Preparing Your Garden for Spring

The evenings are getting lighter. This is the time of year when we start looking eagerly for the first signs of spring, in anticipation of longer days and warmer weather. Now is the time to start your Spring garden preparation. Giving your re-awakening outdoor space some TLC now will pay dividends all summer long. This is equally important for commercial premises, as maintaining well-kept grounds is a crucial aspect of how your organization presents itself professionally. So, what can you do to prepare for spring?

TIDY UP: Begin by giving your garden a thorough tidy-up. Clear away sticks, dead leaves, and any other debris that has accumulated over winter. Rake plant beds to highlight any weeds that need to be pulled out before they have a chance to become established – as spring is a season of rapid growth for all plants in the garden, wanted or not.

HUNT DOWN PESTS: Take a close look at your plants, paying attention to the crowns of
perennials, to spot any slugs, snails, or aphid colonies that have been sheltering over winter. Treat any infestations you find by either natural or chemical means. Early spring is also the time when you may see the fleshy, red-tinged shoots of Japanese Knotweed breaking through the soil. Japanese Knotweed in an invasive, non-native weed that can cause serious structural damage to properties in a matter of months. If Japanese Knotweed is identified, then it is essential to use a commercial grounds maintenance team like Four Seasons, who are licensed to both destroy and remove this plant. If you are concerned that you may have found Japanese Knotweed on your premises, then call Nathan at Four Seasons for a free telephone consultation.

INSPECT LAWNS AND GRASSED AREAS: After tidying the garden you will be able to see how your lawn has fared over winter. This is a vital part of Spring garden maintenance, as the condition of your grass now will determine how successfully it will flourish over the summer. You should rake and lightly scarify your grass to remove moss that may have infiltrated over the winter, to allow fresh spring growth to prevail. Now is also the time to feed it with a proprietary spring or summer lawn feed. This will increase vigour and help to prevent moss and weeds from becoming re-established. Different lawns require different kinds of feed according to grass type, underlying soil, position, watering, and many other factors. Four Seasons can survey your lawn, sports course, or other grassed areas to determine what it needs, then administer four custom treatments a year, with extra care if needed.

INSPECT TREES AND SHRUBS: Check for damaged branches on trees that may need to be pruned or professionally removed before spring. Likewise, prune back woody shrubs, removing any dead or diseased material to ‘tidy’ the plant and encourage healthy new growth. Four Seasons offer a professional hedge cutting and pruning service that will keep your hedges looking lush and healthy all year round.

CLEAN UP PATHS AND PAVED AREAS: Unsightly mud and dirt can build up on paths and paved areas making them look dull and grimy. Winter is also the time when moss and algal growth are most significant, and can build up on paving, making it very slippery. Regular pressure washing is an effective way to keep dangerous accumulations of moss, to keep weeds at bay, and to maintain a fresh, clean appearance. Care must be taken with certain surfaces, and around joints between paving stones, so, for best results, consider using a professional commercial grounds maintenance team to do this job for you. A deep clean from Four Seasons will make your paths and paving look brand new.

Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression, give our friendly team a call to help you keep your grounds in tip-top condition.

Grounds Maintenance – when it’s time to call in the professionals

Grounds Maintenance – when it’s time to call in the professionals

It is unfortunately all too common to hear of businesses experiencing sub-standard gardening services. Perhaps a gardener or contractor has failed to turn-up as promised or simply delivers a poor-quality result in their rush to get to the next customer. Whatever the problem, being let-down will clearly have a negative impact on your business because your outside space will not look it’s best.

If you are looking for a professional and reliable service from a trustworthy team who will give your grounds the attention they need, then it’s time to take a look at commercial grounds maintenance from Four Seasons.

Our goal is to give you a service that exceeds your expectations, delivering quality, year-round grounds maintenance so that your business looks fantastic and gives the right impression every time you welcome customers and visitors onto your premises.

Who are we?

Four Seasons Ground Management Ltd are a professional estate and grounds
maintenance company based in Stoke-on-Trent. We have a reputation for providing excellent quality commercial grounds maintenance and domestic gardening services, with satisfied customers in Staffordshire, Cheshire and many other areas of the U.K. With our experience and eye for detail, you can be sure that every job we do will leave your grounds looking pristine.

Four Seasons has been built up over the years by focusing on building trust and making lasting working relationships. Our professional, friendly crew will deliver a reliable service and has the experience to create and maintain top quality grounds and landscape schemes on your premises.

We take training and health & safety very seriously and have a long list of accreditations to our name, including DBS and SafeContractor, and we are NPTC qualified and RHS qualified. We are proactive in investing in training for the latest techniques and procedures to keep at the top of our game, for example we have recently become licensed to use pesticides among a number of other things.

What are the benefits of commercial grounds maintenance?

By handing over your grounds maintenance to Four Seasons, you can be confident that there is a plan in place for everything needed to keep your business looking its best all year round, and that our knowledgeable team can also deal with any unexpected occurrences. This gives you one less thing to worry about and more time to enjoy your beautifully kept lawns, hedges, flower beds and trees.

Good landscaping can subtly reflect the values of your business and create a lasting impression on new and existing customers, from the initial creation of the overall look and feel of the landscape, right down to routine maintenance tasks such as trimming, watering and the collection of tree litter.

As well as being attractive to look at, it is important that your landscaping and maintenance meet the needs of your everyday business; pathways must be clear of leaves and litter, signs must be unobstructed by overgrown plants and so on. Your outside space needs to be safe for you and your customers, so trees must be maintained to prevent falling branches and damaged plants should be removed, for example. Regular grounds maintenance will tackle these functional issues as they arise.

Our professional, well-equipped team will be proud to work on your site and keep everything looking pristine and working well to meet your business needs.

What services can we offer?

Our services include lawn care, hedge cutting and trimming, landscaping, pressure washing, artificial grass and turf laying, Japanese knotweed treatment, other invasive weed management and a diverse range specialist services.

Every commercial premises is different, so get in touch and we will be happy to discuss your individual requirements.

Call Nathan on 01782 862619 / 07843920095 or email us at info@fourseasons-maintenance.co.uk

Commercial grounds maintenance: our top five tips

1. Winter maintenance pays dividends in Spring
When autumn comes around, it’s tempting to put the external furniture in the store room and forget about the grounds until March. But some jobs are essential; leaves must be blown or raked off grass, or they’ll kill patches of the lawn. Paths need to be kept clear of slippery leaf mould to keep them safe.
And if winter does bring snow, it’s much quicker to clear snow from a path if it doesn’t also have a layer of leaf litter on it. Many restaurants now have kitchen gardens but there won’t be much left of them if leaves aren’t cleared. The reason for this is that they’re a five-star hotel for slugs which will happily overwinter in garden debris, ready to march out and start eating everything in sight in spring.

2. Lawns, like people, are individual and need year-round care
Lush lawns and velvety golf links are wonderful sights, but every lawn is different, as maintenance experts appreciate. They will need different kinds of feed, weed control and treatment depending on the type of grass, underlying soil, position, watering and many other factors. A professional firm such as Four Seasons will survey your lawn or sports course to determine what it needs and can then give it four custom treatments a year, together with extra care if it requires it.
If your existing grass is unrecoverable, it may be better to lay turf, or if grass is out of the question, to cut and fit artificial grass.

3. You may need to grit at short notice
Our climate is notoriously variable, and we don’t always get a lot of notice of snow. Professional grounds maintenance firms can arrange gritting whenever the temperature heads towards freezing. This will help to prevent accidents on paths and in car parks. If there is a sudden fall of snow, your business may be severely affected unless snow removal is carried out.

4. With hedges, it’s all a matter of timing
It’s essential to know when and how to cut a hedge. Anyone can hack at it with a pair of hedge trimmers. But a hedge cut at the wrong time of year may not recover that year. It may miss out on a year of growth, looking sparse, gappy and twiggy. If it is a fruiting or flowering hedge, it may not produce anything.
Different hedges need pruning and cutting at different times of the year so it’s essential to use a commercial grounds maintenance team that knows what it’s doing. Expert pruning can restore a hedge that’s run away or become “gappy” by encouraging the right kind of structural growth.
For mature hedges, there’s a huge difference between the look of a hedge that has been hacked and a hedge that has been precision trimmed, with sharp edges and superb architectural lines. These things can make the difference between stunning grounds that really repay the effort put into them, or a slightly straggly, uncared-for look. A properly pruned and cut hedge will keep its shape; a randomly chopped one won’t.

5. Expect the unexpected
There’s always something new happening in grounds. Japanese knotweed suddenly needs to be dealt with; a pond needs to be drained; there’s a decision to landscape the entire grounds differently; a hedgehog refuge needs to be established; a fountain needs putting in. Nothing fazes a professional crew like Four Seasons with experience in creating and maintaining top quality grounds and landscape schemes.
First impressions only get made once, so follow these tips to make sure you make the best impression possible. Why not give our friendly team a call if you’d like us to help you get your grounds looking their best?
Need any advice please call Nathan at Four Seasons Grounds Maintenance today for a Free telephone consultation!

Winter garden maintenance: our top tips

As the winter evenings draw in, many avid gardeners are left twiddling their thumbs looking for something to do. However, this shouldn’t be the case. Although the flowers and fruits are gone from your garden, there is still a huge amount of work to be done. This is also one of the main seasons for pruning shrubs and trees. Garden maintenance is the name of the game in wintertime and the more care you take of your garden now, the better your summer results will be. If you are unsure what you are looking for exactly, call us today for a free telephone consultation at Four Seasons Grounds Management.

image1

 

Neat and tidy

Before the frost begins to destroy dead plants and faded annuals, now is the time to remove and cut back all organic material in the garden. This means, leaves need to be raked, fallen stems must be cut and anything dead must be pulled out, roots and all. Naturally, once this is complete, you’ll be able to see where soil needs to be added and if there is any damage to the lawn edging or walls. Finally, it’s time to take a pair of secateurs to the herbaceous perennials to promote next year’s new shoots and blooms.

image2

Prepare the ground

While your winter garden is looking bare and forlorn, the time is right to work on improving next year’s soil quality. Add organic matter and dig well, keeping an eye out for clumps of perennial weed roots and the white, spindly bindweed roots. Accomplishing this early in the winter months will give the worms the chance to work the new nutrients down into the soil. The processes of repeated frost and thaw also act to break down soil, leaving it soft and workable for next year.

image3.png

Tools down

On particularly cold or wet days, a nice shed job is tool management. Clean everything off to look for damage and loose screws and then get to work sharpening edges. Secateurs and shears need sharpening regularly, at least once a year, even if they are rarely used. The sharper the blade, the cleaner the cut and this means, less damage to the plant or opportunity for disease to take hold. When cleaning or sharpening your blades, safety comes first, so it’s best to keep your gloves on. Once you’ve removed any dried sap, use an oil stone or diamond tool to sharpen. Using a lubricant or oil will help stop moisture creeping into any notches and creating rust over the winter.

image4.png

Bring in your containers

While this is usually one of the first jobs we think to do in winter, some people leave their pots out until the first frost. However, the frost isn’t necessarily the biggest threat in winter. As growth slows and stops, these plants need less water, but winter rains often give them too much. If your container plants are very hardy and you intend to leave them out, make sure you raise them off the ground with bricks.

Good neighbours and good fences

If you have summer plant life growing up and over fences and dividing walls, winter is your chance to make sure they aren’t doing any structural or social damage. Check for signs of breakage, weakness or rot and aim to carry out the repairs before the middle of winter. If your climbing plants, such as Virginia Creepers, are getting a little too friendly with the neighbours, now is the time to cut them right back. This creeper is invasive and once it begins to spread, there might be no stopping it.

And finally, the vegetables

For those still growing vegetables outside over winter, or looking for early carrots and greens, now is the time to cover the ground with straw to act as insulations. If snow is expected, an old heavy carpet can also do the trick. Just make sure it is free from house insects and any cleaning chemicals.

image5

Need any advice please call Nathan at Four Seasons Grounds Management today for a Free telephone consultation!

Japanese Knotweed. What is it?

Japanese Knotweed.jpg

Japanese knotweed

While quite an attractive plant, Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is one plant you’ll never wish to see in your garden. Its lush green foliage and bamboo-like stems shoot up overnight, and against fences and buildings, it can rise to over 7ft tall. However, left to its own deceives, Japanese Knotweed can cause serious structural damage to homes and properties in a matter of months.

This is why, if you hear of cases of Japanese knotweed in your area, it is imperative that you go around your property to make sure there is none beginning to take root or spread. If you are unsure what you are looking for exactly, call us today for a free telephone consultation at Four Seasons Grounds Management LTD.

Japanese knotweed identification

However, although the plant can transmit from garden to garden by seed and stem, knotweed travels most often via a rhizome root structure. This means that, in early spring, you’ll need to look out for fleshy red tinged shoots breaking through the soil, which grow quickly, up to 20 cms a day. Once leaves appear, they tend to be heart-shaped or spade-shaped and light to dark green. The single leaves form at the end of a thin stem, which grows off the main bamboo-like stalks. And as the plant matures, these bamboo stems become woody and hollow. By early summer, the leaves it produces will also be larger and you’ll be able to see a zig-zag pattern in the leaf arrangement. By the end of summer, a large, clumping knot of bamboo and green leaves on spindly stems signifies a looming Japanese knotweed problem.

Japanese knotweed removal

While it is not illegal to have Japanese knotweed in your garden, there are ordinances that must be observed. A recent amendment to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act of 2014 states that the property owner must take reasonable steps to control and optimally, eradicate the plant. The amendment also states that homeowners can carry out this removal personally, however, a specialist company is still needed to dispose of the plant waste.

How to get rid of Japanese knotweed

Generally speaking, there are two approaches a contractor can take with Japanese knotweed removal: chemical or cultural. The cultural control refers to the method of digging out the rhizomes and their removal to a specialist waste site. The chemical approach requires the use of pesticides over three or four summer seasons.

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. The cultural method is labour intensive, and one must be meticulous about collecting and disposing of the waste. The root system can be three feet deep or more and the digging may need to be repeated. However, environmentally speaking, this is the better method. The chemical approach requires the use of Glyphosate, a very strong pesticide which needs to be carefully applied when the weather and temperatures are optimal, however, but once the plant is dead and has dried out, the waste can be burned on site.

Seeking professional help

If Japanese knotweed on your property becomes an issue, there are contractors like us who are licensed to destroy and remove the plant. Four Seasons Grounds Management LTD can guarantee the treatment.

Call Nathan at Four Seasons Grounds Management LTD today for a Free telephone consultation!