734-213-6911 | 4100 S. Maple Road Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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  1. During the winter months in Ann Arbor MI, a home’s patio could be covered with ice and snow. This is a way for patio damage to develop . Winter is the time of year when the most problems with a patio can occur. The variations of temperature and moisture create very bad conditions. When a patio owner performs the right maintenance, it possible for most winter damage to be avoided or repaired before it gets bad.

    Clean Patioist2_348151_shoveling_snow
    Prior to the arrival of winter, it’s important to give a patio a complete cleaning. Ground-in dirt and food stains can harm a patio’s appearance. It can also contribute to possible winter damage if left on the patio. If trees are located near a patio, their fallen leaves need to be removed along with any type of debris. The last step is to wash the patio with a hose and a high-powered nozzle. Use a bleach-free cleaning solution to make certain the surface is clear.

    Clearing Snow and Ice
    An important aspect of maintaining a patio during the winter is making certain it’s clear of ice and snow. This may not seem important, but doing it can save a patio from being damaged during the winter. Many patios are brick, stone or concrete. Snow and ice have the ability to crack boulders. It’s easy to understand what they can do to a patio. The damage is caused by a cycle of freezing and thawing. Expansion of ice will cause even the smallest cracks in a patio to grow. Removing snow from a patio during the winter can help avoid this problem.

    Clearing Tools
    When clearing off a patio in Ann Arbor MI, shovels with a metal edged blade should not be used. They could easily scrape or chip a patio. It is important to use a plastic snow shovel or a metal shovel with a rubber edge. Check with a professional about patio maintenance before using salt or any kind of chemical de-icer. It may not work well with certain patio compositions. Salt and chemical de-icers can damage concrete and many different kinds of stone. If it’s not possible to use these items, cat litter or sand can be put down to provide traction when walking on the patio.

    In many cases, sealing a patio may not be necessary. Doing this does provide a layer of protection from the snow and ice during winter months. There are professionals who recommend sealing and others who do not. It’s important to speak with them first and find out their advice about patio maintenance. This is something that needs to be done in the fall. Sealing a patio could help prevent winter issues from developing.

    Patio Checkup
    After the ice and snow are removed from a patio, it will be easy to notice any changes in its condition. It’s important to check and make certain a patio is still level and does not have spots that are cracked or broken. Winter freezing and thawing will also impact the ground beneath and around a patio. It may cause the earth to shift. This is a slow and gradual process. When something small is detected in the winter, and immediately fixed, a lot of future problems can be avoided.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  2. Soil erosion is not just a menace during warm weather. As temperatures dip, snowstorms can blow away unprotected soil. After spending time and money tilling your garden, the last thing you want is all that to be eroded by harsh winter weather. Soil loss compromises gardens making them susceptible to further damage. To combat these adverse in effects in Ann Arbor MI, you can be proactive by planting grasses. Here are some of the cool season grasses that can help beat winter erosion.

    Rye Grass

    Professional landscapers recommend rye grass (Lolium multiflorum) for soil stabilization. Rye is an annual grass that is also very hardy. It can be used to spruce up other plants that go dormant during winter. It grows fast and will rapidly and firmly anchor the soil, therefore preserving the integrity of the garden.

    Cereal Grains

    Cereal grains include annual cereal rye, oats and barley. These are good plants for soil stabilization. You can choose to plant any of them on their own, or plant them alongside legumes and other grains. Cereal rye (Secale cereale) is also known as winter rye. It ranks among the best grains to use as a winter annual cover crop. It is popular because it is able to germinate under lower soil temperatures, unlike most grains and grasses. Cereal rye should be planted in September through to October in northern climates. For southern climates it can be planted in late October.

    Ornamental GrassesHiding Underground Power Line Boxes With Giant Ornamental Grasse

    Ornamental grasses are clump-forming grasses that help to hold the soil in place during harsh weather. Their seed heads and foliage have a texture that is useful in preventing erosion. In winter months, these grasses go dormant. However, their strong fibrous root systems work to hold the soil in place preventing harsh winter erosion. They can be planted alongside other crops in your garden. To get the best out of these grasses, go for the native species. These include, blue switch grass (“heavy metal”) and northern sea oats. Sea oats are good because they self-seed freely. This provides a natural swath for areas that experience heavy winter erosion.

    Ground Covers

    Ground covers include grasses and other ground-creeping crops. Ground covers can be planted just before winter. They help to control erosion while at the same time adding nutrients into the soil. A common example is the crimson clover. This cover crop can be planted during fall. Its advantage is that it grows quickly and forms a mat that acts as good soil stabilization crop. The cowpea (vigns unguiculata), is another hardy cover crop. It is grown in areas that experience harsh erosion. These two cover crops are legumes and they also add nitrogen to the soil.

    When you decide to get a cover crop, consider other secondary needs such as adding nutrients to the soil or even aesthetics. If you can find a crop that serves other purposes beyond soil erosion, this would be a better choice. Winter erosion prevention in Ann Arbor MI, preserves the integrity of the soil and saves you from having to buy fertilizers to boost the soil’s nutrients.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  3. Lighting_largeOutdoor lighting is commonly installed to dress up a property’s curb appeal, and it also can enhance security by lighting up darkened or shadowy areas of the yard at night. There are a wide range of exterior lighting solutions that include spotlights, accent lighting and more, and these are only effective at doing their job when they are not blocked in any way. However, during the colder months of the year, snow and ice can pile up in the Ann Arbor MI area, and this precipitation can keep the lights covered up for many days or even weeks on end in some cases.

    Clearing Away the Snow and Ice
    When snow and ice begin to accumulate in your yard, you understandably need to remove it. It can impact the condition of your home, cause flooding when it melts and block the light from your outdoor lighting features. Because the lights are blocked, the front of your home may be dark, and accidents from slips and tripping can occur. In addition, the security of your home may be impaired until the lighting is restored. Clearing away snow and ice is necessary after each snow storm or ice storm that blows through the area, so this is an ongoing process throughout the winter months.

    The Easy Solution for Snow Removal
    While you could remove the snow and ice from your property on a regular basis throughout the winter months on your own, there may be an easier solution available. Through your Ann Arbor MI landscaping firm, you can schedule snow removal service throughout the winter season, and you can rest assured that the precipitation will be removed from regularly from the areas around the lights as well as throughout the rest of the yard. This is a true benefit for the security of your property as well as for the safety of those who walk across the yard.

    Other Winter Landscaping Services for Your Home
    Snow removal is not the only winter service that your Ann Arbor MI landscaping firm can provide for you. For example, you may also have a sprinkler system that you use throughout the summer months to water your lawn and gardens with ease. Your landscaping firm may provide a winterization service for your sprinkler system. Raking leaves in the fall and rejuvenating the lawn in the spring are other related services that your firm may provide to you during the off-season from fall to spring each year.

    Lighting up your exterior is beneficial throughout the year, but snow and ice can easily cover up your spotlights, accent lighting and other outdoor lighting features during the winter months. Removing the snow with professional snow removal service is an easy way to continue to enjoy the benefits that your lights provide, and it also can make your outdoor space safer for others who visit your property. Contact your local landscaping firm for more information about regular snow removal service and other types of winter services that could benefit you.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  4. Cracked FoundationDuring the winter, homeowners tend to focus on interior repairs and problems, like refinishing a basement or updating the electrical system. However, it is important to keep an eye on your home’s foundation when the weather turns cold to check for damage that requires immediate attention. Here are several potential problems to look for.

    Freezing Temperatures

    When the thermometer dips into sub-freezing or below-zero temperatures, you will want to check the foundation for signs of cracks. These may be hard to see if they are small, or they might show up immediately. Horizontal cracks are of special concern, as they may indicate pressure that is damaging the foundation to the point where expensive repairs may be needed.


    Heavy rain or a buildup of snow against your home’s foundation can begin to erode the structure. Extensive moisture can also lead to a freeze-and-thaw pattern. This may sometimes lead to moisture wearing into the foundation or leaching into small nooks and crevices to cause more substantial damage. Check areas of your home’s foundation where rain typically directly impacts the masonry or where snow piles up for days at a time.


    Although rodents and insects do not burrow directly into concrete or brick structural foundations of a building, they can find small crevices or spaces where they enter the home and damage surrounding areas. This is especially true of termites. In turn, over time, significant infestation may damage concrete foundation structures indirectly, leading to costly repairs.


    Although wind erosion and damage tend to be gradual, depending on a home’s location and exposure, high wind damage may contribute to wear and tear on the masonry. Strong winds can also force large objects like patio furniture and heavy equipment against the foundation, causing minor damage that eventually may lead to treatable issues, especially in conjunction with other sources of masonry disintegration. If your home’s foundation is subject to high wind damage, check periodically for signs that repairs may soon be needed.

    Soil and Roof Drainage

    Inspect your foundation routinely for signs of moisture drainage or buildup. Check the roof and downspouts to be sure no water trickles are wearing on a portion of the foundation. Homeowners should also examine the outdoor landscape near the home’s foundation to look for pooling of moisture after heavy rain or snow, or temporary lawn flooding, which can creep into the foundation and damage it. Sitting water near or at the home’s foundation may sift into the soil to create damp conditions that could impact the foundation.

    If you are concerned about the need for possible foundation repair in Ann Arbor MI, take a close look at your foundation and note any questions or suspicions you might have. Contact a reputable foundation repair specialist in the area before problems expand and become more difficult to manage. By maintaining your Ann Arbor MI home’s foundation on a regular basis, you can help to ensure the house will remain a safe and comfortable dwelling for many years to come.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  5. bigstock-Ice-on-roof-and-gutters-52324966Integrating storm water management features into a residential landscape is a great way to avoid erosion, protect the home from water damage, and keep nearby waterways clean. The trouble is that these additions are mainly premised on utilizing liquid water, and in the Ann Arbor MI area, outdoor water isn’t liquid for part of the year. To contend with this exception to the rule, certain modifications can be built into storm water control elements that combine with special practices to ensure the desired goals are achieved throughout the year.

    Snow Threats
    When rain turns to ice and snow, it can thwart the functioning of various stormwater control systems through the following means.

    *Freezing porous surfaces
    *Water turning to ice
    *Accumulating snow in piles and drifts
    *Concentrating pollutants

    One or more of these problems can interfere with any of the typical water management practices used by the average homeowner. Here are some useful ways to overcome these difficulties.

    Trapping the Snow
    Shrubbery and tall grasses not only help impede rain runoff from reaching storm drains in warmer weather, they also trap blowing snow that can pile up around the foundation of the house. In the process, they allow it to soak into the ground whenever a warm spell permits melting. The key here is not to trim them back in the fall.

    Deposit Areas
    Rain gardens, swales, dry wells, and similar landscape features can serve as holding areas for excess snow and ice removed from the driveway. To work in the context of winter, they need to be established adjacent to the pavement. If the snow is moved to sloping ground, it will flow off during any mid-winter thaw periods since frozen soil warms slowly in the early spring.

    Chemical Control
    Of course, even without such landforms, an important winter storm water management practice is to use non-polluting snow melting chemicals like calcium magnesium acetate instead of road salt. Even better, avoid chemicals altogether by clearing the snow manually before it’s compressed into ice. Since dumping snow in a swale concentrates any melting agents in a relatively small spot, pollution-neutralizing plants like alpine pennycrest and sunflowers can be added that can help neutralize any pollutants in the melting snow. Other plants like helleborus or eryngium can tolerate a certain amount of salt.

    Rain Barrels
    One popular and compact control device for dealing with runoff is the rain barrel. This is piece of storm water management equipment that just isn’t designed for winter around the Ann Arbor MI region. It’s possible for snow on the roof to melt now and then during the winter and flow through the downspouts to a connected rain barrel. If enough of this water accumulates, it can re-freeze and expand. This is bad news for the barrel. When the cold temperatures settle in, it’s time to disconnect them and cover them to keep out damaging snow. A trough that redirects any water towards a collection spot in the yard should take the rain barrel’s place.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  6. Summers in Ann Arbor MI can be warm and even scorching hot on some days, and you mlawn-sprinkler-irrigation-systemay find it difficult to get your yard all of the water it needs to thrive without the functional use of your irrigation system. While you may use your watering system frequently throughout the summer, you may need to winterize it during the cold months of the year to prevent damage to it.

    What Happens to Your Sprinkler System in Cold Weather
    In Ann Arbor MI, the temperature often will drop well below freezing for many long hours or even days in some cases. While the ground may insulate the pipes in your sprinkler system for brief or light freezes, the temperature of the soil can easily drop below freezing during extreme weather situations. During a cold spell:

    • The water in the pipes may freeze
    • The water will expand when it freezes
    • The frozen water exerts outward pressure on the pipes
    • The pipes may rupture

    This can cause expensive water waste and the need for repair bills for your irrigation system in the spring. Winterization is a better idea than dealing with busted pipes in your sprinkler system once the temperature warms up.

    How Winterization Helps Your System
    Winterizing the pipes in your sprinkler system is a step that your landscaping or irrigation system service provider can complete for you. It involves draining all of the water in the pipes out of the system and the sprinkler heads. In some cases, the pipes will remain empty, but some service providers will run a special anti-freezing agent into the pipes to further prevent damage to the system. You can discuss the method that will be used with your system during a conversation with your service provider, and you may request a specific method.

    When to Complete Spring Start-Up Service
    After the risk of a freeze has passed and the temperatures are warming up, you may be ready to turn on your sprinkler system again for the first time of the season. Your landscaping firm or other system service provider may help you to prepare your system for use throughout the summer months by completing a spring start-up service. During this process, any agents that were used to prevent freezing in the pipes will be removed and fresh water will be restored to the pipes. After this service is completed, you will be able to restore the full function of the system so that you can water your lawn as desired.

    A sprinkler system is a true benefit to your Ann Arbor MI home, and you may love the benefits it provides. For example, it saves time and energy manually watering the yard, and it distributes water evenly throughout your space for the health of your lawn and other vegetation. If you want to keep your sprinkler system in the best shape possible over the cold, icy winter months, winterization service from your landscaping firm is a smart idea.

    Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  7. Property Manager Testimonial

    I have worked in the Condominium Management industry for more than twenty years, and I have worked with dozens of different landscape firms throughout that time.  I found Twin Oaks to be one of the best in the industry.  They are prompt and thorough when it comes to communication and response time, and they provide exceptional service, increase property values and provide managers piece of mind when it comes to following through.  I highly recommend them to anyone looking for more than just cost when it comes to landscape firms.

    Mariah Sroka, CMCA, AMS, PCAM

    Community Manager

  8. Like the rest of the state, Ann Arbor MI experiences harsh winters. It can snow anytime between November and April, although some years have seen snowfall in October. Ann Arbor MI typically gets 58 inches of snow in the winter. January is the coldest month, with an average daily temperature of 24.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Given such brutal conditions, just about any tree, especially a young or non-native tree, will need some kind of protection. A snowstorm that dumps several feet of snow within a few hours is bad news for any tree, especially if wind is also involved. Ice makes twigs and branches extremely fragile, so the recommended tree maintenance is to provide support for them. Trying to remove the ice would actually make the branches and twigs more likely to break.

    Some types of trees are more vulnerable to particular winter hazards. Among them are the following:

    Fruit trees
    Fruit trees and exotic trees are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. Temperatures around or below zero can kill buds, twigs and branches of such trees. The best tree maintenance in this case is prevention. Damage caused by intense cold is not reversible. One way to prevent such damage is to ensure the tree has gotten plenty of water, mulch and fertilizer during the growing season so it will be strong and healthy by the time winter comes.

    EvergreensSpruce Tree Isolated On White Background
    Evergreens are especially susceptible to desiccation injuries. Winter winds can strip moisture from leaves and needles. If the soil is also frozen and there is no water, the tree can’t replace the moisture and eventually becomes dehydrated. A desiccated conifer’s needles will eventually turn purple, brown or yellow. If a broad-leafed evergreen like a holly or boxwood gets desiccated, their leaves will curl and turn brown or tan at the margins. Again, prevention is key. Evergreens should either be planted in a protected area or wrapped in burlap or canvas. They should also be mulched and watered.

    Some evergreens are also very sensitive to the salt used to melt snow on roads. Scots, red, and white pine are very susceptible to the foliage burn salt can cause. (Some deciduous trees like oak and sugar maple are also vulnerable to salt.) Again, trees should be protected in some fashion. In the spring, trees need to be washed to get rid of accumulated salts.

    Deciduous trees
    Deciduous trees are vulnerable to a condition called “frost crack” that is caused by the fluctuating temperatures of a winter day. On a sunny winter day, the south side of a tree will be warmed and the tissues will consequently expand. The temperature drops rapidly at night, and the bark will contract more quickly than the wood beneath it. The bark therefore splits. Overtime, the repeated fluctuations in the temperature causes the trunk to split open. Although the split generally heals in the spring, the tree is still vulnerable to fungi and decay. There are a number of ways to protect the tree ranging from barriers that deflect the sun away from the tree’s south side to trunk protection like whitewash or burlap.

    If you want to keep your trees healthy this winter then call Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

  9. Perennials are a beautiful addition to any property for plants that enhance the appeal of the space and incorporate added color to the yard throughout the year. Unfortunately, the perennials can be destroyed in the winter season due to harsh weather conditions where they’re prone to wilting. To protect your perennials this winter in Ann Arbor MI, there are a few important steps to take to ensure that they survive the cold season.

    Spider Plant1. Move or Divide the Perennials

    You can move your perennials to a safer area that has more shelter during the fall season, which will allow them to become more established and planted once winter arrives. Divide the plants when they are not in bloom for an effective way of replanting them. It’s important to group plants that have similar water requirements. Plant supports can also be placed early on in the season before the perennials grow to be too large.

    2. Cut the Plant Back

    Serious wilting is known to occur with perennials during the winter season but can be avoided by cutting the foliage by at least half. Cut back the dry stems to soil level to remove disease spores and pest eggs that may linger after frost for too long. You can leave the stems that have attractive seed heads. Diseased foliage from evergreen plants and shrubs should also be discarded before raking up mulch that has diseases.

    3. Add Organic Material

    One of the most effective steps to take for perennial care in the winter is to add organic material as winter mulch after the ground freezes and has become solid. It’s important to add a six inch layer of the organic material, which will prevent rodents from nesting in the soil during the winter months. The organic material will then need to be replaced again after several nights of above-freezing temperatures. You can then add the mulch to the compost pile.

    4. Compost Dead Plant Debris

    You can create an organic soil conditioner by composting dead plant debris for proper perennial care during the winer season. Hot, active piles will work well at killing weed seeds and disease pathogens. This will protect the plants for several months and will allow them to continue thriving in the spring season.Buttercup Flowers

    5. Lightly Fertilize the Plants

    You can protect the perennials by fertilizing them with low-nitrogen high-phosphorus fertilizer. Most perennials do not require heavy fertilizing after the winter season in Ann Arbor MI, but light fertilizing will help. You can apply this with a single application in the spring season once the weather becomes warmer.

    Winterizing your perennials is a simple and straightforward process if the right steps taken to protect the plants. It’ll be easier to winterize the perennials during the season if you take small steps throughout the year to carefully prep them. Although it may require a bit of work, you won’t need to provide further care for the next few months.