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The Big One: Turf to rival The Sod Father

July 19, 2022 -  By
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Company: James Martin Associates
Location: Hinsdale, Illinois

The client recruited James Martin Associates for a design/build project after seeing crews working on another property in the neighborhood. The owner desires “splendiferous” property maintenance with tastefully flamboyant plantings.

“You try to outdo yourself each year with the summer display, the summer colors and curb appeal for the large containers at the front entry,” says Vince Callahan, residential maintenance account manager for James Martin Associates.

One year, to help the homeowner conceptualize how the large containers for seasonal displays would look on site, James Martin Associates used life-size cardboard replicas of three or four different container shapes.

While expectations for summer color were high, the client’s expectations for the property’s turf were even higher. The client told the team at James Martin Associates he wanted it to look like Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Roger Bossard, affectionately known as “The Sod Father,” was his personal turf manager. This standard means crews deploy six fertilization treatments and preventive pest and weed applications. The turf also gets humic acid treatments.

To maintain the property, crews use Scag mowers and Echo handheld equipment. Crews installed a Hunter irrigation system after addressing drainage issues identified when the company started caring for the property.

James Martin Associates won a gold award from the 2021 National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

This homeowner wants a lush lawn that would rival a professional ballpark. Crews define bed lines each visit. The homeowner expects full plantings with a natural shape without looking untidy.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

Crews apply humic acid to the lawn to benefit the soil microbes and aid in bio-dethatching and nutrient uptake. Following each mowing, the maintenance team sweeps and blows the driveway to preserve the well-defined edges of the turf.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

Crews shape the long serpentine planting beds to give the property a high level of appeal the homeowner strives for.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

The client wanted “splendiferous” color throughout the growing season. The James Martin Associates maintenance team ensures continual color during the transition from bulbs to summer annuals and flowering perennials and trees.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

The maintenance team emphasizes the dramatic curves of the planting beds with seasonal colors.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

The team at James Martin Associates used life-size cardboard cutouts of different container options to help the homeowner visualize the size and relationship to the entry space.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

Crews prune each shrub to showcase its texture and shape without overwhelming the overall design.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

James Martin Associates created swales along the bed edges that pitch toward a rain garden to help alleviate turf issues created by poorly draining water.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

Fractured bluestone lines the rain garden and gives it the illusion of water even when it’s dry. Crews clean debris out of the bluestone each week to maintain the appearance.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

Crews place more than 84 strings of 100-count LED holiday lights in the flower container and larger trees.

Photo: James Martin Associates

Photo: James Martin Associates

The detail the maintenance team provides to the property hasn’t gone unnoticed. Neighbors recruited James Martin Associates to work on their properties.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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