The Latest at Focal Pointe

News and stories for friends like you.

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According to the Farmer’s Almanac, our region can expect below-normal temperatures this winter with above-normal snowfall. No matter how much snow and ice Old Man Winter sends our way, Focal Pointe crews are prepared.

We recently held our annual Snow Rodeo, where all production members of our snow team participated in the following training sessions and demonstrations:

Shop Talk: This training covered how to conduct pre-event equipment inspections, proper installation of plows and spreaders, and best practices for post-event equipment cleaning.

Snow Preparation & Hand Crews: Employees reviewed appropriate snow event clothing, as well as bringing extra clothing and …

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As we near the end of August, many areas are seeing the effects of summer weather conditions on the appearance of turf. After nearly three decades in the industry, a couple of things come to mind:

There will always be an ebb and flow of environmental conditions that have a range of positive and negative impacts on the appearance of turf.
The issues that are prevalent this year will most likely not be an issue next year for reasons noted above.

“crater effect”

This summer, a variety of diseases have plagued our turf causing a “crater effect” …

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2019 has brought us a longer rain season than we have seen in recent memory. With an abundance of wet weather, the thought of irrigation is often pushed to the back burner; however, that is exactly when we should be thinking about our irrigation systems.

Excess rain encourages a wave of plant diseases, and the problem is only compounded when irrigation systems are overwatering. The good news is that irrigation technologies are available to help us make these systems more efficient. From basic rain sensors to full-blown weather data information, the irrigation industry has made great strides in …

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Though it sounds like a fun place to shop, Dollar Spot is nothing of the sort. It’s actually a common fungal turfgrass disease that appears as small silver dollar-shaped circles and can spread throughout a lawn.

Dollar Spot with a quarter for size comparison

As with any fungus, when the conditions are right, symptoms can appear. The conditions that fuel Dollar Spot’s spread are high temperatures combined with high humidity and extended moisture.

In St. Louis, our spring and early summer weather has created the perfect environment for Dollar Spot. We’ve experienced extended periods of rain, …

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What does all this rain mean for your lawn?

If it’s true that April showers bring May flowers, is it possible for there be too much of a good thing?  Clearly, the families and businesses impacted by flooding believe so, and so does your lawn.

The media is drawing comparisons between this year and the great flood of 1993, but in terms of local precipitation, this year reminds me more of 1995.  The flooding of 1993 had a lot to do with the amount of precipitation our neighbors to our north experienced, but I recall locally heavier …

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Outdoor hardscapes can be a valuable addition to your home or property. According to Inman.com, an updated landscape/hardscape can increase the value of your home by as much as 15%. These updates often involve making a sizable investment in your property, so it’s important to choose the right landscape contractor.

When choosing a landscape company to do your hardscape work there are a few things to keep in mind. How many years of experience do the installers have? What type of product is best for my property? Is the base under the pavers important? Let’s look …

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Now that spring has arrived, temperatures are starting to rise. Although this year hasn’t been a typical spring, the time is still right to apply your first round of turf fertilizer with crabgrass pre-emergent.

Spring is the best time to apply a pre-emergent to your lawn for the control of the dreaded crabgrass that can show up in your lawn in mid-summer. The pre-emergent with fertilizer does two things: first, the fertilizer helps feed your lawn as it comes out of a winter sleep. This fertilizer treatment thickens the grass, allowing it to shade the soil …

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Although deer are beautiful creatures, most of us would prefer they dine somewhere other than our gardens. Many St. Louis neighborhoods are seeing increases in deer populations, much to the dismay of home gardeners and property owners. There’s nothing worse than watching your early plants emerge in the springtime only to be eaten to the ground. Some of deer’s favorite garden snacks include hostas, tulips, pansies, and rose buds.

While it’s true that if food is scarce enough, deer will eat almost anything, there are a number of plant varieties that they don’t care for. By …

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When a bush, shrub, or tree becomes unwieldy and overgrown, it’s not always necessary to remove the entire plant and replace it. Rejuvenation pruning is a cost-effective way to renew an overgrown landscape without the cost of plant replacement.

The objective of rejuvenation pruning is to remove the older growth, leaving behind a younger and more vigorous plant. When this is done properly at the right time of year, the tree or shrub will often experience new, healthier, and more manageable growth that same season.

The best time to perform rejuvenation pruning is in early spring before …

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Though it’s winter now, here at Focal Pointe we’re thinking about spring and are already designing new landscapes. There are several factors I always consider when working with a client to plan their landscape. Selecting plant material is one of the most important factors. It’s my job to select plants that are attractive to my client, complement their home, and are well-suited for their new environment. Below are a few tips on selecting plant material for your landscape:

Maintenance

The first thing to think about is how much maintenance you are willing to do. All plant material …

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Why fertilize?

The health and appearance of trees and shrubs can greatly benefit from fertilizing, which supplies nutrients that may not be readily available from normal soil conditions. Tree fertilizer applications may reduce (but cannot eliminate) environmental stresses such as low water availability, soil conditions, and competition with turf and other plant material.

When?

Trees and shrubs have their greatest need for fertilizer and nutrients in the spring, so the best time to fertilize is anytime after leaf drop but before they leaf out in the spring. The nutrients are stored in the roots and become immediately available …

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What steps does a property manager need to take to be prepared for the next grounds maintenance season? Here are 6 things you can do at year’s end to help your property look its best next year:

Budget for Next Year. Create a grounds maintenance budget for the year, along with a dollar amount planned for enhancement (additional landscape) work for the season.
Perform a Physical Review of the Property. Recall any landscape maintenance issues that may have occurred during the past season. What worked? What didn’t? Were there any distinct pain points that you or your …

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While the rest of the landscape goes dormant during the winter months, your planting containers can still be full of color and life. Filling them with winter interest plantings is a great way to keep your property looking beautiful.

Using a combination of cut evergreens, winter berries, pine cones, gilded branches, holiday ornaments, and other winter items, containers that usually display annuals can be vibrant and attractive. Beautiful winter arrangements are not just for the holidays – the right materials can accent your landscaping from late fall through late winter.

A mix of materials makes for a …

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“Nothing burns like the cold.” – George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones

With the cold temperatures of winter quickly approaching, it’s time to winterize your irrigation system. Winterizing removes any remaining water from the system to minimize the risk of freeze damage to pipes, valves, and fittings.

Focal Pointe begins winterizing irrigation systems in mid-October, completing all shutdowns by mid-November. In our area (Illinois and Missouri), that is the optimal timing to complete the work prior to the arrival of freezing temperatures.

Focal Pointe uses the blowout method to winterize systems for both commercial and residential properties. …

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Property managers and owners have many choices when it comes to finding a landscape maintenance provider. How do you find the best fit for you and your property? Here are four of the top things to look for:

1 – Quality Work With Attention to Detail

Landscape maintenance consists of many services:  mowing, pruning, fertilization, mulching, and bed maintenance, to name a few.  The best landcare companies pay close attention to the details of a property. In addition to providing crisp bed edging, clean beds, and vibrant annual flowers, they notice and care for the small details, …

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Though it’s still warm outside and the kids have just gone back to school, it’s time to start thinking about snow and ice! Late summer/early fall is the ideal time for commercial property managers to procure snow management services for the upcoming winter season. Here are some top things to consider as you look for a provider:

1 – Experienced & Available

Availability is paramount. Snow and ice can be unpredictable – you need a company that offers early and late hours as well as 24/7 emergency response.

It’s also important to know that your property will be …