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Carpenter Costin's Blog

Why Do Leaves Turn Color in Fall?

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Oct 14, 2016 10:05:32 AM

Autumn in the Northeast can be a spectacular season of bright blue skies, cool temperatures, and brilliant leaf color.

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Tree and plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. Three pigments are involved in fall color:

  • Chlorophyll — gives leaves their green color
  • Carotenoids — provide the yellow, orange, and brown colors
  • Anthocyanins — give the red and purple colors. In contrast to the other two pigments, anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars in the leaf cells

During the growing season, most tree leaves are green because they are full of chlorophyll. Plants use chlorophyll to capture sunlight for photosynthesis, the process that enables them to manufacture their own food. The amount of chlorophyll is so high during the summer that the green color masks all other pigments present in the leaf. As the days grow shorter in the fall, chlorophyll production slows down and eventually stops. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf then become visible.

Do Different Kinds of Trees Turn Different Colors?
Certain colors of leaves are characteristic of particular species of trees.

  • Oaks turn red, brown, or russet;
  • Hickories turn golden bronze;
  • Dogwood turns purplish red;
  • Beech turns light tan;
  • Red Maple turns brilliant scarlet;
  • Sugar Maple turns orange-red;
  • Black Maple turns glowing yellow;
  • Sourwood turn crimson;
  • Birches turn golden yellow.

Why Do Leaves Fall?
Deciduous trees drop their leaves in order to survive the harsh conditions of winter. Stems, twigs, and buds are equipped to survive extreme cold. Tender leaf tissues however, would freeze in winter, so plants must either protect their leaves or shed them.

Fallen leaves are not wasted, they decompose and restock the soil with nutrients. The rich layer of decomposing leaves protects the roots of other plants on the forest floor and absorbs and holds rainfall. Imitating nature by mulching with shredded leaves provides similar benefits for trees and shrubs in the home landscape.

**Excerpts from US Dept of Agriculture, Northeastern Area Fact Sheet SP-01-01
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Topics: Fall Landscape Care

End of Summer and Fall Checklist

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Sep 18, 2014 3:06:28 PM

End of Summer and Fall
Tree & Landscape Care Consultation

Having a great landscape in May, June, and July doesn't start in the spring - it starts in the fall. Tactics such as fertilization, lawn renovation, pest treatments, and shade tree pruning will all improve the health and appeal of your landscape, allowing you to have a great looking property next spring.

The following checklist will give you an idea of what actions should be taken, and when they should be completed for the best results. Free free to save and print it!

Fill out the short form on the right to speak with a Carpenter Costin pro regarding fall tree and landscape care.

click to enlarge for printable version
 

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care

Fall Landscape and Tree Care Checklist

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 28, 2012 11:08:00 AM

Fall tactics for ensuring your landscape and trees are in the best shape possible.

Caring for your trees, shrubs, and landscape in the fall will help ensure that it is in optimal condition come next spring. Investing in landscape care services between September and December will not only prepare your trees and shrubs for the winter, but it will also make sure that your landscape as a whole is better prepared to shine next spring.

The following checklist will give you an idea of what actions should be taken, and when they should be completed for the best results. Clicking on the link will bring you to an article with more specific information about each task.

This checklist will undoubtedly improve the health and appeal of your landscape this fall. For more information, or for a free consultation with a Carpenter Costin professional, click the button below.

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Feel free to save and print the checklist below for your own copy.

Fall Tree and Landscape Care Checklist

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care, landscape tips

Checking Shade Trees for Safety this Fall

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 27, 2012 2:20:00 PM

Make certain your shade trees are safe before winter Nor’easters and snow storms come rolling in.

After a relatively mild year in terms of storms, New England is bound to receive a handful of threatening storms this fall and winter – in both the Nor’easter and blizzard variety. Theseshade tree evaluation storms, which usually pack a powerful punch of high wind, driving rain, or heavy snow, can cause serious damage to our large shade trees. Evaluating shade trees for structural integrity in the early fall will help to mitigate any risks associated with broken branches or fallen trees during fall and winter storms.

Even if you are not an Arborist, there are certain elements to look for that allude to structural damage in a shade tree.

Trunk and Root Area

Look around the base of your shade trees first. Is the ground cluttered with broken branches? Excessive broken branches could indicate structural damage. If there aren’t many broken limbs, then check to see if the roots are being disturbed by a nearby structure, driveway, or street. Damaged root zones can cause serious stress, leading to structural damage through the entire tree. Lastly, check for rotting around the trunk.

Middle of the Tree

The most common issues to look out for here are rotting and splitting. It is common to have splitting where large leaders break off from the main trunk. This can sometimes be remedied by installing cables; however, without added support, it is likely the split leader will fall during a storm.

Crown Area

This is the area that requires you to look up. It is often difficult to see while a tree still has full foliage, but it is imperative to do your best, as hanging limbs in a tree’s crown can cause damage to property and serious injury. Look for “hangers” or “widowmakers” and seek advisory from a Certified Arborist immediately if you notice any.

Running through the above indicators will let you know if you have structural damage in any of your shade trees. These are only the very obvious indicators - there are many other factors that will only be noticed by a trained Certified Arborist. We recommend a safety evaluation every fall to ensure your shade trees are structurally sound, and ready for whatever the fall and winter will bring us. Click below for a free 15 minute consultation.

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safety evaluation for shade trees

Early snow fall (like last October) can damage trees that aren't structurally sound. Have an Arborist out for a free evaluation for safety sake!

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Topics: tree care, Fall Landscape Care, storm damage

Treatment of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the Fall

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 21, 2012 8:49:00 AM

Treating for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the fall will mitigate the pest just as they are coming out of their dormant stage, or prevent your healthy Hemlocks from being infested.

As temperatures begin to cool in the fall, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid leaves its summer dormancy to once again feast on the Hemlocks across the North East. Depending on the temperature, this usually occurs between late September and October. Preventative or controlling treatments at this time are best as they will keep the pests at bay all fall, winter, and into the spring – a fall hemlock woolly adelgid treatmentperiod of time when they are most devastating to Hemlocks.

Preventing and controlling Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) can be accomplished with a foliar application of Horticultural Oil. For the best preventative measures, an application in both the early spring and fall will keep your Hemlocks free of this pest. Hemlocks that have already been infested may require more treatments to kill the pest, and keep it from returning. For trees that have already been seriously infested, pair a foliar application with a soil injection treatment for the best chance of saving the Hemlock.  

Once infested, a Hemlock can be quickly defoliated by HWA. To ensure your Hemlock trees remain healthy and safe, consider preventative Woolly Adelgid treatments. Our Arborists recommend preventative HWA treatments on all Hemlocks, even if they have never been infested, as the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has become so prevalent in our region. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when your Hemlocks will be infested.

The most popular question regarding HWA treatments is, “What does it cost?” Most HWA treatments will be under $150, and can be much less depending on the number and size of trees to be treated. The cost of removing and/or replacing the dead Hemlocks is significantly greater than the investment in HWA preventative treatments, so keeping your Hemlocks safe and healthy with preventative treatments is always a wise idea.

To have a Certified Arborist out to inspect your Hemlocks, or to sign up for a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid treatment, click the button below.

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treating hemlock woolly adelgid

Treating HWA with a foliar application of Horticultural Oil will control and prevent the prevalent pest.

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care, pest management, Insect & Disease Management, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Why Fall is the Right Time to Add Walls, Walks, & Patios

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 17, 2012 10:40:00 AM

Fall is a great time for installing hardscape features, such as walkways, walls, and patios.

Even though the normal fall landscape tendencies include raking leaves and assuring your trees are structurally safe to withstand the load of snow, you don’t need to wait until spring to make landscape improvements - fall is a terrific time for hardscape installation. Take advantage of a few great months for landscape improvements and install a new hardscape fall hardscape installfeature this fall that will undoubtedly add value, and a new dynamic to your property. The fall landscape construction season can last from September until December depending on how hard the ground is.

Why Construct in the Fall?

Constructing hardscape features in the fall has a few main benefits over installing in the spring and summer months. During the spring and summer, you want to enjoy your landscape as much as possible, and could do without interruption due to construction. If you decide to construct in the fall, it ensures your hardscape feature will be ready come spring, and you won’t miss a single cookout or lounging opportunity. If you act fast, you’ll even be able to enjoy some of the nice nights this fall on your new patio.

Choosing to build in the fall also presents better conditions for growing turf and planting/transplanting trees and shrubs. You’ll have a better chance at establishing turf and plants around your new hardscape should you choose to install in the fall.

What to Build?

Adding a patio, walkway, or wall to your property will not only increase the property’s value, but it will also serve as a functional and attractive landscape feature. Looking for a timeless, durable entertaining space? A natural stone patio may be the answer for you. Tired of the heavily trafficked areas in your lawn wearing down to bare dirt? Add a walkway or stepping stone path for extra durability and appeal. Fall is a great time to install any hardscape - from a small natural stone patio, to a large concrete block retaining wall, or a durable new front walkway.

In addition, fall is also a great time for adding trees and shrubs, or transplanting existing plants to new locations.

Where to Start?

Start your fall landscape project with a free consultation with a Landscape Architect. During this consultation be sure to discuss all your wants and needs with the Landscape Architect and they’ll be able to discuss your various options, and work with you to find the hardscape solution that meets your needs, wants, and budget.

Don’t wait any longer to improve your landscape. Fall is a great time for both hardscape and softscape installation!

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fall patio hot tub

Install a stone patio around your hot tub this fall so you can enjoy the cool nights under the stars later this fall and winter!

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Topics: hardscape design, Fall Landscape Care, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction

Perks of Planting and Transplanting in the Fall

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Sep 11, 2012 9:46:00 AM

Take advantage of the various benefits of planting and transplanting in the fall.

The kids are back in school, the Patriots have taken back to the gridiron, and pumpkins can be seen at your local farm stand – it must be fall. Even though we are experiencing the first signs of fall you do not need to give up on your landscape. In fact, the months of September, October, and November are great for landscape projects, especially the planting of new trees and shrubs, and the transplanting of existing ones.

Fall is a great time for root development. Planting in the fall months ensures that the newly installed or transplanted trees and shrubs experience the best conditions for developing a strong root system. The time spent developing the root system in the fall will pay dividends in the spring, as the trees and shrubs will be able to devote all their efforts to flower and fruit development. Building established root systems is critical to a tree or shrub’s success, which makes planting in the fall a wise decision.

An added benefit to planting in the fall months comes in the form of cost savings. By September, most nurseries are looking to move their inventory to prevent having to keep it over the winter. This makes sourcing plants a little more difficult for the Landscape Architect, as supplies will vary, but nurseries generally offer discounted prices in the fall in order to move said inventory. This means that you’ll save money on plant materials, which can add up for a savings in the thousands of dollars.

If you have an assortment of shrubs in your landscape, but don’t love how they’re configured, fall is a great time to transplant them elsewhere. Transplanting a few shrubs, and adding a few new trees and shrubs can truly reinvent your landscape.

Click the button below for a free consultation to discuss fall planting and transplanting ideas. You'll be glad you did come spring time!

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fall planting

Fall is the perfect time for foundation planting, and it is also a great time for lawn renovation.

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction

Start Thinking About Fall Plantings

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Aug 2, 2012 3:31:00 PM

Although it is still the height of summer; preparing for fall plant installation now will ensure you’re ready when the temperatures cool down.

If you’re looking to add some plants, shrubs, or trees to your landscape, consider doing it in the fall. The fall months are great for plant installation, as weather conditions are ideal for optimal root development. Starting in September, the sun weakens, temperatures cool, and conditions for installing plants improve. From September through November, and sometimes even into December, landscape installation crews will be busy installing a variety of plants, shrubs, and trees.

Even though we’re still greeted with 90 degree temperatures on a regular basis in August, you really need to begin the planning stage early in the month. First, take advantage of a free consultation with a Landscape Architect. Most firms will offer free consultations, and I haven’t met a Landscape Architect that doesn’t like to share their wealth of knowledge. It is also wise to have a Landscape Architect inspect the property while full foliage remains on the trees, as they will be able to accurately scope the light and shade around your property.

The reason you want to start discussing fall plantings in early August is because it can be a two to four week cycle of discussion and planning before a project can commence. This time frame is actually beneficial for both the homeowner and the Architect, as it allows the homeowner to get their budget squared away, while also permitting the Architect to source the absolute best plants for the job.

Adding plants, trees, or shrubs to your property in the fall will ensure that you experience optimal blooming come next spring and helps promote long term plant health – but start planning now, or it may be too late to cash in on great planting conditions this fall.

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fall planting prep

Planting in the fall will have your landscape ready, and beautiful, come spring time!

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care, Landscape Design, landscape tips

Cover Shrubs with Burlap for Winter Protection

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Dec 2, 2011 3:51:00 PM

Don't get burned by cold winter wind - Protect your shrubs with burlap.

Despite the mildness of this fall; the cold, whipping winds of winter will be here before you know it. Without proper protection, your shrubs can be severly damaged by cold winter wind. One method of defense is to use anti-transpirants; however, in areas with excessive wind, a burlap cover or wind screen may be your best bet.

Burlapping shrubs protects them from the wind, but still allows air to circulate through the small mesh holes, promoting good plant health throughout the winter. In addition to protecting from harsh winter winds, burlap also helps regulate the shrubs temperature. In 2011, there burlap for shrub coverwas so much snow that our shrubs were actually insulated by snow (much like an igloo). However, in winters with little snow fall, yet extremely cold temperatures, burlapping can be the difference between preserving your existing shrubs, and needing to plant new ones come spring.

Although we offer burlapping services, it is actually very easy to do yourself. Start with quite a bit of burlap and wrap it around a shrub a couple of times. To secure the burlap, it is best to use twine. Wrap the twine over the burlap tight enough that it will not come loose during periods of high winds; however, not too tight that you may compromise the shrub's integrity. An alternative to wrapping the entire shrub would be to create a wind screen. This works exceptionally well with immature shrubs. A wind screen is constructed using wooden stakes and burlap. Put the stakes in the ground on the windward side of the shrubs about three feet apart, for as long as you need to to cover them. Then lay the burlap along the stakes and staple it to the stakes

Protecting your shrubs with burlap will help you get off on the right foot come spring time. Simply unwrap the burlap, or remove your wind screen, and you should find that your shrubs have not been dried or damaged by the winter wind.

 

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Topics: shrub care, Fall Landscape Care, landscape maintenance, landscape tips

Still Time for Fall Clean Ups on the North Shore

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Nov 30, 2011 11:48:00 AM

This mild November has lengthened the landscape maintenance season. Take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and prep your landscape for winter.

Unless you're a diehard winter person, or perhaps a frequent skier or snowboarder, this extended warm fall has been a blessing. With temperatures comfortably in the 50s, and even in the 60s in some areas, winter seems a ways away; however, I can assure you it will be here at some point. Utilize the remaining few days that don't require you wear a winter hat and gloves, and care for your landscape.fall clean ups

In addition to extending outdoor activities, this warm weather has also extended our growing season! It seems crazy, but we've actually seen some blooming happening - most notably in pussy willows in our area. One of our Certified Arborists even claims his crabapple still has quite a bit of foliage on it.

Our maintenance crews have been busy doing fall clean ups for the past few weeks, and it looks like they will continue to be able to service residential properties through December since the weather has been so nice. If you haven't cleaned up your yard yet, we suggest you consider our fall clean up services. Our clean ups include leaf removal, flower bed cleaning, and even gutter cleaning. To request your fall clean up, give us a call at 877-308-8733 or click the button below. Enjoy this warm weather while it lasts!

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Topics: Fall Landscape Care, landscape maintenance