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.
Here at MPS our crews have become accustomed to the intermittent rain and occasional hail storms! In this issue of the MPS newsletter we’ll cover: The Astonishing Rain statistics for 2017 Specific Summer Lawn Care for 2017 New Backyard Technology for Bird Lovers The continued Devastation of the Emerald Ash Borer Enjoy!
- The Astonishing Rain statistics for 2017
- Specific Summer Lawn Care for 2017
- 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.
- Mow your lawn correctly, and that doesn’t always mean cutting it short! Set your mower blades higher (3” or more) as taller grass is far more tolerant to drought, grows deeper roots and can reduce weed growth.
- Mulch your grass clippings to help keep moisture levels steady.
- Keep your mower blades sharp to minimize stress to the turf, you want to cut the grass blades, not tear them.
- Water your lawn wisely by watering deeply and less frequently to encourage drought-tolerant roots. Water earlier in the day to reduce evaporation and fungal growth.
- Do not over-saturate when you water, this can promote disease in the turf. Most lawns will require about an inch (2.5 cm) of water per week to maintain good health.
- Don’t over fertilize your turf; applying fertilizer in the heat of summer can burn your lawn, so if you are going to apply, make sure to use a slow release product. Or wait until the fall to fertilize again!
- Weed your lawn regularly to remove them before they bloom and send out more seeds for next year. Hand (or tool) removal is still the best option for most residential lawns.
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.
I recently came across an innovative product that seems perfect for a fun, interesting and educational project for the yard; quite literally, a photo booth for birds!
Find out more on our Blog >>
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>>
Another winter is coming to a close, and everyone at MPS is starting to switch gears in preparation for spring and summer. With winter 2017 being fairly average, this allowed the management team at MPS to focus on some important internal changes and upgrades.
MPS gained some valuable new employees over the winter, including: Jordan Brown; full-time landscape designer, Christine Burtch; part-time bookkeeper, and Richard MacMillan; full-time landscape construction crew leader. These new additions fit right in with the MPS team.
The second major change created this winter was introducing the idea of the ‘MPS Way’, a change in the company’s culture that represents MPS’s mission, vision and values. With these attributes in mind, the HR team has been busy recruiting new employees, signing contracts with existing MPS teammates, and getting ready to kick-off summer 2017.
We think this will be our best summer season yet!
Thinking about a landscape project this summer? Don’t delay!
To get a full summer of enjoyment out of your new landscape, have it completed this spring. We’re booking up quickly for spring/summer 2017, call now to schedule a meeting with our professional designer for your design assessment and quote. MPS specializes in:
- Front Entrances
- Full Backyard projects
- Retaining walls
- Garden Installation and Renovation
Check out our helpful Landscape purchasing guide!
Updated Front Entrance
With help from the MPS team YOU can completely update the look of your front entrance this season. Our designers create personalized quotes that are tailored to your home, budget, and lifestyle. This front entrance was transformed in less than 2 weeks!
Click here to see more!
MPS Summer Staff ’16
The days are getting shorter and the kids have headed back to school, it can only mean that fall is upon us! The change in seasons always brings an air of excitement, new decor, recipes and flowers in the garden. In this issue we have included some important steps that should be taken in the fall to ensure your grass and gardens will wake-up healthier next spring, as well as some fall decor inspiration and a delicious fall recipe.
Here in the office we have been busy hiring fall staff to replace the students who have left for school, as well as getting prepared for the winter season. To celebrate the summer employees, we held the first MPS BBQ. It was a great afternoon and allowed our employees to socialize with managers and office staff in a relaxed setting
ISO 9001 CERTIFICATION
MPS Property Services is very proud to announce that after a summer of hard work and implementation of many new processes, we have passed our internal and Stage 1 & 2 ISO audits; becoming only the second Canadian company in our industry to achieve ISO 9001 / SN 9001 Certification.
This internationally recognized Business Management credential identifies MPS as an organization that meets the procedures, policies and requirements of ISO Quality Management, with specific written standards related to the Snow & Ice Management industry.
This exciting certification is an important step in allowing MPS Property Services to continue to improve our customer satisfaction and overall quality of our operations.
We look forward to implementing our new systems and procedures this winter!
As autumn rolls in, it calls for a change in outdoor decor such as warm colours, pumpkins, and rustic touches. Click here to see our ‘Fall Decor’ Pinterest board for all your fall inspiration needs.
Fall Turf Care:Aeration & Overseeding
After a hot, dry summer, like the one we have just experienced, Core Aeration and Overseeding are two easy ways to help heal lawns that have been damaged by summer drought, diseases, insects and even heavy foot traffic.
Core aeration is the process where small cores of soil are removed mechanically from the lawn to reduce soil compaction and promote root growth. Compacted soil prevents grass from establishing a healthy root system and will keep water and fertilizer from reaching the roots as well. Aeration will benefit your lawn and make it healthier in the following ways:
- Improve the exchange of air between the soil & atmosphere
- Improve water & fertilizer uptake to the soil and roots
- Reduce water runoff
- Enhance the root system of the grass
- Improve the turfs heat & drought stress tolerance
- Increase thatch breakdown
Aeration should be done twice per year; in the spring and fall, with the fall aeration (between early September and mid-November), occurring before any late season fertilizer application. Aerations should be done each year, especially if the soil is poor, to improve the health of your lawn.
Early fall is a great time for overseeding your lawn, especially after a summer drought. This gives the seed enough time to germinate and the resulting seedlings time to mature enough to survive the winter and begin growing again in the spring.
The grass seed mix should be spread with either a rotary or drop spreader to ensure the proper amount is applied to the lawn correctly (refer to the bag for specific instructions). Overseeding is an effective way to fill in areas of turf that were damaged in the summer, and also thickens and increases the density of “thin” lawns. Overseeding also increases the turfs ability to fight disease and insects that are prevalent in the summer and will improve the appearance of your lawn.
FALL CLEANUP CHECKLIST
- Aerate the lawn- As the temperatures start to decrease the grass will slow down, however moist soil encourages strong root development.
- Fertilizer- A high phosphorus mix around 12-25-12 will encourage root growth, meaning you’ll have a greener lawn in the early spring.
- Final Mow- On the last cut of the season, trim down to 1 ¼ inches. Diseases have a harder time developing in shorter grasses, it also decreases the amount of leaves and debris that can get caught in longer grass.
- Collect leaves
- Plant shrubs- planting shrubs in the fall gives them a head start
- Plant spring bulbs- such as tulips, daffodils…
- Trim dead limbs
- Cut back perenials
- Mulch young plants- protection from frost damage
- Dry out irrigation drip system- put hose and other garden tools away
Here is another unique design to add to the books, we are in love with how it turned out! These delightful homeowners approached us with the vision of an accessible and functional landscape design for their backyard. They needed an accessibility ramp with a design that accentuated the patio and outdoor living space. Our designer Dave created this beautiful backyard and made it functional for the whole family.
Construction on this project began mid-September, first a porch ‘Overlay’ was added to the original builders porch slab. Porch overlays are an easy way to add continuity between the porch and interlocking patio. Techo Bloc Blu 60 pavers were used for the patio and accessibility ramp, this paver was recommended by our designers since the texture of the stone reduce slip hazards. To build the accessibility ramp with the proper slope, the patio was raised 18 inches with the installation of Ortana retaining walls. Armour stones were included throughout the design to divide areas and add visual appeal. Permacon Esplanade steps were installed off the side of the patio and at the door to the detached garage. One special addition to the design was the antique curbs on the accessibility ramp for added safety. Lastly, new low-maintenance gardens were installed with mulch, to complete this project. This home now has a beautifully accessible backyard that is functional for the whole family!
An MPS Favourite
- 4 strips Applewood bacon
- 3 cups Butternut squash cubes
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 cup Red onion
- 1 1/2 tbsp Sage, fresh
- 1 1/2 tbsp Thyme, fresh
- 1 cup Chicken stock, low sodium
- 2 lb Pasta, gluten free
- 1 Salt
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 tbsp Butter
- In a large skillet add the butter and red onion. Saute until slightly soft, about 1-2 minutes.
- Next add in the garlic, saute for 30 seconds, stir and add the butternut squash, chicken stock, sage, and thyme. Stir and cover. Cook until the butternut squash is fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- When the squash is tender, add the squash to a food processor along with the milk and salt to taste. Puree until smooth.
- In the meantime heat a small skillet to medium high heat, add the diced bacon to the pan and saute until the bacon is crispy. About 4-5 minutes. When the bacon is done, place it on a paper towel lined plate to let the grease drain.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add gluten free pasta, cook according to directions, (6-8 minutes) do not overcook.
- Drain pasta and add butternut squash sauce to the pasta, gently toss together and top with crispy bacon. Serve!
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 407 Fat: 9 g Carbohydrates: 83 g Sugar: 6 g Sodium: 234 mg Fiber: 8 g Protein: 10 g Cholesterol: 20 mg
Summer is here and so is the heat! In southern Ontario we had the driest June in over 25 years and July has kicked off with week-long heatwaves. If the long range forecasts are correct we are headed for a hot & dry summer. So, this issue we’ve included some tips on staying cool this summer! Here at MPS we are also embracing the heat and modifying our work to keep our employees working safely.
In other news, MPS has had a very busy and productive spring. Our construction crews have completed their first major projects of the summer and are moving right along. The Grounds Maintenance crews had a busy spring, and are settling into a normal schedule as the grass is slowing down. In the office we have added two new staff members, Matt Raguseo as Sales Associate and Jenna Monk as HR Coordinator and Multi-Media Outreach. In June, MPS staff attended the 19th Annual Snow & Ice Management Symposium in Providence, Rhode Island. MPS received its 9th consecutive Snow Safety Awards and had the opportunity to meet, network and learn from the leading contractors and suppliers in the industry.
This home got a full modern overhaul this summer! These clients contacted MPS in the fall of 2015 to redo their back
patio and steps leading to the basement. It was a unique walkout because the original basement was sunken and the owners had excavated and put in a pressure treated timber retaining wall and steps. They came to us looking to replace the decaying wood with a new product that would be strong and visually appealing. Our solution was an industrial product made by Oaks Pavers calledProterra Natural Split. After excavating the area for the new larger steps, each stone was individually lowered into place. The results are a modern, clean looking set of steps that will stand the test of time. In the backyard we also expanded the existing patio, installed new stone window wells, river rock detailing around the perimeter, Halton-natural stepping stones, installation of new gardens and new sod.
The back project began in the spring of 2016 and soon after the owners requested quotes to redo the front yard as well. Our designers quickly drew up plans and adjusted the schedule to seamlessly transition from the back to front yard without delay. In the front we replaced their out-dated interlock driveway and steps with Ridgefiled Plus Executive stone to match the back. Permacon Esplanade steps replaced the dilapidated steps and were framed with large armour stone on either side. The old gardens were renovated with the addition of two small gardens. This property was brought out of the past with these modern upgrades.
Flower planters are a great way to add colour and beauty to any outdoor space. They are also great because in the fall and winter, the planters can be reused to make decorative seasonal touches. Check out our blog post to see step-by-step how we created these beautiful planters!
Construction Crew Leader| Fleet Manager
Trevor Little is a man of many talents, which is why he has several essential roles at MPS including shop manager and landscape construction crew leader. Trevor joined MPS Property Services in 1998 before going off on his own and then re-joining the company in 2008. Trevor specializes in our outdoor carpentry; he designs and builds all of the decks, gazebos and woodworking projects that MPS constructs. Trevor is very experienced with interlocking and concrete work as well, which can be showcased in some of our bigger landscaping projects. During the fall and winter months Trevor can be found in the shop, taking the role of shop manager. He organizes, winterizes and keeps our machines in tip top shape. Another pivotal role that Trevor is heavily involved in, is the training of large equipment operators for MPS. The staff all enjoy his delicious baked goods that he contributes on Coffee & Timbit Fridays! On his free time Trevor built his own custom home, spends his summers at the cottage and is involved in motor cross, snowmobiling and boating.
Spring Has Sprung!
Hello! We are excited to be sending our first MPS Property Services digital Newsletter. As part of our company’s growth we have recognized that digital outreach is an important way to keep in contact with our customers.