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Entries in mulch (8)

Friday
Oct172014

Winter Garden Preparation 


An application of anti-transpirant being made.

"Old Man Winter" is right around the corner and its time to prepare your planting beds for the harsh environment that is about to come.  As soon as we have a good hard frost it will be time to put your garden to bed for the winter.

How do we do that?  The first step in preparing your garden is cleanup and removal.  Cut back dry perennial stems down to the ground and remove any debris like leaves and branches.  Also, remove any summer annuals that are soon to be past their peak and fading fast.

Next, you want to put down a good natural insulating layer in the beds.  Shredded bark mulch is perfect for this.  This mulch layer will protect plants and soil over the winter months. Another good resource for your planting beds is to use the leaves that fall from your trees.  Grind the leaves up and distribute around the garden beds.

If you planted bulbs in your garden, it might be good idea to protect them too.  Using sod staples, pin down evergreen boughs over the bulb planting area to protect the soil from shifting and heaving due to frigid winter weather. The boughs also provide greenery in a mostly barren bed during the winter months and keep the squirrels at bay.

Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, it is a great time to prune your deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.  During this dormant time, it is easy to identify the natural form of the tree or shrub and prune accordingly. Pruning during the winter season helps the tree or shrub conserve its energy for the roots where it is well needed for survival.

Winter mulch is applied around the root system of a tree or shrub to help keep the ground from heaving in the frigid weather and also to provide nutrients in the spring.Many people think since there is snow on the ground that their plants are getting water. This is not true. With the ground frozen and lack of percolation and absorption, your plants struggle to survive during the winter. To protect your evergreen trees and shrubs from transpiration (losing moisture through the leaves), use an anti-desiccant (anti-transpirant) spray on the evergreen foliage.  This helps retain much needed water in the plant during the cold dry winter.

Finally, as the snow starts to fall, keep an eye out on evergreen trees and shrubs, the weight of the snow can snap the branches off.  After a large snow fall, knock the snow off the branches starting with the lower ones first.  If you start with the upper branches first, you add more weight to the lower ones and this may cause them to break off.

There are many other methods to protecting your valuable landscape plantings during the winter months. Let Goldberg and Rodler's team of professionals devise a plan that works best for your property to keep your landscape healthy. Call us now and plan ahead.

Written by Rich Lambert

Friday
Oct172014

Fall & Winter Services

As we put our yards and garden to sleep for the colder months, we should consider measures to protect our landscapes just as we do in the growing season. Plants slowly become dormant when temperatures drop. They still need vitals such as light, water, nutrients and pruning. Goldberg and Rodler can tailor a program for these specific needs.

Pansies give us an extended season of color in fall.

Early fall we still want to maintain our plants and gardens. Goldberg and Rodler can plant annuals for a last burst of color using Chrysanthemums, Cabbage, Kale and Pansies. Pansies do well in the cool months right through Thanksgiving. In late fall, cut down the perennials and remove all annuals. This is done after the first frost.  It is also the time to plant a variety spring bulbs. You’ll be glad this was done once the first sign of spring appears.

Fall is a good the time to core aerate the lawn and seed. This will get your spring lawn off to a good start. Keep your lawn clear of leaves since the lawn is still growing and needs the light for root development and color. Remember that a dry fall can be detrimental for broadleaf plants such as Rhododendron and Skip Laurel. Late season watering may be needed because the roots are still alive.

Winter preparation is a crucial part of your property which is sometimes put on the back burner. Cold harsh winds, frozen ground and snow have all damaged our properties in the past. We recommend an anti-desiccant applied to all broadleaf evergreens in November with a second application in January. This works as a waxy blanket film to decrease the evaporation of water from the leaves and the drying effect of winter winds. Winter mulch applied in December is composted manure with peat moss and should be applied around the base of the plants. This helps keep the plants from heaving in the winter and slowly releases organic nutrients for the plants to absorb when the ground thaws. Winter pruning is an ideal time to get your trees in shape. This not only helps with light and air circulation during the growing season but helps prevent wind blown branches and snow load damage. We have seen both in recent years. Be more proactive in the pruning care of your trees.

Please contact Goldberg and Rodler to discuss our fall and winter services.

 

Written by Rick Schneider

 

Thursday
Mar132014

Spring Cleanup and Startup

Spring is here.

The following are 20 things you should know about spring.

Who's ready for tulips, pansies and Dwarf Fothergilla flowers?

1. March 20th is the first day of spring. Before long the first day of summer (June 20th) will be here!

2. Assess winter damage to plants and the landscape. 

3. Apply pre-emergent to lawns and beds before the forsythia finish blooming.

4. Prune back hydrangeas and roses now. However, other plants are just waking up, so don't do any heavy pruning on other trees and shrubs. Have a certified arborist evaluate your fruit trees.

5. Cut back liriope and perennials. Now is a good time to divide perennials.

6. Watch for settlement from freeze/thaw cycles around new pools and drywells.

7. Review photos from last year's vegetable and annual plantings.

8. Add organic amendments like compost to the soil in early spring.

9. Rotate crops, especially vegetables. Organically add nitrogen back to the soil by planting soy beans or peas.

Contrast bulb flower colors for the biggest bang in the landscape!10. Mulch NOW while the beds are open so you don't have to dance around emerging perennials. Pull back winter compost from tree and shrub root crowns. Avoid mulch volcanoes!

 

11. Plant summer annuals after May 15th (wait for danger of frost to pass). Having a summer party? Plan your annuals now for robust color and lush beds. Get your tubers ready. Dahlias and Canna Lilies are ready to go in soon!

 

12. Monitor your irrigation system. DO NOT overwater. Adjust the watering schedule as summer approaches.

 

13. Experiment with alternatives to impatiens. DO NOT plant Impatiens walleriana! They have a problem with downy mildew all across the United States and they WILL disappoint you. Try something new!

 

 

14. Bring in your bird feeders. Birds have plenty of food now. Clean and store them for next winter.

15. Spray horticultural oil to smother insect egg cases. Check your lawn for divots. Does it look like a really poor golfer has been there? Those holes are from squirrels, raccoons and birds looking for food.

16. Watch for frosty nights and protect newly planted and tender annuals and vegetables.

17. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. They're popping up all over. If you have a small piece of property or too much shade, this is a great way to contribute to a cooperative garden and reap the benefits in fruits, vegetables and friendships.

18. Test your lawn's pH. Let the soil and our trained horticultural experts tell you what it needs.

19. Check the garden shed for old and outdated fertilizers and chemicals. Dispose of them properly.

20. Last, but certainly not least, consult with your favorite landscape designer. Now is a great time to contact us. Or you can call to set up an appointment with Sal Masullo, senior landscape designer, at (631) 271-6460 to discuss your ideas.

Soon pansy faces will great us from pots and daffodil manes from the beds.

Written by Ashley Palko and Sal Masullo

 

Wednesday
Nov202013

Benefits of Winter Mulch: From the Desk of Sal Masullo

It has been said many times and it is true, "Timing is everything."

Sal Masullo, working hard to protect his clients' investments.NOW is the time to consider winter mulching. Winter mulch is a little different from regular shredded bark mulch. Winter mulch is an organic compost based mulch that provides many benefits for both new and established plantings. Considering the very dry fall we experienced this year, winter mulch makes even more sense as a simple, inexpensive way to protect the investment you have in your landscape. The root systems of your trees, shrubs and perennials have been under tremendous stress. Winter mulch will protect these roots through the cold days ahead.

 

Just like people, plants require supplementary nutrients. Healthy plants are better equipped to fight off pests, disease and extreme temperatures. The benefits of winter mulch:

          Insulates soil and minimizes the impact of extreme cold temperature on plants and their root system

          Minimizes root disruption from the freeze/thaw cycle by stabilizing soil temperature

          Feeds plants slowly, consistently and organically as it decomposes

          Reduces moisture evaporation from the soil (a key benefit this season)

In short, winter mulch is preventative medicine for your plants. If you would like more information regarding winter mulch or other helpful winter protection for your garden, contact our office and one of our landscape professionals will be happy to answer all of your questions.

Written by Sal Masullo

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.