, go here.) The law went into effect January 1, 2010, officially marking a shift in landscaping needs and design trends. Every newly constructed or rehabilitated landscape project involving an irrigated area of 5,000 or more square feet as well as existing landscapes larger than 1 acre must meet its provisions for irrigation efficiency. Recently, while reading an article in the Los Altos Town Crier which nicely summarizes the benefits of the new law, I was reminded of how many ways Paysage can help homeowners meet the ordinance's new requirements and/or their personal water conservation goals.

Perhaps the most important item is to start with a well designed landscape which can support sustainable principles. Reducing the size of your lawn and using native and drought-tolerant plants are the most commonly sited recommendations. Both can make a huge difference in the amount of water your landscape consumes, however, we recognize that changing to buffalo grass or sedge lawn does not work for every situation, nor will every plant in your dream garden have sustainability superpower. We strive to help our customers find the perfect mix. Wide blade turf grasses when mowed higher can be a viable alternative due to their deep root structure and ability to minimize evapotranspiration, both of which make them more tolerant to drought spells. A mix of ornamental & native plants can be used effectively if all of the selected plants have similar watering & feeding requirements.

The second (and likely most valuable) way that Paysage can help homeowners meet the requirements of this new ordinance is through our newly launched Water Conservation Department. Paysage's owner and irrigation employees have been studying water wise irrigation and using smart irrigation products for quite some time, but now we are seeking official certification. In January 2010, two of our employees passed a written exam to become provisionally certified Water Managers through the California Landscpe Contractors Association. Paysage's Water Conservation Department can assess your current landscape irrigation or provide you with an irrigation plan for a landscape to-be-constructed. Using a weather based irrigation controller combined with water wise sprinklers and drip emitters can make a big difference all by itself. Simply having a skilled irrigation technician monitoring your system for leaks and inefficiencies can help as well.

And, if you're not ready for either a irrigation or landscape overhaul, there are even smaller treatments you may be interested in for your yard. Aerating your lawn can help the water infiltrate deeper into the soil. Mowing grass higher promotes deeper root growth and helps the soil retain moisture. Heavily mulching all flower and soil beds will also help keep water from evaporating so quickly. Finding an appropriate reduced watering schedule can also help reduce growth spurts and, in turn, your garden will produce less green waste. The eco-friendly changes you can make for your landscape are plentiful, and we believe now is the time to get started. Whether or not you are affected by the new law, why not make your landscape water-wise and sustainable? It's good for your wallet and good for the world.