5 Signs of Drainage Problems

Flooding in your yard can happen spring, summer, and even fall in Wisconsin. As long as there is rain flooding has an opportunity to occur. Flooding happens as a result of drainage problems. Central Services, an expert in landscaping and grounds maintenance, helps resolve any drainage problems you might have. Here are 5 signs you might notice around your home hinting that you need drainage correction.

Water Ponding

Yes, this may be an obvious sign of drainage problems in your yard, but if you notice water ponding occurring, don’t put off addressing it. Hoping that the water will find other areas in the ground to be absorbed or that it’ll evaporate could lead to other damage on your property.

Wet Garages

You may think a little wetness in your garage after it rains is no big deal, even normal. But depending on where the wetness is coming from it may be pointing to a bigger issue, like a drainage problem. Especially if you have a driveway that slopes towards the garage, a trench drain will help save you a lot of trouble and water damage.

Damp Basements

A damp basement may not be the worst thing, but if you’re like most you store belonging in the basement. Having them exposed to moisture may cause mold as well as other damage. More than that, a damp basement may be a precursor to flooding in your basement. Make sure that doesn’t happen by being proactive and save yourself a lot of hassle and costs.

Foundation Damage

Foundation damage can be caused by a number of things but water is definitely one of them. Rainwater that doesn’t flow away from your home can cause foundation damage. Foundation damage isn’t always immediately obvious either. Look for things like gaps between exterior windows and walls, musty smells, and any cracks in the walls or floors. Hopefully, these things aren’t what tips you off to foundation damage, but if they are caught early they can be repaired before they get worse and you can look for the cause.

Loss of Plant Life

Many factors can contribute to a loss in plant life. One is them being oversaturated by water pooling too much in one area. If you notice plant life dying in just one spot, a drainage issue might be the culprit.

Contact Us

If you see any of these problems, you may need drainage correction that will repair landscaping drainage elements so that they properly drain rain and other water sources away from problem areas. Central Services can repair many types of landscaping drainage systems, including French drains, sump pumps, surface drainage, and dry creek river beds. Contact us today if you think you may need help correcting a drainage problem and we’d be glad to assist you.

4 Reasons to Add Decorative Stone to Your Landscaping

Landscapes can be more than just trees, shrubs, and flowers. Decorative stone can be a modern and elegant addition to your current landscape for any homeowner. While adding a beautiful look to your property, decorative stone can also provide some very practical benefits, making it great option for any property. Here are four reasons to incorporate it into your landscaping.

It Helps Reduce Weeds

Weeds are a common problem in all yards, some more than others. Although there are many weed-killing products available, there may be reasons why a homeowner prefers not to use herbicides. You may be concerned about other plant life accidentally being exposed to it. Maybe you have young children you know will need to be kept an extra close eye on to make sure they don’t play or walk through it. Decorative stone is a great option for helping reduce weeds because it blocks sunlight that support weed growth.

It Helps Insulate Roots

For the plant life around decorative stones, it helps protect roots by insulating them from heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This is especially beneficial during brief cold or hot snaps in the weather that aren’t conducive to plant life. Cool soil-loving plants can die if their roots get too warm, just as plants that prefer mild-climates will suffer if their roots get too cold.

It Is Durable

In addition to the benefits decorative stone provides with landscape upkeep and healthy plant life, it also is highly durable and will last a long time. You won’t have to worry about needing to replace it in just a few years. The durability and low maintenance of decorative stone means it can tolerate any weather the elements may bring, making it a solid investment for any yard.

It Is Aesthetic

Last but not least, in addition to the practical benefits, decorative stone can give any yard an extra aesthetic appeal. Not only does decorative stone come in a wide range of colors and textures — from large red granite to multi-colored pea gravel and everything in between, different shapes and sizes offer many different options to give you just the right look to add to your yard.

Turn to The Landscaping Experts

With great practical and aesthetic benefits, decorative stone makes a great addition to any residential property. For superior decorative stone installation services, turn to the landscaping artists at Central Services Company. Be sure to visit Central Services website for more information and connect with a professional today.

Protecting Your Garden from Rabbits and Deer

A common landscaping problem mid-westerners face is how to control the local deer and rabbit population. These creatures, while beautiful to observe, can cause a lot of damage to your landscape. Try the following if you have a problem with rabbits and deer.

Fencing

If you want to keep rabbits out of your landscaping, you should have a fence high enough to prevent them from jumping over it. Three feet is typically a good height to keep rabbits out.

Rabbits may also try to dig under your new fencing. Be sure that your fence is buried six inches to keep this from happening.

Keeping out deer is another matter. A fence must be 10 to 12 feet high to properly keep deer from jumping over. This is unrealistic for many landscaping enthusiasts. However, there are a number of alternatives to fencing.

Repellent

There are a variety of sprays being made to deter rabbits and deer from nibbling at your beautiful landscape. These sprays typically have a bad odor and taste to protect your plants from becoming lunch for deer and rabbits.

Repellent sprays should be sprayed on and around your plants. Don’t be afraid to use a lot, and remember to spray the soil and objects all around your garden. Spraying your yard’s perimeter deters many animals from entering in the first place. Continue to spray every 3-4 weeks.

Many landscaping enthusiasts also use predator urine as a sort of natural repellent for deer and rabbits. Coyote urine will deter rabbits, while Mountain Lion urine is the preferred repellent for deer.

Plants

There are a number of plants that deer and rabbits detest.

Rabbits have strong noses and strongly dislike plants with strong scents. They particularly dislike earthy smells. Plants rabbits are known to dislike include, but are not limited to: lavender, sage, butterfly bush, artemesia, and columbine.

Deer dislike certain plants as well. They tend to stay away from trees such as blue spruces, common hackberry, and Douglas fir. Deer have also been found to dislike lavender, chokeberry, goldenrod, delphinium, and chocolate flower.

Conclusion

The perfect way to keep rabbits and deer out of your garden or yard is a combination of all of the above methods. It is important to protect your landscape throughout the upcoming summer. Check out Central Services’ other landscaping blogs to create your perfect summer garden!

Creating a Butterfly Garden

Now that Spring has come around, you may be interested in creating a butterfly garden. Butterfly gardens add beauty and brilliant color to your landscape, but they also do so much more than that.

Butterfly numbers have been dwindling in recent years. Creating a habitat for these creatures in your very own yard will help the species survive. Furthermore, it can be fun and fascinating to observe butterfly behavior and identify different types.  

Butterfly gardening is not as complicated as you may think. Simply choose a sunny location in your yard and plant caterpillar plants as well as plants that produce nectar for butterflies. Try to avoid using pesticides and herbicides, take care to moisturize your plants, provide shelter with trees and shrubs, and learn to identify caterpillars.

Choosing the Right Plants

When deciding on which plants to use in your new garden, choose ones that are good nectar sources.

Plant large sections of each type of flower. You want to have a large diversity of flowers that bloom at different times to attract the most butterflies to your yard. The butterflies will enjoy having a variety of nectar sources to choose from.

You should also include caterpillar food plants in your butterfly garden.

Butterflies lay eggs on food plants, and caterpillars will rely on the host plants for food. When you plant groups of each plant species, any caterpillar damage will be less noticeable.

Creating the Right Conditions

Be sure to provide shelter and resting spots in your butterfly garden. Trees and shrubs are great places for butterflies to roost overnight and escape predators and harsh weather conditions. Pick a sunny spot for your new garden, and include large flat rocks. Rocks provide butterflies with a place to warm themselves in the sun.

Keep your plants well moisturized. When you mulch beds with composted leaves or shredded bark, you reduce the need for constant watering. This also adds nutrients to your soil.

You should avoid using pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides kill butterflies, caterpillars, and many other beneficial insects. Herbicides wipe out dandelions, which are a great nectar source.

Fill a small, shallow container with sand and keep it moisturized. Butterflies will sip water and nutrients from here.

Finally, do your research! Once you identify the kinds of butterflies you have in your garden, you can read up on their preferences. Some butterflies prefer rotten fruit or sap to nectar. You can place a dish of rotten fruit out for these special cases.

In Conclusion

Butterfly gardens can be as rewarding as they are beautiful. Take the time this spring and summer to create a safe space for endangered species in the comfort of your own backyard!

Protecting Your Lawn from Snow and Ice

Springtime in Wisconsin tends to give us some pretty inconsistent weather, and it’s important that we continue to prepare and protect our lawn for those unforeseen snowfalls. Snow and ice can be dangerous to you and your landscape. Knowing how to manage their effects can help your landscape stay beautiful during the snow removal season. Here are some tips for protecting your lawn before a hard snowfall hits.

Do the following before a heavy snowfall:

Inspect Your Trees

When in doubt an arborist can help you determine if your tree is healthy. An arborist can determine whether your trees or branches have insect damage or are experiencing dieback. Dieback occurs when the branch begins to die from the tip to the base. Remove dead or diseased branches before the next winter storm to stop the spread of dieback.

Prune Your Trees

Winter is usually a good time to prune deciduous trees. This is because the leaves are gone, making the inspection of branches and tree structures much easier. Check for branches that will catch heavy loads of snow. This could result in the collapse or damage of your tree. You should refrain from pruning trees when the ground is frozen, as it will cause the tree to lose a lot of water and moisture.

Hydrate Your Plants

Even in the winter, evergreen plants can lose moisture through their leaves, so they need plenty of water. When plants are well-hydrated, they are more likely to survive a hard freeze. You can water your trees manually (a five-gallon bucket should be sufficient). You can also look for an anti-transpirant to guard your plants against moisture loss and protect your winter lawn from snow and ice. Simply spray it on the top and bottom of the leaves to create a wax-like protective layer.

Protect Your Plants

Cold winter winds can take the moisture out of your leaves. Before a hard freeze, consider wrapping your plants in burlap. The woven material allows air to pass in and out and eliminates the risk of creating a heat moisture trap. Once the cold spell is over, remove the burlap to prevent your plants from overheating.

Do the following after a heavy snowfall:

Don’t Shake Branches

This can be an additional risk to your plants and branches. Wait until everything has melted before assessing the damage caused by the snowfall.

Remove Branches When Appropriate

Remove any damaged wood when the snow and ice have melted. Make a clean cut on a broken branch or limb to prevent insects from inhabiting in your trees and plants.

Practice Caution with Your Equipment

When shoveling your driveway or walkway, be sure you don’t place snow on any plants or shrubs as it will only will damage them further. Exercise caution when using a chainsaw or snow blower in wintery conditions.

Protecting your winter lawn is easy when you consider these tips. The professionals at Central Services can help with all your lawn and landscaping needs.

Attract Pollinators With a Bee-Friendly Garden

Gardens are beautiful to look act and a great way to connect with nature. Gardens that are pollinator-friendly take this one step further, creating a place for bees, birds, and insects to thrive.

Bees are vital to our ecosystem and a garden that is bee-friendly benefits both the bees and the gardener. Bee-friendly gardens help prevent colony collapse disorder, which is the phenomenon that is leading to a rapid decline in honeybee populations. Research has found that areas with more gardens have larger and more diverse bee populations.

Bee-friendly gardens also attract predator insects. These predatory insects are valuable because they keep pest insects from harming your plants. This, in turn, helps increase the quantity and quality of your fruits and vegetables.

How To Create a Bee-Friendly Garden

To create your own bee-friendly garden, be sure to do the following:

 

 

  • Whatever you choose to plant, plant a lot of them. It is recommended that you have at least 3 x 3 feet of each plant species.

 

  • Avoid using pesticides. Pesticides kill bees. Use compost to help develop healthy soil. Healthy soil creates healthy plants.

 

  • Plan out what you plant. You want something blooming for as many months as possible. Native bees and honeybees need forage during the entire growing season.

 

  • Create a habitat for nesting. Seventy percent of native bees are ground nesting. Leave some soil bare for these bees. You can also put up bee nesting blocks for crevice nesting bees.

 

  • Provide a cover. Bees need a break from the sun and heat. Coleus is a great plant for bees to rest under between feedings and flying.

 

  • Place shallow dishes of water in and around your garden. If you have a fountain, place stones or rocks inside it that bees can sit on while they rehydrate. Bees need water just as much as we do.

 

  • Plant bee balm. Bee balm is a hardy perennial that looks beautiful while attracting various types of bees to your garden.

 

  • Keep color in mind. Bees love blue, purple, and yellow plants and flowers. Keep these colors in mind when planning out your garden.

 

  • Plant flowering fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, and apples are a great source of pollen for your garden visitors.

 

  • Be mindful of bees. If you have small children, teach them not to kill or swat at bees. If you are respectful of bees’ space, they will be respectful of yours.

 

The success of bee-friendly plants varies according to region, but some common choices that thrive in the Midwest include sunflowers, poppies, lavender, sages, and goldenrod. Having a bee-friendly garden is a great way to both give back to nature and have a prospering garden. For more information on how to create a bee-friendly garden, reach out to our team here.

5 Spring Landscaping Tips

Spring in Wisconsin is just around the corner, and you’re probably looking forward to bringing your yard back to life. Taking care of your spring landscaping early in the season is the best way to guarantee a beautiful and vibrant yard for many months to come. Consider the following factors when beginning your spring landscaping endeavors.

Shrubs and Trees

Examine your shrubs and trees for broken branches caused by heavy snow and strong winter winds. You can prune and remove these branches yourself or hire a specialist to do it for you. For shrubs that bloom in mid to late summer, you should prune in late winter or early spring. If you have shrubs that flower in the springtime, you’ll want to prune the branches once the flowers fade. Keep in mind that dead trees are not only unsightly, but can also be dangerous during a storm. If you are unsure, contact a professional to examine the tree.

Lawn Care

You should rake and thatch your yard in late winter or early spring for best results. Aerating your lawn will free up areas that have become compacted. Apply a light fertilizer to your lawn when doing your early spring landscaping. Seed in the areas that need it, and make sure your lawn is getting at least 1 inch of water per week.

Mulching

Mulch flower beds and tree bases during the early spring. Mulching helps your plants retain moisture and acts as an insulator for the roots in case the temperature drops. Apply an inch or two of mulch, but never more than 3 inches in any one spot. Mulch comes in a variety of colors and textures, and you’ll be want to sure you choose one that compliments your landscape.

Plants

You’ll want to choose plants that are compatible with your soil. The soil acidity, nutrients, and soil makeup will determine how well a plant will do in your yard. Consider whether a plant needs direct sunlight or shade in order to thrive, and make your choices accordingly. When in doubt, contact a nursery professional or professional landscaper. Pick colors that compliment your home and landscape.

Maintenance

Examine your lawnmower and determine the condition it is in before using it on your lawn. You should replace spark plugs, sharpen the blades, and make sure the oil is changed. Storing your lawnmower properly during the winter will make all the difference. Something as seemingly trivial as dull lawnmower blades can actually tear your grass instead of cutting it, which can lead to fungal growth. Furthermore, you should inspect your sprinkler system for any damage before turning it on for the season.

Taking care of your spring landscaping at the beginning of the season is key to achieving a stunning yard all season long. The team at Central Services is happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have about your own Wisconsin spring landscaping.

When To Grow and Remove Trees

When good weather comes back around, you may find yourself needing to remove trees. They may appear small and lacking the fullness of leaves. There are ways to grow strong and healthy trees, but sometimes they cannot be saved and will need to be removed. Here are a few tips and tricks that will make you feel like a horticulture expert in no time.

Making Trees Grow Faster

Once you plant a new tree, you’ll need to remember the following to keep it growing healthy and strong:

Don’t Hit Your Trees

Trees are living organisms, and any time the bark of a tree is injured it can be detrimental to that tree’s overall health. While it may seem a minor error, any time you accidentally knock your tree with your lawn mower, edger, or weed whacker, open wounds are created. These open wounds are vulnerable to infectious pathogens that can really harm your tree.

Give Your Trees Space

When you’re planting your tree, make sure you dig out at least three feet away from the trunk. This is important because it ensures that any neighboring plants can’t steal essential nutrients from the tree roots.

Create a Healthy Root System

Trees need healthy root systems in order to pull nutrients and water from the soil. You want to make sure you have good soil to provide these nutrients. If the dirt around your tree is hard or of poor quality, take time to loosen it up and mix in compost, mulched leaves, or even coffee grounds.

Identifying Dead Trees

You might not be sure yet whether your tree is dead or dying. The following tests can help you determine the state of your tree:

  • Bend Test: Bend a few of the small branches on the tree. If the branches snap quickly without first bending, the branches are dead.
  • Scratch Test: Scratch off a little section of the outer layer of bark on the trunk of the tree. There should be a green layer underneath if the tree is still alive. If it is brown and dry, the tree is dead.
  • Trunk Damage: When trees age, the bark should replenish itself. New layers of bark should continuously replace the old layers. If the trunk of your tree has layers with no bark, your tree might be dead or dying.
  • Fungus: If your tree has fungus growing on the trunk, this may be a sign of internal rot.

 

Removing dead trees is important because, if your tree is dying or dead, it is more likely to fall over during a storm or in strong wind conditions. If your tree is rather large, it can cause extensive damage to the area around it. The team at Central Services is happy to help you with any issues you may have with your trees and provide you with advice and assistance. Check out our article on planting new trees to replace any that you have lost.

 

 

Summer Pest Control

With the beauty of Wisconsin summer comes the unfortunate reality of summer pests such as mosquitos and ticks. Our great state boasts many miles of gorgeous landscape, and Wisconsin homeowners work hard to capture that beauty in their own backyard with beautiful landscaping, trees and shrubs, and lush foliage. No one wants to be forced inside by an infestation of annoying and potentially health-damaging insects. That’s why Central Services is proud to offer effective and safe Mosquito and Tick Control in the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas.

In order to have an outdoor living environment that is relatively free of mosquitos and ticks, there are many things you can do to inhibit their ability to thrive and multiply, as well as countless products designed to be a shortcut to effective pest control. At Central Services, we believe the best summer pest control results from adhering to the following prevention techniques to reduce the likelihood of infestation, combined with our Mosquito and Tick Control Services, which will eliminate the pests that make it past your control efforts. Read on to learn more about preventative protection from annoying summer pests.

When it comes to mosquitoes, the most important thing you can do is to eliminate their preferred breeding grounds. Keep your gutters clean, and eliminate standing water from birdbaths, playground equipment, wheelbarrows, and swimming pool covers. Clear away ivy and decaying leaves as well, which will give the mosquitoes far less opportunity to lay eggs and hatch a new bunch of pests.

Also, if you’re still using traditional incandescent outdoor light bulbs, your pest control efforts may be a good excuse to upgrade to either LED bulbs or yellow-tinted bulbs. These types of bulbs are much less attractive to mosquitoes, and highly effective at keeping them at bay during the evening and nighttime hours.

Ticks love tall grass and lots of shade, so keep your lawn mowed, remove leaves and other debris, and try to let as much sun into your yard as possible. Consider building a fence around your property to keep out deer and other large animals that can carry ticks. And don’t forget to check your pets for ticks after they have been romping outside.

If you exercise these tips and techniques for pest prevention, you’re sure to have considerably less of a problem with pests in your yard. However, even these techniques are no match for Mother Nature, and the prevalence of these pests in our state. Once you’ve eliminated or greatly reduced the pests’ opportunities to nest in your yard, finish the job with Central Service’s Mosquito and Tick Control Service. Our safe and effective methods virtually eliminate the remaining pests from your yard and give you a comfortable and pest-free outdoor living environment for approximately 4 weeks.

Contact us Today!

Central Services are your local experts in landscape design, not to mention grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

Crabgrass Control

Crabgrass can be any homeowner’s nightmare. It can grow at an alarming rate, even in dry, hot seasons, and take over a once beautiful lawn. Crabgrass is unsightly and most noticeable because it grows at a faster rate and makes the lawn look uneven.  There are chemicals that help eliminate crabgrass once it is established without hurting the  lawn but the best way to control it, is to prevent it.

Crabgrass is an upright weed that can be mat forming and often has purple stems.

Crabgrass is an upright weed that can be mat forming and when mature it often has purple stems.

In Wisconsin Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed, meaning it has a life of less than a year. The first hard frost of the year will kill off the weeds; however one crabgrass weed can distribute thousands of seed which will be ready to germinate in the spring. Crabgrass germinates when the soil temps are greater than 55°F for a consecutive 7-10 days and it will continue to germinate in soil temperatures up to 95°F. The best way to control it is by applying a professional grade pre-emergent herbicide before it germinates. In our area it is typically most effective if it is applied in April to mid-May however, in a seasonably cold or hot spring it can alter the best timing of this application.

Central Services takes in account all the variable of the season to time the crucial period of when to apply this pre-emergent. Applications of the professional pre-emergent used will not only help prevent crabgrass and other annual grassy weeds, it will promote a healthy, dense, lawn. Our specialists can implement the best program for your lawn to help control weeds. We will come out and evaluate your lawn and recommend the best program.  Contact us today and talk to a certified and licensed professional about managing your lawn.

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