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News and stories for friends like you.
Oh, Deer!: Choosing Deer-Resistant Plantings for Your Spring Garden
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 …
Searching for Olympic-Grade Talent
Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions employs the best and brightest landscape professionals in the nation. Our latest search for young talent brought us to the Tar Heel State, where we attended the 2018 National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) at Alamance Community College in Graham, North Carolina. The competition, known as the “Olympics of the landscaping industry,” is landscaping’s largest recruiting event.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) describes the competition as an annual three-day powerhouse event that brings together the best landscape and horticulture students, top industry companies, and dozens of the biggest industry manufacturers and suppliers. …
The Focal Pointe Internship Experience
In 2015, Focal Pointe instituted a summer internship program to provide students with hands-on learning for careers in the landscape services industry. The program includes a wide range of experiences and is customizable to the intern’s areas of interest. Interns spend approximately one week in each of a variety of disciplines, culminating in a mutually agreed upon self-chosen area of interest.
Below, two of Focal Pointe’s past interns, Elizabeth Fraley (2015) and Derek Reiking (2016) provide an inside perspective on what it’s really like to be an intern at Focal Pointe:
What types of projects did you …
Focal Pointe Staff Attend Irrigation Workshop in California
Innovation. Efficiency. Sustainability.
In today’s landscaping industry, this should be the vocabulary of an irrigation technician.
Watering your landscape is simple, right? For many, an irrigation system is out of sight and out of mind. The green turf and vibrant shrubs are watered overnight. One wakes up to a house with beautiful landscaping and finds more of the same when they go to work. It may seem like magic, but that’s irrigation. It’s a rapidly growing field with innovative technology that is greatly increasing the efficiency and sustainability of irrigation systems.
Focal Pointe strives to be leaders …
Tips from the Field: Rejuvenation Pruning
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 …
All About Annuals
“The earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The St. Louis area has just recovered from the longest stretch of sub-freezing temperatures in more than 30 years, so most people are not yet thinking about the annual flowers they want to plant this spring. But in the landscaping world, we’re already actively planning for the planting season to make sure our clients have beautiful flowers this spring and summer.
Planning for annual flowers actually begins more than 12 months in advance. Seeds for annual flowers are harvested from live plants, and these stock plants must be …
Selecting Plant Material for Your Landscape
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:
The first thing to think about is how much maintenance you are willing to do. All plant material …
Tips from the Field: Tree and Shrub Fertilizing
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.
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 …
Landscape Planning: 6 Things Property Managers Can Do to Prepare for Next Season
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 …
Creating Winter Interest Containers
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 …
End of Season Planning
We’ve reached that time of year where we are no longer mowing on a regular basis. The end of the season can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Things such as number of mows left, weather, and number of available employees all affect end of season planning.
The mowing schedule is delicately balanced throughout the season. As operation managers, it’s our job to find the balance between mowing consistently on irrigated sites and skipping sites that are not irrigated, to avoid cutting when the heat is at its worst, which could possibly damage the turf. …
Irrigation System Winterization
“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. …
Top 4 Things Property Managers & Owners Should Look for in a Landscape Maintenance Company
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, …
Top 5 Things Commercial Property Managers Should Look for in a Snow Provider
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 …