Winter Services: Protection and Prevention

Are you ready to say goodbye to 2013? Is your landscape ready for 2014? While everyone is busy preparing for the holidays, we’re preparing for winter and spring. There’s still time to protect your plants, clean out your gutters and schedule winter pruning.

Applying anti-desiccant to evergreens.PROTECTION: We’re reiterating the important message in our previous article about protecting your plants for the harsh weather we expect during the winter. An anti-desiccant application can reduce water loss through the leaves during a time when your plants can’t take in water from the frozen ground. You can reapply mid-winter for additional protection.

Road salt can damage your plants from piled up snow, as well as salt spray from the ocean/sound if you’re near the water. Anti-transpirant is one option for reducing the potential for burned foliage. Heavily irrigating the soil in the spring helps wash away the accumulated salt in the soil. Fertilizing with an organic, salt-free fertilizer will promote new leaf growth and proper pruning can ensure the integrity of the plant’s structure.

PREVENTION: During a heavy snowfall, if the gutters aren’t cleared of snow and debris, ice dams can form on the top above the gutters and water may back up under the flashing behind the gutters. This can cause leaks, and if not treated, mold growth . It is very important to make sure these are clear after a storm if the snow doesn’t melt away. Leaves and debris will further aggravate the issue by not allowing proper drainage into the gutters as the snow melts.

WINTER PRUNING: This is better for deciduous shrubs, evergreen hedges and small ornamental trees. The best time for this service is between Thanksgiving and Saint Patrick’s Day.

Using a bucket to get up into the bigger trees.Removing dead wood and crossing branches helps open plants up to allow light and air to penetrate into the plant while removing potential host sites for insects. Selective hand pruning will help plants keep their natural, intended form. Winter pruning of your ornamental landscape plants will increase the health and vigor of the plants by stimulating new growth, while keeping the size of the plants in check so your landscape can last many years.

Winter pruning has many other benefits. With no leaves on the deciduous plant material, the structure and potential shape can be clearly defined. Plants heal more quickly in the winter so there is less trauma and almost no potential for harboring insects and disease in the fresh cuts.

Protect your investment in the garden by having one of our professional horticulturalists come by and provide a complimentary winter pruning consultation and estimate. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Written by Sal Masullo and Ashley Palko

Winter Pruning

The structure of a tree is more pronounced in winter.With the holidays upon us it is very hard to focus our attention elsewhere. It is easy to ignore your faithful, irreplaceable trees at this time of year surrounded by holiday music, lights and family. Do I hear the pitter patter of reindeer on the roof or is that a tree limb that was not properly pruned?

Protecting your valuable shade trees from winter storms is as easy as proper pruning. Protecting your residence from the constant scraping of limbs flailing back and forth in the winter winds may help keep home maintenance costs down. A limb that ranges too close to the home will eventually rub the roof shingles or siding off of the most important member of the property, your house.

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 dead wood. Regular pruning may be the difference between expensive repair bills or a happy house and trees.

There are several types of pruning that may be done for trees in the winter.

Horticultural Pruning: The judicial thinning and shaping of ornamental woody plants to allow air circulation and light penetration. Trees with intact structures may only need minor pruning to keep them separate from the house and other plants.

Structural Pruning: This type of pruning reduces weak limbs and branch attachments that can fail in heavy snow or wind. Your arborist may choose to remove a weak limb or support important structural limbs with cabling or braces to minimize the possibility of damage to the tree as a whole.

Rejuvenation Pruning: Pruning in late February and early March to rejuvenate overgrown and misshapen woody shrubs can mean the difference between renovating a landscape or redoing a landscape and starting over.

Contact us to speak to an ISA Certified Arborist today and they will help you determine a course of action for your property’s trees and shrubs. Have the happiest of holidays!

Written by Gary Carbocci

Holiday Decor: To Light or Not to Light

LIGHTING: Most of us have some appreciation for the extreme holiday lighting we see at this time of year, but at our own home subtle holiday decor may be more to our liking. Let’s start with a subtle approach for your front door. This is the main attraction which sets the tone for the grand entry. The illumination should be elegant enough to match your indoor decor and lifestyle while adding a holiday spirit for you and your guests as they enter your home. Evergreen roping with lights to frame the door or pots with illuminated evergreen shrubs flanking the entrance add this elegant touch. Now try adding a few ground flood lights with a amber colored bulb to wash the house with a soft, mellow glow. If you prefer more lighting, pick a specimen tree or a few shrubs in a prominent location and wrap the branches heavily with lights. This will give your home and landscape a festive feel.

HOLIDAY-POTSDECORATIONS: If you like, skip most of the lights and add live plant material. Use evergreen roping, pine cones and bows to add both color and texture. Hang a wreath on your shed, gate, front door or barn with a spot light. The wreath can be bittersweet wine, grape vine or even winterberry twigs for a unique look. Set electric candles in the front and side windows to create a feeling of warmth and home. This will give the home depth when seen from the road. You can also use plant material from your yard and add them into your garden pots or make your own spray to hang on a door, gate or mail box. Use Holly, Inkberry, Rhododendron, Skimmia, Evergreen Magnolia, Cypress or Birch branches or other plants with decorative berries. With the cold weather they should look fresh for weeks.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Let’s say its New Year’s Eve or another celebration. Add more glimmer to your existing holiday decor with white or silver bows and twigs. Change the amber bulb to white or blue for new crisp look for your party.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. For more ideas, contact our design specialists here at Goldberg & Rodler.

Written by Rick Schneider