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Tuesday
Aug282012

Autumn To Dos & Don'ts

A few things to think about as cooler weather looms near.
 
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.
 
Plant your bulbs before the ground freezes and water thoroughly after installation. They will wow you in the spring! Daffodils are critter resistant but tulips are on the menu for deer, squirrels and other furry friends. Crocus and wood scilla are the first to pop up, usually in March. Daffodils and tulips can range anywhere from March through late May. Alliums bloom later around June. Planned correctly, your garden will be a riot of color through every season.
 
DO NOT PRUNE YOUR TREES AND SHRUBS! Don’t be tempted to prune as it gets colder. Pruning forces tender new growth that can be destroyed by the upcoming freezing temperatures. Wait until spring or, even better, after the particular plant flowers so you don’t remove any buds on early bloomers like azaleas and rhododendrons. DO cut down your perennials and ornamental grasses.

 

Tuesday
Aug212012

Is Your Landscape Ready for a Major Storm Event?

Goldberg & Rodler crew removing a tree from a house after Hurricane Sandy.
Storm damage is not entirely preventable but proper seasonal pruning for shade trees, shrubs and other ornamental plants help to protect your landscape investment, home, family and vehicles. By removing dead or damaged limbs, you lower your chances of serious damage during a severe wind or snowstorm.

Removing weak and malformed branches will prevent them from snapping and damaging the surrounding healthy limbs. Damage from poor air circulation or low light penetration can be corrected with proper pruning as well. Allowing air and light to penetrate between the limbs and move through the leaves contribute to overall tree health.

A large limb from a unhealthy Sycamore crashed through a client's fence.Clients who have their trees and shrubs routinely pruned report minimal damage after big storms. One client praised our certified arborist, Gary Carbocci, for helping him protect his landscape and his investment. Several of our clients who don't have regular pruning done by us reported big losses with major limbs snapping. A few  large trees were reported as toppling over. This is a costly expense to repair and/or replace.

Goldberg & Rodler is up to date with industry licensing and certifications, fully insured, and is active in the Long Island Arboricultural Association (LIAA), Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA, formerly National Arborist Association), Nassau Suffolk Landscape Gardeners Association (NSLGA), New York State Nursery and Landscape Association (NYSNLA), National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), and  Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association (LINLA).

 

Call us today at (631)-271-6460 or click here to contact us about preventative maintenance for your trees!
Tuesday
Aug142012

Green Roof = Sustainable Design

A green roof is just one of many steps toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly landscapes. We installed a green roof in Eaton’s Neck using the LiveRoof System. The residence is designed specifically for several green roofs; not just for aesthetic value but environmental as well.
  
Advantages:
- Soil and plant matter provides insulation for temperature & sound
- Reduces stormwater runoff by absorbing water 
- Reduces air pollution & lowers the heat island effect with sedums that evapotranspirate at night
 
Pre-grown modular system:
- Minimal irrigation needs, especially once it is established
- Uses fire resistant succulent planting; plants retain moisture and are fit for arid conditions
- 25-50% energy savings 
- Lightweight modules decrease load on roof
- Repair requires minimal disruption of system; trays can removed and replaced individually
- Plant choices offer visual interest all year round
Tuesday
Aug072012

Mulch Volcanoes

The quickest and least expensive way to clean up your property is to mulch the beds. Even if you don't have any plants in them. It will give you a fresh and tidy look for your property and is something you can do yourself. However, if the beds DO have plants, make sure you know how to mulch around them properly. It can be a massive drain of time and money to fix improperly mulched plantings and if you can't fix them you end up replacing them.

I see what we call, "mulch volcanoes," way too often around trees and shrubs. That's what we say when we see a pile of mulch around a tree trunk. I also see those plants declining after just one season of suffocation. This may seem dramatic, but piling mulch around the trunks of trees and shrubs WILL kill them. Roots need air and if the plant can't get enough, it will send out adventitious roots to find them. If you can't see a root flare, the plant won't be able to breathe. Girdling roots start to form, wrapping their way around the trunk in a confused effort to find air. As the trunk of the tree or shrub grows and expands outward, these girdling roots press on the trunk and literally strangle it.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you mulch properly. You want to see a root flare out at the base of the trunk(s) like a bell bottomed jean (see pictures below). You DON'T want to see a mound of mulch. If you see a mound of mulch, it may not be too late. Pull the mulch away and dig out your tree or shrub. If it is truly planted too low you can try to transplant it higher when the time is right for that plant. Or you can dish out around it but remember you will essentially be creating a little sump area where the water will pool. If the girdling roots haven't fused to the trunk you can remove them with pruning shears. This will most likely shock the plant but with some TLC it may come back.

I have seen it in my own yard. An azalea my mom planted 20 years ago had slowly sunk into the soil and years of mulching around it had buried it about 8 inches up the trunk. I thought it was dying because it was old and decrepit until I started poking around the base. I dug it out two years ago, transplanted it and cut it back to rejuvenate the shape. It now looks healthy and happy.

Feel free to ask me any questions or send me pictures if you think your plants are in trouble from the dreaded mulch volcanoes. Good luck!

 

Thursday
Jul122012

Rain Gardens & Rain Barrels

We all learned about the water cycle in elementary school. It rains, plants and soil soak up water, plants evapotranspirate moisture back into the atmosphere and standing water evaporates, it rains. That's the simplified version. In reality, in our developed world, it takes a lot more steps for the water to go from the clouds to the ground again. Sewers, drains, and drywells capture runoff from impervious surfaces like asphalt, concrete and roofs and this water is either contained until it can slowly migrate back into the soil through the perforated wall of a concrete drywell, or it is sent to a sewage treatment plant to be treated with chemicals and reintroduced into our water cycle. The more impervious surfaces that cover our earth, the more water that is treated and wasted.
 
How can we lessen the impact on our drainage systems? Rain gardens. Let the soil and plants naturally filter out impurities and toxins from the runoff, as in other unpaved areas, and have a beautiful, diverse garden to enjoy. Sure, you can get a backhoe and even a crane to come in and dig down until you hit drainable material, then install drywells, and surface drains, but that is expensive. While it is currently the accepted way to deal with storm water runoff, it adds yet another step to a natural process that worked fine before human intervention.
 
You can also try a rain barrel. Hook one up to your downspout and use it for irrigation. Why pay the water company for treated water when you can collect it unpolluted for free? Some water tolerant (aka "likes wet feet") plants for these areas would be acorus, clethra, iris, daylily, bog rosemary, hypericum, and willow among others.