Meet Cindy, Born For Business

To say that emi CFO Cindy Wigfield was born into the business world would not be an exaggeration. As the daughter of a business owner, Cindy spent her early years not at home with a babysitter or getting dropped off at daycare…

“As a child, my ‘daycare’ was my family’s flower shop, gardens, and greenhouses,” she says.

Those early years helped create Cindy’s work ethic and familiarity with some aspects of the green industry. She learned how small businesses work, and just how many roles you can play, often at one time. She would later spend some time as a waitress while pursuing her bachelor’s in Office Administration and working as a manager at a printing company, which added to her skill set.

“Waitressing teaches you how to be of service to people,” she says.

Now in her 33rd year with emi, Cindy has a hard time counting all the hats she wears. But she loves every one of them.

“My mornings can start at 5:30 am to hit the treadmill, or I hit the snooze button until 6:15 a.m.,” she says of a typical day. “I like to be at the office before 8 a.m.”

Her morning can’t start without her cup of coffee. She then checks LMN business software to see who is doing what that day and calculate what was finished the day before. She may then move on to overseeing payroll, billing, accounts payable, hiring, or ordering plant materials. Cindy also handles all contract renewals, insurance, pension, and banking tasks. Though she now has two office administrators – one is dedicated to HR tasks and the other handles billing – Cindy works in a supervisory role for all of it.

“I actually design the beds and the monument signs for our buildings,” she says of one of her more creative tasks. “And the rest of my time is spent doing whatever needs to be done.”

She says that at this point in her career, being able to let go is a challenge for her.

“After 33 years, emi is such a part of who I am,” she admits. “I fear that I will forget to share all I have learned with my son and his team, so sometimes I am a little intense. I hope to see myself in more of a mentor role in five years – still here, but maybe working from home or, better yet, in my camper staring at the red rocks in Moab.”

When that happens, she knows the business – and emi’s clients – will remain in good hands.

“No one will work harder for you than the employees at emi. Being of service to our clients is our mission,” she says. “I am always amazed and extremely grateful for what our employees accomplish. I cry at every talk I give to the teams. Their dedication and resilience are awe-inspiring. In the early years, I would help by weeding beds and picking up trash. When on the properties, I had the opportunity to get to know our clients and would often visit their facilities. Our clients have been so amazing.”

Her days at emi are busy, though she definitely makes sure she has time for fun.

“I’m an avid reader and enjoy working in my gardens,” she says. “I’m also an organizer – I actually enjoy putzing around my house, cleaning out drawers and closets. I am generally a hermit!”

But not always. She’s also up for adventure.

“I learned how to ride a Harley in my 40s, and traveling through Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Florida, and the Great Smoky Mountains changed my life,” she says. “I will forever be grateful to my husband for those adventures.”

She’s used these trips to fuel a new hobby of hers: collecting Native American jewelry. It’s a perfect fit for her too as turquoise is her favorite color.

“I began collecting this jewelry in tiny towns out west,” she says. “I have such beautiful pieces of jewelry that have stories or a town connected to them.”

She and her husband also enjoy a very specific set of adventures at home.

My husband, Ed, and I are enamored with four young humans … our grandchildren,” she says, which include a 10-year-old grandson and three granddaughters, aged eight, seven, and six. “ I have become a Lego Master with them and my basement has all of our creations. I used to read to them and now they read to me. There’s nothing better than that!”

So next time you call the office and get Cindy on the phone, you know who to thank for the 30+ years of dedication to the family business!

We appreciate you Cindy!


Should I Use Brine On My Commercial Property?

When sidewalks and parking lots get slippery, the first thing many commercial property owners think about is salt. But don’t sell yourself short!

There’s another tool in the winter toolbox that we like to suggest and that’s BRINE.

How To Make Brine Solution

Here at emi, we make our own brine. It’s a little bit scientific, but when it comes down to it, it’s not that complicated of a process.

Simply put, we take tons of salt, dump it in a big hopper, and pump water through it. We keep circulating water through it, and eventually, the salt dissolves into a solution.

The process continues until we reach 23.3% salinity, and then we pump it out into holding tanks for use in the winter months.

Does Brine Replace Salt?

In our Pennsylvania climate, brine does not replace granular salt completely for dealing with snow and ice.

Brine is a great way to pretreat pavement and sidewalks – an approach known as “anti-icing” – and it keeps commercial sites safe by preventing snow from bonding to the pavement and sidewalks.

The big difference is, that it won’t melt as much snow as granular salt, but it creates a safe environment by having a moist, wet layer underneath a snowfall, rather than a slick, icy one.

As a bonus, it also makes heavy plowing and cleanup easier.

Benefits Of Using Brine During Snow Events

One of the biggest benefits of using brine is that it can reduce chloride loads on your property by as much as 75%. This is because liquid stays where we apply it. It’s much less likely to bounce, scatter or blow away in the wind than rock salt.

Brine also seeps into the pores and cracks of the concrete and asphalt so it’s less prone to being plowed off into the turf and landscaping. This helps prevent the winter kill of turf, shrubs, and trees. It also reduces the pollution of retention ponds.

In addition, we use an additive in our brine, Amp by Envirotech, which reduces the corrosion levels of our brine to 80% less than rock salt. This helps protect your commercial property’s infrastructure from corrosion, including concrete/asphalt, light poles, signposts, turf, landscaping, door jams, building facades, and any structural steel and piping that may be above or below grade.

​​At emi we know that it only takes 1 teaspoon of salt – about what your favorite fast food restaurant uses on a batch of French fries – to permanently pollute 5 gallons of fresh water! We are doing our part to reduce pollution while also protecting the investment you make in your property.

Keeping Your Property Clean

There’s another benefit that makes sense for commercial properties.

We all know the feeling of walking through the snow and ice, then coming indoors. As much as you wipe your feet on the mat, salt still gets tracked everywhere throughout the building!

Granular salt is a necessity, but when it gets tracked in on people’s shoes – it can corrode doorways, damage flooring, and leave employees with a daily mess to clean up.

By using brine, it’s a lot safer and gentler on commercial infrastructure. Brine isn’t as present and when it dries, it’s not as obvious as the granular salt most people are used to.

How To Apply Brine On Pavements & Equipment Used

Now here’s where we get to geek out on our toys!

Here at emi, we run a lot of different types of equipment to apply brine.

We have about 20 Snowrators by Boss, which have a brine spray system built into them. They’re pretty innovative machines because we can plow and spray from the same machine helping us save time and move quickly during winter weather events. We got nerdy here and also modified Boss’s existing system with the proper tips for a correct application rate and an even spray pattern.

For even tighter spaces that the Snowrators can’t get into, we dispatch a VSI Sidewalk Slayer, which is a spray unit with a long hose. This is perfect, for example, on a site where there are a lot of little, short sidewalks and curbs.

Finally, we also have a VSI Genesis 110E, which has a 48-inch spay bar. We equipped a fancy v-plow on it and it can spray right behind with our 110-gallon sprayer. Plowing and spraying at the same time – this makes our fleet elite!

Moving on to the big guns!

For large pavement areas like parking lots, streets, or loading bays, we have a 500, 750, and two 1,000 Legacy Series brine sprayers equipped on our trucks.

All of our trucks are fitted with an 8-foot spray bar on the back and, in addition to that, nozzles on each side, which have an additional 8-foot radius – allowing us to spray about 24 feet outward at any time. We also have a hose reel on all our trucks, so if our driver is out doing a parking lot and sees a slippery sidewalk area, he can get out and spot treat that area.

Now that’s efficiency!

De-Icing, Snow Plowing, And Winter Services In Macungie PA

If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years of being a snow removal company here in Pennsylvania, it’s that no snow event is the same. There are different application rates depending on what we’re doing – pre-treating or post-treating.

As we said in the intro, brine is an added tool in our winter toolbox to keep our commercial properties safe in all inclement weather.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can use brine to make your property even more winter-ready this season, contact us today!



When It Comes To Employee Appreciation: Let Your Landscape Do The Talking

Did you know that many management experts believe every company actually has two sets of customers? There are “external” customers, who are the people who actually purchase your product or service. But then there’s also your “internal” customers, who are the employees that ensure your external customers are satisfied and happy.

When you make the effort to ensure that your internal customers are happy, able to effectively do their jobs, and maintain a degree of job satisfaction, you naturally set them up to succeed. More importantly, this support shows that you appreciate their efforts and consider them a valued part of your company team.

There are many ways to show your employees – those “internal” customers – this support. We’d like to offer a few ideas as ways to show you value their presence and effort this quarter:

1) A Beautiful, Attractive Workplace

Maintaining a neat, clean, and visually attractive physical workplace sends a quiet message to both your employees and your customers. It shows that you take pride in your company and want your image to be one of professionalism and expertise, regardless of your industry.

While many of us only think of curb appeal when buying or selling a home, maintaining the curb appeal of your business sends the same message. Landscaping doesn’t need to be over the top or excessive to be beautiful. Nicely maintained green space, trimmed bushes, perennial flowers, or pops of annuals all send a terrific message about your company

2) A Devoted Outdoor Break Area For Employees

One of the most powerful ways to ensure productivity is to take a break! But how effective is that break if it simply means your employees remain at their desks, squeeze into a breakroom or find a spot to sit on some boxes?

Creating a space, even a small one, outdoors where your employee can step outside, grab a little sunshine and breathe some fresh air, can work wonders for their mental health and productivity. emi can help you create a pleasing, attractive, and functional space that all employees can enjoy, whether it’s for a short break or lunchtime.

3) Spread Cheerfulness With Seasonal Displays

Whether you are the lone tenant in your building or part of a complex, seasonal displays spread cheerfulness. Adding potted displays that can be changed out seasonally at your entrance gives your employees a great start to the day with little effort.

4) A Safe And Secure Place To Park And Walk

Never underestimate how much a clean sidewalk and safe parking lot can set the mood for employees arriving and leaving the workplace.

An emi contract for snow removal ensures that your sidewalks are clean and salted and walking to the car does not mean dodging snow and ice. These services are especially important in the waning weeks of winter when snowstorms can be quick, wet, heavy, and unpredictable.

5) Consider Bringing The Outdoors Inside

Let’s face it, work environments tend to be busy, productive places, and natural light is almost always at a premium (or even non-existent) for some employees. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate low-light plants or cut flowers into the workplace, especially at points that have heavy employee traffic, such as designated employee entrances, common meeting areas, or internal break/lunchrooms.

According to a 2015 study of 7,600 offices workers in 16 countries, nearly two-thirds of workers reported having no live plants in their workspaces. Those who did enjoy live plants also reported something that doesn’t surprise us: environments that incorporated natural elements reported a 15% greater well-being score and a 6% higher productivity score than those who didn’t.

It’s the start of a new year, and we can help you kick off 2022 with a great start by integrating these new ideas into your workplace.

Give us a call and let’s talk!



Meet Santiago, A Long-Time, Friendly Face On The emi Team

To say that Santiago Castenada is more than a familiar face at emi is true: as an employee for 15 years, Santiago is one of our most experienced landscapers and long-time team members.

“I’ve learned a lot of my skills on the job over the years,” he admits. “I’ve been doing this for so many years that I know what is expected of me and I always do my best so that I don’t have to re-do work, and I want to work to please others.”

As a landscaper, Santiago works year-round for emi, trading his lawn equipment for snow removal tools in winter. However, as a native of Mexico, it’s no surprise that he prefers warm weather tasks to cold weather jobs.

“My favorite part of landscaping is edge cutting the grass,” he admits. “Snow removal is the most challenging because we work in the cold while we are all wet from the snow and rain.”

But after so many years, Santiago has his seasonal routine in place.

“During landscape season, we start mulching and preparing all our properties. Once we are in the season, we cut the grass on schedule and maintain the properties to look their best,” he says. “In the winter, we work as snow removers shoveling and making sure all our properties have a clear path.”

When he’s not working, Santiago enjoys his adopted city of Reading with his family, including his wife, two sons, and nine brothers. He enjoys spending time and visiting with his family. His favorite season is “Verano” (Summer) and he enjoys spending time in the parks, where he might just enjoy his favorite meal of tacos and lemonade. But it also allows him to see all the flowers in bloom in the local parks, especially his favorite flower, roses.

Santiago enjoys working at emi and describes the team as “good people who do good work all the time.” It’s no surprise that his future plans are pretty simple: his five-year plan is to still be at emi and still work just as hard.

Thanks for all you do Santiago!



Spring Cleanup The emi Way

It may not seem like it now, but spring is only a few weeks away. Our yards and landscapes have been taking a nice long nap and have been dormant over the winter.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little necessary work to be completed before the weather warms and things start to grow again. At emi, our approach to spring cleanup is comprehensive. You’ll recognize our sites by the way we prepare our properties every spring.

We have specialized crews that focus on each of the following spring cleanup tasks.

Step One: Trash Pickup

Our first step is to address the trash and debris that collects over the winter. It typically gets buried by the snow, and once that melts, it leaves behind an ugly sight. It’s a general cleanup – trash, sticks, and so on. Not glamorous, we know, but highly necessary.

Step Two: Establish Bed Edges

Next, for every bed and tree ring, we use a Turf Teq power edger that cuts a two to four-inch deep wedge, depending on the soil conditions. This gives those rings a nice defined edge, and we’re able to then go in and shovel out all that debris.

Here’s the kicker. It’s a little different than how our competitors approach this task – they generally don’t cut a wedge as deep as we do and they also just push the dirt back into the tree ring. That’s not good for the tree: over the years, that will build up and become unsightly.

Step Three: Apply Pre-Emergents

At this point, our bed management team will visit to spray pre-emergent on the beds and tree rings. We use a combination of Dimension, which targets grassy weeds, and Gallery, which takes care of the remaining broadleaf weeds to ensure they don’t have a chance at germination when the temperatures warm up.

Step Four: Make It Beautiful With Mulch

Once this is complete, all the beds are topped with about one to two inches of mulch. We use triple ground natural wood mulch, which decomposes over time. We typically use natural-color brown mulch, which will eventually fade to gray through the summer, but dye options are available for our customers who are looking for that fresh mulch appeal longer into the season.

Another emi difference, you ask? Many of our competitors use mulches that contain pallet wood, which doesn’t naturally decompose and stays on the bed forever. This is no bueno in our books and we don’t compromise on quality!

As far as mulch application, we use a mulch blower for most jobs, but if your landscape has small perennials or high-profile areas, we’ll go in and mulch by hand so that we don’t bury anything. In addition to that, we take special care around your flowers, bulbs, or other plants that may just be starting to sprout, because the natural heat on the mulch can burn them.

Now, since we specialize in commercial landscape maintenance, we’ve even created a special approach for mulching alongside buildings that stops the mulch from blowing right up against the building itself. This is especially important if you have us apply dyed mulch because the black mulch, for example, will dye anything it touches. Our crews know to pay particular attention to this.

Here at emi landscape, we’re also mindful about how we approach tree rings. In both our existing client sites but with new clients in particular, if trees are planted near each other, we will combine the tree rings and create beds rather than mowing between the trees – that’s not good for their overall health. This approach means that there’s less competition for nutrients between the trees and the grass below. This is something we particularly do with evergreens, and we extend that bed outward so that the whole evergreen tree and its branches are in the bed. All of these efforts also make the landscape look so much better!

If you’re a new client, we’ll also focus on bed maintenance. The last thing you want is “mulch volcanoes,” where the mulch gets piled up year after year. We’ll actually go in and remove all that old mulch and replace it with some fresh mulch to get it to the proper height.

Step Five: Final Walk-Through And Cleanup

After all of this is complete, we’ll then do a final cleanup and walk-through, blowing off hard surfaces and making sure your landscape is ready for the new season!

You might not think of early spring as a time when a lot of effort gets put into landscape maintenance. But our goal each year is to have this work done for you by mid-April so that we can switch over to mowing, planting, and making your landscape look spectacular for the warm months ahead.



Pratt Industries Retention Basin Sinkhole Remediation

What do you do when you have an ongoing problem that just isn’t getting fixed? You call on someone you know can fix it!

This was the case for an emi client in Macungie, who had unsuccessfully used other firms in the past to mitigate the problem.

“This client uses us for their landscape maintenance and snow removal,” says emi’s Bob Marks. “We have built a level of trust that when they have a problem, they know they can turn to emi. They wanted us to come in and find a more permanent solution.”

This time around, water had started draining into a sinkhole of a retention basin, opening it up and making the problem much worse: the sinkhole ultimately drained hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from the adjacent pond.

We had to come in with a large excavator and start digging down to hopefully find the crack in the bedrock, which is what was allowing the ground to erode. We worked with an engineering firm who helped us coordinate checking the compaction level. And then we’d dig deeper into the softer areas. We finally found the area that we believed to be the cause of the sinkhole.

To test the theory, we brought in a tanker truck and flushed the hole with 4,000 gallons of water. Then we waited and watched to see where the water was draining from, which identified the crack in the bedrock.

Once we identified the area, our team came back the next day and pumped three truckloads of flowable fill, a thin concrete, to create a cap over the hole and fill any voids in the bedrock. This had to sit overnight while we let it cure.

When excavating, the team uncovered another previous attempt at a repair. There was black landscaping fabric on one side of the hole. This fabric was roughly 10’ below grade and had stone layered on top.

Now that may have worked to some degree at some point, but it hadn’t solved the problem. So, being the perfectionists we are, we removed the fabric and did it the right way.

But, back to the dig. Mother Nature wasn’t exactly cooperative at this point. The work was being done at the end of November, and she decided to add a half-inch of rain overnight. Not only did this complicate the repairs, but it also ruined about 300 yards of soil we were hoping to backfill the area with once the job was complete.

But there’s always a silver lining!

Because this area is a retention basin, there was a lot of water in the hole and the surrounding area as a result. Fortunately, it showed us immediately that the concrete had closed the hole because it was holding water!

Our team went to work to finish the job: we pumped the standing water out, brought in replacement fill, compacted it, and mixed in Bentonite.

Once Bentonite gets wet for the first time, it swells up, and that created a secondary cap. So we are more confident that this fix is a permanent one.

We were able to get the basin back to grade and seeded all the disturbed areas. The entire project took six days from start to finish, but finally, the sinkhole is no longer an issue for the client.

If you’re looking for a project done right, look no further than emi! Our team of experts can help with commercial landscape projects large and small.



Spring Landscape Planning For Commercial Properties In Macungie, PA

It may not seem like it in January, but taking care of your property is something that happens year-round. You won’t hear lawn mowing and trimming going on when the turf is dormant, in fact, you’re more likely to hear our plows and shovels – but believe us when we say that a lot of work is going on here at emi in planning for the upcoming season!

This is the time when we reach out to our clients – we want to see how your property is looking and make sure you’re happy with the work we’ve done over the past season. We’ll also ask about your hopes and dreams for the property and if you want any changes to your contract to achieve these goals. Ideally, we like to meet with our clients at renewal time, but many of them just ask us to email over the new contract and they sign it and get it back to us. Here at emi, we celebrate that fact. It shows a level of trust in the relationship we have with the folks we work with!

If you’re looking to put out bids for the upcoming year and are interested in having us give you a bid, this is the prime time to do it. Here’s why: what we call the growing season starts March 1, so if you’re a property manager, you’ll want to lock in your contract well before then. A proactive vendor wants to be ready at least 30 days before the season starts. Ideally, you don’t want to leave the month of February without having that contract in place. This will go a long way in getting the schedule and quality of service you deserve.

In early spring, your commercial landscape company has a lot of timely tasks on its to-do list.

You’ll find the emi team:

  • Applying crabgrass preventer on your turf. We use two different preventers for the best defense against pesky weeds.
  • Edging and mulching before the mowing season happens. This allows us to remove any debris and winter weeds – we get those beds sparkling clean!
  • Applying weed preventer in your beds. The timing on this is absolutely critical. Many weeds must be controlled from growing early on, and are tougher to control with post-emergents if they’re already growing later in the season.
  • Looking at degree-day charts. We know it’s a race against the clock for the products that we use to prevent weeds so we check the temperature of the soil as well as follow the “forsythia blooming philosophy”. Haven’t heard of it? Generally speaking, when you see those forsythia petals drop, it’s the right time to apply pre-emergents. Mother Nature definitely knows the right time.

Early in the season, we’re also taking stock of your property. We’re estimating what needs to be done to get and keep your property in tip-top shape. We’re taking inventory of your trees and shrubs, so we know what we’re dealing with. We’re setting up a holistic approach that will allow us to best take care of your property. Once we get your signed contract back, you can rest easy. We’re doing all the dirty work!

All these important steps need to be finished by mid-April at the very latest. If you find yourself renewing or signing a contract sometime in March, that can really cut that time frame down.

We know proposal review takes time, especially when it comes to commercial landscaping contracts. When it’s just a property manager, it can be very different than when there are layers of stakeholders involved. But usually, when the numbers get into all the right hands, it’s typically only a week or two until the decisions get made. Bringing in a third party to review bids can add a month or so. The key is just to be proactive in getting the process completed.

And a final hot tip: the opposite advice is true for commercial clients reviewing or seeking snow removal contracts. The best time to work on those? Right in the middle of summer!

Please let us know how we can serve you this season.



What Snow Removal Companies Do When It Isn’t Snowing

I used to have this question all the time when I was a kid: What does Santa do when it isn’t Christmas. I had a feeling things might ramp up for ol’ St. Nick around November, maybe even October. But what did the big man do in July? What did he do for R&R in January, in the weeks after his big day?

A lot of folks have this question now, about snow removal companies. When the weather turns and the snow starts coming down, snow removal companies are there. If you’re using emi landscape for snow removal, you know that the timing can seem almost as magical as a guy with a beard squeezing down your chimney. That’s because emi studies meteorological charts and tracks weather patterns so we know exactly when it’s going to snow and how much. And our snow removal professionals know what they’re doing and they’ve got the top-of-the-line equipment to do it.

But what happens when it doesn’t snow? How do snow removal companies spend their time between snowfalls? Do they catch up on R&R or are they busy as ever making preparations for next time?

We think by this point, you might be able to guess.

A Snow Removal Team’s Work Is Never Done

Snow removal and landscaping have plenty of crossovers. Many of our landscaping professionals are snow removal professionals too. All-season outdoor experts, you might call them. No? Just us? Anyway. For our landscaping/snow removal customers, our teams pay visits to clean up trash and debris from turf beds. That way our customers’ properties stay neat and tidy between snowfalls.

Whether there’s snow on the ground or not, winter gets windy and stormy. The weather in winter seems to have a bite to it that goes beyond the chill in the air. Storm damage in the winter can badly affect growth in the spring, so this is something our teams need to stay on top of.

We also perform site inspections in the winter for work we will kick off in the early spring. This is important as it allows the team plenty of time to make plans and ensures the homeowner can have as much input as they want on a project. In this, as with any project we do over at emi landscape, communication is key.

Post snowfall, snowmelt releases water. Lots of water. That water has to go somewhere and unfortunately for us, we may not always like where it goes. Ever visit the grand canyon? If so, you know about as well as anyone the awe-inspiring, destructive power of water. Left unchecked, the melted snow can cause all kinds of damage to landscaping. Especially if that snowmelt is allowed to refreeze. This is because ice expands so a frozen puddle becomes bigger than a liquid puddle. What does this mean for your landscaping? When ice freezes, it pushes landscaping features aside.

As part of our snow removal service, emi landscape sends teams to move snow buildup. We literally shift mounds of snow so that the snowmelt and flow of water are controlled, preventing water from pooling where it shouldn’t and causing damage to property.

After we perform snow removal services, emi landscape replaces all snow stakes (those orange snow indicator signs), making sure they are straight and easy to spot for drivers and passersby.

To Perform Your Best, Look Inward

Between snows is a great time for the emi landscape team to catch up on the work it can be hard to find time for in busy periods. One of the things we do is clean and service our equipment. In the landscaping/snow removal business, companies like emi landscape have a ton of tools, gadgets, and gizmos that need to be cared for to work well. While we always keep our equipment humming, it’s nice in the little snatches of downtime we get to really pull something apart and give it a deep clean. We do this for every piece of equipment we have from snowblowers to the fleet.

Beyond equipment, emi landscape also uses this time to clean and tidy the warehouse and storage facilities. You can imagine with all this equipment designed to go digging in the dirt how cluttered a warehouse can become. We don’t mind though, makes it extra satisfying when we give it a good scrub.

Lastly, whenever we have a spare minute, we focus on training. Our staff is everything to us here at emi, and training, we find, is always the best investment we can make. A well-trained staff just rises the tide in all aspects of running a landscaping company, and around here, we’re always striving to get better.



Meet Mike: Detail Leader & Regional Supervisor For Snow

During one crew leader meeting, our office manager Cindy posed a question: “What do you like to do in your free time?” It was an easy question for Mike Davis to answer. He remembers saying. “Nothing, because I really don’t have free time.”

To put it mildly, Mike doesn’t stand still long enough for grass to grow under his feet. “I’ve been in the landscape industry most of my life,” he says.

After working for his parents’ business and a short stint at a small company, he started and operated his own business for 18 years before selling it to, and working for, the new owners.

He joined emi landscape in December 2017 and now works as a Detail Leader for Landscaping and Regional Supervisor for Snow. He holds SIMA and NALP certifications and of course has his CDL.

“I usually take care of special projects, installations, and odds and ends, as well as being in charge of a routine maintenance group,” he says of his current role.

Mike often provides sage advice to the new guys. “I always tell them that if this is the career you want to do, this is exactly the company you want to do it with. It’s a mom-and-pop operation that really takes care of its employees and their clients. We’re not just a company that comes in and mows a client’s lawn once a week. We come in and we take care of the entire exterior of the building.”

Mike likes what he does because it allows him to enjoy working in the industry without the responsibilities of business ownership. This lets him focus on doing his day-to-day work well.

“My favorite part of my job is that it is different every day, it’s never the same,” he says. “That’s what I’ve always liked about this field. I have done my fair share of mowing over the years, and that gets monotonous. But being able to do different things every day keeps me interested.”

Clients benefit from Mike’s skill set and also that he’s been in the business long enough to handle just about anything that comes his way.

“I don’t really get stressed out about much of anything … unless we get a blizzard,” he says.

Even though he’s an industry veteran, Mike remains open to learning new things. “When I was in business I thought I was doing things the right way,” he chuckles. “And then I came to emi and realized they were doing a lot of things the right way and I had been doing things the wrong way.”

And when Mike says he’s used to not having much free time, he’s not exaggerating. For 27 years, he worked as a water polo referee, which was a sport he played in college. He also led his community youth soccer program when his kids were involved.

“That took a lot of time, but it was worth it,” he says. “That’s how I met my fiancée, Karen. Her daughter and my oldest daughter went to school together.”

Mike and Karen are planning to make things official in September 2022, which will make them a family of four daughters and one son, though all are grown. He also has a granddaughter, Emma, who is 9. Mike’s stepson will also be joining us this winter during the snow season as a loader operator here at emi landscape.

And perhaps, just perhaps, there might be a little more free time to enjoy in 2022!



Fall Fertilization: The Landscaper’s Secret Weapon

Our lawns play a significant role in our landscapes. Few elements can make or break a space more powerfully than this one. It’s not surprising, then, that property owners often consider turf care as one of the most important aspects of landscape maintenance.

With Fall in full swing, now is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn in preparation for winter and spring. Laying the groundwork now will not only ensure that your turf survives the harsh winter weather, but also that it thrives once the temperatures warm up again in the spring. Fall fertilization is the single most important step you can take to ensure the long-term health of your lawn.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about one of the most important aspects of lawn care: fertilization.

What Is Fertilizer?

Put simply, fertilizer is food for your plants. It provides them with the essential nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy and helps to correct any nutritional imbalances within the soil. Fertilizer is particularly important for its macronutrient content, which provides plants with a number of essential benefits.

Macro-nutrients are the substances plants need for healthy growth and seed production. They are essential at every stage of a plant’s life, from seeding to photosynthesis.

There are six plant macronutrients in total:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur

The three primary plant macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Each element provides a different benefit:


Nitrogen is a crucial component of plant growth and leaf development. When we fertilize, the primary goal is often to raise nitrogen levels in the soil. Nitrogen not only helps plants to metabolize energy and protein but also plays a major role in chlorophyll formation and photosynthesis. When a plant has a nitrogen deficiency its leaves often lose their color and start to wither, and growth will be stunted.


Phosphorus is essential to developing a healthy root system and plays a key role in various stages of the flowering process. It helps plants build resilience against adverse weather conditions, and aids in effective photosynthesis. Plants that don’t get enough phosphorus often struggle to flower at the correct time, and may have brown or crinkled leaves.


In addition to stabilizing the internal water level of plants, potassium strengthens cell membranes and keeps other essential nutrients in balance. It plays an important part in the synthesis of certain enzymes, which makes the plant more resilient to very dry or very cold weather conditions. Without the correct levels of potassium, plants are at a higher risk of fungus infections, and dark spots may appear on the leaves.

In addition to requiring the correct quantity of each nutrient, plants also need them in the right proportions. Too much of one substance in comparison to the others can be equally detrimental to a plant’s health as a nutrient deficiency.

Why Fertilize In The Fall?

When should you fertilize your lawn? There are two key times. The first is in the spring when your grass is growing rapidly. The second is in the Fall, just before your turf goes into hibernation mode for winter. Applying fertilizer in both seasons is important for different reasons.

When turf is growing in the spring, fertilizer will give plants extra energy to produce thicker, greener blades of grass. This helps your lawn to look beautiful and healthy, which is great as we head into summer and start to spend more time enjoying our outdoor space. However, it’s worth noting that because your turf is so busy growing upwards at this time of year, any fertilizer you apply is used up quickly, providing only short-term benefits. Timing is crucial at this point of the season, as fertilizing too early can stimulate lush, top growth at the expense of root growth.

Because of this, Fall is the best and most effective time to apply fertilizer to your lawn. ​​Cool-season grasses recover from summer stress during this time, and your turf starts to create carbohydrate stores in its stems and roots.

Your grass will use these reserves to protect them against winter damage and disease, as well as a top-notch source of energy that can be used to develop a sturdy root system. What’s more, late-fall fertilization will also provide a better winter appearance and a thicker, greener lawn come spring.

Expert Results Require Expert Care

For exceptional results from your fertilization program, you need to make sure that every detail is just right. The timing of your application is crucial since this will determine how effective the fertilizer will be. Small changes in the environment can shift the ideal application date, so it’s important to remember that there’s no one size fits all approach.

At emi landscape, we are experts at knowing when to apply Fall fertilizer based on environmental conditions and can tailor the treatment to suit your specific needs. Our professional-grade equipment is powerful and easy to maneuver, speeding up application times and ensuring even coverage.

Our lawn care package includes:

  • Two treatments of fall fertilizer
  • Fall broadleaf treatment
  • Spring fertilization
  • Spring weed-killer application

To discover what we could do for your property, contact us for a free personalized quote.