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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.

Monday
Sep162013

Fall Means...

Pumpkins, hot cider and football. But it also means core aeration, lawn renovation, bulbs and fall cleanup! Don't give up on your garden just because the weather has cooled. There are many items still on the check list before getting cozy inside for the winter.

This lawn could use an aeration and re-seeding.Now is the best time to help out your lawn. Core aeration can provide valuable air circulation to an established lawn. Now is also the best time to renovate your turf. Lime is very important, especially on Long Island. The pH of the soil across most of Long Island trends toward acidic. A simple soil test can figure out if you need to raise the pH of your soil to help your plants grow better. Tree Care of Long Island offers soil testing and lime application (among many other services) for your lawn and plants.  Fall is the best time to seed your lawn. Depending on the variety, grass seed needs a temperature range of 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate properly. Make sure to water adequately while not overwatering and that the seeds is in contact with the soil. Birds LOVE grass seed. To protect your seed sprinkle a light dusting of compost over it. This will also help keep the seed moist.

 

Bulbs. My favorite kind of fall shopping. The varieties available get more diverse and spectacular every year. We're placing orders now for installations to occur before Thanksgiving. Many times the first signs of spring are those crocus and miniature daffodils coming up in almost bare beds. Don't miss out on a fantastic spring color display! Daffodils are critter resistant but tulips are on the menu for deer, squirrels and other furry friends so plan accordingly. The key to a show stopping bulb display is massing. If there weren't enough one year, add more for the next season. You can never have too many bulbs! They are some of the most cost efficient plants you can put in your garden, especially if you get a naturalizing variety which will multiply and bloom for many years.


Don't forget to schedule your fall cleanup. Perennials and ornamental grasses need to be cut down, leaves collected and disposed of, whether on the ground or in the gutters. A blocked gutter can cause roof leaks if the water backs up under the shingles. Protect your outdoor furniture. We offer shrink wrapping for pots, tables and chairs, barbecues and other outdoor furnishings. Remember to have a professional blow out irrigation and pool lines to prevent damage from water freezing and thawing in the lines throughout the season. Drain and cover any fountains. Talk to a professional for pond care and winterization if you have animals in the pond. Hungry birds and raccoons can make a meal out of unsuspecting koi and goldfish when the weather turns nasty.

As we move into fall, keep the winter items in the back of your mind, such as snow plowing, anti-transpirant applications, decorations, winter compost, and more! Stay tuned for our winter entry.

Do you have a question for us? Comment below or contact us.

Monday
Sep092013

Orient Point Bluff Restoration

This property on eastern Long Island, situated on the North Fork on a bluff, sustained serious damage from Superstorm Sandy last fall. The neighbors all have boulders at the base of their bluffs but this property was purchased without boulders, causing the Long Island Sound to wash out the base of the bluff during Sandy. This caused severe erosion from top to bottom washing away soil and plantings. The client hired a contractor to install boulders and plant the bluff with erosion control after the storm. All of the plants and erosion control failed during this past spring due to thunderstorms and the bluff was in bad shape again.

See our gallery with pictures chronicling the reconstruction.

After having a second contractor try to remediate the bluff (with very poor results), the clients contacted us to consult on the situation. Our solution included filling the bluff with topsoil and sandy compost and then installing two layers of heavily pinned, crisscrossed and overlapped jute matting. Finally, a palette of hardy, native seaside plants including bayberry, beach plum, beach rose, goldenrod and beach artemisia were planted through the double layer of jute matting. The keystone of the erosion control was planting over 5000 plugs of American beach grass. The roots and foliage from all of these plants, once established, will help stabilize the bluff while providing a native and natural seashore aesthetic.

The project needed to be completed in a tight time frame to stabilize the bluff. Unfortunately, this meant our crews were installing these plants in the early summer during a heat wave where temperatures reached 100 degrees. Temporary irrigation was set up to help the plants get established and it will be removed after one or two growing seasons.

At the top of the bluff, the lawn area was re-graded to control the flow of water over the bluff and sod was installed to restore the more manicured backyard feeling that had existed prior to Sandy. This vital hurricane remediation project lets the client use their backyard again to entertain and relax while enjoying the breathtaking view that a property on the bluff presents.