Why Prune in Winter?

One of the easiest and most effective ways to promote your property’s value is to put your deciduous shrubs and small trees on a seasonal care program that includes structural pruning in winter.

Structural pruning, or pruning designed to ensure a sound structure and aesthetic form, is done during a plant’s dormancy for a number of reasons.  It gets young shrubs and trees off to a good start, removes dead or stressed wood, encourages healthy flowering and foliage in the spring, and improves their ability to survive storms.

Pruning in early winter will protect your trees and shrubs from the toll that heavy ice and snow can take when the weight of snow on branches can break limbs and cause damage to your landscape or liability and safety concerns.

ELM believes that proper pruning is an essential part of an overall commitment to the health of your landscape, a best practice that includes a regular program of soil nutrition, root zone conditioning, smart watering, insect and disease prevention, and plant health care.

Depending on which species of small trees and shrubs on your property, ELM’s pruning team will be identifying which plants on your property will make the cut and why.

If there are holly trees and shrubs on your site, you’re in luck. Cutting hollies back in December means the plant gets a new shape and the clipped branches make jolly holiday decorations.  Just ask. We’ll save some trimmings for you.

ELM’s dormant pruning principles:

  1. Supports disease management
  2. Creates a healthy canopy for spring
  3. Delivers more aesthetic results
  4. Improves spring growth, flowering and foliage
  5. Improves ability to withstand weather events and storms
  6. Proactively supports safety and liability by removing weak branches

For questions on landscape health in winter, or to schedule dormant pruning, please contact Bruce Moore, Jr., vice president, operations at 203-316-5433.

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Welcome Patrick McClellan, New ELM Area Manager

Eastern Land Management, an award-winning, full-service commercial landscape company located in Stamford, Connecticut, is pleased to welcome Patrick (Pat) McClellan to ELM as a new Area Manager.

In his new role, Pat will work closely with commercial real estate managers to develop landscape health and safety plans, coordinate field operations, and manage scope and budget for properties he serves.

“We are fortunate to add someone of Pat’s passion to the ELM team; his expertise will be a real asset to us and to our customers,” said Bruce Moore, Jr., vice president, operations.

A native of Long Island, Pat attended State University of New York, Farmingdale, where he pursued a teaching credential before switching to SUNY’s landscape and ornamental horticulture program.  He holds a OSHA 30 license, and is a CT/NY-licensed pesticide operator.

“The best advice I could give any property manager would be to measure the value of sustainability,” notes Pat. “The ideal landscape is one that allows the beauty of the natural and built environment but strategically minimizes the disruption of its resources.  Some people feel going green costs more money, but conservation is an investment that reaps savings – and improves property asset value – over time.”

Well said, Patrick. Welcome to our team.

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203.316.5433

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How Weather Data is Transforming Landscape and Snow Service Decisions

Bad weather can be bad for business. For property managers, winter storms in particular can significantly impact operations and affect revenue.

To help productivity and improve safety, ELM has invested in emerging weather research to provide you with weather planning as a strategic piece of your overall landscape budget.

“Being able to collect and apply information locally has opened up opportunities for us to improve communications and service timelines as we apply what we learn to be proactive about potential impacts,” said Bruce Moore Sr., who leads the ELM’s hazard and risk planning initiative.  “We know we can’t manage the weather but we can manage the financial implications of what weather can do if we’re not prepared for it,” he added.

Being responsible for the safety of commercial landscape and outdoor environments is mission-critical for ELM’s front line team who ensure that your business is taken care of while your workforce, tenants or campus remains safe.

“ELM’s hazard planning minimizes the disruption of our customer’s business, reduces insurance claims made by injured employees and customers, lowers exposure and increases the safety of everyone,” noted Bruce.

Technology has improved accuracy in predicting extreme weather and is providing exponentially more benefits to property managers looking to address emergency preparedness and site safety. Whether it’s the next generation of radar, new mobile applications, remote weather sensors that manage water conservation, or using forecasts to save money, more accurate predictions makes running a commercial landscape asset easier all year long.
ELM is committed to creating safer communities by protecting life and property, and managing risk.  To learn more about ELM’s weather service, contact Bruce Moore, Sr., Founder & CEO at 203-316-5433.

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Photo: The Connecticut River photographed from Conard weather balloon, a student-driven project of the Frederick U. Conard School’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program. ELM applauds students throughout Connecticut for the work they are doing in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

 

Jessica Braz Named ELM Controller

Eastern Land Management is pleased to announce that Jessica Braz has been promoted to Controller.

“Jessica joined ELM in 2009 as an accountant and moved through the ranks, earning our respect as one of our best problem solvers,” said Bruce Moore, Jr., vice president of operations.  “Throughout her tenure, she has demonstrated fiduciary leadership and we’re proud to include her on our management team.”

In her new role, she will be responsible for the preparation of company financial statements and supervision of accounts payable specialists and accounting staff.

A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Jessica moved to New England to attend the University of Connecticut, where she graduated with a B.S. degree in Corporate and Organizational Studies. When not “crunching numbers”, she says the most important other thing she does is to be a mom to her two girls and, with her husband, invest in their future.

“We enable and empower our employees, like Jessica and others with young families, to manage the demands of the job with the responsibilities of home and community. In this, we hope to continue building an organizational culture that makes work-life balance possible for everyone and makes ELM a great place to work,” added Bruce.

Eastern Land Management provides commercial landscape services throughout Southern Connecticut and the New York metropolitan area.

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203.316.5433

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We Don’t Wait for Weather to Happen: How ELM’s Emergency Response Platform Protects Your Property All Year Long

Each September, in conjunction with FEMA’s National Preparedness Month, ELM reviews its response and safety training initiative to strengthen its capabilities and reputation as the go-to emergency landscape and grounds response team throughout southern Connecticut.

ELM’s 5-point emergency response platform

  • To ensure that the security and safety of our customers’ grounds and landscapes remain a top priority and concern.
  • To devote and invest considerable resources to meet and exceed property and facility managers’ risk assessment needs.
  • To apply and provide incident/weather event/emergency response, preparedness planning, protocols, and best practices across all segments of our market.
  • To train and certify our response crew and storm team to deliver disciplined teamwork, accountability, and exemplary safety, security, and incident prevention behaviors.
  • To provide our response crew and storm team with the best tools and options they need to execute response efforts at the highest level.

Storm Team Strength

ELM is an active member of professional snow management associations, SIMA (Snow & Ice Management Association) and ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors of America). ELM trains with these organizations throughout the year to focus on critical elements in executing first class storm response.  ELM invests in certification programs to ensure that each of ELM’s response crew leaders are Certified Snow Professionals and Advanced Snow Management experts and have the capability and capacity to lead in a weather crisis.

Data You Can Trust

ELM uses real time forecasting resources, tools, and hyper-local weather data alerts for comprehensive information to prepare for the unexpected in each of the communities ELM serves.  This allows our response crew and storm team to mobilize up to 48 hours in advance of advisories, warnings, and threats to property safety and by sharing this data with our customers, allows us to collaborate as a team to proactively address and triage priority response efforts.

ELM is prepared to organize and dispatch its crews at a moment’s notice

To learn more about ELM’s emergency command center, storm response program, large scale snow removal, and proactive weather event management services, contact Bruce Moore, Jr., vice president, operations at 203-316-5433.  Or go to: http://www.easternland.com/our-services/snow-services/

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Richard Bevilacqua Promoted to Director of Organizational Development

Richard “Ricky” Bevilacqua has been named ELM’s Director of Organizational Development.

In this newly created position, he will be responsible for overseeing ELM’s administrative function, creating and implementing ELM’s next generation operating practices, and driving strategies to digitally reimagine the way ELM does business.

“Employees want to work for digital leaders and customers seek businesses that have taken their game to a higher level,” said Bruce Moore, Jr., Vice President, Operations. “As ELM matures, we’re transforming our business for competitive advantage and leading this commitment from the top,” he added.

Ricky joined ELM in 2013, and has a dozen years in the green industry working in a variety of roles. He is a Certified Landscape Professional and an Advanced Snow Manager. “Ricky’s career trajectory, from local garden center to having a seat at the table, shows what can happen when people energize their careers through continuous learning,” noted Bruce.

Ricky’s one piece of advice to share with customers is to appreciate the complexities of the landscape as a dynamic thing. “Plants live, they breathe, they grow, they get sick and they die. As landscape professionals, it’s our job to make sure only the first three happen,” he says with typical good humor.

Originally from Westchester, New York, Ricky has become an avid fan of weekend life in Connecticut. His spare time finds him developing techniques and recipes to smoke meat while simultaneously, and often unsuccessfully, keeping his enthusiastic Golden Retriever, Charlie, from trying to help.

Please join us in congratulating Ricky on his well-deserved promotion.

Improve Turf Quality with Aeration and Overseeding

Turfgrass, with its extensive below ground root system and its above-ground network of plant material, offers under-appreciated environmental benefits, such as removing dust and pollutants, reducing soil erosion, and filtering water.

When turf and commercial lawns are new, maintenance is basic: mowing, fertilizing, and irrigation, with little need for weed control or other management practices. However, as turf areas age, growth patterns change and roots from maturing trees encroach on lawn areas, competing for available water and nutrients.  Heavily-used areas become compacted, leading to thin turf and exposed soil.

To counteract the effects that compaction, insufficient water, heat, and age have on the health of turf and commercial lawns, ELM recommends core aeration, a process performed in early fall, followed by overseeding – broadcasting new grass seed throughout the turf with a spreader – and fertilization. This 3-step protocol will improve soil, bring in air, water and micro-nutrients, allow turf seed to germinate during cooler weather, and boost root growth for healthier landscapes overall.

Step One:  Aeration.

ELM uses specialized equipment to add air and space in your lawn.  The aerator pulls out plugs of soil (cores) from the turf, approximately ¾ inches in diameter and up to 4 inches deep, about 2-3 inches apart across the turf area treated.

Aerating, double aerating – even triple aerating – in different directions opens up clumps of grass, which creates an explosion in growth at the crown and introduces oxygen, water, and fertilizer straight into the root zone via a core aeration. The plugs will breakdown naturally and the holes will start to fill in with new roots, indicating that soil and root health is already improving.

Step Two: Overseeding.

ELM uses region-friendly, cool season grass blends that contain tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass and other fine and chewing fescues, depending on soil and light conditions.

Advancements in turf science allow us to provide our customers with good options. Tall fescue is by far the most durable grass type on the market especially with the different cultivars they have created over the years. It is a deep rooting turf grass with very good insect resistance and drought tolerance. Some of the newer cultivars that we are experimenting with contain endophytes in their roots which actually help with relieve grub damage. An annual overseeding with ELMs premium grass seed blend custom spec’d and ordered will allow roots to establish before next summer.

Step Three: Top Dressing.

ELM uses a wide array of soil amendments, fertilizers, and soil conditioners, to soil improve turf health and growth. The right mix will improve soil structure, balance soil pH, supply nutrients, and reinvigorate root health. ELM’s compost and organic matter used as a top dressing will also increase beneficial microbial activity. Gypsum, a naturally occurring mineral, and a source of calcium and sulfur, is often added when soil stability and improved filtration is needed, and is excellent for root growth and a healthier soil profile. Synthetic fertilizers kill off the soil flora and can create more problems down the road.

Scheduling:

ELM recommends aerating turf once a year, in the fall, although depending on soil health and use patterns, turf may need more or less frequent aeration. The service is typically performed early morning before commercial properties begin their business day in order to minimize any disruption.

For information on repairing turf areas suffering from summer stress or how this program can provide value to your property, contact your Area Manager or ELM’s Turf Care Specialist, Charles Andrianus at 203-316-5433.

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Photo:  Mill River Park, a 12-acre urban park located in Stamford, CN and a habitat restoration project of the Mill River Collaborative, was awarded a 2015 Design Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for OLIN Studios. ELM considers it an honor and a privilege to care for this urban sanctuary and all of its riparian plantings. The park’s heavily used lawn is annually aerated and overseeded by ELM to keep the turf healthy and hearty for the public to enjoy all year long

Jeffrey Wilson Joins ELM as Field Manager

Eastern Land Management is pleased to welcome Jeff Wilson to the position of Field Manager.

As Field Manager, Jeff helps with on-site client communications, pesticide applications, and landscape improvement projects.

“Since starting with ELM in November 2016, Jeff has become a valuable team member for projects of all sizes,” said Bruce Moore, Jr., ELM’s vice president, operations. “In less than a year, Jeff has grown to play an integral role in swift solutions that keep us ahead of the game and furthering our brand’s influence in the community,” he added.

A Greenwich, Connecticut native, Jeff turned his high school passion for landscaping into a career. Jeff had already been interested in plants and the outdoors so he knew a combination of the two was right up his alley.  After years gaining experience in the landscape services business, Jeff is in a position where he can help form internal strategy, be a resource for the community, and move customer service to the next level.

Jeff believes in constantly re-booting value. Or, as Jeff says: “If it’s good for customers, it’s good for us.”

Please join us in welcoming Jeff Wilson to the ELM family.

Understanding Your Investment in Landscape Maintenance

Today’s technology makes it relatively easy to assess property landscape needs in order to determine plant counts, water usage, turf square footage, etc.  Unfortunately, the most common way property managers determine their maintenance budgets involves using formulas that may be outdated.

Let’s look at some factors that help determine landscape maintenance costs:

Labor:  the single largest cost of landscape maintenance is labor.  A significant piece of the budget is taken up by the work itself. Therefore, to keep overall budget costs down, it is imperative that labor and its associated costs be allocated strategically.

For example, turf.  Turf is generally the largest total area in the landscape.  If the turf contains sweeping contours and few obstacles, such as trees, boulders, light fixtures, signage, or architectural elements, then faster mowing equipment can be used to maintain it and keep labor costs low.

Plant needs:  Overplanting requires more frequent pruning; fast-growing plants require more frequent pruning, and planting pest and disease-prone plants increases the cost of protecting them with costly control materials.  Extensive annual color requires a lot of fine detail work, also resulting in higher costs.

The solution is balance.  A good plant palette, including perennials and ornamental grasses, and use of meadows and sustainable alternatives, will balance low with high maintenance areas.  For instance, a maintenance plan should include removing excess plants as they age. And interplant fast and slow-growing plants to create a seamless transition during plant lifecycles.

Irrigation:  Another factor overlooked in maintenance budgeting is the cost of water and irrigation management.  This is particularly important as water availability decreases and water costs increase.  Irrigation costs are best controlled by utilizing less thirsty plant material and by the installation of new ‘smart’ technologies and water delivery systems.

In general, turf requires the greatest amount of water in the landscape.  For mature landscapes, retrofitting outdated irrigation systems with more efficient equipment and/or redesigning the landscape to utilize more water-efficient plant material can be bottom line friendly. The pay back varies but by auditing water use, future savings scenarios can be projected with great accuracy.

Refurbishing:  When planning a maintenance budget, designate an amount to cover normal wear and tear, seasonal weather stress, and the cost of replacement and repair. All landscapes require remedial and corrective work to maintain their best appearance.  We find that most commercial customers with successful landscapes spend approximately 25-30% of their yearly landscape maintenance budget on freshening.  By replacing items on a regular basis, you can avoid incurring large capital expenditures for major cost overhaul.

With labor and water costs high, it is becoming increasingly important for property managers to be aware of strategies that pay off in the long run.  Establishing a close working relationship with your landscape contractor and starting the conversation at the planning and budgeting stage, will ensure that your property and landscape will receive optimum care and a proactive approach all year long.

Don’t leave value on the table. To learn more about collaborating with ELM to implement innovation, understand how landscape products, equipment and technologies are used to improve cost and efficiency, and what the best priorities are to pursue in the face of changes in water management, contact Bruce Moore at 203-316-5433.

Meet Third-Generation Landscaper, Greg Gross

With two grandfathers in the green industry, ELM Area Manager, Greg Gross, learned more than “old school” work ethic during summer vacations spent helping out.

As a child, Greg learned to repair landscape equipment from men, Greg said, who knew how stuff worked. In fact, it was his grandfathers’ example-setting that taught him the value of hard work and good character, and to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Greg joined ELM in 2016, after working on a golf course in high school put him through the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture, where he received a degree in Landscape Contracting. Greg also holds a Commercial Supervisory Certificate for Turf & Ornamental from the State of Connecticut.

Greg is an avid New York Yankees and New York Giants fan and when not rooting for his favorite team, works on his golf game, and his boating and beach-loving skills.

Greg’s one piece of advice for transforming commercial landscapes is to go for the “wow” factor. Instead of over-complicating the objective, the secret, he says, is to keep your landscape simple, coherent, and invest in high-impact ROI options that continue to increase the property’s value.

“Greg is a born leader,” said Bruce Moore, Jr., ELM’s vice president of operations. “His commitment to delivering best in class in all aspects of the work we do, and in building and sustaining relationships that embody trust and accountability, exemplifies what ELM is all about.”