It’s Way too Cold and Nasty! Try Landscaping Indoors!?!?

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In these cold, windy, nasty times people find it difficult to get out and enjoy nature,  walk on the grass and literally smell the roses. Most of us would love to be able to enjoy nature whenever we want, whenever we need to – and fortunately we can!  Simply look within…  Your home that is… Houseplants!!!

There are so many benefits to the cultivation of indoor plants that you would be crazy not to enjoy the positives yourself. These benefits apply equally to business premises and offices as well as to your private homes, so you can enjoy the well being that plants bring everywhere you go.

Did you know???

-Plants improve indoor air quality – they remove volatile organic compounds emitted from plastics and synthetic furnishings, reduce CO2 by up to 25%, and CO by a whopping 90%. They also filter nitrogen and sulfur oxides, ozone and microscopic dust particulates.

-In a three month study it was shown that workers with plants in their offices suffered considerably less illness, and had less time off.

-Plants help reduce background noise. As well as being brilliant in reducing noise levels in your gardens, plants in your houses can also absorb noise, and thus help promote a calm, peaceful atmosphere.

-They lower stress and counter negative feelings.

-They’ve been shown to improve productivity in both schools and workplaces.

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(Cleaning the air while bringing a room to life!)

So let’s get started!

Placement

So, where do I put my plethora of new plants? Anywhere with abundant natural light, but avoid direct afternoon sun.  If you live in a cave and have very limited sunlight, there are many species available that will tolerate less light. If you choose to enjoy more than one houseplant, it’s always good to group them together. Apart from providing a more bountiful feel to the arrangement, it creates a micro-climate for the plants which will benefit all of them. If the air in your home is very dry, place a dish of water somewhere near the plants to create a localized increase in humidity. A light misting with a spray bottle once a day also creates the same effect.

Choice Overload…

So, which ones should you choose? To provide a comprehensive list would be well beyond the scope of this article and your attention span.  Choices depend a great deal on your own location, so the best idea is to ask your local nursery for ideas.  If you don’t have any luck finding a nursery that is open this time of year, box stores, pharmacies and supermarkets usually have a vast selection of house plants.  As a small business person, I always recommend shopping local whenever possible.  Also, check out which plants your friends grow indoors, or any businesses that have them. Chances are they will work for you also. Whenever I go into a hotel lobby, shopping mall or office complex, I always take a few minutes to enjoy the species of plants on display.  Not only do I steal their ideas but I quickly pick up on which houseplant varieties require the least amount of maintenance(plants in these environments are likely only watered once a week, if not less). Some of my best houseplant arrangement ideas I picked up while waiting outside of a clothing store at the mall!

If budget is a problem, you don’t necessarily need to buy houseplants! How about grabbing some cuttings from your friends or neighbors? Most people are more than happy to help out a fellow gardener with plants and good advice, and it’s an excellent way to meet people.

If you have plants outdoors in pots you can bring them in for short periods of time, then rotate them to make an ever changing display. Of course you must use common sense when doing this – you can’t bring one in from the snow to a heated room and expect the plant to like it.

Houseplant Care

Indoor plants don’t require any more care than your outdoor ones, you just need to treat them a little differently. Self watering pots are a great investment in time saving, and water retentive potting mixes will improve this even further. If you have chosen large leafed plants, they will love it if you wipe the dust off their leaves occasionally with water or milk. You can achieve this with the smaller plants by giving them a shower, or taking them outside when it’s raining. In between, you can give them a misting with a spray bottle.

How Often Should I Water??

The most common cause of house plants dying off is over watering.  People ask me on a regular basis, “How often should I water my houseplants”.  My answer is, “The plant will tell you”.  Once a plant starts to wilt, it’s time to water.  Usually once a week, but that could fluctuate based on humidity and a number of other factors.

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(Rootbound plants seldom thrive and often choke themselves-  Either reduce the size of a plant like this or plant in a larger pot)

Re-potting is very important, and you should generally do it once a year. Potting mix gets depleted of vital nutrients and trace elements, and fertilizers can only do so much. There are some things in this world that you can buy cheaply with no problems, but potting mix is not one of them. I recommend buying the best you can afford, as it will be so very worth it in the long run.

If you wish your plant to continue growing larger, you need to purchase a pot a little larger than the one it’s in. Don’t forget to include a layer of pebbles or mesh at the bottom for drainage. Gently tease the roots loose after removing the plant from it’s pot, and place it in it’s new home with fresh potting mix.  water it in well and enjoy!  A layer of pebbles on top of the soil will help minimize evaporation as well as provide a cleaner look.

If you want to keep your plant at it’s current size, you can generally trim the roots of most plants without ill effects, and put it back in the same pot with fresh potting mix. I would suggest you thoroughly wash the pot before putting the plant back in, just to help keep any diseases in check.

Just a little something to keep us busy for a few more weeks.

Keep in mind that Lundholm Landscaping offers off season discounts on projects like pavers, hardscaping, planting, water features or anything else that you have in mind.  Contact me in any of the following ways to discuss your project.  My initial 30 minute conversation is always free!

Rob Lundholm

Lundholm Landscaping

P.O. Box 1066

Cape May, NJ 08204

Office 609-898-9136

Cell 609-722-1814

email rob@lundholmlandscaping.com

lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Cape May, Cape May Landscaper, Extreme Landscaping, Gardening, Home Maintenance, House Plants, landscape Design in Avalon, Landscape Design in Cape May, landscape Design in Stone Harbor, Landscaping, Lundholm Landscaping | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have Seen the Future of Pavers and Hardscaping!!!

Monday was yet another washout of a January workday.  I received a sales call from my friends at PAVERART, asking me to stop in to have a look at some of their new products.  I was already planning to stop by their shop later this week and pick up an order of engraved pavers for a project at the Cape May Fire House.  I took advantage of the rainy day and immediately hopped in the truck.

I love taking this trip as I am fascinated with their work and their vast array of projects.  Paverart is a custom paver design company.  Not only do they engrave pavers for municipal projects and fundraisers, they design and create anything you can imagine using pavers!  Check out the pictures and descriptions below…

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Jazz up that fancy new fire pit with a custom ring!

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Instead of a boring standard paver pattern or circle, add something like this!!!

Sierra Exif JPEG

Add your company’s logo to the front of your business or organization.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Bring the entrance of your church to life!

Sports Teams & College Mascots you ask, watch the video below!

YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE YOUR EYES!!!!  Click the link below to watch Paverart’s complete collection of high school, college and pro sports team logos and mascots!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jk69WLZW3M

Here is their latest and greatest project to date!!!  It’s still in progress…

Sundial

 

 

This is an educational, interactive sundial that will be installed at an elementary school!  The circles around the perimeter will have the numbers 1 through 12 engraved into the circles.  The open rectangle in the center feature individual pavers with the months engraved.   As the student stands on the month, his/her shadow will be cast to display the exact time!

Check out their unbelievable products and services at Paverartllc.com.  These works of art can be used in new paver patios or worked into your existing pavers.

As a reminder, Lundholm Landscaping specializes in landscape design and construction including state of the art irrigation, landscape lighting, paver patios, walkways and driveways, flag stone, field stone, planting, grading and lawn renovations.  We have great off season rates!  Contact us today for a free initial consultation!

Thanks for reading.

Rob Lundholm

Lundholm Landscaping

P.O. Box 1066

Cape May, NJ 08204

Office 609-898-9136

Mobile/Text 609-722-1814

lundholmlandscaping.com

email rob@lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Avalon, Cape May, Cape May Landscaper, Extreme Landscaping, Informative, Landscape Contractor, landscape Design in Avalon, Landscape Design in Cape May, landscape Design in Stone Harbor, Lundholm Landscaping, Outdoor Living Area, Stone Harbor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Weather Landscaping “Do’s and Don’ts”

<a href=”http://lundholmlandscaping.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/heat-wave.png”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-426″ title=”Heat Wave” src=”http://lundholmlandscaping.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/heat-wave.png&#8221; alt=”” width=”181″ height=”136″ /></a>

Extreme heat and humidity are in the forecast.   The weather people are predicting a week full of 90 degree temperatures.  I make it a point to never trust a forecast when it comes to precipitation.  They have managed to be somewhat consistent when it comes to predicting temperature.  

It’s okay, don’t panic, I’m here to help you, your lawn and your garden survive!

Step 1.  Take a deep breath and RELAX!  This is not the first time that we’ve seen extreme temperatures and it certainly isn’t the last.

Step 2.  Maintain a regular deep watering of your lawn and garden. Make sure to water in the early morning hours, prior to sunrise is ideal.  If you are fortunate enough to have an automatic watering or irrigation system, double check your scheduled run times to make sure that you are not watering too late in the morning.  Watering while the sun is higher in the sky is useless because often times, in high heat, the water evaporates so quickly that it never reaches the soil or the roots of your plants.  Further, water sitting on leaves can become extremely hot and burn plants. I went through Amazon.com selection and found a few useful timing devices to help keep your watering on track…

3. Double check mulch around your plantings. A 2″-3″ layer of a good quality mulch is essential to keeping soil moist and cool. I am not an endorser of colored mulches(sorry, read my previous blog on mulch) because  colored mulch that I have seen are nothing more than shredded pallets died Red or Black. Colored mulches are somewhat effective in moisture retention and weed control but fail in comparison to a premium quality hardwood root mulch.

4. If you grow flowers or vegetables in pots or small movable planters, move them to a shadier location until the heat wave passes.

5. Put technology to work for you invest in water absorbing products that hold a significant amount of moisture and release it over time. Simply mix a few crystals into the soil around your plants. Water is released over time keeping your plants hydrated and healthy. My partners at Amazon.com ship these products immediately. If you cannot afford water retaining crystals such as the products listed below, a cheaper alternative is any “Clay Based” kitty litters. The drawback to the aforementioned water retention products is the fact that they dissolve completely away after a short period of time.

6. When possible, screening or shading is another alternative. Heavy grade screening materials are available from home improvement warehouses and can be temporarily draped over plants. Ambitious gardeners will construct a temporary frame as shown below. This an extreme circumstance… We have to do what we have to do.

<img src=”http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTCxqXGBpkhENuloK5_nPZWoQkpB6iJE20Hkf0n_5g1xUfNAYnCFg&#8221; alt=”” />

7. Did I mention not to panic?? In extreme heat, just as they do in winter, plants want to go dormant(shut down). This is completely normal as plants will show signs of stress to include wilting leaves, browning and reduced flower and vegetable production.
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If you enjoyed reading this blog and would like future blogs sent directly to your email  address, simply click on the link to the right titled “Sign Me Up”.

Questions, comments or would like to talk about your landscaping?  Contact me, Rob Lundholm, direct in any of the following ways…

Office 609-898-9136

Call/Text my Cell at 609-722-1814

New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor License Number 

13VH04413400

Like us on Facebook(Lundholm Landscaping)

Follow Us on Twitter Rob_lundholm!

Email me at rob@lundholmlandscaping.com
Visit our interactive website at http://www.lundholmlandscaping.com

Stay Cool Man!!!

Posted in Landscaping | Leave a comment

DIY Home Landscapers: What YOU should be doing in YOUR yard this week.

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Things have been really busy on this end. I figured it’s a great time to post a landscaping/gardening tip!

Today’s topic deals with rain, irrigation and one of my few pet peeves. Mother Nature has been kind enough to bestow plenty of natural irrigation upon us these past few weeks. It’s important to make sure that are lawn and gardens are receiving the proper amount of water. Here are a few quick irrigation tips…

-Make sure lawns are receiving 1 inch of irrigation per week, including rain. If you are fortunate enough to have an irrigation system, simply place a few empty pie tins(tuna cans work well too)around your property, turn on your sprinkler system and time how long it takes the pie tin to fill up. Now divide that time by 3(recommended waterings per week) and that is precisely how long to set your sprinklers. An infrequent, deep, thorough watering promotes deep root growth and a drought tolerant lawn.

-Switch from chemical based fertilizers to organics or a bio nutritional program. Organics and bio nutrition focus more on the soil than on the grass by creating a micro environment in your soil which is full of beneficial bacteria and insects.

-In the event of heavy downpours or excessive amounts of rain, keep a close eye on your lawn and gardens for fungus. Fungus usually appears as patches of dead or browning grass which quickly rots away roots and plantings. Some varieties are extremely aggressive and can spread quickly. Much more in fungus in future blogs.

-Update your irrigation system to include a rain sensor. If you don’t already have one, a rain sensor insures that your sprinklers will not run once a certain rain threshold is reached. Once the sensor dries out, operation will resume. My biggest pet peeve in life is driving around during a rain storm and seeing sprinklers running.

-Make sure all sprinkler heads are fully operational. Take the time to go through each zone and closely watch to make sure that all sprinkler heads are popping up, rotating properly and not leaking. Faulty sprinkler heads waste water and leave parts of your lawn without water.

Irrigation is one of my true passions. My ultimate therapy is installing a sprinkler system, fine tuning it to perfection and just watching it operate. I spend a good bit of time every year making sure that I am up to the minute on irrigation products, trends and technology. The latest trend is water savings with the use of water saving sprinkler heads and smart controllers. The latest technology allows users to monitor and control their systems using a computer, smart phone or tablet!

If you have any concerns about your sprinkler system, please call me and I will be more than happy to stop by, go through your system and analyze every detail. If you are interested in having a system installed, I provide free estimates. Over the next few months, I will be completing an E-book titled “Sprinkler System in a Weekend”. This comprehensive, step by step manual will guide users through the exact system that I use to design, purchase and install their own irrigation system.

That’s it for now. Remember that Lundholm Landscaping is a full service landscaping company specializing in all phases of landscape design, construction and maintenance. My initial consultation is always free to customers in my work areas. Contact me today in any of the following ways or be really brave and post a comment below!

Rob Lundholm
Lundholm Landscaping
NJ HIC License Number 13VH04413400
Office Phone 609-898-9136
Cell/text 609-722-1814
Fax 609-770-3035
Email Rob@lundholmlandscaping.com
Lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Avalon, Cape May, Gardening, Holistic Lawn Care, Landscape Contractor, landscape Design in Avalon, Landscape Design in Cape May, landscape Design in Stone Harbor, Landscaping, Lundholm Landscaping, Organic Lawn Care, Stone Harbor | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Home Landscapers: What YOU should be doing in YOUR yard this week!

It’s a great time of the year to be a landscaper. The temperatures are finally getting warmer, the leaves are ready to come out and suddenly our lawns are beginning to show a greenish tint!

Last week we tuned up our hand tools and power equipment, raked and fertilized our lawns and finally did that soil test that I have been bugging you about. Your muscle soreness should be subsiding as the chore of raking reminded us that maybe we should start actually using our gym memberships. It’s still a week or so early for us to starting thinking about mulch so I am going to take it easy on you this week.. We are going to try a quick an easy soil test that only takes 15-20 minutes and the results are instant. I borrowed this from my friend, Phil Nauta, who is the most knowledgeable person I have ever met when it comes to soil and growing vegetables. Here goes…

Using that freshly sharpened spade, pick a random spot in the yard and dig a hole 1 foot long, 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep. Take the following observations…

Was it easy to dig the hole or would you compare the chore to digging through concrete?

Hopefully the chore was easy and you uncovered dark, rich soil brimming with organic matter and full of life. Ideally we want our soil to be dark brown, easily form into a ball, then break apart with a gentle squeezing of the hand.

Take a good sniff!

We want our dirt to have the smell of the forest floor which means that our soil is draining well. Should you experience any foul odor similar to rotten eggs, it’s a sure sign that you have drainage problems.

How much life do you see?

Healthy soil will have at least 10 earth worms moving around and several other life forms. Lack of insects means lack of organic matter and nutrients.

How deep are the roots???

Grass roots should extend at least an inch into the soil. Shallow roots mean compacted soil and lack of organic matter.

A gorgeous lawn, healthy shrubs and succulent vegetables have one thing in common. HEALTHY SOIL full of organic material. A common thread in all of my articles is the term “Compost Pile”. I highly recommend having a compost pile where you can recycle everything from egg shells to leaves. Composting is an all natural process that breaks down organic material back into a rich, fluffy, topsoil like material that you can add to your lawn and garden to enrich your existing soil. Fresh compost will correct most, if not all, of the soil deficiencies listed above. If you don’t have access to a compost pile, you can buy compost in any garden center, nursery or hardware store. Much, much more on compost in later articles.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comment section below. I answer questions as quickly as possible.

That’s it for this week! If you need me to come to your property and analyze your soil, professionally mow your lawn or completely make over your existing property, contact me in any of the following ways…

Rob Lundholm
Lundholm Landscaping
Office 609-898-9136
Mobile/text 609-722-1814
Email rob@lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Avalon, Cape May, Gardening, Holistic Lawn Care, landscape Design in Avalon, Landscape Design in Cape May, landscape Design in Stone Harbor, Landscaping, Landscaping Contractor, Lundholm Landscaping, Soil Testing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Home Landscapers: What YOU should be doing in YOUR yard!

My calendar says late March but my thermometer says it’s still February. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for warm temperatures, long days and sunshine. With the nice weather comes our favorite time of the year… Landscaping Time!

Here’s a couple of quick tips on what you should be doing in your yard this week…

1. Power Equipment Tune Up.

The official start of my landscaping season begins with making sure that my power equipment is in proper working order. A little bit of maintenance now can lead to a stress free season of yard work! I start with my lawn mowers. I thoroughly drain all engine oil, replace my oil filters and fill with the manufacturers recommended oil. Next I remove and replace the spark plugs and thoroughly lubricate all moving parts including axles, cables, carburetor and controls. I prefer white lithium spray grease because it is drier than normal household lubricants and doesn’t seem to attract dirt and debris. My next job is to remove,inspect and clean the air filters. Providing clean air to the engine insures peak performance through the hot mowing season. Finally, I remove the blades, thoroughly clean the underside of the mowing deck, coat the deck with a non stick lubricant(cooking spray works best for me) and install a sharp blade. Next up are my 2 cycle engines which consist of my string trimmers, edgers, blowers, hedge trimmers and chain saws. These engines require air filter cleaning and/or replacement, new spark plugs and thoroughly cleaning and lubricating the entire machine.

2. Hand Tool Maintenance.

My collection of hand tools is large and includes everything from my favorite pair of pruning shears to my 48″ level headed grading rake. I personally inspect every piece of equipment looking for damaged parts or something that might break and cause a delay in my work day. I make sure all surfaces are clean and free of caked up dirt and debris from the previous season. Once the tools are clean I sharpen every single blade and the cutting edge of all shovels. A sharp clean shovel will outperform a dirty one every day of the week. My shovels are not sharpened to the point where they will be dangerous but a nice clean edge does wonders. Finally I spray all metal surfaces and moving parts with spray lubricant which helps to keep tools clean as well as inhibits rust.

3. Soil Testing.

Some readers may have never heard of a soil test but it’s the single most important task in maintaining a healthy lawn. A soil test is performed by gathering a sampling of the soil from around your property, sending it to a lab and having it analyzed. My primary reason for a soil test is checking the pH level of the soil. If soil pH is off in any direction,it could mean the difference between a SHOW LAWN and a disaster! I go into great detail on soil testing in a 10 step series that I published last year titled “UPDATED: Ten Insider Secrets to a Perfect Lawn”. All of these 10 steps should be listed in the right hand margin. I recommend reading it over at your leisure.

4. Rake your Lawn

Now is the ideal time to wake up that lawn. For best results, I recommend using a spring tine rake. These are rakes with thin metal tines attached to springs which provide a pressurized combing of the grass and root zone. This gentle stroke stimulates the grass plants. Spring tine rakes are great for raking up twigs from the surface of the lawn as well as removing any thatch that may have built up over the winter. After raking the entire lawn and placing all of the debris in your compost bin(much more on compost in future blogs), cut your grass using one of the lower settings on your lawn mower. If the gentle raking doesn’t wake up your lawn,the first buzz of the season will!

5. Feeding

Early spring lawn feeding is the final step in getting the chlorophyll moving and the green up process. For my regular readers, you know that I do not advocate any type of “5 or 6 or however many step plan”! These programs only encourage grass to grow rapidly and become green which always results in hot weather brown out or the need for excessive watering. For more detailed information on my recommendations for feeding a lawn, read my series “UPDATED: Ten Insider Secrets to a Perfect Lawn” listed in the right hand margin. I recommend bio nutritional fertilizers which are geared towards building healthy soils, deep root systems and strong immune systems to naturally resists pests and disease through the use of beneficial bacteria. For fast green up in the spring, I use straight urea which is available from feed supplies and most nurseries.

That should keep you busy for this week! Now get out there and get dirty!!!

If you would like to have these landscaping tips delivered directly to your email inbox, click on the link in the right hand margin titled “Landscaping Tips Delivered”. As soon I hit the publish key, these blogs are delivered right to your email inbox.

As always if you have a landscape/gardening question or have a project in mind, contact me in any of the following ways or post a comment below…

Rob Lundholm
Lundholm Landscaping
Office 609-898-9136
Mobile/Text 609-722-1814
Fax 609-770-3035
P.O. Box 1066
Cape May, NJ 08204
Lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Landscaping | Leave a comment

Don’t Even Think About Buying a Snow Thrower Until You Read This…

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(Photo Courtesy of Severe NJ Weather)

It’s freezing cold outside, the ground is frozen and I noticed that snow is in the forecast!

As a proven expert in the field of all things LANDSCAPING, I thought it would be a great time to share my knowledge of snow throwers.  It’s my civic duty to make sure that you are fully educated when making a snow thrower purchase. Should you have any further questions, never hesitate to contact me!  For now, keep reading…

I’m sure that I don’t need to remind anyone about the winter of 2010. Snow, Snow, then a little more snow. I still have blisters and my lower back has not yet fully recovered. It was during this time, that I realized that my current snow removal equipment was way out its league. I had to reload and switch to the big guns.

Living at the Jersey Cape has its own set of challenges when it comes to snow removal. We are at the mercy of the Delaware Bay. I keep track of the water temperature and the effects that it has on crossing weather systems(I know, I am such a weather nerd). As snow storms approach, if the Delaware Bay water temperature is above 40 degrees, the storms seem to start out as snow, then gradually transition to rain. Thus resulting in the snow washing away. On the other hand, when the water temperature is below 40 degrees things can get UGLY… fast.

If you’ve had it with shoveling snow, and are ready to invest in a snow thrower, keep reading as we take an in depth look at the different types of snow throwers on the market and which one will be get you the most bang for your buck.

single stage snow thrower refers to a single stage model which has a serious of plastic or metal blades with rubber edges. The blades sweep up the snow and throw it through a centrally mounted chute in one quick motion. Most are equipped with a deflector chute which can easily be aimed within a 180 degree radius. Perfect for pavers, pavement or concrete.  Snow throwers are not recommended for gravel or stone driveways… for obvious reasons.   Here are a few different styles of snow throwers.

(Photo courtesy of Ryobi)

Leaf Blowers.  That’s right, my leaf blower is an exceptional tool for moving light fluffy snow. Capable of effectively blowing up to 3 inches of light snow, leaf blowers have been used for years. Both hand held and back pack models work extremely well.  Since we don’t usually get much light fluffy snow, you probably would have never imagined such a use for a tool that you already have. Price Range $0.00(if you already have one) up to $350.00.

Power-Shovel-38361

(Photo Compliments of Toro)

Power Shovel. A power shovel is exactly that, a power shovel. About the size of a snow shovel, these hand held machines require almost no maintenance and have a small rotating blade that throws the snow forward. Power shovels are electric powered, extremely light weight(anyone can use one) and are recommended for use on porches, patios, small sidewalks and are effective up to 2 inches of snow. Perfect for light fluffy snow, but leave it in the closet for the wet, heavy stuff as you’ll spend more time resetting your circuit breaker than you will moving snow. Expect to spend up $125.00 and I recommend the Toro or the Craftsman.

1500 Power Curve® (38371)

(Photo Compliments of Toro)

Single Stage Electric. The next step up in snow throwers is the single stage, electric snow thrower. Motor sizes range from 10 to 12 amperes with clearing widths range from 16″ to 20″ and offer the same environmentally friendly ease of the power broom with just a bit more UMPH! Equipped with a small set of wheels in the back, this type of machine is easily maneuverable and handles light, fluffy snow up to 6 inches. Features include an adjustable chute, extremely low maintenance and easily stores in the hall closet. Not recommended for heavy snow. You won’t go wrong buying the Toro, MTD or Craftsman models. You’ll need around $300.00 and a good 12 gauge extension cord(HINT: make sure to buy enough 12 guage extension cord to reach the end of your driveway).

Power-Clear-621E-38452

(Photo Compliments of Toro)

Gas Powered Single Stage. This model is the Cadillac of single stage snow throwers. With clearing widths of 18-24 inches, the 2 cycle engines range from 3 to 6 horsepower. Still light and maneuverable, the single stage gas versions pack a lot more punch than the smaller, electric models and are not limited by the length of the extension cord. The first time I tried one of these, I was moving 5 inches of new snow with a layer of slush on the bottom. This machine was so strong that I had to readjust the chute as it was blowing snow and slush 20 feet into the air. This machine pulls itself along and is a beast in up to 8 inches of snow. These models are relatively light weight with a folding handle and take up very little space in the shed or garage. The models that I’ve used have all been electric start and started with ease. This series is a great homeowner model for Jersey Cape snows. These models are NOT designed or built for constant every day use. I recommend Toro, Honda, Troy Built and Craftsman and are all in the $400.00-$650.00 price range.

Two Stage Snow Blowers have a 2 stage blade system designed to get snow and ice out of the way quickly. The first series of blades are auger style, serrated blades that pick snow up from the sidewalk and move the snow into the second stage. Stage two is an impeller that blows the snow through the discharge chute to the desired location. Two stage units are perfect for any surface(including stone and gravel) and work well when dealing with inclines. Almost all are self propelled with 6 or more forward speeds and no fewer than 2 reverse speeds. Snow blowers range in size from just a few horsepower up to heavy duty, Diesel powered machines that clear roads, runways or train tracks.

Since none of us will be clearing runways or train tracks in the near future, I’ll focus this report on homeowner and light commercial applications. Two stage machines mean BUSINESS and can do SERIOUS TO DAMAGE if not operated properly. Always read the owners manual and consult a professional should you feel hesitant or over matched.

Power-Max-724-OE-37770

(Photo Compliments of Toro)

Entry level of two stage snow throwers are equipped with 4-6 horsepower with 20-24 inch clearing path model. These models are on the smaller side, self propelled, store easily and are equipped with some form of electric start. Perfect for up to 8 inches of snowfall, this unit is the most popular in the Cape May area. Look for models that are single hand operation which allow you to adjust the discharge chute without stopping the machine. Price Range $450-$650. Preferred models are Craftsman, John Deere, Troy Built, Honda, Ariens and Cub Cadet.

Power-Max-HD-928-OE-38660

(Photo Compliments of Toro)

Light commercial model snow blowers range from 8 to 10 horsepower with clearing paths of 24-30 inches. This clean running, 4 stage engine line is relatively heavy duty and are very popular with professionals. Sized to clear sidewalks and driveways, these units include larger tires and are often equipped with chains and/or weights for added traction(weights and chains are also available as after market add ons). Some of the newest models replace with wheels with a Track Drive. The most impressive feature of this line of snow blowers is the ability to break through the ice and mounds of snow that are left behind by Municipal snow plows! When shopping in this size category, look for models that are equipped with built-in lights. You may not do much snow blowing at night but it’s a convenient feature in a pinch. For those of us without price restraints, heated grips and power steering are also available! Price Range $800-$1,200. Preferred models are Craftsman, John Deere, Troy Built, Honda, Ariens and Cub Cadet.

(Photo compliments of Craftsman)

Lawn Tractor Mounted Snow Blowers. For those fortunate enough to own a heavy duty lawn or garden tractor, many manufacturers make snow blowers that mount directly to the front and connect to the blade drive pulley. These models are very similar in size and ability to the light commercial line and can be very handy! Models vary depending on manufacturer and the overall size and weight of your lawn tractor. I recommend installing this unit on your tractor immediately following the mowing season. The conversion process takes time and is more enjoyable on a late fall afternoon as opposed to the night before a snowfall. Consult the manufacturer of your lawn tractor as to the availability and avoid buying “Universal” models. Lawn tractor mounted snow throwers always require a weight kit and chains and are useless without both so remember to factor in these additional costs when purchasing. Price range based on size and model with all kinds of handy options(see enclosed cab picture above).

A few things to consider when owning a gas snow removal machine. Always drain all fuel from the tank. If you don’t have means to drain the tank, add a fuel stabilizer to keep gas from going stale and clogging the injectors. Always keep your eye on the weather and make sure your machine is in proper working order prior to a snowfall.

As always, don’t overwork yourself and call me if you need me. Office 609-898-9136, Cell or Text 609-722-1814 or email rob@lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Landscaping | 2 Comments

Landscape Design Made Simple: The Final Plan!

Thanks again for checking back in with us. As a quick refresher, I decided to take readers into my mind as I do one our our patented “Extreme Landscape Makeover” designs. Today’s article deals with the final presentation of our latest project. This project is unique because not only am I taking you inside my mind as I design a landscape from scratch but I am also taking you into my own back yard. This outdoor fireplace/garden/entertaining area is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time. It’s something that we will be completing over the next 6 weeks, just prior to our spring rush!

If you have been living under a rock and you are not up to speed on this project, check the right hand margin and read over the three previous articles titled “Landscape Design Made Simple”.

We are at the stage where I take my culmination of measurements, ideas and customer needs and put them in the form of a final design. In the past I would sit down with my t square and wide array of drafting tools and spend hours creating a hand drawn, top view landscape design. The photo below illustrates my actual drawing.

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I know what you are thinking… Pretty cool!!

But it does not really get my point across. Being the innovator that I am, I decided to take my design skill set to a whole new level. Introducing my first ever computer design!!!

Check it out!!!

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This process was done completely from scratch using a CAD program called Google Sketchup.

I am currently shopping for programs specifically designed for Landscape Design where I will take a picture of the customers house and build a virtual landscape right into the photo!!

This computer generated image gives my customers an exact scale model of what I have in mind! I can easily make changes, additions, deletions and even project plant growth.

From here we can use the combination of design formats to get started. Phase 1 will consist of excavating the grass in the new planting areas, installing the foundation for the fireplace as well as doing infra-structure work for electrical, irrigation, outdoor speakers and landscape lighting. Stay tuned!!

Tired of searching for my blogs and articles??? Join the hundreds of other subscribers by simply clicking on the tab in the right margin titled “Landscaping Tips Delivered”. Future blogs and articles will be delivered to your email inbox the instant they are published!

If you are interested in your own computer based landscape design, have a landscape concern, question or anything, post your questions in the comment section below or contact me in any of the following ways…

Rob Lundholm
Lundholm Landscaping
Office 609-898-9136
Cell/text 609-722-1814
Fax 609-770-3035
Email rob@lundholmlandscaping.com

Thanks again!

Posted in Avalon, Cape May, Cape May Landscaper, Extreme Landscaping, Landscape Contractor, landscape Design in Avalon, Landscape Design in Cape May, landscape Design in Stone Harbor, Landscape Makeover, Lundholm Landscaping, Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Living Area, Stone Driveway | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SNOW and ICE are in the Forecast!! Everything You’ll Need to Know About Salting Your Driveway and Walkways..

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Snow and Ice are on their way.  I thought it would be a great time to bring my readers up to speed on the wide variety of ice melting products.  

Popular science and technology have caught up to the world of ice melting products. Walk into any retail store across the country while snow is in the forecast and you will see exactly what I am talking about.   Instead of a few snow shovels and rock salt, consumers are now met with a wide range of options when looking to melt away that pesky Ice and Snow associated with old man winter. Rock Salt, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and the list goes on and on. As your expert on the subject, I will help find the best ice melting product for your individual needs.

The Basic Principal. Potassium chloride, rock salt, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are the most common ice-melting salts used today. Ice melters are not naturally hot; they do not melt ice as the term suggests, but rather, they act to depress or lower the freezing point of the snow or ice upon which they are spread. This allows the salt or chemical particles to bore their way through ice and form a layer of brine under the surface, which helps the top layer of ice to break up. If the brine is able to remain in place, it will continue to melt any snow or ice that comes in contact with it.

Rock Salt. Rock salt is the product that is most commonly associated with melting snow and ice. Rock salt is mined from the earth and is by far the cheapest ice melting product on the market. Be wary though as there are several draw backs. As with any salt water application, corrosion is something to keep in mind. When using rock salt, do your best to keep it away from metal doors, concrete containing rebar and thoroughly rise your shovel with tap water as soon as you are finished. Also keep in mind that the brine solution associated with Rock Salt can work its way into planting beds and actually burn the roots of surround plantings and turf. Further, Rock Salt has a tendency to evaporate quickly and present the need for frequent re-application.  Multiple applications creates a freeze-thaw-freeze effect which can do serious damage to your concrete, red brick and pavers. If rock salt is your only option, I recommend removing the slushy residue as soon as possible. Rock Salt is a relatively fast ice melting product but is basically useless in temperatures lower than 20 degrees. Lastly, do not use rock salt in areas where your pets will be tracking. Rock Salt can work its way into an animals paws and actually eat away at their skin.

Calcium Chloride.

Calcium Chloride is one of the most effective all around ice melting products. Unlike rock salt, calcium chloride absorbs moisture from its surroundings and actually releases heat as it changes from a solid to a liquid allowing it to form a potent brine solution. Calcium Chloride works in temperatures as low as -25 degrees fahrenheit and leaves a brine residue instead of the chalky salt residue left behind by rock salt. Further, a 50 pound bag of Calcium Chloride does about twice the area of a 50 pound bag of rock salt, however can cost up to three times as much.

Magnesium Chloride.

Magnesium Chloride is considered (by some) as the best total ice-melter. It is less corrosive on metal surfaces, protects concrete from spalling, is less toxic and environmentally as safe as Calcium Chloride and much less corrosive than Sodium Chloride (rock salt). Magnesium Chloride is effective to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, is less irritating to the skin, is effective as a preventative application, safe to use around animals but will become diluted more rapidly.

Potassium Chloride and Urea.

Potassium Chloride and Urea are common ice melters that are often perceived as safe products to use around vegetation. Both need to be used at a slightly higher rate of application, with Urea melting to 15 F and Potassium Chloride melting to 12 F. Urea does not contain chlorides, so it is less corrosive and safer for use on concrete containing rebar and around steel structures. This is one of the preferred ice melters for airports. Both product are readily available. Due to its high nitrogen content, Urea will further provide a lush burst of growth in surrounding planting areas.

When shopping, take notice of the interesting names and claims on the products. Everything on the market today either contains the products mentioned above or a mixture of the products mentioned above. Don’t be fooled by fancy additives or a flashy label. As always, buy the best one that you can afford, stay safe and don’t hesitate to post any questions in the comments section below. 

As always, the best way to subscribe to this blog, and get these cutting edge reports delivered via email…. AS SOON AS THEY ARE POSTED is by clicking on the link to the right!

Lundholm Landscaping
Cape May, New Jersey
Office 609-898-9136
Cell/text 609-722-1814
Email rob@lundholmlandscaping.com
Www.lundholmlandscaping.com

Posted in Landscaping | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Writing and Education is a HUGE Priority for Lundholm Landscaping. Check out my 2012 Blog results, going to be hard to top!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Avalon, Cape May, Cape May Landscaper, Gardening, Informative, Landscaping Contractor, Lawn and Garden, Lundholm Landscaping, Stone Harbor | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment