All posts by Mike Sperling

Planning your Spring Lawn and Garden Now!

Wednesday, March 20th, the Vernal or Spring Equinox, will mark the first day of spring. Just think, that is really just a few weeks away. Soon we will hear the birds chirping and homeowners out in the yard cleaning things up to start yet another spring and summer of lawn care. It is enough to make a landscaping company giddy. Let’s plan our spring lawn!

Given that we have a few weeks of Old Man Winter yet to go, this is the important time to start planning so you’ll get off to a good start to keeping your lawn and garden healthy as well as nicely manicured all season long. Here are a few things to consider when planning your spring lawn and garden now.

Depending on where you live in our region, freezing weather can still persist well into the first few weeks of spring. Homes closer to the coast will notice the warmth beginning to awake plantings first and then slowly the temperature changes push inland. Plan on some of these tasks and chores around your home for the first few warm weekends.

  • Cleaning up debris from the yard and last leaves that fell in the fall.
  • Pruning trees and bushes. Be sure to do your homework on what plantings you have as you do not want to prune too far or risk harming tender growth.
  • Examining planting beds to see if frost heaves have pushed out any of your bulbs.
  • Repairing containers or window boxes that will hold colorful blooms once the weather permits.
  • Raking (gently) thatch or debris out of the yard once the weather has risen above the freezing mark.
  • Testing soil for pH levels in order to feed it correctly as the season continues.
  • Repairing and/or cleaning all lawn equipment that will be needed for the growing season. This includes your mower, trimmers, edgers, leaf blower, and pruning shears.
  • Planning your veggie garden or annual plantings and possibly begin the process of growing indoors, if space allows.

Arrowhead Landscaping provides residential, commercial, and industrial services that can make any lawn look well manicured and sharp. We offer services such as lawn mowing, hedge trimming, mulching, planting, and spring/fall cleanups. We also design, plan and install hardscape specific to the unique aspect of your yard. Call us at  (978) 774-4487 or visit our website.

 

The Importance of Professional Tree Removal

Remember the age-old saying, “If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?” Well, we may not know the answer to that, but we can be sure that if you have diseased or dying trees in your yard, you may have some problems with falling limbs or trees. As the Farmer’s Almanac predicts, the heavy snow and wind may pack a wallop this year in our region. Trees, unfortunately, bare the brunt of many storms here in the northeast from hurricanes, to Nor’easters, to blizzards. The combination of wind and precipitation can be tough on many types of trees. Read on to find out about having your trees professional removed by Arrow Landscaping.

 

Importance of Hiring a Professional for Tree Removal

Avoiding Damage

Tree removal may seem like a “do-it-yourself” kind of task but depending upon the size and type of tree, most are not. Tree cutting and removal takes specialized equipment and training to get the branches down safety without harming your home or the surrounding property.

Avoiding Injury

Mechanical saws, ropes, branches, and heights are all factors that come into play when cutting and removing a tree from a property. All these moving parts can be dangerous and have been known to cause many a homeowner a trip to the emergency room. Leave the climbing, cutting, and removal to the experts who have practiced and trained under many different scenarios.

Maintain the Health of your Trees

A well trained and experienced technician can examine your trees and tell you if it requires removal or trimming of the dead sections. For the health of your trees and the property as a whole, it is best to allow experts to examine your trees before starting the saws.

Snow and wind can cause severe strain on trees, so it is a smart idea to talk to our technicians should you find branches or entire trees have fallen in your yard. Contact Arrowhead Landscaping at (978) 774-4487 or visit our website.

Avoid Snow Removal Headaches by Hiring a Pro

The Farmers’ Almanac says we are in for another whopper of a winter season in New England. And while the meteorologists are not always 100% accurate, we are pretty much guaranteed a few snow storms every winter that will test our resolve on living in one of the snowier regions of the United States. That’s why we offer our snow removal services here at Arrowhead Landscaping. There are many benefits to hiring our crew, including avoiding physical injury, protecting your hardscape, using specialized equipment, and saving you the stress and time of taking care of your driveway or parking lots at all hours. Read on to find out more about the benefits that come with handing off the snow and ice management to a professional.

Prevent Accidents

Driveways, walkways, and parking lots are prime areas for slips and falls, unless they have been plowed, shoveled, and treated for ice. Homeowners can prevent slips by family members and business owners can ensure that employees, clients, and customers can gain access to their business with our services.

Protect Hardscape

As landscape professionals, we know how to protect your hardscape through the winter from adjusting the plow angle to treating with less damaging chemicals.

Specialized Equipment

As a homeowner or business owner, you may not have access to heavy equipment needed to remove the snow after every storm. Sometimes even snow blowers are no match for the power of a two-ton truck and the manpower to back it up.

No Morning Stress

Seems like storms arrive at the most inopportune times in our region. They are either overnight so early morning shoveling starts your day, or at rush hour when we all just want to get home to our families. Regardless of when the snow hits, our crew can make sure your mornings become less hectic when you no longer need to plan for an hour or two of shoveling.

Immediate Results/Less Downtime

For businesses, snow can be the kiss of death. Not only does it mean fewer people are out working but if your walkways and parking lots are not cleared, it will deter clients from making the trip. With Arrowhead Landscaping, you can be sure that your walkways, driveways, and parking lots will be clear and safe for all who need to come and go.

Call Arrowhead Landscaping at (978) 774-4487 if you need snow or ice removal. We are happy to help.

Fall Clean Ups for a Healthy Lawn

No one likes to think about the massive amount of work it takes to close down the yard and garden at the end of a fun outdoor entertaining season. Unfortunately, it does need to be done every year in order to keep your yard not only looking clean and well manicured but in order to keep your lawn healthy as well. Arrowhead Landscaping offers a fall clean up service that can make your lawn aesthetically pleasing and ensure a healthy start next spring.

 

Benefits of a Fall Clean Up
  1. Avoid a Pest Haven – Fall leaves that have been sitting in the nooks and crannies of your yard for weeks are a perfect place for pests to set up shop. From a mosquito sanctuary to a nesting ground for mice, leaves are a haven of warmth and moisture if left around for the winter.
  2. Avoid Bare Patches – Come spring when it is time to start caring for your lawn and garden again, areas where leaves and debris were left can spell trouble for the grass. A mound of leaves can smother and kill the delicate grass beneath. Avoid having to reseed large areas in the spring by removing your fallen leaves with Arrowhead.
  3. One Last Feeding for the Lawn – With a comprehensive fall clean up, homeowners have one last opportunity to feed the lawn to make it through these tough New England winters. The grass may go dormant, but it will need nutrients to help it survive. In addition to the last feeding, many homeowners find that aerating the lawn can help get the oxygen, water, and nutrients down to the roots before everything freezes up for the winter.
  4. Remove Debris from Gutters – Most of us think about the lawn and garden when we consider fall cleanups, but cleaning out the gutters at this time can mean avoiding ice dams and potential leaks caused by cluttered gutters.
  5. Shut Down the Irrigation System – Given that New England can see some pretty low temps and snows measured in feet rather than inches, it is a smart idea to have your irrigation system professionally drained or “blown out.” This is a way to ensure that no trapped water can freeze in your pipes and cause damage underground where you can’t inspect.

 

If you need a Fall Clean up that will not only ensure your yard is looking clean and well manicured but also healthy and ready when the ground thaws, call Arrowhead Landscaping at (978) 774-4487.

 

Complementary Hardscape Design Elements

We are well into the fall season. The leaves are changing colors, the days are shorter, and the temperature is dropping. When raking up the leaves on your lawn, do you notice if your hardscape is lacking some complementary design elements? A hardscape is much more than a stone pathway, patio, or wall. It’s the surrounding area, too! Read on for tips on how to dress up your hardscape before winter sets in.

Autumn Plantings

oakleaf hydrangea

Just because the temperatures have dropped doesn’t mean it’s too late to plant. In fact, there are a number of plants that thrive in the cooler temperatures. These include bulbs, garden mums, pansies, oakleaf hydrangea, Russian sage, and so many more. These plants would look beautiful above or below a wall, or along a pathway.

Lighting

walkway with solar light

Shorter days means that the sun is setting earlier each day. Soon enough, it will be dark out before you even make it home from work! A good idea to keep you and your loved ones safe while walking in the dark is to set up lights along your stone pathway leading to the house. This illuminates the path, so you can steer clear of any obstacles or debris that you would track into the house.

Building a Hardscape

man laying down brick (2)

 

Masonry is tough work. It’s made even more arduous when done in the heat of the summer. Fall is the perfect time to lay down stone, as the cooler temperatures offer a breath of fresh air to the workers. If you notice loose stones or crumbling concrete, or if you want to design and install a hardscape, do it before winter rears its ugly head. You’ll want to stay ahead of the snow. For tips on treating your icy hardscape this winter, refer to our blog post tips for ice and snow removal.

 

This fall, we can help you plan, design, craft, and install the perfect design elements to complement your hardscape. Contact Arrowhead Landscaping by phone at 978-744-4487, or visit our website.

Backyard fire pit in the daytime

Safety Tips for Fire Pits

Summertime means the days are longer, so many people try to make the most of their time spent outside. A common nighttime activity is huddling around a campfire in one’s backyard to wind down from an exhausting day. Some roast marshmallows and make s’mores, others just like to let themselves become entranced by the fire, getting lost in its “dance” among the burning embers. In any event, there are some basic fire safety tips to follow. Let’s take a look:

Fire Pit Materials

Fire in a stone fire pit at night

If you’re looking to construct a fire pit in your backyard, be sure to use the right materials for construction. Stone fire pits, such as cement or patio blocks, are a common option, as they are able to contain the fire without cracking or crumbling from the heat. At Arrowhead Landscaping, we specialize in masonry and hardscapes, so we have the materials and expertise to construct your ideal fire pit. We always keep the safety of your property and of your friends and family in mind when building fire pits for clients.

Location

Measuring tape extended to 10 feet / 3 meters

Ideally, a fire pit should be no closer than 10 feet away from a building or a neighbor’s yard. Be sure it’s in an open area, with no bushes, trees, or other plantings above or nearby. A fire pit should rest on patio blocks or cement – never on grass.

Tending to the Fire Pit

Man in military camouflage lifting fire pit screen

Only an adult should ignite, readjust, and extinguish the fire. If kids are in attendance, adult supervision is obviously required. Never leave the fire pit unattended. A wire mesh covering can help calm the flames if it gets too high, and will keep children and pets from falling in. Before you light a fire, check with your state and local ordinances to see if you have to contact the fire departments and let them know you before you will be lighting a fire. To extinguish the fire, use a garden hose and aim it at the burning wood and embers. Never leave a fire burning, assuming that it will go out on its own, as coals can stay hot for up to 3 days. Always make sure to completely extinguish the fire with plenty of water. Don’t overfeed the fire with excess wood – only use what you need – and don’t use gasoline to start a fire.

 

At Arrowhead Landscaping, we specialize in masonry and hardscapes. We use trusted brands like Techo Bloc and Belgard, as they hold up better than other brands. If you’re looking to hire a specialist to build a fire pit in your backyard, contact Arrowhead Landscaping by phone at (978) 774-4487, or visit our website at http://arrowhead-landscaping.com/.

Preventative Maintenance for your Masonry and Hardscape

This past winter was a long one. Some days, it doesn’t even feel like it’s been over for three months now! We had some pretty heavy snowfall and, in preparation for the ensuing cleanup, many Americans used corrosive deicers, and now we’re paying for it. No, we’re not talking about damage to your lawn and garden. In this case, we’re talking about damage to your hardscape. I, too, am at fault in my de-icing methods; the rock salt I used throughout the winter effectively ate away at the concrete walkway leading to the front door of my house. It loosened the top layer of concrete until it was nothing more than a sand-like substance, ground down evermore with each footstep or sweep of a broom when I tried to clean up the mess. I recently had to get a new walkway installed, this time with higher-grade concrete. In hopes that this doesn’t happen again after the next winter season, let’s take a look at preventative maintenance for your masonry and hardscape:

What Is a Hardscape

First, we should define the term “hardscape”. A hardscape is the man-made aspect of landscape architecture, including walkways, paths, walls, patios, fire pits, steps, and so much more. It’s important to choose the right material, depending on your climate. At Arrowhead Landscaping, we typically work with patio pavers. We choose Techo Bloc and Belgard for our best brands, as they hold up better than other brands. We can take matters into our own hands and help you choose the right material based on hardscape design and the local architectural style of your area.

Winter in New England

Assuming your home or office is in New England, you know very well how messy the winter season can get. There’s snow, rain, slush, ice, and everything in between, not to mention all the rock salt and other deicing chemicals. Any combination of these can damage masonry work over time, so choosing the right material all depends on how much of a beating your hardscape will be subjected to (e.g., will it be a frequented walkway that sees lots of traffic every day, or will it be a wall in your backyard that’s rarely ever physically touched?). Patio pavers are very durable and can typically survive heavy snow. It’s persistent rain, however, that you have to worry about, as running water can wear down and even erode these otherwise durable blocks. It is not recommended that you use chemical deicers on patio pavers, as they can easily eat through the seal and damage the underlying concrete. Use salt instead, as it doesn’t scratch. It’s advisable to salt before water gets a chance to freeze. This is because salt lowers the freezing point of water.

Summer Is Nearly Here!

The heat and humidity in New England during summer is another extreme to be weary of. Furthermore, the sun can damage the aesthetic and integrity of pavers over time. For these reasons, it’s recommended that you seal your hardscape after installation, before the heat and sun have a chance to damage it. You should also clean your hardscape annually by power washing or using cleaning solutions to remove built-up dirt, oil, and rust. Reapply the seal every few years or as needed, as sunlight, heat, built-up substances, and the annual cleanup cause the seal to wear. Regular preventative maintenance keeps your hardscape and masonry looking like-new for years to come.


At Arrowhead Landscaping, we understand that your hardscape serves a double purpose: both functional and aesthetic. We also know that you want your hardscape to last. This is why we use only the highest-grade materials, as well as created this helpful guide to make caring for your hardscape as easy as possible. If you’re looking to install a new hardscape, or if you want to touch up and reseal your current one, contact Arrowhead Landscaping by phone at (978) 774-4487, or visit our website at http://arrowhead-landscaping.com/.  

Protecting your Landscape from the Ravages of Winter

It’s the dead of winter and as the temperature drops and the snow accumulates, you might be worried about your garden and landscape. Winter weather can cause lasting damage to the plantings you so carefully tend to during the warmer months. Let’s take a look at steps you can take to prevent broken branches, damaged soil, and water loss:

  • Heavy snow and ice – While snow-kissed branches may be a common sight in a winter wonderland, too much of it can damage your trees. To protect against the weight of snow and ice, tie weak branches together carefully. Brush – don’t shake – snow off of tree limbs and branches. If you have an inkling that branches are going to break under the weight of snow, remove them, as damaged trees are more susceptible to disease.
  • Corrosive salt – While salt may be a great way to melt ice effectively, it is so harmful to plants due to the simple fact that it erodes soil and can create a soil crust when the area dries. Choose a less harmful alternative to beat the ice; before it snows, use materials like gravel, straw, or wood chips to provide traction. If Old Man Winter beat you to the punch, however, use sawdust, kitty litter, or even bird seed on top of ice for traction. Sand is another alternative to consider, just be sure to clean it up afterward so it doesn’t clog storm drains or get into your garden.
  • Preventing water loss – You may be surprised to learn that plants, specifically their leaves, “sweat”, called transpiration. Use an anti-transpirant to aid against water loss. Another method is to wrap your evergreens in burlap to protect against salt and the howling winter winds.

How have your garden and landscape fared thus far this winter season? With spring only a couple months away, your garden will soon blossom after it’s deep sleep. For all your landscape needs and more, contact Arrowhead Landscaping at 978-744-4487, or visit our website.

Tips for Ice and Snow Removal

Salt is an amazing little thing, isn’t it? Roman soldiers were paid in salt, which is where we get the term salary. Salt adds flavor to virtually any dish and even some cocktails, like margaritas. But salt can also be bad for you. And during the winter, rock salt can be a downright hazard to you, your loved ones (pets included) and, yes, even your concrete and pavement. So, now that winter has reared its ugly yet majestic head, how can you clear the ice and snow without resorting to the use of toxic aids like rock salt? Let’s take a look at cleaner, more environmentally-friendly ways to rid the ice this winter:

  • One of those other -ium chlorides – Alternative deicers to keep in mind are potassium chloride and magnesium chloride. Potassium chloride will not harm vegetation and it is okay if it comes into contact with skin. The lowest temperature at which it will work as a deicer is 15° F. Magnesium chloride is another great choice for the environmentally conscious. It will still prove to be an effective deicer, even when the temperatures creep down to -13° F.
  • Soak up the sun – I apologize for the tacky Sheryl Crow reference, but hey, it’s winter time. I’m thinking warm thoughts. Anyway, another method to remove ice and snow effectively is to make use of our most abundant resource: the sun. It’s best to wake up early and get right to shoveling, so by the time you’re done, the sun will be able to melt the ice a little more quickly as the temperatures creep up throughout the day.
  • Hot water should do the trick – For those particularly vexing ice patches, a good method of treatment might be to boil a pot of water and pour it right on the ice. Follow through with a few good whacks with an ice pick or shovel and it should start to break apart. Remember to brush away or soak up the hot water with a cloth, or else you’ll just create more ice, thus prolonging your deicing project.

This winter, beat the ice with these techniques and others. Remember to stay up-to-date with news and weather forecast, so you know when snow will hit and how much of it. Don’t let ice get you down. Avoid damage to your pavement and concrete walkways with harmful and hazardous rock salt. Use an alternative deicer like potassium chloride or magnesium chloride. Or you could take advantage of waking up early to tackle your driveway and let the sun do the rest throughout the day. Or, even still, you can just pour some hot water on problem spots and tackle it further from there. Remember, Arrowhead Landscaping is here for you and your landscape and hardscape. Give us a call at 978-744-4487, or visit our website

How to Winterize your Garden

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the various vegetables you can harvest in the autumn. As fall draws to a close, however, how do you “put away” the garden in preparation for next year? Once spring arrives and all the snow has melted away, your green thumb will surely grow back through ‘til the end of fall. Here are our best practices to close down your garden for winter, ultimately leading to an easier spring cleanup:

  • Remove and Compost old Plantings – The first step toward winterizing your garden is to remove any old plant matter from the garden bed and put it in the compost bin. Otherwise, plant diseases will have an open invitation to wreak havoc throughout your garden. Keep your compost in a bin until springtime to protect it during winter.
  • Test your Soil – Another step to prepare for spring is to test your soil’s pH level. If the pH is too low, consider adding lime. If such is the case, you should add lime early as the effects don’t present themselves for quite some time. You can buy a basic soil testing kit at any garden center or, if you prefer to go about testing without one, there are alternative, more natural ways to do so.
  • Protecting the Topsoil – Winter’s wrath is brutal and can severely damage your garden and soil if they’re not properly winterized. The next step in the winterization process is to cover the top layer of your garden, the soil. There are two ways to do this: for larger gardens, you can plant what is called a cover crop. For smaller beds, however, mulching is a better and more efficient approach.

You should prepare your garden for every season of the year so it can continue to flourish for years to come. Winterizing is especially important because the severity of the winter season, at least in New England, is like no other. Winter brings a period of dormancy to most plantings, so they can “rest up” so-to-speak in preparation for their spring awakening. Call Arrowhead Landscaping at 978-774-4487 for all your landscaping needs, concerns, and questions. From all of us at Arrowhead, stay warm and we wish you a Happy New Year.