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Carpenter Costin Blog

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

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 

Preparing Your Lawn for Spring

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

Maintenance Tips For Your Spring Landscape

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

 

Spring Has Sprung! Assess Winter Damage

It's officially Spring, although the temperatures only grazed the 50s this weekend. Still, after a long, snowy and freezing cold winter it feels absolutely wonderful to leave the house in something other than a glorified sleeping bag with arms! Soon we'll be soaking up the warmth of the sun and enjoying the bursts of color and greenery.

Before we celebrate the flowers blooming, though, it's important to remember that this is the time to appraise and repair the damage done to our trees, shrubs and lawn. 

With record snowfall this year many properties suffered damage from fallen trees or broken limbs and evergreens and shrubs have been crushed from the weight of the snow.  

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

Let us evaluate your trees and shrubs 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

 

installing_cable_in_tree

 

Plant Health and Pest Management Program Plus a 10% Prepay Discount

Understanding what is delivered in your plant health care and pest control programs will help set expectations and goals for your landscape.

Everyone wants the perfect landscape, with healthy and beautiful trees and shrubs; however, not everyone is willing to invest in a comprehensive plant health care program. Even those who do invest in plant health care may not understand the plant health care pest managementcomprehensiveness of their programs. Knowing what to expect from a landscape care program will help you achieve your goals, and limit landscape-associated headaches.

A plant health care or pest management program is comprised of a series of visits that include inspection and treatment of the trees and shrubs on your property. At Carpenter Costin, our Pest Management Program consists of five visits, and our Plant Health Care Program consists of eight visits.

Not all plant health care programs are equal. Programs depend on the knowledge and equipment that a company has, and determines if they’re capable of providing various technical services. Most providers offer programs based on timely visits, and usually start at three-visit programs and go up to comprehensive eight-visit programs. One-time target treatments are also available for specific prevention, such as Hemlock Woolly Adelgid or Ticks.

Determining which program is best for you should be based on your property and your budget; however, for optimal results, it is recommended that you opt for a minimum of five visits. A five visit program ensures control and prevention of insects, and also provides control on plant diseases. Opting for anything less than five visits jeopardizes the ability to control the pests, and is not the best investment for your landscape.

Many collegiate horticultural programs recommend property visits and treatments every two weeks throughout the growing season; however, at an average cost of about $80, the price tag for such a program would be substantial. A five visit program offers the best bang for your buck, while an eight visit program provides the most comprehensive control and prevention. If it fits your budget, more visits are better; however, five and eight visit programs are very economical without sacrificing quality.

Although plant health care experts are great at predicting when certain pests will become active based on factors of phenology, they cannot forecast this more than a few weeks to a month in advance - and so much is based on micro-climates (meaning pests active in Swampscott may not be active in Andover). Relying on a three visit program to handle your plant health care needs may jeopardize the ability to tailor due to current conditions and micro-climates.

For best results, we recommend that you choose a five visit or eight visit program. There is exceptional value in choosing a five or eight visit plan, and it ensures that your trees and shrubs maintain great health. A three visit program may be less expensive, but we urge you to be cautious when choosing a plan under five visits, as sacrifices must be made. For more plant health information, request a free consultation with one of our experts.

We're extending our 10% discount for prepaying for insect & disease management services until March 15. 

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