970 Guelph Street, Kitchener, ON
24 Jul 2022

What To Do During A Drought

We have been experiencing a drought in the Waterloo Region as of late and our lawns are showing the signs! Unless you have an irrigation system installed, your grass and plants might be looking a little worse for wear.

Early Signs of Drought

One of the more obvious telltale signs of hard ground, brown grass, and dying plants is a solid indicator that we are experiencing drought conditions.  But you may be able to proactively protect your grass, plants, and trees to help them become drought-resistant.

Have a look at the leaves on the trees of your yard. Suppose you notice them curling towards the middle of the leaf. This is an early indicator of drought conditions and your plants, lawn, and garden could benefit from a good watering (following the Region of Waterloo watering guidelines, of course)!

If it is early enough in the season, the foliage may drop off. If you introduce water fast enough, the tree and plants may re-generate their leaves.  The faster you introduce water to the root systems, the better the chance that the tree will return to full strength.

When you start to see the signs of curling leaves, we recommend watering your trees in a four-foot (4’) diameter around the tree as this is where most of the root system lies (at least 12 inches down). Give them a good drink!

Early signs of drought

Consider Aerating your Lawn in the Summer

Another way to curb the impacts of the lack of rain is to aerate your lawn. Most residents aerate in the springtime, but the summer is a great time too! Mechanical aeration opens the hard-packed ground up to allow moisture to better penetrate the soil and get to the roots of the grass. This will help your lawn recuperate much faster. Otherwise, the rain will have difficulty penetrating the compacted soil and will end up running off into the storm drains.

Tips to restore your lawn in a drought

Break up your mulch in your garden

Loosen up the mulch around the drip line (the edge of your plant) with a fork or a cultivator. Work up the mulch or soil down about 1.5 to 2 inches, so as not to disturb the root system. Check the depth of the mulch with your fingers, you should be able to dip down to your knuckle. Give the garden a good drink of water and the work you’ve done will help get the water right to the root system.

Get water to the root system cover

Feel free to give us a call to discuss our lawn maintenance programs which help your property maintain peak drought-resistant performance.

08 Jun 2022

Introducing the Green Ventures Grass Seed Blend

We’re very excited to provide our customers with our new grass seed blend that will produce a low-input and amazing-looking green lawn!

We have spent the last year researching the most optimal seed combinations and have arrived at a blend that requires much less water, protects against pests, requires less fertilizer, and thrives in both sun and shade.

New for 2022, we are introducing the Green Ventures Grass Seed Blend!

ABOUT THE GRASS SEED:

The seed is a blend of a couple different of fine fescues which are dark green in colour. They have a natural resistance against pests like chinch bugs. Each blade of grass contains endophytes that the chinch bugs don’t like to eat.

The grass releases natural amino acids that crabgrass and dandelions don’t find as a suitable habitat. It’s a great way to curb the amount of pesticides and herbicides used. The thicker the grass, the more effective it is at choking out weeds.

Because the fine fescues are so hearty, they require much less water (1/4” to ½” of moisture is required per week). A traditional Kentucky blue grass requires about 2-2.5” of moisture per week on average.

Our grass seed will assist in creating a great-looking & full lawn. We’ve tested it at a residence in Waterloo and it has performed very well, especially during drought conditions.

picture of our waterloo test plot of grass

USE LESS WATER IN WATERLOO REGION!

Currently, WR By-law 07-069 states that residents of the Region of Waterloo may water their lawn once per week during the period of May 31 to September 30. For more information about the Waterloo Region lawn watering rules, please click here. 

Once the grass seed is established and is doing well, it will need 1/4 less water than a Kentucky bluegrass and 1/3 less water than perennial ryegrass.

You’ll notice savings in time and the amount of water used for maintaining your lawn. If a water ban is in place, the grass will retain a dark green colour in drought conditions!

FAQs ABOUT OUR SEED:

HOW DO I GET THE GREEN VENTURES GRASS SEED BLEND?

We’re offering our new grass seed exclusively to our customers. We can add to the robustness of your lawn via slit-seeding and aeration/overseeding if your lawn is already established. We recommend slit seeding every so often to get grass varieties to your lawn.

Slit Seeding: We use machines that will cut a slit in the soil and will drop a grain of seed directly into the soil. It prevents birds from eating the seed keeping it shaded & protected and holds moisture much better. This gives a more balanced look to your lawn instead of random patches. If you have more dead patches, we recommend a top-dressing of soil and raking the seed in.

Ready for a more resilient & low-input lawn? Contact us and experience what GVLC has to offer!

SUN OR SHADE?

With our seed blend, it doesn’t matter. The fine fescue blend does well in both sun and shade.

CUT HIGH OR CUT LOW?

Again, it doesn’t matter.

While we did our research, we contacted golf course groundskeepers in the United States. We found that most use 100% fescue for both their greens and the rough on the courses. The grass is not impacted by the height of the cut! Fescue is a very versatile grass species and is excellent at self-repair.

If you do choose to cut it shorter, we do recommend watering it a bit more frequently.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SOW THE GRASS SEED?

You can do it anytime – Spring, Summer, or Fall – it just depends on how much you will have to water it. The spring & fall seasons typically have more moisture than the summer months. Grass will still grow in the dry summer months, but the grass seed is more prone to dry out – you’ll have to keep the seed moist. If it doesn’t grow, you might still see it pop up in the spring of next year; the grass seed is very resilient.

Grass seed typically goes bad if it rots. You can avoid this by keeping any standing water off of your lawn.

HOW LONG IS THE GERMINATION PERIOD?

Our seed blend will take 12 to 18 days to germinate. During this time, you want to keep the seed moist and avoid standing water.

Use less water in waterloo region

Interested in our new grass seed blend? Contact us today!

 

20 Apr 2022
Blog title for a day in the life of a summer employee

A Day in the Life of a Green Ventures Summer Employee

Hi, I’m Cody.

I’m currently a full-time student at university, and I work on the maintenance team with Green Ventures as a seasonal employee.

I’m a student first, and the demands of university are high. What I enjoy about working as a seasonal employee is that I can work as much as I want around my exam schedule, or I don’t have to work at all. They’re very flexible.

If you’re considering a job as a seasonal employee with the Green Ventures maintenance team, this is how my typical day looks:

I like to show up at the shop at 6:45 am to get the day started. We typically get our tools organized, equipment ready, and check the trucks to ensure they are ready for the day. The shop is located at 75 Howard Place in Kitchener, Ontario.

From the shop, we head to our first property of the day and get ready to tackle the maintenance list.

In the spring months, we focus primarily on bringing life back to our properties and making them beautiful again. Before the season begins, we have a few training days to make sure our teams are ready for the season. There is more emphasis on cleanup and prep in Spring, like edging garden beds, dethatching lawns, and mulching.

In the heat of the summer, our focus is more on maintaining the landscape. The maintenance crew looks after cutting grass, weeding, and trimming. It’s rewarding to see the impact of our efforts during the spring months – the landscapes are beautiful, and our properties truly stand out because of the team’s hard work!

We do a great job of being in constant communication to ensure we complete our tasks. If one team member needs help to finish, the team is ready to jump in to assist. We function well – the team is very diverse with different levels of experience. I’m always learning on this job. I play a lot of sports – this job helps me keep in amazing shape! I rarely have to go to the gym!

For the most part, we all get back to the shop around 4:30 or 5:00 to conclude the day. We end up hanging around and chatting with the other teams about how the day went and sharing our stories. Sometimes, we go for dinner together.

I know it sounds cliché, but this job feels like it’s a tight-knit family. I look forward to re-joining the team each summer because I have a blast. Green Ventures does an amazing job of welcoming me back each season.

Want to work with our team?

Check out Green Ventures employment opportunities!

04 Mar 2022
Gas Vs Electric Lawn Care Equipment

Gas vs. Electric Lawn Equipment – A Shop Manager’s Perspective

Spring has sprung and it’s bringing new changes to the Green Ventures Landscape shop.

Our preparations for the southern Ontario spring are a little different this year because Green Ventures has gone, well, a little greener.

This year, we’ve switched primarily to lithium battery-powered lawn care equipment, including our string trimmers, hedge cutters and lawnmowers. We even have a battery-powered zero-turn lawnmower in the line-up, as well. In previous years, we primarily operated gas-powered equipment, so it’s certainly a big change.

At the moment, to set up for the season, I’m working on the maintenance and prep of equipment, and as you’ll soon read, there’s not much to be done. Here’s why we made the switch to go green (keep in mind, these are our opinions and findings at this point in time):

 

SPRING MAINTENANCE

Safety is paramount to us. We conduct annual maintenance on every piece of equipment to ensure our team is kept safe. We also conduct annual maintenance to reduce downtime on the job site. Here is my experience so far:

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Each spring, I order spark plugs, fuel and air filters and change them in each piece of equipment. The cost is higher because we use genuine parts to ensure the best performance for our equipment. We also carry spare plugs on our trucks for team members to repair in the field if needed. Typically, I adjust the carburetor and listen for audible indicators. I rarely have to take a carb apart to clean it.


Curious about how to maintain a gas-powered lawnmower? Learn from Colin himself!

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT:

We plug each battery in and check the condition of each unit. We make sure each piece of equipment is operating properly and sharp (if it needs to be sharp), then we grease the unit. That’s about it.

I don’t need to order spark plugs and filters anymore; they’re not needed. Spark plugs aren’t cheap!

I would estimate that gas-powered equipment is about 80% more maintenance time than electric. For me as a shop manager, this is a huge advantage in time savings.

 

PROBLEMS IN THE FIELD

Nobody is exempt from equipment troubles on the job site. Things break, whether they’re electric or gas-powered – it’s a fact of life. Here’s my experience with our team members putting our equipment to the test:

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Typically, we experience downtime in the field because of fuel-related issues. Because of the changes in emissions requirements, I’m finding check valves (for emissions) stick or fail often. Spark arrestors get clogged and prevent airflow. If a team member stores a piece of equipment incorrectly, sometimes the air filters become soaked with gas and the unit won’t start. Electric coils go bad, which is difficult to diagnose on the fly.

There seems to be more troubleshooting involved in the field with gas engines, which creates downtime and is a disservice to our customers and our business.

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

It’s still a little early to tell at this point what kind of problems we’ll encounter in the field, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t put this equipment through the wringer.

Mower blades for electric are thinner than gas-powered motors. It will be interesting to see how they fare in a blade vs. rock scenario.

To sum it up, the electric equipment either works or it doesn’t. Change the battery or pick a different powerhead and get back to work.

 

POWER & EFFICIENCY

I test all equipment as if it was my own and I run it like I’m using it in the field. That means checking that our mower blades will cut under heavy loads of thick grass. I run string trimmers through heavy weeds and put pressure on the trimmer heads. I check for audible changes and adjust from there. Here’s what I’ve found in both cases:

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

You can’t beat the power of a gas engine in lawn maintenance equipment.

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

I notice that an electric mower doesn’t cut grass as nicely as gas, but it still gets the job done. The run time on the batteries is about 45 minutes at full power, although we would rarely run equipment 45 minutes straight at full power.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Emissions controls are top of mind for most manufacturers and landscapers. Although there have been improvements in emissions controls (check valves, for example), there are still some improvements to be made.

Although we aim to keep the noise down when operating gas equipment, the noise pollution of running gas-powered machinery is hard to control on a job site.

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Electric equipment does not require fluids, other than lubrication for moving parts.

We no longer make the trip to recycle the used oil for most of our equipment.

Yes, the environmental impact of creating lithium batteries is a conversation in itself, but we’re excited that a good portion of the battery itself is recyclable.

Lack of noise pollution is probably the biggest benefit. The retirement residences that we service are very grateful that the noise pollution is drastically reduced. I can have a full-phone conversation while riding the electric zero-turn mower and the person on the other line has no idea I’m cutting grass! Also, I go home smelling great! No more carbon emissions and smelling like a gas station. My wife is happy.

 

OUR VERDICT:

It’s tough at this point to give a final verdict, but I will say this… so far, I’m very impressed with the electric equipment, the reduction in noise pollution, and, above all, the time saved in maintenance.

More of our commercial customers are requesting electric instead of gas, primarily because of the overall reduction in noise. This is definitely a value-added service to our customers.

We may have to hire an electrician to add more electric outlets in the shop!

 

THE BOTTOM LINE:

We believe that a landscaper’s job is to make the world a more beautiful place and we should be doing everything in our power to protect our landscapes and to reduce our carbon footprint.

I’m very proud that we’re doing our part at Green Ventures to protect our Earth. I hope that this little bit of insight may help your decisions about future equipment purchases in a small way.

– Colin

Photo of Colin, Shop Manager