Ask the Arborist - Is Deep Root Fertilization for you?

Posted by Jake Conley on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 @ 03:18 PM

Fall is upon us and winter’s not far behind! You’ve cut-back your perennials and scheduled your sprinkler winterization. We’re finishing up the tail-end of your lawn care program and putting the last touches on your landscape projects. With everything we do to prepare for winter, there is often one thing we tend to overlook: our trees.

You’ve heard it before: Fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn. The same can also be said for your trees as they are going through the same process that turf is right now. The energy your trees have produced through photosynthesis is now being stored in the root system to be used next year. This energy, along with vital nutrients, are what your trees rely on through the winter and sets them up for healthy, vigorous growth next spring. 

Unfortunately, many of our urban soils do not provide the proper nutrient levels that our trees need to really flourish. Among other factors, the Nebraska Extension Office lists compaction of the original soil profile during home construction, poor drainage, and heavy turf grass competition as leading contributors to nutrient deficient soils. Smaller, younger trees are even more susceptible as they have not yet acclimated to these less-than-ideal growing conditions. So, what can you do to help your trees? How do you maximize this investment you’ve made in your landscape—in your home?

Deep root fertilization is a way to supplement our soils with the nutrients they lack, or more likely, have lost through development and construction. The process works through a series of soil injections that:

  1. Aerate the soil around the tree as oxygen is vital to root development and healthy growth, and,Fall Trees-2
  2. Places a concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium within reach of the roots for uptake.

An application this fall will help sustain your trees through the winter, and another next spring will ensure your trees receive the right amount of essential nutrients they need to reach their full potential.

If you’vadded a new tree in the past few years or have noticed your older trees aren’t as vigorous or vibrant as they should be, there’s a good chance that deep root fertilization is the boost they need!

For more information on the benefits of deep root fertilization or to discuss your specific tree care needs with one of our certified arborists, please contact us. 

Contact An Arborist

Topics: Best Practices, Tree Care, Plant and Shrub Care, deep root fertilization

Turf Talk Lawn Conditions August 2018

Posted by Chuck Monico on Thu, Aug 09, 2018 @ 12:44 PM

We have come to a time of the year when cool season grasses are typically struggling.  Most of our service area experienced early and severe heat and humidity with predictable results.  While we have seen moderation in temperature and humidity, it appears that it is going to be short-lived.  We saw an outbreak of ascochyta in late spring, a fungus that we have not usually seen.  As of late, we are dealing with more typical turf diseases.  All of these diseases have things that get them started, however, one issue continues to dwarf the others, and that is over-watering.  It is an issue of frequency, timing, and amount.  It is much easier to recover a lawn from drought stress than it is from over-watering.  If you have specific questions, please call.  One positive note is the availability of irrigation system controllers that can better regulate the amount of water your lawn receives.  Visit our website for more information about Hydrawise controllers. 


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Periodic overseeding is part of the remedy for turf disease.  The goal is to introduce newer turf cultivars which may have a greater resistance to disease; and, over time, reduce the incidence of the disease.  Our current approach is to double aerate a lawn and then overseed the lawn.  We begin this process in August, our goal being to have the new grass up and “hardened off” before the first frost.  Except for rye grass, most seed require three weeks to germinate.  Please call us now if your yard is in need of some help.   Even if your yard escaped problems this season, we recommend aerating turf at least once a year. 



This is the time of year when we receive the most calls about lawns.  We welcome your questions, and we usually learn something in that exchange as well.  Please contact us with any questions or concerns.


Contact CM's for more info 

Topics: Best Practices, Lawn Care, Turf Care

CM's A Cut Above - Featured in Total Landscape Care Magazine

Posted by Andrea Monico on Mon, Aug 06, 2018 @ 10:24 AM


CM's A Cut Above was pleased to host Jill Odom from Total Landscape Care Magazine. While Jill was here, she was able to visit the our work sites, observe our team's Great Game of Business weekly huddle and experience the culture of CM's A Cut Above.  The end result is an in-depth, two-part feature in Total Landscape Care Magazine that highlights CM's goal of creating an environment of success for each employee as well as building a team that thinks like owners.  To read the full articles click the links below.


Part 1  CM's A Cut Above: Treating employees like owners

TLM Part 1
Photo: Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care


 Part 2  CM's A Cut Above: Setting people up for success

TLM Part 2
Photo: Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care

Topics: landscape, Lawn Care, CMs A Cut Above

Japanese Beetles-Omaha Metro Insect Activity

Posted by Christine Nelson on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 @ 06:00 AM



We can confirm Japanese Beetle sightings in our area, and we are just as disappointed as you are.  It will likely prove to only be wishful thinking that they forget about our plants this year, but we will persevere.

Reminders about Japanese Beetles:

  • These insects are less than a half inch long and can be identified by their metallic green color with copper-colored wings.

  • They are especially attracted to certain trees and plants, such as lindens, crap apples, and roses, but they are far from picky eaters, feeding on over 300 species of plants. 

  • Japanese Beetles feed in groups, typically starting from the top of the plant.

  • They chew around the veins of the leaf, leaving it with a lacey or skeleton appearance.

  • Severely damaged plants may have a scorched appearance.


    Japanese-Beetle-Picture Japense Beetle Damage Japanese Beetle in Action.cropped

    Take note of the vibrant
    metallic green body, with
    copper-color wings.


    Trees suffering enough
    damage will have a
    scorched appearance.


    Japanese Beetles eat around
    the veins of the leaves,
    resulting in a skeleton
    or lace-like appearance.


For many of you, we completed a pre-emergent soil injection when possible to significantly decrease the damage of these pests.  Like all insects, complete eradication is not achievable, so you may still see activity and damage.

If you did not receive a pre-emergent soil injection, post-emergent sprays are available.  CM’s will spray 2-3 insecticide applications to the affected trees.  Japanese Beetles typically feed for 6-8 weeks.  It is recommended that if your tree was severely defoliated last year, you should consider treatment this year.

We continue to caution against using traps.  Research indicates while the traps collect many beetles, they attract far more beetles than are caught by the trap, resulting in more damage to plants in the area than if no trap were used.

Contact An Arborist

Additional Resources for Japanese Beetle community environment article

Topics: Tree Care, japanese beetle, Ask The Arborist

Smart Irrigation Month - Hunter Hydrawise Controllers

Posted by Christine Nelson on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 02:01 PM



On average, we receive just over 4 inches of rain in the month of June, in the Omaha Metro Area, while this year we received over 6.5 inches.  Heavy rainfalls make it difficult to determine when is too soon to start watering.  It is yet another reason to consider the products used in irrigation systems.

Traditional irrigation system highlights:

  • Controllers that just focus on set days to water
  • Can be manually turned off or run at the clock
  • May feature a rain sensor that automatically turns off the system if rainfall reaches a specified amount before the sensor can dry out.

These features are very useful in your effort to only water your lawn when necessary; however, you must physically be at the controller to make the manual adjustments and if it has only started raining while your system is running, your system may continue to run while it rains.  There is also the risk of forgetting to turn the controller back on if you made a previous manually adjustment.

 While CM’s continues to offer traditional irrigation systems, we also offer the Hunter Hydrawise Pro-HC Controller and Hunter Wireless Rain-Clik Rain Sensor.  Together, these products offer up to 50% water savings.

Hydrawise & Rain-Click system highlights:

  • Wi-Fi enabled for convenient system operation and management from anywhere using a web browser, Apple or Android app

  • Proactively makes watering adjustments based on local weather data including predicted temperature, rainfall probability, wind speed, and humidity to ensure maximum water savings and conservation

  • Alerts the user of wiring or power issues within the valves and controllers, enabling faster detection and resolution

  • Scheduling options include specific days and times, water replacement, or a combination of both

  • The Rain-Clik sensor will shut the system off when as little as 1/8” of rain hits the sensor.

    Hydrawise 1

    M.U.D. is offering a rebate for residential or commercial M.U.D. water customers who install rain sensors for their existing lawn sprinkler system.  By contacting CM’s to install a rain sensor, you can earn a $50 credit toward your M.U.D. account, but funds are limited.  Rain sensors must be installed by a licensed sprinkler contractor.  Visit for detailed rebate information.

     Contact CM’s if you are interested in installing an irrigation system or if you would like to upgrade your controller and rain sensor or renovate your existing system.


Topics: sprinkler, irrigation

Omaha Landscape - Top Ten Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Posted by Christine Nelson on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 @ 01:24 PM


Hiring a contractor can be a nerve-wracking process.  With that in mind, below are guidelines to follow to address your concerns:

front landscape JTJ.jpg

Referrals/ reviews

Ask your family and friends for recommendations.  Check references for projects of a similar size and scope.  Read online reviews and check the Better Business Bureau to see if they are registered and how quickly complaints have been resolved.  Be mindful that statistics show people are more likely to leave a review for a bad experience.  Reviews may not provide a full picture of what it will be like to do business with a contractor.  Are the negative reviews rare, or commonplace?



Lawn Care BR.jpgHistory

How long has the contractor been operating in your area?  What experience does the contractor have with the work you are requesting?  Established contractors are able to make critical on-site decisions when the unexpected happens.  They are familiar with common problems and the best possible solution for your specific situation.  Contractors familiar to your area will know the market and they better understand the climatic and geographical environment for the project than contractors new to the area.  Verify the contractor has experience in the service you are requesting.  Do they have the proper machinery and staff to complete the project?  Can their maintenance crews keep up with scheduled visits?  Is their customer service satisfactory and attentive to both small and large projects?


Hardscape CPB.jpg

License and insurance

Verify the contractor is licensed for the type of work you need completed and they can work in your area.  Ask your contractor for a certificate of insurance showing evidence of property and casualty insurance and workers’ compensation insurance so those risks do not transfer to you. 


Front Landscape IR.jpgDesigns

Estimates and design fees are common.  The landscape design process is a valuable and vital step in many home improvement projects.  It takes time and it should be specific to your project rather than be one of several standard designs a contractor offers.  It may take multiple revisions to create the final outcome of the project you desire.  In addition, when you pay for the design, you own it.



Front Plant Material JTJ.jpgContract

Have a written contract that you have read and understand.  Sign it and retain a copy for your records.  The contract should include:

  • The contractor's name and contact information
  • A description of the work to be done which includes any warranties and guarantees for the project
  • The responsibilities of the homeowner versus the contractor
  • The total cost of the project and how change orders will be handled
  • Terms and schedule of payment

Mulch MDJ.jpg

If you receive multiple estimates, consider why the price is different.  A much lower price can mean different quality of material or it can mean the two estimates are for a different scope of work.  A large percentage of landscape projects is labor.  Consider if all contractors have properly trained employees that allow for the appropriate time and attention your project needs, while working in a safe environment.  Review the specifications of each estimate and ask questions so you can make a fair comparison.




Backyard renovation FR.jpgDeposits and payments

A contractor requesting a deposit is normal, but deposits are typically capped at a third of the project’s contract price.  Deposits are necessary to cover the costs incurred to complete the job and they also demonstrate the client’s commitment to the project.  Pay for projects with a check or credit card so you have record of your payment transactions.


Irrigation MRP backyard.jpg

Affiliations and Professionalism

Participation in professional associations is an investment and commitment to the industry.  These associations provide a network of professionals that provide guidance on topics anywhere from industry standards to safety regulations.  Certain associations also provide educational opportunities and certifications.


Front Entry MRB.jpgEmployees

Does the company have experienced, knowledgeable, uniformed crews that receive regular training on their trade and safety?  Do the employees hold the necessary certifications to perform the work they are completing?


Backyard Patio.jpgGut Feeling

Don’t underestimate your gut feeling.  Did you feel comfortable when discussing your project with the contractor?  Did you feel like the lines of communication were open and there was a clear understanding of what to expect?  If your gut feeling is strong even after you have done all your homework on the contractor, take more time before making a final decision.


We encourage you to check with local professional agencies and the Better Business Bureau when hiring a contractor.  Good luck on your upcoming projects!


 Start Planning Today!

 Related Topics
Planning your outdoor living project

Topics: landscape, landscape design

Omaha Landscape - Planning your Outdoor Living Project During Winter.

Posted by Christine Nelson on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

It is lovely weather to plan a landscape together!

Sleigh rides will have to wait while we enjoy our mild weather. This gives you a great opportunity to get a head start planning your installation project over the winter months so you can spend your spring enjoying it! We can assess the property on site now, create a landscape design and revise it to your specifications over winter, and start the installation in early spring as weather permits.

DKS progress landcape.jpg


This project is a great example of work that is able to be done in cold temperatures. By planning ahead, this project was able to begin in early March, and the homeowners were able to avoid missing out on precious spring outdoor time!

The house had a standard walkout from the kitchen and garage on to a small paver patio with a steep hill beyond the patio, limiting the usable space of the yard. CM’s transformed the yard into an expanded multi-tiered patio, with various perennials, a pondless water feature, and landscape lighting, delivering a true outdoor living area.


DKS finished patio.jpgDKS finished lighting.jpg


Are you unsure if your dreams can become a reality? Visit our website to see how CM’s was able to bring various hardscape, landscape, and specialty aspects together in this project, bringing back memories for Cindy and creating a space Sam and Cindy can enjoy together.


SCS completed outdoor living.jpgSCS pergola.jpgSCS fireplace.jpg

Start Planning Today!



Topics: landscape, landscape design

Ask the Arborist - Benefits of Planting Trees in my Landscape

Posted by Lacey Martinez on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 @ 06:18 PM



 What are the benefits of planting trees in my landscape?




2017.08 benefitsOfTrees.jpg

We know trees create oxygen through photosynthesis, provide food and shelter for wildlife, offer lumber for limitless uses, and so much more.  But how can trees be helpful to the average suburban home or business owner?  Here are a few benefits to consider while the season of tree planting quickly approaches.

Environmental: Not only do they protect from some of Mother Nature's harshest weather, but trees also reduce storm water runoff, improve soil erosion, and even work as an oxygen pumping machine for all those who might live in a highly polluted area. Now that's a breath of fresh air.

Aesthetic: Do you have an area of your landscape that is just missing that something special?  A tree can be the cure!  You can even plant a few ornamental trees to enhance an area. Crabapples, pears, and cherry trees are just a few of Omaha's favorite flowering specimens.

Economic: Some folks are unaware of the economic values of trees.  Calculating the value of urban trees has been a popular area of interest in the past decade.  If your house is built in an area with high winds and intense sunlight, trees properly placed can save on energy costs.  Trees can also enhance the value of residential and business properties.  Studies have shown that trees play a huge role in attracting visitors, businesses, and new residents.  The shade of a great canopy can reduce the maintenance on materials that might be easily degraded by heat, such as pavement or siding.  This tree benefit calculator provides a basic approximation the benefits a specific tree may add to your property.  A carefully selected and placed tree now can pay dividends in the future. 

Whatever your reason may be for an investment in a new tree, be sure that you choose the right tree for the right place.  Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more information about our shady friends.


2017.08 Right Tree Right Place.jpg

As always, don't hestitate to contact our licensed arborists for advice.
Contact A Licensed Arborist


Topics: Tree Care, Ask The Arborist, Best Practices

Makes Cents -Landscape Improvements to Increase Curb Appeal

Posted by Christine Nelson on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 @ 02:50 PM

When it comes to selling your home, you only get one chance to make a first impression.  To put this in perspective, The Appraisal Institute (AI), a global association of real estate appraisers, aptly compares the outside attractiveness of a property to how one dresses for a job interview.  Not only can it affect the ability to sell a property, but it will also contribute to the home's value.

The AI makes the following suggestions when making landscaping improvements, including those that are relatively low-cost:

  • Neighborhood Standards:  Curb appeal includes all aspects of your lawn, landscape and outdoor living space, as well as the neighborhood standards.  Remulch beds, add flower pots, or edge the lawn for quick updates.
  • Lawn Maintenance:  According to a 2016 survey by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the National Association of Realtors, proper lawn care can have more than a 300 percent cost recovery.
  • Native Plants:  Plants native to our area typically grow well and may save you time and money with maintenance.  The OPPD Arboretum is a local resource to see trees and shrubs in person that are recommended for our area.
  • Use Perennials: Perennials have various sizes, textures, and colors and they may be enjoyed for many years with the proper care.
  • Plant Trees: Trees may not only add value to your home because of aesthetic appeal, they also provide environmental benefits such as reducing energy consumption and soil runoff and improving air quality.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, depending on a variety of factors, some trees may save up to 25 percent of a typical home's energy use.   Be sure to see our Ask the Arborist article, "What are the benefits of planting trees?"
  • Landscape Lighting: Remember, house hunters also look at houses at night.  Lighting can be used to highlight features of your home or landscape as well as adds to the security of your home.

CM's can plan, install, and maintain your lawn and landscape for you so can concentrate on the many other aspects of selling your home.  But then again, why wait until you are selling your home when you can add to your enjoyment now?  Whether you are soon-to-be buyers or sellers or even if you are staying in your home, these maintenance items and upgrades make sense!


 lawn careChokeberry, Red, fall color.jpglandscape lighting

 Schedule A Consultation


Topics: CMs A Cut Above, landscape, bed maintenance, Lawn Care, Plant and Shrub Care

Turf Talk - Evaluating Current Lawn Conditions

Posted by Chuck Monico on Tue, May 23, 2017 @ 07:30 AM


At this time of the year, we evaluate the lawns of many prospective clients; and we continuously focus on the value of turf density. We are regularly asked to spray weeds only; however, we stress the importance of a complete fertilizer program, regular aeration and periodic overseeding when discussing turf care. In the absence of a healthy stand of turf, weeds will continue to re-emerge. If your lawn is thin, consider fall seeding to increase the density.

What weeds have we been seeing? Henbit is a winter annual with purple flowers, which, if left alone, would die out with warmer temperatures. Even nutsedge.with drawing.jpgthough we have seen more of it over the past few years, it has trouble becoming established in a thicker lawn. There are some dandelions out there as well as some volunteer Veronica Speedwell.

We are in the midst of our second application of fertilizer. Later in the second round, we will be on the lookout for nutsedge.  Nutsdege will appear to be a lighter green and grow taller than the rest of your turf.

Because of the rains we have had, supplemental irrigation is not necessary, with the exception of irrigating after a fertilizer application. Still, turn on your system and have it checked, so that when you need it, it is ready to go.

Spring is usually a time of rapid turf growth. Continue to mow high, at 3.5 inches or higher, frequently enough to avoid removing a 1/3 of the blade at any one mowing, and be sure to use a sharp blade. As always, if you have any questions or would like us to visit with you on your lawn, please contact us.









Throughout the growing season, we will continue addressing issues as they arise, always emphasizing the role of best practices.  As always you can reach out to us with any of your lawn care questions or needs.

Schedule A Consultation


Topics: Best Practices, Lawn Care, Omaha turf care, Turf Care