consultation

 tagline

Carpenter Costin's Blog

Maintenance Tips For Your Spring Landscape

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 3, 2014 7:00:00 AM

With temperatures skimming 50 all week I think it's safe to say that winter is behind us. It's time to focus on spring! This is the perfect time to plan your spring landscape so you can enjoy your yard through spring, summer, and fall.

Essential Steps For Your Spring Landscape:

Early Spring (April – Early May)

1.       Inspect trees and shrubs for damaged or hazardous branches

2.       Fertilize trees and shrubs to promote growth and improve vigor

3.       Begin fungicide treatments to Dogwoods, Crabapples, and Hawthornes

4.       Dethatch and core aerate lawn to allow water, soil, and nutrient flow.

5.       Slice seed thin areas in lawn

6.       Fertilize lawn and apply crabgrass control

7.       Apply Horticultural Oil to Hemlocks to control Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

 

Mid-to-Late Spring (Late April – Mid May)

1.       Treat Austrian and Red Pines for Diplodia Tip Blight fungus disease

2.       Mulch trees and shrubs to retain soil moisture

3.       Treat Birches for leafminer

4.       Treat plants for Winter Moth and Canker Worms

Contact us for a free landscape consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

 

Read More

Topics: landscape maintenance, landscape tips, landscape care, Spring Landscape Care, Spring

Beautiful Bluestone Patio

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Sep 19, 2013 3:33:00 PM

before 1 resized 600

We recently completed a beautiful bluestone patio that transformed the back of a house in Melrose. We worked closely with the clients and established a plan to remove the old and unsightly asphalt and concrete from the back area of the house and replace it with a beautiful bluestone patio.

You can see that one of the challenges this yard presented was the sloped landscape.

 

before 2 resized 600We put a lot of thought into figuring out exactly how the grading was going to work, in order to guarantee rain water would sheet-flow away from the house, and to make sure that the house, patio, driveway, and yard were all tied together properly.

 

A creative solution to the grading problem was to extend a stone retaining wall out of the foundation of the house and top it with a thermal bluestone cap.

This not only solved a grading issue, but the wall is a perfect seat, running along the side of the new patio.

after 2 resized 600Emerging out of the end of the seating wall is an uncapped retaining wall that returns back into the grade and allows a perfectly scaled walkway with granite steps to guide the clients or their guests from the driveway to the patio. Unlike the smooth, newly cut granite steps within the walkway at the entrance to the patio area.

The rough, recycled granite steps anchor the far corner of the space and lead one down to the sunken grass glade below.

after 3 resized 600

 

after 4 resized 600

The finishing touches will come in the form of a custom deck being constructed adjacent to the patio and colorful perennials within all the planting pockets we created throughout the landscape. We can't wait to share the final results!

Read More

Topics: Featured Projects, Carpenter Costin, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, landscape care, portfolio

Pruning Timing Depends on Pruning Goals

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Jun 6, 2013 10:45:00 AM

pruningWhile it's true that most pruning can be done at any time of year, your pruning goals dictate when a shrub or tree should be pruned.

Size Control of Non-Flowering Shrubs

When pruning shrubs such as Yews, Holly, Juniper, Privet, Arborvitae or Burning Bush, the best time to prune is just after the initial flush of growth.  Bud break occurs on most shrubs in April or May based on temperature and rainfall.  Immediately following the opening of the buds, the shrubs explode with new growth.  This growing period subsides with summer heat and reduced rainfall.  It's at this time, late June to early July, that pruning begins, removing the excessive growth that can cause shrubs to outgrow their intended space.  Later in the summer, usually around September, a ‘touch up’ pruning is done to control the limited growth that occurs in the hot summer months.  This second pruning helps maintain a neat appearance during dormant months.

It should be noted that shearing of shrubs, other than hedges, is not an accepted practice by horticulturalists.    

Spring Flowering Shrubs

There are two main goals in pruning flowering shrubs:

  1. To maintain the shrub within its intended site
  2. To promote maximum flower display

The timing for pruning shrubs such as Viburnum, Honeysuckle, Forsythia, Potentilla and Weigela, is after they flower.  These types of shrubs produce flower buds later in the summer for next year’s blossoms.  Late June or July is the appropriate time to prune such plants to maximize the next year’s flowers.

Large Leaved Rhododendrons

rhododendronLarge leaved Rhododendrons should never be sheared.  Shearing damages the leaves, causing unsightly brown cut margins.  Also, shearing creates a dense outer crown that does not allow light and airflow to easily reach the inside of the shrub’s crown.  Shearing definitely increases insect and disease activity in all shrubs, especially Rhododendrons.

Carpenter Costin hand prunes all large leaved Rhododendrons, maintaining a natural appearance, while maintaining the size of the plant within its intended space.  Rhododendrons are pruned shortly after flowering, which usually occurs sometime in late June.

It should be noted that plant development does not occur based on our calendar, but rather on daily temperature, called ‘Degree Days Heating.’

Summer Flowering Shrubs

blue hydrangeaAs with other flowering shrubs, pruning shortly after flowering is the best time.  Shrubs such as Clethra, Spirea, Rose of Sharon, and Hydrangea flower later in the season.  Summer flowers are produced on the new wood/shoots and develop in the same calendar year.  Hence, pruning too early will remove flowers getting ready for this year’s display. 

Our Strategy

At Carpenter Costin Landscape Management we plan for 3 separate prunings each season targeting specific shrubs.  The timing of our target pruning dates is completely dictated by the shrub’s development and species.  (We monitor Degree Day Heating through the University of Massachusetts for a variety of purposes).

First Pruning

As we can all see, large leaved Rhododendrons are in bloom right now.  I estimate that these shrubs will be pruned at the end of June, just after their flowers fall.

Second Pruning

Spring and early summer shrubs are either flowering now or have just passed flowering.  Pruning of these shrubs and the first pruning of non-flowering shrubs will occur approximately 4 weeks from now, or early July.  This timing will assure that we get the most out of our spring and early summer flowering shrubs and get the best flower development for next year’s blossoms.

Also, the initial growth spurt will be behind us for non-flowering shrubs, allowing for a longer period of time with a managed shape.

Third Pruning

Late summer pruning, to ‘touch up’ the almost certain additional growth of non-flowering shrubs, and the proper pruning time for summer flower shrubs, is September.

Read More

Topics: tree care, shrub care, tree pruning, tree trimming, Carpenter Costin, shrub pruning, landscape care

Is Your Tree a Hazardous Tree

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Mar 19, 2013 3:18:00 PM

Trees add so much beauty to our properties and benefits to the environment.   They also require attention and care to keep them healthy and in a safe condition.  If you know what to look for, your trees may have some telltale signs that indicate a potential hazard.  

How to find out if your tree is a Hazardous Tree:

  • Are there large holes in the trunk
  • Have branches fallen from tree
  • Are branches close to a structure or interfering with wires
  • Are there splits or cracks in trunk or branches
  • Are there dead or broken, hanging branches in tree
  • Are there mushrooms at the base of tree
  • Has construction or digging been performed near base of tree

 

If you notice any of these potentially dangerous conditions, please have your trees inspected and evaluated by a professional arborist.  They are best qualified to advise you on how to keep  your trees in tip top shape and keep them from becoming a hazardous tree.

For more information or to arrange a complimentary arborist inspection of your trees, give us a call at (877) 308-8733.  Please note that we offer a 10% discount on tree work during the winter months.

                                      

Read More

Topics: tree care, Tree Removal, storm clean up, tree pruning, tree trimming, Tre Care, Carpenter Costin, Winter Tree Service, Tree Cabling, storm damage, landscape maintenance, landscape tips, landscape care

Support Your Trees With Tree Cabling

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Feb 25, 2013 10:23:00 AM

 

By: James R. Allen IIII        Arborist cabling tree

Many trees in our managed landscapes are valued for their unique growing habit, such as an open spreading canopy, or a narrow upright branching in small spaces.  Although aesthetically pleasing, these growth habits can have inherent problems that require support systems to keep them, safe and structurally sound.

One of the most common methods used to sure up these problems is tree cabling.  This involves the installation of a steel cable in the upper two-thirds of a tree’s canopy to help support an out-stretched limb, or a leader hanging precariously over a house. The cable transfers the load from itself to an adjacent limb, therefore not taking on the full weight, and reducing the risk of breaking away.

There are basically three main reasons to add tree cabling to your landscape trees.  The first is to prevent splitting of a healthy tree or limb.  The second is to restore a damaged tree due to previous breakage, and the third is to mitigate possible hazards in a public area. 

The first step in tree cabling is to identify the hazard potential of the tree and its risk to nearby people or structures.  This is identified by tree characteristics such as included bark, or defective unions, large multi-stemmed trees, such as Silver Maple and River Birch, or top heavy limbs on a specimen tree.  Next it should be identified if the tree is a candidate for cabling. Is the tree too far gone? Is there enough solid wood to attach a cable?  These are questions that a certified arborist can assist in answering.

Although this is a common practice used in the landscape, there are risks involved. 

For one, tree cabling will cause a small wound in the tree where the lag bolt is installed, but    in most cases the tree will heal around.  Secondly there is not guarantee against limb, or tree failure with cabling, this is simply a best management practice reduce the risk of failure.   Also, be prepared to have the cables inspected yearly to ensure that they are intact or possibly replaced as the tree ages and increases in size.

These are considered acceptable risks when valuable specimen trees are involved, and tree cabling is a better alternative to complete tree removal.

Read More

Topics: tree care, tree pruning, tree trimming, Tre Care, Carpenter Costin, Winter Tree Service, Tree Cabling, landscape tips, landscape care

Tips for Protecting Shrubs in the Winter

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Nov 29, 2012 3:51:00 PM

Keep your shrubs safe from winter elements with these simple winter shrub care tips.

If you ensure your shrubs make it through the winter damage-free, you’ll be preventing many landscape-associated headaches come spring time. The main threats for shrub damage in the winter include wind damage, snow-weight damage, and salt damage. protect shrubs in winter

Wind Damage

The cold winter wind is capable of excessively drying out the shrubs that maintain their foliage in the winter. The drying process occurs through transpiration of the water within the shrub’s foliage, and is also known as desiccation. To protect your shrubs from drying out, you can apply anti-desiccant liquid to all your broadleaf evergreen shrubs.

Wrapping your shrubs in burlap, or creating a burlap screen, will also help protect your shrubs from damaging winds.

Snow Damage

Depending on which New England winter shows up (100” season like 2010 or hardly a dusting like 2011); your shrubs could potentially be damaged by heavy snowfall, and the placement of snow by shovelers, snow blowers, and plows. The weight of heavy snow alone can be enough to damage shrubs. Compounding that weight by clearing snow from your walkways, driveways, decks, and patios onto your shrubs can cause serious harm. If possible, try to limit the amount of snow weight on your shrubs, especially the younger, less established ones.

Salt Damage

The salt that is used to melt snow and ice is another threat to your shrubs in the winter. Salt acts as an herbicide and can seriously damage or kill the shrubs in its path. There is very little you can do for your shrubs that line the streets that are salted by the town or state; however, on your own driveways and walkways, try to limit the amount of salt used near your shrubs, as it will have a negative impact on their health. If you are experiencing salt damage year after year, you should consider planting a salt-tolerable variety of shrub. Burlapping may help protect from salt damage slightly; however, it is very possible that salt will penetrate the burlap.

If you can limit the damage that the wind, snow, and salt cause to your shrubs in the winter, you’ll be much happier with your landscape come spring. It is also a wise idea to have an Arborist inspect the shrubs and trees on your property before winter hits to ensure everything is in a safe, healthy condition.

 

(Image by Clementina - Wikimedia Commons)

Read More

Topics: shrub care, Winter Tree Service, landscape care

Summer Lawn Care Practices to Follow

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Jul 23, 2012 2:08:00 PM

Help your lawn through the summer and follow these lawn care practices.

Lawn care is often a forgotten practice in the summer, as home owners submit to the hot, humid, and dry weather. These summer conditions make it difficult to keep your turf lush and green, but that doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your lawn. The following practices will help you keep your lawn looking great through the summer.

Raise the Blades

Increasing the mow height of your lawn in the summer will help your turf out-compete weeds, such as crab grass, and also helps to promote photosynthesis - as longer blades of grass have more surface area. If you mow your lawn too short, crab grass will quickly sprout up higher than the turf, resulting in an unattractive look. Since you’re mowing less in the summer, raising the blades usually doesn’t require increasing the frequencies of mows.

Don’t Forget the Water

Ensure your turf is getting enough water throughout the summer. The general rule of thumb is 1” of water per week. If you don’t have a preprogrammed irrigation system, be sure you are manually watering your turf in either the morning or evening to be certain your lawn gets the 1” per week that it needs.

Inspect for Grubs

Grubs are a nuisance in the summer, as are the creatures that eat them. Some animals, such as skunks, find grubs to be quite the delicacy and will destroy your lawn digging for their next meal. If the skunks haven’t got to your grubs yet, that doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done. Grubs will eat at the root system of your lawn, effectively damaging it from below.

Top-Dress and Over-Seed

Top dressing and over seeding is usually a spring and fall trick, but it can help in the summer as well. Lightly spreading some organic soil and grass seed will help fill in thin spots and create a denser lawn in the future. This new soil will help provide essential food for your turf and help hold in some moisture. Don’t expect the new seed to sprout up this summer, but it will germinate come fall.

Following these lawn care practices will help you maintain a great lawn throughout the summer. Remember, lawn care is not just a fall and spring activity – it requires active participation throughout the summer as well. To learn more about lawn care, or for a free lawn care consultation, click the button below.

consult-with-a-turf-pro

summer lawn care

Lush, green turf is achievable in the summer months!

Read More

Topics: landscape tips, Lawn Care, landscape care

Review Your Landscape this Summer with a Landscape Architect

Posted by Carpenter Costin

Jun 22, 2012 2:25:00 PM

Have a Landscape Architect over to review your landscape, and start planning projects for the fall or spring 2013.

Summer is a great time to review your existing landscape. In the summer, a trained Landscape Architect will be able to see all the plants in your landscape, including perennials in full flower, and get an excellent idea of exactly what can be done in your landscape. Evaluating your landscape at this time will allow an Architect to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of your landscape, and design a plan to highlight the strengths and remove the weaknesses.

Consulting with a Landscape Architect this summer is also a great idea because it will allow you to begin installation in the late summer and early fall should you choose to make any improvements. The fall is a great time for plant installation and should not be overlooked for hardscape construction as well.

Carpenter Costin’s landscape evaluations are completely cost and obligation free. Our Landscape Architects are here to help, so take advantage of our free consultations and meet with one of them this summer.

free-landscape-design-consultation

landscape design a construction

Read More

Topics: Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, landscape tips, landscape care

Avoid Soil and Turf Compaction this Summer

Posted by Carpenter Costin

May 30, 2012 3:26:00 PM

Limit the amount of foot and vehicle traffic on your turf this summer to avoid compaction, and maintain a healthy lawn.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of outdoor cookout and gathering season, which often entails heavy foot traffic, and even vehicle traffic, on your beloved lawn. If you work hard to have a great looking lawn, by all means enjoy it, but beware that excessive foot and vehicle keep off grasstraffic will lead to soil compaction and turf compression, which can seriously damage your lawn.

Once the soil is severely compacted it can really only be relieved through core aeration (which is best in the early spring and late fall) and time; therefore, it is best to pay attention to traffic paths on your property, and install a walkway, patio, or even a turf stone area that is suitable for driving and parking on constantly.

A more frugal alternative is to simple mix up the high traffic areas on your property. Don’t always set up a buffet table in the same spot on your lawn, rather rotate where you direct guests to avoid putting too much pressure on a certain part of turf.

If you love entertaining outdoors, but do not like the toll it takes on your lawn, considering adding a hardscape feature, like a patio, that is perfect for entertaining and will take the stress of your turf. Avoiding turf compression and soil compaction will help keep your lawn healthy and attractive throughout the summer. Click the button below for a free consultation with a Landscape Architect to discuss outdoor entertaining area ideas.

free-landscape-design-consultation

stone patio entertaining

Save your turf, install a patio and improve your outdoor entertaining space.

Read More

Topics: hardscape design, landscape tips, Lawn Care, landscape care

Tips for a Great Lawn This Spring

Posted by Carpenter Costin

May 8, 2012 9:07:00 AM

Take advantage of the weather this spring and make some significant improvements to your lawn.

It seems like we’ve settled into a normal spring weather pattern. A few days of moderate temperatures, cloud cover, and precipitation followed by a couple of warm, sunny days. This cycle usually occurs for about four weeks each spring before settling into a more summer-like pattern, and it can be a tremendous time to make improvements to your lawn, without any back-breaking or wallet-wrenching work.

First step to improving your lawn is to ensure it is clean of all leaves and debris, which usually occurs in a spring clean up. Clearing your turf of debris will help minimize pest activity and will allow for photosynthesis to occur without disruption. Next, you should dethatch your lawn and remove the dead “thatch.” This can be done with a rake and strong shoulders, or a dethatching machine that can be rented at your local equipment rental store.

The next step to take to improve your turf is to create a thicker, healthier lawn by over-seeding. This is a simple process that requires broadcast spreading new seed over your turf. As the seed establishes it will create lush turf and out-compete weeds. Weather conditions are perfect this time of year, allowing seed to germinate very quickly; however, don’t forget to water if we’re not receiving enough rain. Also, if we’re expecting torrential downpours, don’t spread seed right before as it will just wash away with the water. A good slow soaking rain is the best to help the seed germinate.

Following these easy steps will undoubtedly improve your lawn this spring and help create a thick, lush lawn that will last all summer long. If you’d like to have some professional help with your lawn, or are thinking about a turf health program, please take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a Carpenter Costin pro.

consult-with-a-turf-pro

spring lawn care tips

Following the above tips will help create a thick, lush lawn this spring.

Read More

Topics: Lawn Care, landscape care, Spring Landscape Care