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Carpenter Costin Blog

Making Space Beautiful After Removing A Pool in Beverly, MA

Beaux_arts_garden_before1Our client in Beverly owns a beautifully renovated, craftsman bungalow on a pristine lot. There was only one glaring eyesore...a round sandpit where an above-ground pool once stood.

What to do with the space?

Our landscape architect, Shane Mahoney, worked with the clients through various options, designs, and layouts. The more they brainstormed, the more they were drawn right back to a circular shape.

A circle form softens the strict linearity of the architecture and fence lines, while creating a strong anchor point in the corner of the yard. 

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The next step was to figure out how to make the circle form into a usable and aesthetic part of the landscape.

Inspiration came from formal European gardens of symmetry and balance. 

 

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Each of the four quadrants is a raised perennial planter that doubles as an intimate seating wall. These sections of the overall circle form are divided by two perpendicular bluestone walkways that deliver you to the existing lawn perfectly on-grade. 

Anyone else out there thinking of replacing an above-ground pool with a Beaux Arts Garden? Request a free consultation!

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White Pine Needle Disease: Know the facts!

Needle_blightHere in the northeast much of our landscape is dominated by white pines. These trees are valuable habitat, forest, and landscape trees. In recent years we've been seeing several diseases that cause the needles to become damaged and die off.  While white pine can withstand a year or two of defoliation, subsequent defoliation will greatly decrease the trees overall health and will lead to larger more damaging problems.

How to combat the issues

To keep your white pines healthy and looking great we have a three point plan of protections: First, we fertilize in the spring to help the soft needles expand quickly through their vulnerable stage. Second, we begin fungicide applications to protect the outer surface of the needles. Third, a fall fertilization helps the tree put on woody mass so it can store more sugars for the following spring.

Keeping up on this trifecta of protection is the only way to help your pines. To have one of our certified arborists inspect your trees and offer a plan to keep them healthy, request a free consultation.

 

Request a Free Consultation

Hurricane Arthur Batters North Shore - How To Deal with the Aftermath

How to protect your trees in severe weather!

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We've received dozens of calls this weekend from people with storm damaged trees. Our crews have been taking trees off houses, driveways, wires and yards, and removing broken branches from trees. We've also had a number of calls about uprooted trees in Swampscott, Marblehead, Lynn, Lynnfield, Andover, North Andover, Revere, Winthrop, Boxford and Reading.

Recent year’s severe weather events such as the ice storm of ’08, Halloween storm of ’10, Hurricane Sandy ’12 and other unnamed storms have damaged trees across the North Shore of Boston. Trees catch the wind like sails and branches hold snow and ice; overextended limbs are most likely to break in wind, snow, and ice events. Storms can cause other types of failure as well: root plate failure, soil failure, sliding I-Beam failure, insect and disease failure, and lightening strikes!

And unfortunately, insurance may not cover trees that are not threatening life or property!

What you shouldn’t do!

DO NOT go near a tree that has become unsafe with broken limbs or uprooting

DO NOT cut an uprooted tree, the roots may be under tension still and when weight is removed from the crown (leafy portion or the tree) the tree can stand back up!

DO NOT attempt to free up broken limbs, what may look small from the ground can be very large…and heavy!

What can you do?

Like anything else, preventative maintenance is easiest…and cheaper!

Healthy trees are generally safe, so stay on top of:

  • IPM and fertilization
  • Crown reduction and thinning reduces sail volume and over extended limbs
  • Cabling helps support larger limbs

Contact one of our certified arborists to learn how to keep your trees healthy or to help with storm damage clean-up!

Request a Free Consultation

 

Tips For Removing Ticks

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

Shrub and Ornamental Pruning

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

Using Compost When Planting Annuals

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!

Tree Fungus

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

Tree Cabling Instead of Tree Removal

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

Keep Your Trees Safe During Construction

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


Avoid Over-Mulching Your Trees

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 

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