UW Pro Master Pruning Series

The ability to correctly prune shrubs and decorative trees at the right time of year is a landscape maintenance practice that distinguishes the skilled from the unskilled, the professional with a pair of hand pruners from the hack with a set of shears.

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Acer palmatum ‘Waterfall’ without the waterfall. Japanese maples often fall victim to the hands of the unskilled.

The desire for “natural” pruning is expressed by many of our landscape maintenance clients, and requires an understanding of selective pruning and which tools to use. Our maintenance leads and team members are expected to know correct basic pruning techniques.

As we’ve mentioned before, continuing education is very important to us. Since early January, our head maintenance lead Josh has attended UW Botanic Garden’s Master Pruner Series for landscape professionals taught by PlantAmenesty’s founder Cass Turnbull.

Each of the twelve lectures provides information on tools and techniques for pruning with better long-term results and customer satisfaction.

Pruning topics this lecture series covers include:

  • The science and biology behind tree pruning with minimal injury to the tree.
  • The right way to prune roses.
  • The “how-to’s” for making good cuts, structural pruning for trees of any age, pruning standards and crown restoration.
  • Pruning and creative solutions for the overgrown or overplanted landscape.
  • Pruning techniques and corrective pruning for commonly planted plants such as Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Callicarpa, Viburnum and Abelia.
  • Vine pruning of ornamental vines: wisteria, clematis, Boston ivy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle and trumpet vine.
  • Specialized pruning techniques for Japanese maples, bamboo, cloud pruning of pines and tamamono shearing.
  • How to correctly shear.

In addition to attending the lectures, Josh will attend three hands-on, all-day workshops to put theory to practice. Once these pruning workshops are complete, he’ll receive a Master Pruner certificate.

Please help us root Josh on as he continues this training!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

LID Certification

Congratulations to Colby for completing Low Impact Development (LID) training and receiving this certificate from WSU!

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Colby proudly displaying his Low Impact Development Technical Training Program Certificate of Completion.

The WSU Extension Low Impact Development (LID) Certificate program is the first LID certificate program of its kind in Washington State. The certificate indicates that Colby has received the latest design concepts for LID practices; has a level of technical knowledge necessary to recognize design opportunities and challenges; and is better equipped to optimize LID systems.

What is Low Impact Development?

Kitsap County defines LID as “a stormwater management strategy that mimics natural drainage systems at or close to the point of generation in order to limit potential contact with pollutants and enhance stormwater quality.” In short, LID practices protect our local water quality and groundwater supply, and preserve wetland and stream functions.

To receive this certification, Colby completed four two-day courses on the following subjects:

  • Bioretention
  • Permeable Paving
  • LID for Buildings (Green Roofs, LID Foundations and Rainwater Collection)
  • Site Plannning

He also passed each subject’s test with flying colors!

To learn more about this LID certification program, click here.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

World of Concrete 2015

World of Concrete is the concrete industry’s largest event which happens annually in Las Vegas. It brings together manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, innovators and experts to deliver a show unlike any other across the globe.

Anyone who keeps up with us knows how much we love concrete. Naturally, this show had been on our radar for quite some time. Colby made the decision last fall to attend in February, and he brought Elias, our Landscape Construction Supervisor, with him. Lucky guys!

Here are some of the concrete products they saw in Vegas…

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Concrete seating area with fire pit

 

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Concrete table made to look like wood

 

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Concrete artistry at its finest

 

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3D concrete. That’s right – it’s 3D!

 

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Concrete that looks like wood

 

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Permeable concrete demonstration

Colby also took advantage of the educational opportunities the show offers, and attended a class titled ‘Conquering Unexpected Cracking of Concrete Flatwork.’ During this seminar he built upon his knowledge regarding factors that can easily be managed to prevent most uncontrolled cracking.

All in all, this trip to Vegas – unlike most trips to Vegas – was an incredible learning experience. We look forward to our next trip to World of Concrete!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Low Impact Development

Here in Kitsap County, we’ll hear a lot about Low Impact Development over the coming years due to new regulations that will affect construction, including residential construction projects. If you’re planning to build a new home, you’ll want to know what these regulations are.

So what exactly is Low Impact Development (LID)? Kitsap County defines LID as “a stormwater management strategy that mimics natural drainage systems at or close to the point of generation in order to limit potential contact with pollutants and enhance stormwater quality.”

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Captured water goes back into the groundwater supply after being filtered.              Photo courtesy SvR Design Company.

It involves land planning and design approaches with these specific goals in mind:

  • Protect our local water quality
  • Preserve wetland and stream functions
  • Encourage aquifer recharge where appropriate
  • Provide cost-effective stormwater management solutions

Since Kitsap County receives 80 percent of its drinking water from its groundwater supply, it’s critical that our water table is protected and preserved.

Now that the economy has bounced back, we’re seeing a lot of development happening in Kitsap County. What typically occurs with new development is that native soils and vegetation, along with bird and wildlife habitats, are replaced by impervious asphalt and concrete surfaces. Just think of the wetland area that’s now home to the new Safeway in Poulsbo. Or the vegetation that was cleared for the new shopping center currently under construction in Silverdale at Greaves Way and Highway 3.

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Permeable paving is an environmentally responsible alternative to concrete and asphalt surfaces.

Asphalt and concrete surfaces result in stormwater runoff which now must be managed through design practices that reduce, treat, and infiltrate runoff through bioretention swales. Permeable paving is another major category of LID and it’s pretty remarkable to see how effective it can be. You can see it for yourself at the YMCA in Silverdale. The entire parking lot there consists of permeable paving.

Statewide Washington LID Training Programs have begun this year, and Colby is currently enrolled in WSU’s LID Technical Workshop Series and will be certified by the end of 2014. The goal of these workshops is to give designers and builders the technical education necessary to properly design, construct and maintain LID facilities.

The workshop agendas focus on:

  • Bioretention
  • Permeable Paving
  • Green Roof, Low Impact Foundations & Rain Water Collection
  • Site Planning

We’re incredibly excited that Colby is growing his knowledge about Low Impact Development and that we as a company are keeping abreast with the latest changes in construction regulation happening here in Kitsap County.

Ultimately, these measures are in place to protect our water and natural habitats by developing new areas in an environmentally responsible manner. Water is an incredibly important resource to us, our fish and wildlife, and future generations, and now is the time to protect it.

To learn more about Low Impact Development, click here.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Summer Pruning of Shrubs & Trees

In July we had the opportunity to attend a summer pruning workshop in Seattle coordinated by the UW Botanic Gardens as part of their professional horticulture education series.  Two of our maintenance leads, Phillip and Ray, were in attendance.

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Phillip and Ray listen as an arborist discusses what factors to consider when selecting a tree’s leader.

This outdoor demonstration class was taught by professional horticulturists and arborists on staff for the Washington Park Arboretum along with Bess Bronstein, an instructor for the Edmonds Community College horticulture program since 1989. If you love learning about plants and are interested in taking a horticulture class, Bess Bronstein is a fantastic instructor to learn from. She delivers information with wit and humor and knows how to keep a class engaged.

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We learned how they train the wisteria vines on site and how to achieve more flowering.

So what exactly should you prune?

  • Remove the 3-D’s: dead, damaged and diseased branches.
  • Remove undesirable growth (the 4th D- deranged!): rootstock suckers, water sprouts, plants prone to suckering regrowth, etc.
  • Prune bleeders. Some genera tend to bleed sap during dormancy, so summer pruning is neater. Bleeders include: maples, dogwoods, birches and beechers.
  • Prune plants prone to fungal diseases: Prunus species of trees (flowering plums and cherries), maples and dogwoods are prone to fungal disease spread if pruned during wet winters.
  • Fine prune thin small branches/leaves of Japanese maples to enhance branch view.
  • Hedge broadleaved evergreens to allow some regrowth prior to low temperatures returning.

And why prune in the summer? Pruning during the summer months is somewhat of a no-brainer considering the long stretches of dry weather we experience. Besides keeping dry, listed below are other benefits of summer pruning.

  • You can see where it’s dark and where a plant won’t flower, allowing you to make informed decisions about how to allow more light to filter in.
  • By mid-July top growth is essentially finished.  The bulk of growth has been done, but plants haven’t started storing food yet. The optimal time to prune is between mid-July and mid-August.
  • If you prune after mid-August, you risk stimulating new growth at the same time plants are trying to store food, and this can be stressful for the plant.
  • Summer pruning results in a “stunting” or “dwarfing” growth response – great for size management.
  • It’s an opportune time to manage temporary branches and emerging competing leaders.
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Ray looks at the effects of Cherry bark tortix, a moth whose larvae can kill cherry trees and infest woody trees and shrubs.

Continuing education is incredibly important to us.  It allows our employees to grow their knowledge about their field, and this knowledge is then directly applied to our maintenance clients’ sites.

To learn more about the UW Botanic Gardens continuing education horticulture workshops, click here.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Rain Garden Workshop

Last week Colby attended a two-day Rain Garden Workshop for Green Industry and Building Professionals.  This WSU Extension Kitsap County event covered all aspects of rain gardens and introduced the ideas behind Low Impact Development (LID) and why it’s needed.

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Rain garden at the YMCA in Silverdale

As noted in the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington:

Rain gardens are important and versatile tools in the approach to managing stormwater.  They’re landscaped areas that collect, absorb, and filter stormwater runoff from roof tops, driveways, and other hard surfaces that don’t allow water to soak in.  Simply put, rain gardens are shallow depressions that:

  • Can be shaped and sized to fit your yard in order to accommodate temporary ponding after it rains.
  • Are constructed with soil mixes that allow water to soak in rapidly, treat runoff, and support plant growth.
  • Can be landscaped with a variety of plants to fit the surroundings.

Rain gardens perform significant functions such as filtering oil, grease, fertilizer and other pollutants before they reach groundwater and eventually streams, wetlands, lakes, and marine waters.  They also increase the amount of water that soaks into the ground to resupply local groundwater.

If you’re interested in having a rain garden installed on your property, but don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help.  Drop us a line at info@northwestcl.com or call 360-697-3215.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.