consultation

 tagline

Carpenter Costin's Blog

Winter Damage: How to Get Your Landscape on The Road To Recovery

Posted by Steven Mahoney

Apr 9, 2015 4:01:00 PM

As we all try to put this long, harsh winter behind us, our landscapes may not be on the top of the home repair and improvement priority list. It is important to note, however, that without professional assessment and care right now, your landscape may not be able to properly recover from damage caused by the heavy snow load this year. In addition to winter damage, we are also expecting a heavy winter moth infestation this spring due to the pro-longed snow cover. Severe storm damage coupled with defoliation from winter moth caterpillars can stress and potentially kill your plants. Thankfully, there are some measures you can take to prevent this while keeping in mind the overall health and aesthetics of your property.

Address & Correct Issues Early in the Year

It is important that any damaged plants on your property be addressed early this year, as it will be a quick and condensed growing season due to the extended winter. Diagnosing structural issues and correcting damaged plants early will not only give them a better chance of survival, but will also mean less long-term maintenance for your property in general. Correcting these structural issues is an important part of any plants life cycle and recovery process, as this kind of pruning makes them safer, healthier, and less likely to fail in future weather events.

damaged-trees
Broken tree limbs and crushed scrubs will be common due to the heavy snow load this winter.

Fertilize to Increase Vigor

In addition to proper corrective pruning, it is important to understand that damaged plants are in a state of stress even after proper assessment and pruning has been performed. It is imperative that you fertilize in order to help regain your plant’s vitality and increase vigor. Since New England soils are typically depleted of important nutrients to begin with, organic fertilizer is a great answer for stressed and damaged plants, and is just what they need after a long winter season in order to recover effectively.

Protect from Insects

The next step towards recovery is to protect your plants from any further damage from prevalent insects, particularly the winter moth caterpillar. Winter moth caterpillar treatments are safe and effective, and can be the deciding factor when it comes to keeping your susceptible plants alive. Storm damaged and stressed plants are weak, making them more vulnerable to insect/disease infestations and ultimately defoliation. Severe defoliation from the winter moth caterpillar can certainly stress and kill plants.

The key to recovering and maintaining your property is an early plant health evaluation, in order to create a customized approach that best suits the plants that are specific to your property. Reviewing your property early in the season will result in a more aesthetically pleasing space to enjoy the warmer weather, a safer environment for family and friends, and will help protect and maintain the property that you’ve invested in.

Take advantage of a free consultation to learn more about a professional and environmentally-responsible approach to getting your property on the road to recovery for the spring and summer months. Click below or call us at 781-598-1924.

Request a Free Consultation

Read More

Topics: Spring

Tips For Removing Ticks

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Jun 16, 2014 12:43:12 PM

The tick population in our area has exploded. Heavy snow cover this past winter kept ticks nice and warm, and helped them multiply unchecked. Very cold, snowless winters tend to diminish populations.

Some species of ticks carry Lyme disease, which can be difficult to treat when contracted in humans and animals. These tiny bloodsuckers multiply quickly and live in lawns, tall grasses and woods, waiting for people or animals brush by and pick them up. They will then attach to skin and feed on your blood until they are so heavy that they can no long hold on.

What To Do If You Get Bitten By a Tick

If you or your pet does get bitten, here are some tips to remove ticks:

  • First, don't panic!
  • Use tweezer to grab the tick and get as close to your skin as possible
  • Pull upward with steady pressure. Don't twist or wiggle or pull too hard too fast - you don't want the body to separate from the mouth!
  • If the mouth does separate, use tweezers to remove the mouth
  • Once removed, do not throw ticks in the trash as they are difficult to kill. Burning (as in a campfire) or flushing down the toilet in soapy water is better.

Treating Your Yard for Ticks

The best tip we can offer in regard to ticks: Treat your yard to help control these pests and protect your family and pets! Just one monthly treatment suppresses the population. It's easy, fast, and non-disruptive: as soon as the treatment is dry you can head back outside to enjoy your yard. Imagine how nice it would be to play in the grass without worrying about ticks. And pet owners: the treatment kills fleas, too!

For more information about treating your yard for ticks or to request a free consultation, call us at 877-308-8733.

Request a Free Consultation

Read More

Topics: Insect & Disease Management, Spring, Flea and Tick Treatment

Shrub and Ornamental Pruning

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Jun 6, 2014 6:53:16 AM

Some people think that pruning is difficult, that plants will die if they're not pruned on a precise date, or that all pruning needs to be done in the winter. The reality is that pruning is necessary to keep plants healthy and that there is no one set time for pruning all types of trees and shrubs.

Why Prune?

Pruning should be done to:

  • Improve survival chances at planting time
  • Maintain or reduce plant size and shape
  • Remove dead, diseased, weak or broken branches
  • Stimulate flowering, fruiting or colored twig effect in certain plants

When to Prune?

Timing for pruning depends on your goals. If you want to slow growing you want to wait until the seasonal growth is complete. If you want to enhance flowering, prune spring blooms when their flowers fade and prune summer bloomers in winter or early spring.  You can read more about pruning timing here or you can download our guide for concise explanation of when and how often to prune ornamental trees, shrubs, and shade trees.

Just a little pruning can make a huge difference in the health of your plants as well as for your property's curb appeal. Need some help? Contact us and we’ll send an arborist out to meet with you for a free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

Read More

Topics: tree pruning, shrub pruning, Spring

Using Compost When Planting Annuals

Posted by Amy O'Hare

May 13, 2014 9:53:18 AM

Annual-Flower-Bed-2Annuals are a great way to add color and brighten up planting beds. One of the most important factors in planting annuals - and for any planting! - is starting with good soil.  For long lasting, vibrant blooms, many landscape contractors add compost to flower beds. 

Compost is often called black gold and many consider it the most important form of organic matter. Commercially produced compost is ‘green waste’, leaves or wood chips or products, which has decomposed into nutrient rich humus, similar to soil on a forest floor. 

Compost energizes the soil food web and enhances the ability of many plants to stand up to common diseases and insects. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. 

You can buy bagged compost, or if you have the time, make it yourself. Compost is the end-product of the decomposition of organic matter and typical ingredients include leaves or grass clippings from your garden and vegetable trimmings from your kitchen. Put all biodegradable waste in a container and stir regularly. Compost is ready when it is dark brown, crumbly, and has an earthy smell. It should not be moldy, powdery, hot, or smell like ammonia. 

To add compost to your flower or vegetable garden, cover the top layer of soil with 3 to 4 inches of compost and rake thoroughly. Dig the holes, insert your plants, and sprinkle another layer of compost over the top of the soil layer. Water well. 

Don’t be surprised if you have many, many more blooms and vegetables than your neighbors!

Read More

Topics: plant health care, Spring, compost

Tree Fungus

Posted by Amy O'Hare

May 8, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Spring showers bring May flowers, but they also bring fungus diseases.  Theseare some of the most prevalent and damaging.

Dogwood Anthracnose

Dogwood_AnthracnoseAnthracnose infection begins in the leaves, causing them to brown and dry up.   Over time, infection of twigs and shoots may kill branches, usually beginning with those low on the tree, moving upward.  Infected trees may die within 1-3 years.  Spring treatments help control infection.

 

 

Apple Scab

Apple_scabFlowering Apples and Crabapples are susceptible to a fungus disease called Apple Scab.  The results of this disease are yellow and brown leaves and defoliation by early summer.    Foliar treatments can protect you trees from this disease. Varieties resistant to the disease are available.

 

Diplodia

DiplodiaDiplodia infects Austrian and Red Pines in our territory.  Symptoms show as brown, stunted new shoots with short, brown needles. Needles on infected new shoots often become discolored (tan, brown).  New shoots are killed rapidly by the fungus. Repeated infections reduce growth, deform trees, and ultimately kill them.

 

For more information about treatments call us or click below to request a free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

Read More

Topics: tree care, plant disease management, Insect & Disease Management, Spring

Tree Cabling Instead of Tree Removal

Posted by Amy O'Hare

May 5, 2014 9:30:00 AM

We love trees for so many reasons! They provide beauty and shade and they're valued for their unique growing habit, such as an open spreading canopy, or a narrow upright branching in small spaces. Sometimes these growth habits can cause the need for support systems to keep the tree safe and structurally sound. 

Cabling is one of the most common tree support systems. Tree cabling 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 branch hanging dangerously over a house. The cable transfers the load from itself to an adjacent limb (not taking on the full weight) and reduces the risk of breaking away.

Reasons To Cable

The most common reasons for tree cabling are to:

  • Prevent splitting of a healthy tree or limb
  • Restore a damaged tree due to previous breakage
  • Mitigate possible hazards in a public area

An arborist evaluation will identify the potential hazard of the tree and its risk, determine if the tree is able to be saved and if there's enough solid wood to attach a cable. 

There's no guarantee against limb, or tree failure with cabling, but it's the best way to reduce the risk of failure. Cables should be inspected yearly as the tree ages and grows. 

To determine if tree cabling is an option for your tree, request a free consultation with one of our certified arborists.

Request a Free Consultation

Read More

Topics: tree care, Tree Cabling, arborist evaluation, Spring

Keep Your Trees Safe During Construction

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 17, 2014 9:00:00 AM

constructionThis is the time of year for renovations and other construction projects.  Before you begin,   consider consulting with one of our Certified Arborists to evaluate the impact this work may have on your trees and shrubs.

One of the most prevalent dangers is severing a tree’s root system, but soil compaction is another large problem that many people don't consider.  When heavy equipment drives over plant root zones, soil becomes compressed. When water can't penetrate the dense, compacted soil you end up with excessive dryness and roots suffocate.  Compacted soil also causes twig and branch die back, leaf or needle dryness and possibly even tree death.  

Learn the steps necessary to prevent plant injury by including an Arborist’s visit in your project’s planning process. For a free consultation with a Certified Arborist, before your next project, give us a call at (877)308-8733, or click below.

Request a Free Consultation


Read More

Topics: tree care, Landscape Construction, arborist evaluation, Spring

Avoid Over-Mulching Your Trees

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 14, 2014 10:20:46 AM

Mulch is any material spread over soil as a covering. Often, mulch used in landscaping around trees is made from bark chips and is used to inhibit weed growth, hold in soil moisture, and creates aesthetic appeal. Mulch is a excellent part of any landscaping plan, but many people don’t realize that they can kill their trees with too much mulch. 

Over-mulching can create a waterlogged soil and root zone, resulting in root suffocation. Roots need to take in oxygen, unlike leaves that give off oxygen. The problems that are caused from yearly over-mulching are not immediate and symptoms can take up to three to five years to show. When oxygen levels drop below 10 percent, root growth declines. Unfortunately, by the time you recognize the symptoms (off-color foliage, abnormally small leaves, poor growth and die-back of older branches), it's usually too late to apply corrective measures and the plant has begun an irreversible decline. Sugar Maple, Beech, Dogwood, Oak, Tulip, Spruce and Pine trees are most easily damaged by excessive mulch or grade changes. 

Follow these tips to avoid and correct over-mulching:

  • Never add significant amounts of soil or mulch around tree trunks
  • Follow the rule of thumb of keeping mulch and soil below the area of the trunk flare (the trunk spread at the base of tree).
  • If your trees are already over-mulched, help them ‘breathe’ by lowering the depth of the mulch below the root flare.

For more information on tree mulching, please give us a call at 877-308-8733 or request a free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation  

Read More

Topics: tree care, Spring Landscape Care, Spring, Mulch

Preparing Your Lawn for Spring

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 10, 2014 7:00:00 AM

A healthy lawn does a lot for your yard: it ties together all your landscaping elements, provides a plush place for kids to play, and it provides curb appeal. All homeowners want a beautifully, healthy lawn to enjoy. With the rough winter weather behind us (we hope, at least!), it's time to start preparing your lawn for spring. 

1. Clear the lawn: Preparing your lawn starts with removing dead sticks, leaves and other debris to provide a clean slate so you can assess areas that may need reseeding.

2. Reseed. If you do need to reseed, rake the area to bring healthy soil to the surface and then spread the seed. Be sure to water well.

3. Trim, Don't Cut. There's a misconception that you should mow your grass as low as possible to avoid having to cut it as often. This isn't true and, in fact, a higher mow allows the grass to offer shade that prevents the yard from drying out and establishes a better root system that creates a plusher lawn.

 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.

Request a Free Consultation

spring_lawn

Read More

Topics: Lawn Care, Spring Landscape Care, Spring

Creating a Master Plan for your Landscape Design

Posted by Amy O'Hare

Apr 7, 2014 7:00:00 AM

A master plan is a comprehensive plan of action intended to guide growth and development. You can create a master plan for professional success, for personal growth, for a community, and you can create a master plan for your home and landscape design.

Your home, where you live, includes both the indoor and outdoor living space that should be complementary. You want a flow from one to the other. Your landscape should be a harmonious space from which you derive enjoyment.

Landscape design is an art, as and such it uses the principles of simplicity, good scale, balance, sequence, and focalization. These principles are the guidelines in designing each outdoor feature, whether it's patio, stone walkway, a flower garden, or a shrub border. 

When you decide to improve your landscape, your outdoor living space, a master plan is essential. A Landscape Architect creates a master plan by working with you to understand your goals for the space and how you intend to live in it. Analyzing your goals and researching the parameters of the site helps determin the optimum solutions in advance of actual execution.

Whether you implement your design in one season or break it down into phases and install over several seasons, a landscape master plan ensures continuity throughout the project. Master planning allows you a practical approach to construction sequencing and phasing, and gives you a better understanding of costs and maintenance.

Our Registered Landscape Architects are available to discuss master planning. Click the button below for your free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

landscape-master-plan

Read More

Topics: Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, Spring