Subscribe to our Blogs

Tuesday
Mar122013

Spring Start Up & Cleanup

Fast forward to three months from now. Maybe you're sipping a margarita by a pool, possibly in your own backyard, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and - Wait a minute, how can that happen if you don't start now? It's warming up and boy is there a lot to do in the garden, but you can't do anything without cleaning up first. There's vegetable gardens to plan, pools to open, patios to design, furniture to get out of storage, powerwashing, fertilization and pruning to be done.

Where to start?

Think of spring as the time to take inventory of your outside spaces. If you're unsure how to go about it, take advantage of our Free Property Analysis. We will professionally assess your property to determine if any damage has occurred over the winter, such as salt and wind burn. We can evaluate and determine if your turf needs remediation or if your plants need fertilization. What about pruning? Our certified arborists can study the health of your trees and shrubs and make recommendations. Maybe your trees were damaged in Hurricane Sandy or from all the heavy snow we had this winter. Proper pruning can help reduce the risk of damage next time we have a major storm event.

Goldberg & Rodler offers many garden care and landscape maintenance services to take care of your property throughout the growing season. We're here to answer any questions you may have. Don't delay getting outdoors, that nice weather is just around the corner, and don't we all want to be relaxing by the pool in our beautiful backyard gardens?

Tuesday
Mar052013

Spring is Almost Here!

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that I had to put on a wedding in my backyard and it needed massive pruning. I woke up and my hand was sore from clenching dream pruners! I think this is my subconscious reminding me that it's time to get out and cleanup the garden! Now is the time to cut back any remaining perennials and grasses such as liriope and carex. However, acorus only needs a good combing with a leaf rake.

Spring also means time to apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to prevent broadleaf weeds like crab grass or dandelions. This must be done before the forsythia finish blooming. Our expert arborist, Gary Carbocci, says to lime your lawn to raise the pH as our soil on Long Island is very acidic. Also see our article on how to use vinegar as an organic herbicide.

It’s also the best time to weed! Get those garden nuisances before they get established and add a fresh layer of mulch to beds, remembering to keep the root flare clear (see Mulch Volcano article here). Prune damaged branches on trees and shrubs. Trim yellow leaves on broadleaf evergreens. Any other pruning should wait until after the plant flowers so the buds aren't removed.

Wow, looks like I have a lot to do, but it will all be worth it once I can see my bulbs popping up. Bulbs are my spring alarm clock and I can't wait for it to ring.

Tuesday
Jan082013

Winter Interest  


During winter, the garden takes on a different character with the play of light and shadow. It is also a time when the unique features of certain plants are highlighted. Witch-hazel, to the left, is a small tree that blooms in February. It's a wonderful native specimen to showcase during a time when there are few things in flower. Camellias also flower during the winter, but be careful to protect their broad evergreen leaves with an anti-transpirant to reduce wind burn. These do best in a more sheltered area such as behind a windbreak or near a building.

In addition to flowers, there are countless
varieties of trees and shrubs with interesting forms, bark, berries, cones and evergreen color to animate the winter landscape. Berries provide food for birds during the winter as well as color for your garden. A mature Japanese Dogwood or Crape Myrtle (at right) both have multicolored, exfoliating bark that stand out in any landscape. The reddish color of the Crape Myrtle's bark is a striking contrast in a winter landscape. A Montgomery Spruce has beautiful blue needles all year (shown in bottom picture with the granite wall).

Grasses, whether evergreen or perennial, can give you good groundcover all year long. Green liriope doesn't get a haircut until Mid-March. Acorus only needs a light raking. Dwarf fountain grass plumes usually last though early winter if there hasn't been a heavy snowfall. Grasses like this should be cut down as soon as they start looking messy, but don't cut them down based on color. The brown plumes add a feathery, light look to your landscape and contrast well with blue skies and white snow.

Hardscape elements, such as paving, boulders and walls, stand out. Structural elements such as sculptures, pergolas and gazebos enliven an outdoor space all year but in winter they can take center stage. A patio heater or fire pit can make an outdoor space usable on mild winter days. Warm drinks like cocoa, tea and coffee can extend your stay outdoors but remember to dress warmly and to extinguish the fire before returning inside. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't have fun. An arboretum like Planting Fields in Oyster Bay is a great place to explore year round and there aren't as many people in the winter so you can relax more and take your time to enjoy everything. They have numerous trails through the woods on the grounds but they also have greenhouses to explore if it is too nippy outside.

Exterior lighting schemes can highlight unique landscape elements like the Westchester granite wall to the right. The light picks up the bits of mica in the stone and makes it glitter. During the summer, plants might cover most of this wall, but in the winter when the perennials die back it has a chance to shine. Winter is a time to showcase textures and elements not seen in the summer months when brilliantly colored flowers take center stage. 

 

 

 

Friday
Nov022012

After Hurricane Sandy

This was my first really bad hurricane. We're still without power, both at my home and the office. We have generators running at the office in Huntington to power our phones and computers so we can serve our customers. We're mobile throughout Long Island working on tree estimates. The damage I've seen is extensive. There are trees on houses, on cars, and in pools. Unsecured outdoor furniture was thrown through windows. The fires that raged through Breezy Point made it look like a war zone. Though most of us are still without power and a few of us have downed trees, everyone at Goldberg & Rodler, Inc. is safe and our homes are mostly intact. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Now the cleanup begins. New Yorkers are a resilient bunch of people. We've been through the ringer more times than I can count. We always rally and come back stronger than ever. What makes us great is our ability to survive and thrive when life takes an unexpected detour into chaos. People with power are sharing their hot water and electric. They are car pooling with strangers into Manhattan because of the destruction to our transportation infrastructure. This is what I love about my fellow New Yorkers.

If you have downed trees, call us at (631) 271-6460 or (516) 692-8549. You can also email us at customerrelations@goldbergandrodler.net. We will come out as soon as possible to assess the damage. We have the certified arborists, equipment and skills to perform the most delicate removals. A tree on your neighbor's house? A tree leaning on another tree? If the tree and/or debris is on or next to power lines, you MUST call LIPA first at 800-490-0075. DO NOT try to move any wires or cables. Please assume all wires are live. Your safety is paramount to us. LIPA must remove the debris before we or any other tree company can work in that area.

Be safe, be smart, stay warm. We'll get through this.

Wednesday
Oct172012

Watering an Orchid with Ice Cubes

Look at all the new growth!

I have never had good luck with orchids and other indoor plants. Turns out I have been too caring, too loving and too nurturing and that has been detrimental to their health. Less is more! With my newest orchid, the instructions that came with it said to water it with ice cubes. I thought they were crazy, but since it had an unlikely survival rate I figured what could be the harm? So once a week I put three ice cubes on top of the growing medium, under the leaves. I ended up with little white bugs in the medium and all my flowers fell off! What did I do wrong?! I scoured the internet looking for help. The most common advice was to let the orchid dry out. If you can see its roots, let them go gray, and then you can start watering it again.

Fertilizer Ice CubesSeveral weeks later, I try the ice cubes again, but now less often, maybe once every two weeks. It is working! I'm getting new growth! New flowers! I'm great at this! Then it says in the instructions to fertilize after the orchid is done blooming. Hmmm, I'm doing such a good job, it hasn't stopped blooming yet! When I look at the fertilizer directions, it tells me how much to use, and to fertilize each time I water it. They give me a very small fertilizer to water ratio and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with all the extra. How long will it keep? I only have one orchid.

So I take a water bottle out of my recycling bin and wash it out. I mix up a water bottle full of orchid fertilizer and then pour it into an inexpensive ice cube tray. I figure I can freeze these forever and I won't have to worry about overfeeding my orchid. Since the ice melts slowly through the medium it can be absorbed better by the roots. Orchids don't like to sit in water and this has been super successful for my orchid. I am getting so many flowers and buds for new stems! I'm thinking about getting another!

 

UPDATE: 10.17.12 My orchid is blooming amazingly!!! Check it out!