At Columbia Landcare, we love the outdoors – it’s in our DNA!
Nurturing the living landscape is our passion, so we always have the environment in mind when doing our job. That’s why we use environmentally-conscious lawn and garden care techniques and materials. The choices we make have effects that reach beyond the individual property; progressive practices can reduce stormwater runoff, erosion, and the leaching of fertilizers and waste that goes to community landfills.
Fertilizer is an essential building block for strong and healthy plants – it’s our way of supplementing Mother Nature. However, the fertilization process requires great care and delicacy to handle it efficiently. Over-fertilizing can introduce nutrients to storm water runoff that find their way into streams and lakes; yet under-fertilizing inhibits grass and plants from thriving, which makes them susceptible to weed invasion and erosion. At Columbia, we assess the varying nutritional needs of the landscape, perform and interpret soil tests and apply the appropriate fertilizer at the optimum time, taking into account different seasonal needs. We’re committed to using phosphate-free fertilizers to effectively reduce the impact of fertilization on bodies of water. We take further care not to let stray fertilizer remain on sidewalks or other paved areas where it can run off into nearby drains.
Organic (or vegetative) waste accounts for about 20% of all waste and has long been a problem for community landfills. One simple way that Columbia Landcare reduces organic waste is by “mulching” grass clippings to return nutrients to the soil.
To learn about composting and yard waste, please visit the Mid-America Regional Council website.
The right mulch can change an outdoor space for the better in terms of both aesthetics and plant health, but there’s much to consider when choosing and applying mulch. When incorporated appropriately, mulch provides a wide array of benefits, including reduced water usage, improved soil moisture retention, better weed control, and reduction of stormwater runoff. We maximize those benefits for our clients and for the betterment of the environment. Prior to mulching, we perform “trenching” of plant bed lines and tree rings to contain the mulch and reduce runoff. Cleanup services are provided following application.
Plants are the life and “main attraction” of any outdoor space. It’s only natural that we devote ourselves to taking great care of them. Plants that are well-suited to a site’s soil, sun exposure and water conditions optimize water use, suppress unwanted weeds, and enhance the landscape’s overall health, which acts as nature’s engine to absorb carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen. We focus on placing the “right plants in the right places”.
If you’re planning on making any landscape improvements, check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which guides you in selecting specific plants that will thrive in your area.
Soil hosts the nutrients to sustain your living landscape and is comprised of a balanced mix of minerals, organic matter, air, water, and beneficial micro-organisms. Healthy soil supports healthy plants and is the first essential building block of a thriving landscape. Soil testing provides crucial information when determining the right mix of soil amendments and fertilizers.
When it comes to water, our philosophy is simple: apply irrigation only when and where it’s needed. We design water-wise irrigation systems that monitor soil moisture and evenly apply water to green spaces so that not a drop goes to waste. “Smart irrigation” sustains thriving landscapes and conserves water.
Homeowners can also utilize the benefits of the more elaborate commercial irrigation systems we manage. Proper sprinkler placement ensures that you’re only watering the areas that need it. Separate irrigation zones match water to plant needs. For example, turf areas typically require more supplemental irrigation than shrub plantings. Always make sure that matching sprinkler heads and nozzles are used to provide even coverage.
When we design a landscape plan, we take into consideration how to collect and filter storm runoff and minimize impervious surfaces. This approach reduces the impacts of water runoff on our community storm sewer systems, streams, and rivers.
“Rain Gardens” are designed as efficient catchment areas for storm water runoff that filter water before it can reach sewers or drainage systems. To learn more, visit the Rain Garden Network website.
Pests and Weeds
Our service delivery teams monitor your landscape to identify pest and weed issues before they become a problem. Left unmanaged, these can quickly spiral out of control. The first line of defense is to enhance plant health, especially in turf, thereby reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides.
Our Horticulture Professionals understand the life cycles of pests; we diagnose and treat where necessary in a timely manner. When we do use pesticides, we spray only affected plants, rather than taking a blanket approach. And our licensed applicators always follow the product label.