Are there hidden dangers lurking on your commercial property?
It is never a bad decision to spend a little bit of time re-evaluating your commercial property with an eye to identify any potential hazards that could lead to serious health & safety or liability issues down the road.
In today’s business climate, making simple repairs or changes before these hidden dangers get out of control is always a prudent strategy, and should become a regular part of your best practices handbook. The most common hidden dangers we come across day-after-day can include the following:
- Low-hanging or dead tree branches, especially near walkways or driveway entrances, can be a risk to both pedestrians and moving vehicles, and can also block visibility for vehicles pulling out into traffic. Raising the canopies of existing trees to a desirable level, and cutting out dead, diseased or damaged branches will improve the health of the trees while making their surroundings less hazardous.
- Heaved or sunken sections of interlocking paving stones or asphalt are not only a trip & fall hazard, but can also lead to pools of ice (slip & fall hazard) forming during the winter season. Quite often, a simple “lift and re-lay” will fix this risk.
- Inadequately marked traffic lanes or pedestrian crossing areas can create situations where people or vehicles are placed in a dangerous situation. By having distinct and clearly marked lines, directional arrows, signs and crosswalks prominently displayed, your property’s traffic flow and organization are optimized while reducing risk & liability at the same time.
- Providing adequate exterior lighting is yet another means of mitigating risk and increasing the site security of your property; ensuring that workers, visitors and any other workplace parties can freely move about your site safely.
A thorough site assessment to identify these and other hidden dangers is an essential first step in making your property as safe as possible for all staff and visitors. MPS is always available to assist with these evaluations, and will gladly help in restoring your property to its safest possible state!
– Ken Jorgenson
The Yellow Garden Spider
Have you seen one of these around your garden recently? -Say hello to the Yellow Garden Spider!
This female (pictured above) gave our employees a bit of a scare at our site this week. The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, corn spider, or McKinley spider. Although their colouring is frightening, the yellow garden spider is not aggressive or poisonous to humans. The adult female spiders are the most visible during late summer, which is why you might be noticing them more right now.
These spiders are one of the largest species of the orb weaver family, and can be found building their webs near open fields, tall vegetation or outdoor buildings. It is common for the female spiders to stay in one location for much of her lifetime. Yellow garden spiders are found throughout:
- The contiguous United States
- Southern Canada
- Central America
The yellow garden spider is an annual spices, meaning they don’t survive through the winter. The male spiders mature in July-August and the females mature between August-October, and are typically 4x bigger than the males. The male spiders will spend most of their life searching for a female to mate with, and will sometimes build its web near, or on, a female’s web. The male spiders die off shortly after mating, and some experts believe that mating induces their death and other sources say that the male spiders die of starvation and exhaustion, due to mating.
In late summer, after mating, the mature female will produce an egg sac containing 400-1,200 spiderlings. The spiderlings will hatch and overwinter inside the protective and insulated sac, emerging in the spring to complete their cycle of life.
Fun Fact: The Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider) takes almost all of its potty breaks at night, and often leaves its web to do so!
– Jenna Monk
Lawn & Order: The Usual Suspects for a Green Lawn
When we take a look at our lawns, what are we actually looking at? There are many varieties of grasses out there, but only some are suited for our environment and variable weather.
Which Grass is Greener?
Typically, in our region, Kentucky Bluegrass is the dominant species and by far the most popularly used variety of turf. It is probably the best type of grass (especially when mixed with some perennial rye and fescue) for our diverse climate, with our distinct seasons, however, it is not without a few drawbacks as well.
While bluegrass thrives in cool weather, and will tolerate very cold winters, it is not very drought resistant and doesn’t grow well in the shade. In other words, it must be watered regularly in hot, dry weather or it will go dormant, and is slow to recover (“green-up”) after moisture returns. Overall, Kentucky Bluegrass is a good choice for our region, but what are the other options out there?
Types of Grass
- Fine Fescue is an excellent cool season grass, with rapid germination and vigorous growth of the finest blades. It tolerates hot and cold temperatures, and can be used in areas with wild fluctuations of temperature. Fine Fescue has very good drought tolerance, and will quickly “green-up” again when moisture returns after drought dormancy. This variety requires less water than bluegrass, but doesn’t handle the wear & tear of summer activity as well.
- Ryegrass is another variety of turf that is adapted to both cool and warm temperatures, but will go dormant easier in hot, dry weather. It’s tolerance to shade and slow growth makes it a better choice for some areas, but needs more watering than most turf grasses to thrive.
- Tall Fescue has a deeper root system than the other varieties and therefore is much more drought-tolerant and requires less watering. It is good for “transitional” zones that have moderately cold winters and warm summers, and also has some resistance to shade, but is somewhat less dense than Kentucky Bluegrass.
- Creeping Bentgrass is the most common choice for golf greens around the world, but is being introduced more and more on residential properties each year. Who wouldn’t want this bright green colour and golf green texture for their own lawn! This type of grass thrives in cool, wet weather (think Vancouver), but can struggle in the heat & humidity without increased maintenance. That beautiful carpet of green requires more frequent and much lower mowing, along with specialized equipment, but many feel it is worth the extra effort.
Do your Research
Before seeding or sodding your lawn, you should think about what the best options may be for your specific location. The amount of shade, access to water, and the expected wear & tear it may encounter are all considerations, and must be weighed carefully to select the best type of turfgrass for your needs. For more information on creating your new lawn, click here to check out Landscape Ontario’s recommendations.
– Kenny Jorgenson
Hydrangeas are hardy perennials, most commonly recognized for their lush and abundant flowerheads. The fluffy flowerheads of hydrangeas consist of numerous star-shaped flowers that are packed closely together, giving them their unique and exuberant appearance. The Hydrangea genus contains 70-75 different species, the most popular being Hydrangea Macrophylla. Although most species of hydrangeas produce a white flower and bloom mid-late summer, certain species of hydrangeas bloom at different times and vary in colour.
Quick Facts About Hydrangeas:
- Indigenous to Southern and Eastern Asia
- Plant type: Deciduous or Evergreen (the cultivated species grown in Canada are all deciduous)
- Exposure: Full sun – partial shade
- Appearance: shrub, bush, tree or lianas
- Watering: Deep watering 1x week
- Size: average height of 1-3 meters
- Spacing: Give 3-6 feet proximity around each plant
- Pruning: Best pruned when the blooms have ceased (fall). Some species of hydrangea flower from ‘old wood’, ‘new wood’, or both; therefore pruning needs to be specific to that species.
Top 10 Most Popular Hydrangeas
1. Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Annabelle’
2. Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Incrediball’
3. Hydrangea Macrophylla Cityline Series
4. Hydrangea Macrophylla Endless Summer Original Blue & Pink (color changing)
5. Hydrangea Macrophylla Endless Summer ‘Bloom Struck’
6. Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Lime Light’
7. Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Little Lime’ (Compact Version of ‘Lime Light’)
8. Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Quick Fire’
9. Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’
10. Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Phantom’
Did you know?
Do you know what the difference between the Hydrangea species Macrophylla vs. Paniculata is? Hydrangea Macrophylla have larger leaves and rounded flower heads, they are sometimes called ‘Mopheads’ or ‘Big Leaf Hydrangeas’. Hydrangea Paniculata have smaller, thinner and rougher leaves with flower heads that resemble more of a cone shape.
Colour Changing Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are fascinating and unlike most plants because the colour of their flowers can change dramatically. Most species of hydrangea have white flowers, however, in some species including hydrangea macrophylla, the flower heads can be blue, red, pink, light purple or dark purple. In these species the colour of the flower head is effected by the pH of the soil. The pH of the soil is determined by the amount of aluminum ions.
- Acidic soil (low pH)- will have available aluminum ions = blue-purple hydrangea flowers
- Alkaline soil (high pH)- no available aluminum ions = pink-red hydrangea flowers
Therefore, you can actually change the colour of your hydrangea plant by altering the pH of the soil.
To make soil more acidic, sprinkle ½ cup garden sulfur over the soil beneath the hydrangea, and water it in. To make it more alkaline, do the same with ground lime. There are also products that can be bought at your local nursery to change the pH.
– Jenna Monk
Summer is the time of year that almost all Canadians look forward to most. Unfortunately, we’ve had a wet start to it this year but on a positive note – the plants love it.
As some of you may know, we’ve taken on an exciting project to improve our customer service and the overall experience that you, as property managers, have with us. We recognize that most property managers are extremely busy, and are looking for feedback in regards to the properties they manage.
So, we’ve undertaken a project this season where we’ll be visiting your site(s) and looking for areas that can be improved aesthetically, or more importantly, from a safety standpoint. Then you’ll receive an enhancement evaluation report with all of our suggestions. Are you ready to schedule a site meeting or request a quote?
In this issue of the MPS 2017 Summer newsletter we’ve included articles on:
- The Astonishing Rain statistics for 2017
- Specific Summer Lawn Care for 2017
- Seasonal Irrigation Services
- New Backyard Technology for Bird Lovers
- The continued Devastation of the Emerald Ash Borer
If you’ve felt that this spring and summer has been unusually rainy, you’re not wrong! We’ve put together these graphs to compare the amount of rain we’ve received this year in the GTA compared to 2016. As you can see, we received 2x the amount of rain in May and June, and 3x the amount of rain in April compared to the previous year. Here’s hoping for a dry August!
Lawn care in the spring is all about getting your lawn healthy and green, and this year, it has been great to actually have experienced the first “real” spring we’ve had in quite a few years. The prolonged wet weather and cooler temperatures have done their bit in creating healthy turf, and now that the weather has warmed and dried out (hopefully), summer lawn care is all about keeping it that way!
Summer weather can often bring about quite a lot of stress to your grass. Hot temperatures and drought conditions can damage your lawn, as can the slower natural growth of the grass and even lots of activity on high traffic areas. That is why it is important to take the following steps to best care for your lawn during the summer months.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE 7 BEST TIPS FOR LAWN MAINTENANCE
The summer is also a great time to make adjustments to your irrigation system settings if an automatic system is being used. The ability to “fine tune” the amount of water being used, at the optimal time of day is of utmost importance to increase the health of your turf.
MPS Property Services can offer additional services for clients with automatic irrigation systems in place to best maximize their effectiveness, and also minimize the costs of watering your turf.
Throughout the year, MPS offers the following irrigation system maintenance services…
Learn More >>
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a highly destructive insect (originally from Asia) that feeds on ash trees, usually killing them within 2-3 years.
The EAB was first discovered in the GTA around 2005 and has continued to devastate the ash tree population ever since. It is estimated that the City of Toronto will eventually lose almost all of its 860,000 ash trees and the outlook for York region is not much brighter…
Read more on our Blog>>