Subscribe to our Blogs

Monday
Jun232014

Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets

 

Decorative urns are perfect container gardens.

A large and grand garden is a desirable amenity for your home, but not everyone has the time or energy to care for a large garden.  That doesn’t mean your property can’t shine with color this season.  Flower pots and hanging baskets are a great way to add a splash of color and accent your existing landscape.  Container gardens and hanging baskets create a lush contrast at entrances, patios, decks and pools.  You can buy precast stone, concrete, iron, glazed ceramic or composite planters.  Another option is to get creative and repurpose old wheelbarrows, cauldrons, or whatever you envision to hold enough soil for your flowers. 

Once you have chosen containers and baskets suitable to your unique style, place them in areas where they will be focal points.  It is important to have them in place before filling them with potting soil and plants, otherwise they will become too heavy to move.  If your container is very large it is smart to cut down on the amount of potting soil you put in.  The most efficient way to cut down on wasted soil is to fill half the container with packing peanuts, mulch or bubble wrap underneath a layer of permeable landscape fabric to keep the soil medium separated.  This will also help with drainage.  If your container lacks holes in the bottom, it is a good idea to provide a generous amount of course material in the bottom to prevent root rot.

Now it is time to decide what plants to put in your container.  Your plant palette can range from tropical to woodland depending on the microclimate conditions of your property.  Avoid crowding your container with too many plants because they will grow throughout the season, and you will avoid too much plant competition and die off.  When it comes to design, choose plants that follow these guidelines and you will be left with a stunning display year round. 

  • Container with Canna lily, Croton, Angelonia, and Sweet Potato VineTHRILLER: Start with a tall specimen that will extend above the other plants.         24+ inches. (Purple Fountain Grass, Dracaena, Canna Lily, Banana, Hibiscus or other standards)
  • FILLER: Plants that will establish a full and lush appearance of color on the ground plane.  6-18 inches. (Lantana, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonias, Coleus, etc.)
  • SPILLER: Plants the will creep down the side of the pot and create a flow of texture. (Licorice Plant, Scaevola, Verbena, Sweet Potato Vine, Vinca)

As the growing season continues, keep an eye on your containers and make sure that they get ample water in full sun.  They should be watered everyday and sometimes twice a day during extreme heat in the summer. If your planter is in a shady spot, it may require less watering such as every 2 days.   Apply fertilizer throughout the summer to promote healthy blooms.  Container gardens are a great way to provide quick and easy seasonal color changes in your landscape.  They require less maintenance than a large garden, but keep in mind, leaves naturally yellow and die, so remove them to promote new healthy growth.  For example, pinch Coleus flowers to prevent the plant from stretching and will result in a fuller plant.  Express your unique self through container gardens and hanging baskets this summer.  Goldberg and Rodler has professional landscape designers that can help you find the perfect plants for your containers and are more than willing to offer our expertise this season.

Written by Nick Onesto

Thursday
May082014

Summer Plant Protection

Gazania blooms best in hot, sunny areas. Can't wait for summer to see these beauties!

It's still hard to believe summer is finally here to stay. So after a plant friendly and cool spring it is time to get ready for the hot weather. Our lawns and plants fared well so far and now it is time for all of us, plants and people, to make that seasonal adjustment.

Water is a plant's best friend during the high heat of summer under the blazing hot sun. Right now  your irrigation system should be set on a summer schedule. Maybe it is time to evaluate what type of system you have. Is it as efficient as it could be? In spring you don't need a lot of supplemental irrigation but when the temperatures begin to climb and rain isn't on the horizon, that system will be getting a lot more use. It is better to water less frequently and more deeply than every day for only a few minutes. You want to make sure the water penetrates through the mulch layer and can reach the roots. A drip system lays under the mulch/soil and uses less water than a traditional mist or rotary heads.

Early in the day is the best time to irrigate. If you water in the middle of the day, most of the water will evaporate before it has a chance to penetrate through the soil. If you water late in the day fungus will develop, especially in your lawn. Avoid letting water collect on leaves in the middle of the day; like ants under a magnifying glass, the leaves will fry. Leave your lawn 3-3.5" high in the hottest months. This will help keep the roots cooler by providing some shade. Cutting too short can contribute to browning out. When mowing your lawn, remove no more than 1/3 of the lawn's height at one time. 

Healthy, vibrant lawn. No weeds, well irrigated and maintained.

A few organic choices for the garden that will help your plants thrive include mulch, compost and pruning. Incorporating compost into your soil adds organic matter and will give your plants a boost in nutrients, minimizing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Mulching around your plants keeps the soil cooler in summer and helps with moisture retention. Also, you can mitigate potential damage from poor air circulation or low light penetration with proper pruning.

When it gets hot and humid, there are certain pests and diseases that thrive. Scale, Black Spot, Powdery Mildew and Fungus Gnats are several  to watch out for. Call us if you see small, fuzzy white things that jump on and off of your plants or if you see black spots or a white film on any leaves.  If you see clouds of tiny flying insects, most likely around a wet area, it could be fungus gnats. While they are harmless to humans (they only feed on rotting organic matter) this could indicate you have a standing water issue, which will attract a much worse insect: the mosquito. Our sister company, Tree Care Long Island, has several treatments including horticultural pruning, beneficial insects and liquid and granular applications (including organic options), to treat these issues.

More insects to watch out during the summer include Aphids and Leafhoppers, Grubs, and Spider Mites. Aphids and Leafhoppers can spread scale and powdery mildew between your plants. Grubs eat the roots of your lawn, creating bare patches and holes in your lawn from predators like crows and raccoons digging for dinner. Spider Mites suck the juices out of a plant's leaves and/or needles and cause the plants to defoliate and die.

Is your landscape ready for the heat of summer? If you see any of these conditions, or would like our advice, just contact us and we will be happy to help.

Click here for a Newsletter version of this post.

Thursday
May012014

Earth Day at Long Island Jewish Hospital, and Cohen Children's Medical Center

Click image above to view video page

Earth Day is a very important day in our calendar that should inspire everyone to work together to improve our environment.  It marks a day of environmental awareness across the nation and people come together to reduce, reuse and recycle.  When spring is in the air and the weather is warm, people get eager to get outside and start cleaning up, not just for themselves but for everyone else in their local community.  Goldberg and Rodler is no exception, and this year for Earth Day, we collaborated with Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Cohen Children's Medical Center to plant and dedicate two trees in the name of healing.

North-Shore LIJ has developed a new Green Initiative to bring the North-Shore medical system up to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards by reducing water use in buildings, increased recycling and clean up programs, and improving the landscape.  Together, the LIJ’s Green Initiative team and Goldberg and Rodler hosted a ceremonious event to dedicate two trees to the environmental improvements at the hospital.

President Tom Rodler plants a new tree, with the help of Cohen Children's Medical Center patientsThe event kicked off at 11:00am just outside Cohen Children's Medical Center.  Goldberg and Rodler donated a double flowering Kwanzan Cherry tree centrally located within view from the hospital entrance, parking lot and street.  Two children, who were patients at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, came out and helped Goldberg and Rodler plant the new tree, which resulted in an emotional and extremely rewarding experience for everybody.  Together, with the help of the children, we mixed compost and fertilizer into the soil.  Everyone had a hand in filling the tree pit with rich organic soil.  Then it was time to add the earthworms.  This was a highlight for a lot of people there, because it was also a learning experience on the proper way to treat soil for a newly planted tree.  The act of touching and working with soil and plants is proven to be very therapeutic and served as a healing experience for everyone involved.  The last step was to add mulch and water thoroughly.  LIJ has acquired a new truck with an attached hose and water compressor, to optimize watering throughout the hospital campus.  Last it was time to name the tree, and the children were given the honor to name their very own tree.  Today on April 24th, “Pinky” the Cherry Tree was brought into our lives, and Goldberg & Rodler couldn’t be happier.

After a quick photo op, we moved to another location by the Emergency Room to plant our second tree, a Japanese Zelkova.  We utilized the same procedures to properly plant the tree to ensure its survival.  Goldberg & Rodler decided upon a Zelkova for this area because it will provide shade and an interesting vase shaped canopy over time.  Groups of administrators and doctors arrived at our second location to witness the final planting.  Everyone was excited to be a part of the process, get their hands a little dirty, and break up the monotony of their demanding jobs.  The group named this tree “The Healing Tree” in honor of the Green Initiative mission of healing the environment and the community at LIJ.

The Green Team at Cohen Children's Medical Center and all of the helpers around their new tree "Pinky"Earth Day at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Cohen Children's Medical Center was an extremely successful and inspiring event for Goldberg & Rodler.  We are honored to donate to such a beneficial and healing cause for patients, employees and the environment.  Goldberg and Rodler promotes sustainability and community involved design, and looks forward to continuing to serve our community by volunteering in the future. 

Written by Nick Onesto

Friday
Mar212014

Free Property Evaluation - Winter Damage

A dynamic landscape composition of trees, perennials, boulder wall, waterfall, and annuals.We were hit hard this winter with near record snow totals combined with colder than normal temperatures, which had many of our plants covered in a frozen snow load. Ice storms and extended sub-freezing temperatures added to the stress on our plants as well as record amounts of road salt used this season.

In April, once the weather warms up and the plants break dormancy, you will be surprised to see the damage our properties suffered this winter. Broken, leaning or damaged branches on trees and shrubs. Browning or loss of leaves will appear due to a dry fall and cold winter winds which dry out broadleaf evergreen shrubs. Plants like Rhododendron, Skip and Cherry Laurel, Japanese Holly, and Leyland Cypress will either drop their leaves or have extreme browning of foliage. We can diagnose a treatment and pruning for these plantings to help them rebound from this difficult winter.

Let’s not forget the increasing population and migration of deer and the damage they are causing to our landscape. They will be looking for food from now through early spring and they won't be picky. Alternative plantings that are deer resistant may need to be incorporated into your garden to help deter them away from your property. Another option is a deer fence which we can work into a property with minimal visual exposure to help protect your landscape investment.

Not only were our plantings hit hard but also our hardscape elements such as patios, decks, pool areas and driveways. I have already seen cracking, heaving and uneven settling of these materials. Repairs will be needed or it's time to consider replacing some of these elements.

April is a good time for a property evaluation and to reassess your goals for the upcoming season. A Goldberg and Rodler designer is available to meet with you for a free property evaluation and determine the extent of the winter damage and practical solutions. Now is the time to plan for the year. Call (631) 271-6460 or email us to arrange your spring consultation and evaluation now.

Written by Richard Schneider

Friday
Mar212014

Winter Damage Assessment - Tree Care Long Island

Our team follows safety protocol pruning dead trees and shrubs, keeping your home and family out of harms way.It’s been a rough winter. Many of our trees and shrubs were damaged: Leaning over, possibly breaking with heavy snow loads, filled with dead wood and hazardous to our landscape. Our children will be playing outside soon so you need to check for safety as well as the health of your trees and shrubs.

With our certified arborists, Tree Care Long Island can provide a thorough diagnosis and evaluation of your property before the growing season begins. You probably haven't been outside recently and walked around your property to see what winter damage there is, so it is important to have a professional help evaluate your property.

Shrubs as well as trees should be treated, pruned or removed if they are hazardous. From our observation, properties that were pruned before Hurricane Sandy suffered minimal damage to property and home. Many properties still need this type of maintenance oriented horticultural pruning. Is your landscape ready for the next major storm?

Winter and early spring are the ideal time to address winter damage and structural issues with pruning and removals. Fertilization and environmentally safe pest control are also recommended.

Protect your property and family. Start a free site evaluation with our certified arborist from Tree Care Long Island.  Call (631) 271-6460 or email us today.

Written by Richard Schneider