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Entries in prune (4)

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
Feb062014

Do You Have Cabin Fever?

After a January snowstorm in Centerport. Photo by Nick OnestoIt looks like old man winter still has his grip on Long Island. As I look outside, the ground is still white and it is snowing again with even more snow in the forecast for later this week. It would be nice to get outside and go for a walk without worrying about frostbite or dodging over snow banks to avoid oncoming traffic. Boy, would I like to go somewhere warm and sunny for a week or two.

What can we do to alleviate cabin fever as the winter wanes and the spring approaches? If you can take a few weeks in a warm climate, go ahead. If you can't, here are a few ideas to help deal with the dreary days remaining in winter.

Your indoor plants are living with less light during the winter which translates to needing less fertilizer. How do you know if they need to be fertilized? Well, if they are actively growing or flowering indoors, fertilize them. At least once this winter, give your indoor plants a boost with some fertilizer. Make sure the soil is moist before fertilizing. Water soluble 20-20-20 is good for non-flowering houseplants and 15-30-15 fertilizer is best for flowering plants. If your indoor plants are dormant, suspend fertilizing until the spring.

Housebound weekend days seem to go by more pleasantly when observing nature through a window into your garden. Install a bird feeder outside a window next to a comfy seat and watch the wide variety of birds display their colorful feathers against the gray and white of winter. You can vary the type of seed you provide and thus vary the population of birds that come to visit. Try to keep the squirrels away by placing the feeder away from jumping off points like branches or furniture. The less landing surface the squirrels can find on the feeder will help deter them as well, but a hungry squirrel is a determined squirrel, so there are really no squirrel-proof feeders. Watching the squirrels' antics is sometimes more entertaining than watching the birds eat!

A picture every year to document where your bulbs come up helps to plan for next yearAnother way to banish the winter blues is to look ahead. What would you like to improve outdoors? Planning is an important part in the process of developing a landscape and all of the elements that are integral to a wonderful garden. I like to start with a photo review of last season to assess and evaluate what worked well and what needs improvement. If you don't have photos (think about photo documenting your garden next season), you can mentally walk through your garden in your mind's eye and jot down a few notes. Once the snow melts and the weather warms up a bit, take a walk around your property again. How is the hardscape holding up? Are the trees safe and healthy? What areas of the garden need some help and what areas are doing well? Then develop a strategy for what to improve and how to do it.

Shopping in your own backyard for produce is quick and easyI like to cook, so I always make sure I have enough room for a variety of herbs. What was I missing last year that I want to make sure I have on hand this year? How will I fit in additional plants? Will I have to swap out a variety? How did your vegetable garden do last year? Do you need more light or compost? Maybe you need to have an arborist evaluate your shade trees and selectively prune to boost your vegetable garden's yield. Maybe you don't have an irrigation system, and after the hot, dry summer we had in 2013, you might consider putting in a drip system to make your life easier.

This is where landscape design professionals can be of great value. Planning, creativity and garden development strategy are our expertise. An accomplished and experienced landscape designer can help you remodel portions of your garden, recommend hardscape improvements, help develop new garden areas or prepare plans for a complete renovation if that's the path you're on. Prepare a wish list including your favorite plants, garden themes and lifestyle needs. A landscape plan can be a great way to develop and improve your property with both short and long term goals in mind. Contacting a landscape designer at Goldberg & Rodler in the winter will give you a jump start on spring.

Other ways to beat the winter doldrums include attending garden lectures and workshops or settling in with a good gardening book. Check with your local garden center, library or arboretum to see what activities are on their schedules. If you are looking for a good book focusing on sustainable design and methodology, try "Grow More with Less," by Vincent Simione, the director of Planting Fields Arboretum and Historic State Park in Oyster Bay, Long Island. It is a great guide for a homeowner or professional that can put you on the right track developing your garden in an easy and sustainable way.

So there you have it, a few ideas to distract you from winter until we can get outside again. Good luck, and if you'd like to talk to me about your garden, call me, Sal Masullo, at (631) 271-6460 or email me salm@goldbergandrodler.net, and I would be happy to discuss your landscape with you.

Written by Sal Masullo

Monday
Feb032014

Strategy for Vista Enhancement

You purchased your home because you appreciate the scenic view of Long Island Sound or another beautiful vista. Congratulations, now how do you continue to enjoy that breathtaking view as the trees and shrubs grow year after year?

Before view to the water.After view to the water.

Some vistas may be seasonal due to the presence of large trees and other foliage and some may be year round.  If a view is what you want, be careful to purchase a property that  will allow you to properly maintain the trees affecting your vista. Some local villages will not allow any tree pruning or removal on steep slopes or along waterways, while some properties may have covenants that allow you to prune your trees and your neighbors to maintain your view. Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Most municipalities require permits to prune or remove large trees, in addition to an up-to-date survey, a strategic vista enhancement plan prepared by a certified arborist, landscape architect or professional landscape designer. These professionals can recommend which trees to prune and which ones to remove by providing both a short and long term vista enhancement strategy.

If done properly, a well planned and maintained vista provides many years of visual enjoyment.

 

 

Our arborists and landscape design professionals can start you on the right path to developing your vista enhancement strategy. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation.

Written by Gary Carbocci, Certified Arborist

Tuesday
Nov262013

Are Your Trees Ready for Winter?

At this time of year my thoughts are on turkey and the upcoming holidays, while our faithful, irreplaceable trees are outside in the cold landscape at the mercy of the oncoming winter storms.

Proper pruning is one of the best things you can do to preserve trees in the landscape! In my experience as an ISA Certified Arborist, large trees that are pruned regularly may be the difference between a long life or the sudden demise of your mature shade trees. Regular or routine pruning means at least once every four years to correct structural growth and remove all visible deadwood.

Properly pruning a young tree will set the stage for correct long term development in the structure of a tree. This helps protect the tree against damage from heavy snow, heavy winds and ice storms. An ISA Certified Arborist is best qualified to know which trees need pruning now and which may need pruning at a later date.

Although Mother Nature will determine what will ultimately be destroyed, a tree that is well prepared may be saved by proper pruning. Each time the tree is pruned the arborist will remove limbs that are weakly attached, diseased, and/or over-burdened, leaving structurally superior limbs. This process also reduces the overall weight in the canopy. Winter pruning allows wind to move through the tree and reduces the surface area for ice and snow to collect. Decades of experience have shown me that pruned trees have a better chance at surviving the winter gauntlet. In most cases, trees not pruned or maintained properly are the ones that are dangerous and make your property susceptible to severe damage from broken limbs or fallen trees.

We will gladly provide you with an evaluation of your mature trees. Contact us today to discuss both short and long term plans for the health of the trees on your property.

Written by Gary Carbocci