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Entries in winter (20)

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

 

Tuesday
Mar182014

Spring Landscape Preparation

Snowdrops brighten the landscape in early spring. Photo cred. Sal MasulloWinter is retreating and the dormant landscape is thawing, ready to wake up and stretch out its limbs and leaves. Start your spring cleanup early by generating a check list for you landscape.

1. Walk around your property and assess snow/ice damage to gardens and hardscape. The heavy ice and snow builds up on top of plants and the branches will break under pressure. The ice also causes freeze-thaw which results in heaving and cracking in asphalt and pavers over time.

2. Identify potential drainage problems - As the ground thaws completely, settling may occur, resulting in new pooling and damp areas. Watch out for these now!

3. Lawn Care - Your lawn may seem flattened and weak in the early spring, so lightly rake your lawn to stimulate new growth to begin, but don’t rake too hard or you can damage your lawn and cause burn spots.

Pruning your shrubs and trees in late winter/early spring is a good way to promote new growth. Goldberg and Rodler Inc. has certified arborists and horticulturalists that can help you with analyzing the integrity and health of your trees and shrubs. Some damages aren’t recognizable to the average eye, but our experts can identify the signs of stress and teach you along the way. Removing dead wood in early spring will cause shrubs and trees to grow vigorously and increase the amount of flowers. Pruning can bring shape, light and air to your overgrown trees resulting in better overall health and protecting your landscape investment. Spring is the best time to plant slow-to-root trees such as Red Maple, Flowering Dogwood, Magnolias, and Oaks because they need a full growing season to establish their root systems. This is also a great time to apply a granular time released fertilizer to your planting beds.

As your spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinth show their colors you can start dividing your perennials and spread them out in your landscape. They will grow throughout the spring and summer giving you more color and texture in your garden and provide a great way to stretch your planting budget.

Spring is bursting with color, featuring sweeping Daffodils and Star MagnoliaFrost is still a concern in the first months of spring. Temperatures can spike in early spring but drop drastically at a moment’s notice, so if you planted tender annuals already, you will want to take precautionary measures such as covering the plants with containers or bringing potted plants indoors. It is a good idea to plant hardy annuals that can take the cold temperatures such as pansies, marigolds, and dusty miller, then transition with those plants to your summer plant pallet.

Check for insects and diseases affecting your plants. For example, you may notice little white scale eggs on your plants which are an infestation rather than a pathogen. These pests hatch and live off the bark of the tree. Plants that are frequently infested with scale eggs are Magnolia, fruiting trees and shrubs and many varieties of Euonymus. If you catch them early enough this spring, the plants can be protected by pruning the infected branches, or spraying with organic, environmentally safe horticultural oil.

Venture out and enjoy the comfortable warm temperature of spring and transition your life outdoors yet again. The amount of work to be done can be daunting so if you have any questions or require guidance, give Goldberg & Rodler a call and our friendly staff will work with you personally. 

Written by Nick Onesto

Monday
Mar172014

Landscape Trends 2014

Play a relaxing game of bocce in your own backyard!Revitalize your spring landscape with a few new landscape ideas for 2014.

After this winter, aren't we are all ready for spring? Winter has had a tight grip on us this year. Let's shake it off and THINK SPRING!

Sustainability: Start your compost pile now. No meat byproducts, only "green" kitchen scraps (veggies/fruits). Grow your own vegetables and herbs. Collect rainwater to irrigate planters and vegetable gardens. Plant lower maintenance, eco-friendly trees and shrubs.

Lawn Games: A hit for outdoor parties or family time with the kids. Try games like Can Jam, Bocce, Volleyball or Badminton.

Garden Art: Always in and always a welcome addition. It can be as simple as a bird bath or gazing ball or as imaginative as a custom commissioned piece of sculpture.

Outdoor Furniture and Accessories: The options grow each year. Pillows, carpets, oversized umbrellas, canopies, hammocks, tiki bars and more can be integrated into your outdoor spaces.

Planting Trees: A sign of recovery from Sandy and from a sluggish economy. They're also great for increasing air quality and providing welcome shade in the summer months.

Fire pits, fountains and outdoor rooms are recent trends that are still growing in demand. These are just a few ideas to get your mind moving on improvements for your landscape and motif and gardening habits. How do YOU get ready for spring? We would love to know what you do to get ready. Email us at SalM@goldbergandrodler.net. How do WE get ready for spring? There are a few ideas in our Spring Cleanup and Startup entry. Also check out our Cabin Fever article for planning tips.

Written by Sal Masullo

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

 

Friday
Feb142014

Indoor Greenhouse Oasis

Feels a little tropical, even in the winterOne thing that gets me through these dreary winter months is knowing I will be back outside in my garden soon. Another thing is my indoor plants. No matter how big or how little your living space is, there's always room for a plant.

Not only do indoor plants look attractive but they also have health benefits. Plants increase the air quality in your home by raising oxygen levels, removing toxins from the air and maintaining healthy humidity levels. Low humidity indoors during the winter can do dastardly things to your respiratory system, caused by the heating systems that keep us warm. Plants can make you happy and improve your mental health. Caring for another living thing can give you purpose and be fun, too.

Some plants are super easy to grow indoors, like the Snake Plant. Snake Plant, cacti and succulents make great first time plants for a person just getting started. They need minimal care beyond occasional watering. The only real issue to watch out for is over watering, as that will rot the roots. Other plants are super temperamental like African Violets. They need special soil, fertilizer and much more care than other options. Just make sure when you choose a plant that it has attributes you want; non-toxic if you have small children or pets, if your windows face north and/or east  get a plant that thrives in low light, or a plant that tolerates dry soil if you're not around much.

A ponytail palm adds great texture all year round

In my experience, where you buy a plant from can have a bigger impact on how they grow than how you treat the plant. You can't see inside the soil at the store and you won't know until you have the plant home for a few weeks if there are any issues such as fungus gnats, mold, or root rot. Repotting might save the plant if you catch the problem in time. I usually quarantine a plant for a month in a separate room before I let it join the others. This prevents insects and diseases from spreading to all my plants if I bring home a sick one. You should do the same when bringing plants in from outdoors to over winter them. You don't want the outdoor garden pests coming in!

They sell all kinds of gadgets to help an indoor plant owner; moisture meters, irrigation globes, grow lights, and other products, but nothing compares to experience. So buy a plant and start learning! Start with something easy, like the aforementioned Snake Plant. Seriously, you can't kill it. I brought one home from college and it didn't take the move well. I took it out of the soil and left it to dry out in a vase for over a year. Repotted it and that Snake Plant is thriving today. Dracaena marginata, Dracaena 'Janet Craig' or a Spider Plant would also be good to start with. Some of the other plants in my home are Ponytail Palm, Jade Plant, Dracaena, African Violets, Orchids, cacti, Agave, Aloe and an array of succulents, among others. They all have different colors and textures to liven up my living areas. The Aloe is especially helpful if I burn myself in the kitchen. I even have basil and mint in one of my greenhouse windows. I miss my herb and vegetable garden immensely in the winter and these tide me over until spring. Next year I'm going to see if I can bring more inside! 

If you have any questions about your indoor plants or your outdoor landscape, email me at ashley@goldbergandrodler.net. Let's figure out your plantscape together.

A blown glass watering globe adds color to plants not in flower


A closeup of the aloe plant, great for soothing skin irritations; just watch out for the tiny spines when you peel it!