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Monday
Nov042013

Fall Spectacles 


Ginkgo fall colorAs we enter November and the mums finish flowering, fall may feel bittersweet. Bitter in the sense that winter is approaching and sweet with the delicious aromas of pumpkin spices, wood smoke and hot apple cider. Fall is a great time to witness local foliage change from green to rich, vibrant hues of purple, red, orange and gold.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) is the New York state tree and shows off its beautiful red color in mid to late October. The bark on a Sugar Maple is dark grey and exfoliates (peels away) on older trees.  20% of New York State forest is Sugar Maple and this native staple tree is an icon for New York, especially this time of year. A brilliant yellow fall color shows up on the Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) which is native to China. It is considered a living fossil as it has no close living relatives in the species and is similar only to extinct species found in the fossil record. They've been around since the dinosaurs walked the earth and can live for hundreds of years. They make excellent street trees, as long as you plant the male form. The female form's fruits have quite a noxious odor.

Witch-hazel flowers in fall

Dwarf Fothergilla in fall colorA beautiful small tree specimen is Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). A New York native, Witch-Hazel is an ideal plant for wet or dry conditions and perfect for your fall and winter landscape.  If you can see a Witch-Hazel, you’ll notice yellow flowers hiding among lush yellow leaves. The flowers have an aroma quintessential of fall and have an abstract shape. Witch-Hazel can grow up to 12’ tall and is a unique specimen for your landscape. Related to the Witch-Hazel is a shrub called Fothergilla. The Dwarf Fothergilla is an excellent native shrub for the landscape and the fall color is striking. 

Virginia Creeper in English IvyA trailing plant that shows brilliant red color in the fall is Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Don’t be frightened by this bright red vine that looks like poison ivy. There is a noticeable difference if you can recognize the distinguishable characteristics. For example, Virginia Creeper has 5-7 compound leafs that are always toothed (serrated edges) while poison ivy has only 3 leafs and with only a few teeth or none at all. Another discernible difference is the bark on Virginia Creeper, which appears to be woody. It is important to be wary when you see Virginia Creeper, it almost always grows alongside poison ivy. Ironically, poison ivy has a beautiful fall color (reds, purples, and yellow) but we can skip that one in the landscape!

Hurry up and get outside for an autumn stroll, and witness your fall foliage in magnificent colors. Goldberg and Rodler’s experienced staff is always working to bring you up to date information, ideas, and assistance with your seasonal landscape. At Goldberg & Rodler, we are experts in landscape maintenance, so when that big leaf drop happens, don’t hesitate to contact us for your fall cleanup this year. 

 

Written by Nick Onesto

Wednesday
Oct162013

Drought: A Cautionary Tale

It is fall and we are in a drought. While it may not seem so because the weather has cooled off, our plants need water now more than ever. Stressed trees are turning colors earlier than normal. If you notice that your plants have brown or wilted leaves, early leaf drop or stem dieback, your plant is calling for help. When stressed, plants are more susceptible to pests and disease.

Stressed hydrangeaShocked viburnum

 

 

 

 

 

We are used to seeing this in the high heat of summer, but drought can happen any time of the year. A deciduous (drops leaves for winter) plant can mitigate the damage because it will have no leaves to lose water through and essentially go dormant. It may also drop its leaves prematurely in defense during a drought. This winter will be especially harsh to our broadleaf evergreens due to moisture loss through their leaves. Conifers and broadleaf evergreens will drop some needles and leaves every year routinely, but substantial leaf drop means something may be seriously wrong.

Drought stressed boxwood

Windburned skip laurel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An anti-desiccant spray can help. However, irrigating before the ground freezes will give them a much better chance to survive a dry fall and winter. A leaf with a bigger surface area will transpire faster than a leaf with a smaller surface area; therefore, broadleaf evergreens are more at risk. Even conifers such as pine, spruce and fir will lose water through their needles. If the plant loses too much moisture through its leaves, it can't stay healthy, and a unhealthy plant will fail. A plant will keep expelling water unless something is in place to stop it whether by the plant shutting the stomata by itself or with our help. An anti-desiccant (anti-transpirant) application can help protect the leaves by reducing the stomata openings. This application will also help protect the leaves from wind burn (see above right). The root system will be compromised if there is not enough water in the soil and if the soil is too dry it can erode away. If the roots are damaged severely, the plant could die. Protect your landscape investment!

From a recent interview with Long Island Pulse magazine, Tom Rodler, our president, says, "A good rule of thumb is to give a new plant about one inch of water per week throughout the fall." We are down 5 inches from our normal rainfall since June. You must be extra diligent, especially with new planting, to ensure your plants survival through the fall and winter.

Avoid stressing the plants even more during drought by refraining from pruning and transplanting. Mulch can help prevent water loss by evaporation from the soil around a plant, but if the soil is dry to begin with it is a futile gesture. Once the ground is frozen a plant can't take up any more water so protecting it now is important. DO NOT water at lower temperatures. Heaving will lift and damage root systems if not properly mulched, especially as the ground freezes and thaws throughout winter. We offer a winter mulch application to protect your plants against heaving damage, but don't apply it too late or clean it up too early. Some animals stuff themselves before hibernating in the winter and we need to prep our plants in a similar manner. A dry, windy winter could be the last nail in the coffin.

Wednesday
Oct162013

Long Island PULSE Magazine Article - Fall Takes Root

Fall Takes Root

 

Cool-weather gardening with landscape designer Thomas Rodler

 

Author: Ruth Thomas | Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 | Long Island PULSE Magazine

Spring has earned its reputation as the time to plant, but fall is also a good time to add an eye-catching mix of cool-weather plants to any landscape. Flower and shrub species that thrive in warm days and cooler nights can take root now and establish a full year of growth to come. Thomas Rodler, president of Goldberg & Rodler, offers a few pointers for establishing an autumn garden.

Long Island Pulse: What can be planted now for the biggest pop of color in the fall?
Thomas Rodler:
Ornamental cabbages and kale are popular and I haven’t had a deer issue with them. Montauk daisies are beautiful white perennial flowers that last until frost while sedums have interesting pink to dark purple foliage and will flower in the fall. Bugbane has a tall white plume flower and tolerates shade. Fall flowering asters come in pink, blue or white. Purple to pink Joe-Pye weed flowers until frost and Russian sage has spikes of blue flower that last into fall… Some fall flowering trees are sourwood (white flowers), witch hazel (yellow to gold flowers) and the autumn flowering cherry tree, which gives brilliant pinkish-white color. The Japanese dogwood tree has a fruit center that becomes a very pronounced pinkish color in the fall. Planting in the fall, when irrigation is often reduced, sometimes requires supplemental watering to avoid stressing the plant before winter. A good rule of thumb is to give a new plant about one inch of water per week throughout the fall.

LIP: What shrubs grow in quickly to add privacy shortly after planting?
TR:
For a shady property, plant skip laurel or holly shrubs. By the water, try more native plants like bayberry shrubs, eastern red cedars and junipers that fill in nicely. For a sunny location, plant evergreens such as the dark green ‘Green giant’ western red cedar (arborvitae), the bluish-green white pine, with bluish-green needles and the silvery-blue Colorado blue spruce for their height and because they provide a natural-looking border. In the wintertime if your yard has a lot of wind I recommend applying an anti-transpirant or anti-desiccant spray to newly planted evergreens to protect them from drying out and burning.

LIP: What are some specimen tree options and where should they be planted in the front yard?
TR:
Be very selective where you place a specimen tree as it is just an accent. Put it in a prominent spot but treat it like a unique piece of sculpture. The weeping white pine noted for its shape grows 8 to 10 feet tall and weeps down with its soft bluish-green foliage. The bloodgood Japanese maple has dark red foliage that is very contrasting. The weeping Norway spruce has lush dense foliage. Chances are the tree will be shaped at the nursery you buy from, but when it comes time to prune next year, do it between the end of August and the end of November, so the wound has time to heal before winter.

Fall Takes Root | Long Island Pulse Magazine - Covering Long's Island lifestyles, arts, fashion, business, nightlife and entertainment

Friday
Sep272013

Let's Get Started Now

The change of seasons always make us reassess things around us. Summer makes you think of beaches, vacations and muggy nights filled with fireflies. Fall has us thinking about returning to school, holidays, and shorter, colder days. As it gets chillier out, we're reminded that Old Man Winter isn't far behind. Here at Goldberg & Rodler we like to think a little bit further ahead. As designers and planners we always have an eye towards the future. We're already thinking about spring of 2014 and our job as consultants is to educate our clients and potential clients to "begin with the end in mind."

An intimate front entry garden for a residence.

Knowing what you want to accomplish when updating your garden is important. Expressing when to have it done is equally important. Anyone who has had home improvement done knows everything takes longer than we anticipate. If you'd like a landscape ready to use for spring and summer of 2014, you need to start planning now.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself  when thinking about changing your landscape:

                Do I want a beautiful spring display of tulips and daffodils?

                Should I protect my investment in the landscape (whether new or established)
                with winter mulch?

                When is a good time to prune my trees and shrubs?

                Is there a major event I'm planning to have at my home next year?

                Am I thinking about a new pool, patio, front walk, driveway, lighting scheme,
                perennials, privacy screening or another facet of landscape construction?

All of these questions lead to the same conclusion. Start planning now. Some items (such as bulb planting) might take several weeks from planning to installation, others (such as pool design and permits) may take several months. Spring is usually the busiest time of year for the landscape industry, so why not catch the undivided attention of your favorite landscape designer in the off season? Let's get started now! Do you have a question for us? Comment below or contact us.

Isn't this where you want to be next summer?

Monday
Sep232013

Benefits of Tree Pruning

Redspire Pear trees before: Encroaching on building, shading planting Redspire Pear trees after: Light and air reach the understory planting

Fall is here! Fall is full of fun festivals and corn mazes but don't let those distract you from thinking ahead in regards to your trees. We're at the tail end of hurricane season and at the beginning of harsh weather in the form of heavy snow, ice, and strong winds. Fall is the time for pruning large and ornamental trees.

The benefits of pruning a tree include safety and aesthetics. Heavy snow loads, ice storms and strong winds can cause healthy as well as diseased and dead limbs to break off and drop under the stress. Removing dead wood and lower limbs can prevent debris damage from falling limbs while providing a crisp and clean new look. 

When the limbs are thinned out, it allows for more light and air to pass through and the understory planting will thrive. Ever see a tree sway slightly in the breeze? It might look dangerous, and it can be if the canopy is so thick that the wind moves the tree as one piece but when that wind can pass through as well as around the canopy, that makes a tree stronger. The tree is basically developing "muscles" to help it weather future winds.

Small trees can be pruned more easily than large trees but you will always get better results from a professional. Large trees require the help of climbers, trucks, machinery and arborists with a vast knowledge of tree growth habit. You don't want a novice climbing up 100 feet above the ground level. Experienced arborists, like our own Gary Carbocci of Tree Care Long Island a division of Goldberg and Rodler, can evaluate the trees and surrounding landscape and make recommendations based on years of experience and expert knowledge. Goldberg & Rodler will execute the whole process with professionalism and dedication to bring safety and clarity to your landscape.

See our before and after gallery of the trees we recently pruned in the front of Gurwin Jewish Geriatric in Commack, NY.