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Entries in mulch (8)

Monday
Jul222013

Helping You and Your Plants Beat the Heat

Anyone who's ventured outside the past few weeks knows how hot it's been. The temperature has hovered somewhere between a sauna and the surface of the sun. We have some tips for you to take care of your plants and yourself in hot weather.

For your plants: Water them. Water them deeply and at the cooler times of the day so the water doesn't evaporate before it can infiltrate the soil. It sounds obvious, but don't wait until you see that they're stressed from the heat. In some cases, it may be too late. Hydrangeas are drama queens, so their leaves will droop at the mention of hot weather, but they'll perk right back up after watering. Don't spray water on the foliage. Like a magnifying glass, the water droplets amplify the sunlight and can burn the leaves of your plants. Keeping a layer of mulch in the beds will help to insulate the soil and retain moisture. Remember to keep the root flares uncovered! For your lawn, watch out for fungus in this heat. Keep your lawnmower blades sharp and cut the grass high, around 3" tall. The taller grass will keep the soil cooler and deter weeds and the sharp blades will minimize damage to the blades of grass. Also, do not spray for weeds in the heat, you'll burn your lawn.

For yourself: Drink water. Drink A LOT of water. Once you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Stay away from soda, caffeine, alcoholic beverages and sugary juices. Wear light colored and lightweight clothing, sunscreen and bug spray. If your yard has trees, try to position yourself in the shade and move with it during the day. The earlier in the day, the better, but earlier and later in the day can mean mosquitoes as well as cooler temperatures. Mosquitoes love sweaty people and humid air, and if you're susceptible to bites it doesn't really matter what time of the day you're out. Remember to get rid of standing water in your yard to keep breeding down.

 If you're concerned about your plants and/or lawn, call us at (631) 271-6460 or email us and we'll come over and check them out for you.

Thursday
Sep272012

Goldberg & Rodler Wins National Maintenance Award!

Goldberg & Rodler has won a national PLANET award for maintenance. Goldberg & Rodler has recently expanded our services in the past few years (the original G&R Gardeners would be proud) and now offers a multitude of property maintenance services. Read on to find out more!

Woodland PatioOur client loves living in the woods but she wants a woodland feel without a woodland mess. She is the CEO of a large corporation and has a demanding workload. When she comes home to her 2-acre estate, she wants to spend time with her family and enjoy her property. She prefers a natural look and feel, (everything is hand-pruned) and she wants ease of access to her entire property keeping it a safe environment for her children and grandchildren to explore. 

Woodland PathOn a weekly basis we mow the lawn, pick up the pet-waste, weed the beds and play area, police the property for deer and mole problems, and check on the drains, gutters, downspouts and drainage paths.  The plants are inspected for damage from disease, insects or water issues. Our crew maintains a service access path on the side of the property to get to the rear yard. This prevents us from damaging the lawn, plants, and patios with repetitive traffic. We make sure the 2-story tall evergreen screening is maintained, pruning throughout the seasons after plants flower. We avoid a massive seasonal pruning job by pruning a little each visit, keeping the maintenance costs down for our client and adding to the natural look of the property. Bed edging is kept to a minimum to balance neatness with the woodland aesthetic throughout the property.

Summer ColorEvery spring we power wash all paving, the roof and walls of the house, and the furniture and pots that we wrapped and stored for the winter. We plant the evergreen shrubs from the pots in the landscape. We start up the irrigation system and inspect pool equipment. We install annuals and tropical plants for the summer months, concentrating a huge display of color in the pool area.  Our client looks forward to seeing something different and unique each year. She has no window treatments in the residence to maintain open views of her property.

Annual PotWe install fall annuals such as kale and mums around entryways. Our crews divide and transplant perennials and make sure all the light fixtures are clear and working during a nighttime test. Before winter starts we apply organic compost around the major trees and shrubs to prevent soil heaving and apply an anti-transpirant to the broadleaf evergreens to guard against moisture loss and desiccation of the foliage. We pre-treat the pavements before snowstorms and plow and shovel during and after the snow falls. Our client has knee problems so we take extra care to ensure those surfaces are as clean and dry as possible. After a heavy storm two years ago we even went up on the roof and removed the snow deposits to make certain that ice dams would not form and cause leaks.

Summer ColorWe maintain a gravel strip along the road with a short decorative iron fence to delineate the property in a neighborhood without curbs.  This also prevents the neighborhood dogs from using it as a bathroom. In the back of the property, a section of woods remains untouched. If a tree fails in the wooded area we take it down and leave it to decompose naturally and provide wildlife habitats away from the main living areas.

Spa & PoolAfter redoing the pool a few years ago, we rototilled the lawn area and added compost and topsoil. However, after failing to get a thriving lawn even with the amendments, during a maintenance visit we took a shovel and dug a test pit. We discovered that the pool company had backfilled with very poor soil and a 3-foot layer of clay was preventing the water from draining. Using a backhoe, we broke through the compacted clay layer and got the drainage flowing properly. Thanks to our weekly visits we were able to nip the issue in the bud and avoid replacing the lawn every year.

Graduation PartyThe homeowner likes to entertain at her residence and we organize the events for her from planning and setup to post-party cleanup. She likes having a garden theme and we create seasonal cut flower arrangements. We add tropical foliage plants and after the party take them to her corporate office to decorate the lobby. We also do the maintenance at her office building as it is very important to her that her employees enjoy their work atmosphere. The office building and grounds has a more manicured look to offer a pleasant but corporate feel to the property.

 

Photos by Susan Sotera

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!

 

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