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Entries in trees (15)

Monday
Sep232013

Benefits of Tree Pruning

Redspire Pear trees before: Encroaching on building, shading planting Redspire Pear trees after: Light and air reach the understory planting

Fall is here! Fall is full of fun festivals and corn mazes but don't let those distract you from thinking ahead in regards to your trees. We're at the tail end of hurricane season and at the beginning of harsh weather in the form of heavy snow, ice, and strong winds. Fall is the time for pruning large and ornamental trees.

The benefits of pruning a tree include safety and aesthetics. Heavy snow loads, ice storms and strong winds can cause healthy as well as diseased and dead limbs to break off and drop under the stress. Removing dead wood and lower limbs can prevent debris damage from falling limbs while providing a crisp and clean new look. 

When the limbs are thinned out, it allows for more light and air to pass through and the understory planting will thrive. Ever see a tree sway slightly in the breeze? It might look dangerous, and it can be if the canopy is so thick that the wind moves the tree as one piece but when that wind can pass through as well as around the canopy, that makes a tree stronger. The tree is basically developing "muscles" to help it weather future winds.

Small trees can be pruned more easily than large trees but you will always get better results from a professional. Large trees require the help of climbers, trucks, machinery and arborists with a vast knowledge of tree growth habit. You don't want a novice climbing up 100 feet above the ground level. Experienced arborists, like our own Gary Carbocci of Tree Care Long Island a division of Goldberg and Rodler, can evaluate the trees and surrounding landscape and make recommendations based on years of experience and expert knowledge. Goldberg & Rodler will execute the whole process with professionalism and dedication to bring safety and clarity to your landscape.

See our before and after gallery of the trees we recently pruned in the front of Gurwin Jewish Geriatric in Commack, NY.

Tuesday
Mar052013

Spring is Almost Here!

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that I had to put on a wedding in my backyard and it needed massive pruning. I woke up and my hand was sore from clenching dream pruners! I think this is my subconscious reminding me that it's time to get out and cleanup the garden! Now is the time to cut back any remaining perennials and grasses such as liriope and carex. However, acorus only needs a good combing with a leaf rake.

Spring also means time to apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to prevent broadleaf weeds like crab grass or dandelions. This must be done before the forsythia finish blooming. Our expert arborist, Gary Carbocci, says to lime your lawn to raise the pH as our soil on Long Island is very acidic. Also see our article on how to use vinegar as an organic herbicide.

It’s also the best time to weed! Get those garden nuisances before they get established and add a fresh layer of mulch to beds, remembering to keep the root flare clear (see Mulch Volcano article here). Prune damaged branches on trees and shrubs. Trim yellow leaves on broadleaf evergreens. Any other pruning should wait until after the plant flowers so the buds aren't removed.

Wow, looks like I have a lot to do, but it will all be worth it once I can see my bulbs popping up. Bulbs are my spring alarm clock and I can't wait for it to ring.

Tuesday
Jan082013

Winter Interest  


During winter, the garden takes on a different character with the play of light and shadow. It is also a time when the unique features of certain plants are highlighted. Witch-hazel, to the left, is a small tree that blooms in February. It's a wonderful native specimen to showcase during a time when there are few things in flower. Camellias also flower during the winter, but be careful to protect their broad evergreen leaves with an anti-transpirant to reduce wind burn. These do best in a more sheltered area such as behind a windbreak or near a building.

In addition to flowers, there are countless
varieties of trees and shrubs with interesting forms, bark, berries, cones and evergreen color to animate the winter landscape. Berries provide food for birds during the winter as well as color for your garden. A mature Japanese Dogwood or Crape Myrtle (at right) both have multicolored, exfoliating bark that stand out in any landscape. The reddish color of the Crape Myrtle's bark is a striking contrast in a winter landscape. A Montgomery Spruce has beautiful blue needles all year (shown in bottom picture with the granite wall).

Grasses, whether evergreen or perennial, can give you good groundcover all year long. Green liriope doesn't get a haircut until Mid-March. Acorus only needs a light raking. Dwarf fountain grass plumes usually last though early winter if there hasn't been a heavy snowfall. Grasses like this should be cut down as soon as they start looking messy, but don't cut them down based on color. The brown plumes add a feathery, light look to your landscape and contrast well with blue skies and white snow.

Hardscape elements, such as paving, boulders and walls, stand out. Structural elements such as sculptures, pergolas and gazebos enliven an outdoor space all year but in winter they can take center stage. A patio heater or fire pit can make an outdoor space usable on mild winter days. Warm drinks like cocoa, tea and coffee can extend your stay outdoors but remember to dress warmly and to extinguish the fire before returning inside. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't have fun. An arboretum like Planting Fields in Oyster Bay is a great place to explore year round and there aren't as many people in the winter so you can relax more and take your time to enjoy everything. They have numerous trails through the woods on the grounds but they also have greenhouses to explore if it is too nippy outside.

Exterior lighting schemes can highlight unique landscape elements like the Westchester granite wall to the right. The light picks up the bits of mica in the stone and makes it glitter. During the summer, plants might cover most of this wall, but in the winter when the perennials die back it has a chance to shine. Winter is a time to showcase textures and elements not seen in the summer months when brilliantly colored flowers take center stage. 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Oct032012

Zucker Hillside Hospital: Commercial Landscape Overhaul

Robert Rodler started working at Hillside Hospital before Goldberg & Rodler even existed with J. J. Levison. Levison handed it over to Goldberg & Rodler in the early sixties and we did a ton of work there. Then we did bits and pieces here and there, sprays, tree work, etc. until 2009. The new facilities manager wanted the campus renovated and he contacted us. Maintenance had been getting progressively worse, to the point where the campus was covered in poison ivy, the original design was almost impossible to discern. You can still see the cherry trees, dogwoods and sycamores on the campus that we planted back in the 60's but they were in desperate need of pruning. Limbs wider than a person's leg were dropping dangerously to the ground. The baseball field, apple orchard and formal rose garden had been razed for additional parking as the facility grew. Increased paving was causing massive drainage issues. People would park anywhere they could find a spot, including on the grass, off the road in the woods, there were no curbs or barriers to prevent it. 

BeforeAfterIt was unrecognizable and a perfect example of how maintenance issues can affect more than the landscape. Employees and family member's of patients were extremely unhappy. There was no place to eat or take a break, no place for people to sit, the gazebo was unsafely enclosed by overgrown plants, and one building was hidden behind overgrown yews. 

Gravel for DrainageSandbag DrainageOur first job was the poison ivy removal and pruning and removing hazards in the trees. People had been dumping garbage in the woods so our next task was to clean that up. We redesigned several areas, focusing on the core and most visible parts of the campus first.

 

Gazebo BeforeGazebo AfterWe fixed the drainage issues so they no longer had to pile sandbags in front of the doors (it isn't recommended by health professionals to block hospital doors, in case of emergencies) or deal with a mosquito farm in a swampy lawn area. Many overgrown plantings needed pruning for security reasons, who wants to eat lunch completely enclosed on all sides so you can't see who is approaching? We added curbs and boulders to the areas people were driving and parking in that were unpaved. We made elegant gravel shapes and used water tolerant plantings in areas where runoff collected. 

We sited a lot of trees as part of the Million Trees Project in NYC's boroughs. We redesigned outdoor recreation areas for the patients. We transplanted and relocated plants for the construction happening on the campus. We even installed fountains in the lobby with interior plants. Right now we're working on designs for patients' roof gardens and a parking lot to add more parking. It's in Queens, there's never any parking! 

Tuesday
Sep252012

Goldberg & Rodler Wins National Landscape Award!

Plan: Click to enlarge

Goldberg & Rodler has won another national award (from PLANET) for one of our projects.We're so pleased that the judges recognized our team's hard work on the design and the installation of this residence. Read on to discover exactly what we did and to see pictures, before and after, of the project.

When our clients bought this waterfront residence it was virtually un-maintained for several years and needed a complete overhaul. Their wish list included making the steep and narrow driveway easier to navigate, creating inviting entertaining spaces, a putting green, a BBQ, removals of invasive plants, renovating the leaking gunite pool, extensive outdoor lighting, better dock access and storage space for recreation items.

Overgrown, dead and invasive plantings were the first big challenge with the site. Removing hemlocks infested with wooly adelgid, controlling invasive English Ivy, removing Poison Ivy and essential pruning for the property's shade trees. Most existing retaining walls on site were failing and had to be replaced or repaired. The leaking gunite pool needed extensive renovation. Raccoons had made the dock their personal bathroom. The current drainage pattern was down the driveway (about 20 feet higher than the house at the street), straight to the house.

Before: Click to enlarge

After: Click to enlargeWe re-graded the driveway changing a 17% slope to a 15% slope and built boulder walls at the road and below for guest parking. A custom Belgian Block Cobble culvert, strip drain and surface drains catch runoff coming down the driveway and direct it into 3 new drywells. A shed off the parking stall holds family bikes and there's space for one-on-one basketball.

Green: Click to enlarge

Waterfall: Click to enlarge

A cozy putting green sits below the pool area. A large brick and bluestone patio surrounds the renovated gunite pool, complete with a new bluestone coping. We added a swim out to the deep end and converted the existing pond to a reservoir that spills into the pool, circulating the water. Random bricks break up the sheet of water into tranquil white noise.

Pool Area: Click to enlargeLighting: Click to enlargeA new composite deck with glass paneled railings keeps the view unobstructed. The steps lead to irregular bluestone with lawn joints out to open lawn. A custom railing and gate keeps raccoons from wreaking havoc on the dock. We designed an extensive lighting plan to highlight the landscape and make the property usable all day.

BBQ: Click to enlargeWater View: Click to enlargeAll of the bluff planting was retained to ensure slope stability and we selectively pruned along the bluff to maintain a dramatic view to the water. As part of our philosophy, we try to reuse as much of the existing vegetation and materials as possible. Existing daylilies were transplanted along the top of the slope to help prevent washout erosion and we rehabilitated and transplanted rhododendrons from the pool area to a woodland setting where they could thrive.

The property had many dilapidated boulder structures scattered about, built years ago by a monk, and had sentimental value to our clients. We salvaged and repurposed every boulder for new boulder and gabion walls and also for rip rap in various places to retain slopes.

Difficulties during construction included a massive rainstorm in the middle of the driveway construction. The basement flooded and we discovered the previous owners had concealed a major issue: they had built a false wall in the basement to hide the fact that there was no waterproofing on the foundation. We worked through the night with the family to empty the basement of water and came back the next day to waterproof the foundation. Also, gutters were pitched incorrectly and downspouts were broken or clogged. We replaced all leaders and gutters and calculated drainage capacity for the new drywells. Other discoveries included rotten wood and a leaking roof which were both replaced with high tech, low-maintenance materials (a slate substitute and Azek columns) to maintain the historic look of the house.

 

Photos by Susan Sotera

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