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

Latest Posts

  1. Compost for Ann Arbor

    For 2015, seasonal compost collection began Monday, March 30 through Friday, Dec. 4​, with weekly pickups. Apples

    Acceptable compostable materials include the following:

    • Plate scrapings (including meat and bones), fruits, vegetables​ and other food waste*
    • ​Bamboo dinnerware*
    • Grass clippings*
    • ​Properly​-contained leaves
    • Garden pruning’s, crab apples, garden surplus, etc.
    • Unpainted, untreated lumber (cart lid must close)
    • Brush
    • Weeds
    • Undecorated and cut up Christmas trees
    • Halloween pumpkins
    • ​Tree branches up to 6 inches in diameter

    *These items are only accepted in compost carts in order to avoid attracting wildlife, or creating odors and unsafe conditions of wet, overweight, broken bags at the curb. Items placed in compost carts do not need to be bagged or bundled.​

    Unacceptable compostable materials

    Do not place the following items in compost carts or paper yard waste bags:

    • Refuse
    • Sawdust​
    • Rocks, stones or gravel
    • Branches over 6 inches in diameter or over 4 feet in length
    • Painted wood
    • Treated lumber
    • Plastic bags or containers
    • Kitty litter or dog droppings
    • Diapers​

    SOURCE:  http://www.a2gov.org/departments/field-operations/trash-recycling/Pages/Compost.aspx

     

     

  2. Autumn Joy

    Even with busy back to school activities, visits to the cider mills, Michigan football games, and even the youth soccer season, we do notice that our Michigan trees are starting to change color, and the leaves turn magnificent colors that are breathtaking. Though, it’s the dreaded chore of raking up the leaves from the lawn that often dishearten the season.

    While the leaves that fall within our forests grounds slowly decay, they offer the return of vital nutrients to the earth. But, leaves left on the sidewalGirl Hanging From A Treeks and driveways become a slippery and unsightly mess, but worse yet, when left on lawns, these downed leaves can smother your lawn. In fact, fallen leaves create a barrier over the lawn, trapping moisture, inhibiting sunlight and harboring insects and diseases that can kill patches of even the healthiest lawns. Sometimes Mother Nature lends a helping hand by blowing a sweeping breeze that carries your leaves over to the neighbor’s yard. But beware: That same breeze is probably blowing more leaves onto your lawn, too.

    If raking your entire yard several times this fall seems like a daunting task, hire a contractor, or break up the tasks, doing portions at a time.

    Mulching Technique for Leaf Removal Using a Riding Lawn Mower

    If you’ve got a large yard and you use a riding lawn mower, try leaf mulching. It’s easy: Just mow over the leaves. The mower chops them up and returns the smaller leaf pieces to the lawn. (If you’ve got some spots with a lot of leaves, you might need to make two passes to get finer leaf pieces that’ll decay faster into your lawn.) University research shows that leaf mulching with a mower doesn’t negatively affect turf performance, and it sure is a time-efficient way to get rid of those leaves!

    But before you jump on your mower, here are a few tips:

    • Mow the leaves when they’re dry.
    • Survey the lawn for any sticks, branches or small tree limbs that may have fallen. Mowing over these can dull your blades and create dangerous projectiles.
    • Consider wearing a mask and safety glasses to protect your eyes and avoid breathing in the fair amount of dust that can come from chopping up dry leaves.
    • Bag your mulched leaves and use them for compost. (The smaller leaf pieces simply speed up the decomposition process.)

    Maintaining a leaf-free yard this fall can help assure a healthy lawn come spring, and it provides a wealth of composting material to further your garden’s wellbeing. It may be disheartening to go out the next day only to find your yard littered with more leaves. But soon enough the task will be behind us all, as the bare trees dot the coming winter landscape – giving us plenty of time to prepare for all the gardening fun come spring!

  3. Ottawa County residents have an alert arborist to thank for the discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid, which triggered response efforts by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help protect the state’s hemlock trees and other natural resources.

    The infestation was discovered in June by an alert arborist working in Park Township who reported his suspicion to MDARD. Samples were sent to a United States Department of Agriculture insect identifier who confirmed the insect as HWA.  MDARD immediately initiated a survey of hemlock trees within a mile of the positivBoxwoode site and during that survey two more positive locations were discovered. Impacted property owners have been notified and the known infested trees are being treated. MDARD is currently working with its state and federal partners on a comprehensive response plan.

    HWA is a small, aphid-like insect that uses its long siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees.  Native to eastern Asia, HWA was discovered in Virginia in 1951 and has since spread over an area from Georgia to Maine, decimating hemlock stands across much of the eastern U.S. HWA will cause widespread tree mortality and move to other areas if left untreated.

    “Michigan is home to more than 100 million hemlock trees which provide valuable habitat for various animals including birds, deer and fish. These trees are critical to the ecology and aesthetics of Michigan’s northern forests,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “This discovery underscores the importance of citizen involvement in exotic pest detection.  Without the report from an alert individual, it may have gone unnoticed for months, or even years, making management of this devastating pest much more difficult.”

    The area of concern is described as all portions of Park Township in Ottawa County north of Lake Macatawa. It’s bounded by New Holland Street to the north, Division Avenue/144th Avenue to the east, Lake Macatawa to the south and Lake Michigan to the west. People who live, work and play in the area of concern should be aware that HWA can be very difficult to detect at low population levels because the insect is so small.  The movement of hemlock materials (trees, branches and twigs) could spread HWA.  At this time, hemlock materials should not be removed from properties within the area of concern.  It’s recommended no hemlock trees be brought into the area of concern as they run the risk of becoming infested. Also, because birds move HWA, people in the area of concern should remove any bird feeders from hemlock trees.

    The origin of these infestations is not known. Work is being conducted by MDARD in an effort to identify the source of the infestation. So far, no clear source has been found, but a likely source is hemlock nursery stock moved into Michigan from infested areas outside of the state either prior to MDARD’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine implemented in 2002, or in violation of the quarantine. There are no known established populations of HWA anywhere else in Michigan.

    “Nursery operators, landscapers and homeowners should never accept hemlock from quarantined areas, and never accept hemlock without proper certification,” said Alessandri. “Examine your hemlock for the presence of white, cottony masses on the underside of the branches where the needles attach.  If you suspect HWA, contact MDARD immediately.”

    Michigan law restricts the movement of hemlock into the state, and includes a complete ban of movement of hemlock into the state from infested areas.

     

    SOURCE:  MNLA 2015

  4. Hey Chris,balloon

    I just wanted to let you know that Marcie liked the new beer you turned me on too, thanks!  Also just to reiterate, Marcie and I are are completely and totally satisfied with the way that our landscaping project turned out.  Fred and his guy’s were very professional and knowledgeable and polite. They kept all the supplies neat and organized through out the process and kept me and my family informed every step of the way.  They meet or exceeded all our expectations on every step of the process, even with the extra difficult weed removal they pushed through and gave us the perfect results. Just as last time your team made it a easy and enjoyable landscape experience, and that’s why you earned our repeat business!

    Thanks,

    Scott & Marcie M.

    Dexter, MI

  5. Automatic sprinklers watering grassYour home’s sprinkler system is responsible for helping your lawn look its absolute best. During the cold winter months in Michigan, many sprinkler systems are put through a lot of harsh temperatures and weather before the springtime arrives. Once the spring arrives and you haven’t properly protected your home’s sprinklers, you might find that you have to replace pipes or the entire system altogether. There are several ways and methods for you to protect your sprinkler system this winter.

    Helpful Tips on Protecting Your Home’s Sprinkler System
    Protecting the sprinkler system is the first step in preventing any major problems from happening to it over time. If you do not properly protect the system before and during the winter, the pipes could freeze underground or in the system itself, causing the entire system to need major repairs once the
    thaw comes along. Here are just some tips on how to protect your home’s sprinklers from freezing damage.

    1. Make Sure the Timer is Off
    The timer on the sprinkler system should be turned off before the winter hits your area. If the timer is never turned off, you will find that the sprinkler system tries to kick on and run water every single day, and this can cause a number of freezing problems within the pipes in no time at all.

    2. Turn off the Water Valve to the System
    It is not a good idea to consistently run the sprinklers throughout the winter. Keep in mind that your lawn is going to go into its dormant stage during the colder months of the year, so watering is either not required as often or at all to keep the lawn looking good. You are also going to want to avoid letting water run through the pipelines to the system because this can cause an underground freeze. Most sprinkler system pipes are dug a lot shallower than what you’d find for a home.

    3. Drain Water from the Pipes
    Even if you turn off the sprinkler system, water is still going to be found within the pipes. You should always drain and blow the pipes of any remaining water before the winter hits home. You can do this by blowing air through the line until there is no more water present.

    Keeping your home’s sprinkler system running well all spring and summer long is essential to keeping a gorgeous lawn. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not know how to properly protect their home system before wintertime hits, and so the entire system freezes and then thaws, creating massive underground pipe bursts and issues with the sprinklers themselves. When you protect and prepare the system for the upcoming winter, you’re doing something that is seriously going to benefit you for the entire year. It is important that you prepare for this winter task well before the freeze hits your area, since you want the lines to be cleared of water before they can actually freeze.

    Keep your lawn looking beautiful with maintenance services from Twin Oaks Landscape.

    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. Labor Day Michigan

    Floral FlagLabor Day weekend celebrations in Michigan include a lineup of art fairs, live concerts and community celebrations that honor ethnic traditions. Michigan’s European roots lay the foundation for events that celebrate Polish culture, and also honor medieval traditions. While most of the carnivals in Michigan take place over the winter season, a few Labor Day events feature carnival rides and offer a street fair atmosphere with old-fashioned amusement rides.

    Arts, Beats and Eats

    The Arts, Beats and Eats festival features approximately 150 musical acts, plus 150 artist booths and 45 food booths from local restaurants. More than 225,000 visitors attended this Labor Day festival in 2009. The event celebrates local and regional artists and raise money for local charities. Past musical performers have included Brian McKnight, The B52’s, Rick Braun and Martina McBride.
    Arts, Beats and Eats 17 Water St. Pontiac, MI 48342 248-334-4600 artsbeatseats.com

    Detroit International Jazz Festival

    The Detroit International Jazz Festival is a Labor Day weekend tradition held along the Detroit River. Since 1980, the festival has showcased world-class entertainment with a lineup of jazz, gospel, blues and R&B artists from around the world. Attendees can enjoy a weekend jam session, educational workshops and presentations in the Jazz Talk Tent, and watch a fireworks show over the river each night. The Detroit International Jazz Festival is free for all attendees.
    Detroit International Jazz Festival 660 Woodward Ave., Suite 13 Detroit, MI 48226 313-447-1248 detroitjazzfest.com

    Michigan Renaissance Festival

    The Michigan Renaissance Festival starts in August and runs through October, and attracts approximately 250,000 people each year. Labor Day festivities include stage acts by dance ensembles and theater performers, with live music, an arts and crafts showcase, beer tastings and competition, and jousting matches. Attendees can explore a 17-acre village with reproductions of Renaissance-era buildings and see hundreds of juried art displays throughout the course of the event.
    Michigan Renaissance Festival 12600 Dixie Highway Holly, MI 48442-8416 248-634-5552 michrenfest.com

    Michigan Peach Festival

    The Michigan Peach Festival starts on the Thursday before Labor Day and is held in the village of Romeo, approximately 20 miles northeast of Troy, Michigan. Festival highlights include a car show, floral parade, 5K run and the crowning of the Peach Queen. Attendees can enjoy carnival rides, visit food tents serving deep-fried peach pie and cake, sample beers from around the world, and enjoy live music and entertainment each day. Events take place on South Main Street and at various locales in downtown Romeo. The event is organized by the Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce and the Romeo Lions Club.
    Michigan Peach Festival Romeo, MI 48065 586-752-4436 peachfestromeo.com

    Hamtramck Labor Day Festival

    The Hamtramck Labor Day Festival celebrates Polish traditions with ethnic-food samplings, a Polish Day Parade and carnival rides for the whole family. The four-day event starts on the Friday before Labor Day and includes live music, polka dancing, children’s activities and the annual Pierogi Eating Contest. Attendees can participate in a karaoke contest and purchase traditional Polish food from local restaurants that have a booth at the event.
    Hamtramck Labor Day Festival Downtown Hamtramck, MI hamtramckstar.com

    SOURCE:  USATODAY August 2015

  7. Before Labor Day To-Dos

    Are you still trying to cross off things on your “summer bucket list” before the kids go back to school?

    Did you take that family vacation?  Did you get to that yard project done?   With Labor Day less than three weeks away…there is still time to doGardening Jobs both…create a vacation spot right in your own backyard and/or cross off a few of those pesky maintenance tasks.

    Here’s a list if you need a little help:

    Patio Re-Sealing – get your paver patio a fresh coat to brighten it up

    Out with the old…and in with the new plantings.  This time of the year there are great deals on perennials.

    Start assessing your time, tools and energy for the big job ahead of raking up those fallen leaves or shoveling that snow.  Is it better to hire it out or do-it-yourself?

    Apply that final round or two of fertilizer to your lawn, preparing it for the cold season ahead.

    Adjust your irrigation system for the cool days to come, make sure you have your system winterization service scheduled.

     

     

     

     

  8. Irrigation Weather Monitor

    It’s a good year to install this product!

    The Solar Sync ET sensor is an advanced weather sensor that calculates evapotranspiration (ET) and adjusts Hunter controllers daily based on local weather conditions. Solar Sync measures sunlight and temperature, and uses ET to determine the correct seasonal adjustment percentage value to send to the controller. The controller then uses its programmed run time and adjusts to Solar Sync’s seasonal adjustment value to modify the actual irrigation run time for that day. In addition, the Solar Sync ET sensor integrates Hunter’s popular Rain-Clik™ and Freeze-Clik® sensors providing quick response in shutting down your irrigation system during rain and/or freezing conditions.

    The Solar Sync is compatible with most Hunter controllers and applicable to residences, businesses, and municipalities alike.

    The Wireless Solar Sync System is simply and easily installed on any compatible Hunter Irrigation controller (see Owner’s Manual to verify

    compatibility). The Wireless Solar Sync Sensor measures solar radiation and temperature and calculates the daily evapotranspiration (ET)
    factor for irrigation. This represents the amount of water lost by the plants due to local climate conditions, which needs to be replaced by
    irrigation. The Wireless Solar Sync also includes Hunter Rain-Clik™ and Freeze-Clik ®sensors that will automatically shut down the irrigation
    system during rain events or freezing conditions.
    Enter a mid summer watering program in your controller per the programming instructions in the Owner’s Manual provided with your
    controller. The Wireless Solar Sync Sensor sends weather data and applies it daily to the controller’s water schedule by adjusting the
    controller through the seasonal adjust feature.
    This Owner’s Manual applies to the following kits:
    WSS: Wireless Solar Sync kit for Hunter Pro-C, PCC, ICC, and I-Core controllers
    WSSSEN*: Wireless Solar Sync kit for Hunter ACC and X-Core controllers
    *Note that WSSSEN does not include the Solar Sync Module. The ACC and X-Core controllers have the Solar Sync software built in and do
    not require the Solar Sync Module. Therefore, the WSSSEN should be used with the ACC and X-Core Controllers.
  9. Bullmastiff Dog Laying On A PatioHow do you get people to pay attention to important issues? You need a slogan. Catchy slogans have long been used, not only to bring attention to commercial products, but also to focus attention on public issues. At Michigan State University, research scientists and extension educators are teaming up to alert Michigan residents to potentially damaging invasive forest pests. Ideally, this project will increase the chances of detecting these serious pests early, before they get a solid foothold in Michigan forests or urban areas.

    It’s probably safe to say that many research scientists are not very comfortable when it comes to creating effective advertising slogans or jingles. Few scientists can compete with advertising professionals who have already coined and copyrighted phrases, even if those phrases could be easily applied to other efforts, such as protecting Michigan from invasive forest pests.

    For example, soon after the 9/11 terrorism attack in New York City, federal anti-terrorism experts began using the slogan If you see something, say something to encourage citizens to report suspicious activity. That phrase, however, would be also be helpful in communicating with Michigan residents, who might notice an unusual insect or problem on a tree in their yard or woodlot.

    Are there good alternatives to that federal slogan? How about “If your tree looks sick, tell someone – quick!” or maybe “If you see something of a different sort – then don’t hesitate – please report”. These may not be quite as catchy as the federal anti-terrorism slogan, but they still convey the importance of reporting unusual symptoms or weird insects that seem to be affecting the health of a tree, woodlot or forest.

    Most Michigan residents have some experience with invasive forest pests. When gypsy moth populations periodically flare up, millions of hairy caterpillars will feed on the leaves of oaks, birch and other hardwood trees. Emerald Ash Borer, the most destructive forest insect to ever invade North America, got its start in southeast Michigan and has already killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in forest and urban areas. Unfortunately, still other invasive forest pests are poised to enter Michigan and once established, can cause further damage to trees in our landscapes and native forest ecosystems.

    Thanks to funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, educators and researchers at Michigan State University are launching a statewide effort to help residents learn about the risks and impacts of invasive forest pests. Entitled “Eyes on the Forest: Invasive Forest Pest Risk Assessment, Communication and Outreach,” this project links research, outreach and communication activities through the MSU Department of Entomology and Michigan State University Extension.

    Three major invaders will be targeted, including Asian Longhorned Beetle, which attacks maples and other species; Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, and Thousand Cankers Disease of walnut. Populations of these three pests are established in other states and in eastern Canada. All three can kill their host trees and could be devastating if they become established and spread across Michigan.

    One unique aspect of this project will be the creation of a network of Michigan Sentinel Trees across the state. This effort will rely on an extensive network of trained volunteers who agree to adopt an individual tree, then periodically monitor and report on the condition of the tree over time. The more pairs of eyes out checking trees, the more likely it is that new pests or other problems will be detected early, before substantial damage occurs.

    So as the saying goes,“If your tree looks sick, tell someone – quick!” Or is “If it you see something of a different sort– then don’t hesitate to report” catchier? Either one is useful if alert citizens help identify and report potential invasive forest pest problems before they get a real foothold in Michigan.

     

    SOURCE:  This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu.