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Carpenter Costin Blog

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

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.

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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

Have Your Trees Inspected for Winter Damage

It's been a long, cold winter and it feels a little like there's no end in sight. This is the time to stay positive, enjoy any sunshine we get (even if it's accompanied by bitter cold wind), and hope the thaw comes soon.

This is also the time to have your trees inspected for winter damage. With record-breaking snowfall this year many properties are suffering damage from fallen trees or broken limbs and evergreens have been crushed from the weight of the snow. You may not even realize the severity of some of your tree damage until an expert inspects it.  

Carpenter Costin offers a no obligation tree inspection and property review. Let one of our certified arborists inspect the condition of your trees. While broken branches must be removed, bent branches can sometimes be saved by cabling. If your tree needs to be removed, we'll take it down carefully and safely. 

Let us evaluate your trees and assess any winter damage. We'll present you with all options available to keep them safe, beautiful and healthy! 

Call 877-308-8733 to schedule a free consultation or click below

Request a Free Consultation

 

End of Summer and Fall Checklist

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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Making Space Beautiful After Removing A Pool in Beverly, MA

Our 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 You Should do After Removing a Pool

After removing an above ground pool from your backyard you Arts Garden Before Projectwill most likely have a sand pit underneath. With a sand pit in your back yard a good idea might be to look into something that will bring either an aesthetic appeal and or a landscape that is functional. For this project, 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.

Arts Garden ProgressNext Step in the Landscaping Project

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. Which is what they decided to go with.

 

 

Natural Stone For Arts GardenEach 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 blue stone 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, snow-less 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 are found in lawns, tall grasses and woods. Ticks get picked up when people or animals walk by and brush against them. They will then attach to skin and feed on your blood until they are so heavy or full that they can no long hold on and fall off on their own.

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!
  • Clean the area around the bite with rubbing alcohol
  • Use tweezers 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!

We offer a 100% all natural program which means that we do not use any chemicals that can harm your plants or beneficial insects.

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

Request Tick & Mosquito Treatment

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 tree and plants healthy and that there is no one set time for pruning all types of trees and shrubs.

Why Prune Your Ornamental Trees and ShrubsOrnamental Tree Pruning

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 Your Ornamental Trees

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.

Just a little pruning of your trees and plants can make a huge difference in the health 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-2Good Soil Promotes Healthy Growth

Annuals 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. 

What is Compost?

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. 

Benefits of Compost

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. 

How to Create Your Own Compost

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. These are 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 at 877-308-8733 or click below to request a free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

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