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Carpenter Costin Blog

Fall Tree Care for New England Trees

Fall may seem like the time of year when things begin to slow down heading into the winter months, but tree care should continue in order to protect all of your plantings including shrubbery and mature trees. Here at Carpenter Costin we want to review some of the steps you can take to care for your trees and plantings this fall. 

 

Plant New Trees

Fall can actually be a great time to plant new trees, shrubbery, or even grass. The cooler temperatures allow for roots to take hold and plantings to experience less stress. Don’t forget if you are planting in the fall to allow for long and deep watering that allows the roots to grow downward and thus stronger. 

Remove Dead Branches 

Fall should be a time when homeowners take note of branches that are dead or dying to be trimmed before the brutal winter weather settles in. 

Between snow storms, wind storms, and the occasional hurricane that can make its way up the coast, trees with damaged branches are especially vulnerable to breakage. 

Dead or damaged branches should be trimmed and removed so that they do not fall during a storm and cause injury or damage to the property. 

Keep in mind that the fall is not the best time for pruning trees as that should be done more in the spring while ornamental trees and shrubs are best done in the summer months. 

Prepare for Winter 

While humans have the opportunity to head indoors for the harsh New England winters or at least dress warmer, trees and shrubs are not afforded that luxury. 

To avoid winter injury to ornamental shrubs and bushes as well as your mature trees it is advised to take a few last minute care steps before the ground freezes. Most arborists will tell you to give your shrubs, bushes, and trees one last watering before the ground becomes frozen. Watering before the trees and bushes go dormant can help them better tolerate winter conditions. 

In addition to one last watering, ornamental shrubs and bushes should also be protected from the hazards of heavy snow, ice burn, and the potential of de-icing or salt damage. 

To avoid heavy snow or damage that can occur when a storm hits our area, cover your shrubbery with burlap or a wooden structure so that piles of snow do not break branches. Salt is also another chemical hazard that can get into the soil causing issues for early spring growth. 

Now that fall is in full swing and the temperatures are headed downward, it might be a good time for homeowners to take inventory of their plantings to ensure they make it safely to next spring. 










How Landscape Can Boost Your Curb Appeal

The housing market is currently exploding with more home buyers than inventory on the market. That means that homes are going fast and well over the asking price. Sellers are rightfully excited about the prospect of a bidding war on their home. However, this real estate market, like everything, is sure to evolve and change over the next year or so. As such, homeowners should consider maintaining their curb appeal to entice home buyers.  One way to do that is through landscaping. 

 

What is Landscaping? 

Landscaping involves many disciplines that must come together to create both an aesthetically pleasing layout, as well as a practical one. From certified arborists, who can help determine the right species of trees, bushes and planting for the yard, to landscape engineers who can plan a purposeful layout to highlight the best part of the yard, landscaping can be a complex process that can add major curb appeal to your property, if done well. 

Types of Landscaping 

Depending upon the yard, landscaping can take on a different meaning. Some homeowners love gardens, both perennial and annual, to add color and depth to the property. Others like the idea of the addition of stone walls, hardscape walkways, or even entertaining areas including a kitchen or fire pit area. 

Carpenter Costin landscape specialists, along with our landscape designers and construction engineers, can help you create a beautiful, custom designed look for your yard. 

We take into account the native species and natural elements in your patios, walkways, walls, driveways, and plantings. Some of our more recent projects have included: stone walls, retaining walls, walkways, paver patios, fire pit areas, natural privacy shields, paver driveways, and all types of gardens. 

Benefits of Landscaping for Curb Appeal 

Landscaping can not only make your property look better (especially to potential buyers) but utilize each aspect of your yard in a way that makes it more pragmatic as well. 

Landscaping, in the form of a hardscape such as a paver patio, driveway, or a fire pit makes your yard more appealing, because now, instead of unused space, there is a distinct function to the area. 

Landscaping can add usable square footage to any yard in the form of an entertaining space that is clearly defined with stone walls, pavers, gardens, or outdoor furnishings. What was once a spare outdoor space can become your favorite place to entertain friends and family during the spring, summer, and well into fall. 

Landscaping also adds a “wow” factor when visitors, neighbors, or friends come by. Who doesn’t like to show off the many areas of the yard with native plantings, a sitting area, and beautifully blooming gardens?

Whether you plan to sell your house sometime in the future or just want to take your curb appeal to the next level, we can help your backyard become the yard of your dreams. 



Renovate Your Lawn For Optimal Health

Overview

Lawn renovation is important to keep your lawn strong, healthy and lush. The healthier your lawn the easier it is to keep weeds from growing. In this post we will go over two of the main cultural practices; core aeration and over seeding and when you should have them done.

Core Aeration Process and Results

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Core Aeration is the process in which a machine pulls out plugs of soil. The result is small holes which allow air, water and nutrients to reach the turf roots. The soil plugs are left on the lawn which then break down naturally. When the turf roots receive more air, water and nutrients they are able to produce a much more vigorous lawn.

The main reason to aerate your lawn is to reduce soil compaction. Soil compaction is a form of soil degradation. When the soil is compacted it compresses the soil and limits the amount of air and water available to the roots of the turf.

When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

When to aerate your lawn is the big question. Should you do it in the spring? Summer? or Fall? The answer is anytime during the growing season. This is because during the growing season you will allow the turf roots to expand into growth spaces created during the core aeration process. All lawns need yearly aeration. No aeration can cause compaction issues and a struggling lawn in the future.

Over Seeding

Overseeding

Over seeding is the application of seed over existing lawns to improve the density. Although it seems simple, there is some specifications that you'll want to know when deciding when to over seed.

When Should You Over Seed?

The ideal time to over seed your lawn is in the fall. The reason is that in the fall the soil is still warm but the air is cooler. When the air is cooler and soil is just warm there are fewer weeds for the new grass to compete with.

Signs your lawn needs overseeding:

  • Brown spots spreading across your lawn.
  • You haven't overseeded in the past few years.
  • Your lawn has thin spots or bare areas

It is far more cost effective and efficient to over seed than to remove the existing turf and install a new lawn from seed or sod.

Our lawn care experts can advise you on these cultural practices, and provide the necessary services to improve the health and beauty of your lawn. Please inquire for a free consultation with one of our lawn care pros, and get your lawn looking healthy, lush and strong!

Consult With A Turf Pro

Contact us at 877-308-8733 or info@carpentercostin.net

How to Identify and Remove Yellow Nutsedge From Your Lawn

What is Yellow Nutsedge?

Yellow nutsedge is a difficult weed to control that is found in grass areas. It is important to know that yellow nutsedge is not a grass or broadleaf weed, it is a sedge. 

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Yellow nutsedge is a perennial plant that reproduces by its underground tubers also known as "nutlets". These "nutlets" form at the end of Rhizomes (horizontal roots that allow new shoots to grow upwards). One plant can produce up to several hundred tubers during the summer.

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Yellow Nutsedge Life Cycle

Yellow nutsedge actively grows during the summer. It will continue to grow until the first frost in autumn but it doesn't stop there! A frost will only kill the part of the plant that is above the soil. The remaining portion of the plant (tubers) still remains and overwinters in the soil. Tubers that are not "active" can still germinate and come up the following season!

How To Identify Yellow Nutsedge

 

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Yellow nutsedge is easiest to identify during the summer, as it's leaves grow much faster than grass and it will stick out like a sore thumb! Even if it is not summer there are other ways to identify it. For example, yellow nutsedge can be identified by its stem, leaves and color. It has a triangular stem as well as having leaves in groups of 3 (three-ranked). These leaves have a shiny/waxy look to them which sets them apart from the normal grass. The leaves are a light green to yellow color which can make it difficult to spot. If you look close enough it does not have tiny hairs on the leaf blades which many grasses do.

Natural Ways To Control Yellow Nutsedge

If you only have a few yellow nutsedge plants in your yard, you can hand pull them which will "eliminate" the weeds themselves. The tubers will still be in the soil. If you have a few of them and do pull them out the best way is to remove the ENTIRE plant by digging around the base leaving no trace of rhizome which can be difficult.

Yellow-Nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge is best controlled when your yard (turf) is well-drained and cut properly (not too short). Yellow nutsedge can still occur in well-drained areas specifically thin grass. The best way to solve that issue is to focus on growing a dense and healthy yard (turf) that can withstand a fight with weeds. To grow the dense turf consult a professional who practices proper turf management, fall fertilization and an irrigation system that can maintain the turf. A few ways to encourage dense grass growth is with core aeration and overseeding which work wonders together. 

Control Yellow Nutsedge with Herbicides

The only reason to consider herbicides is if you have very large patches of yellow nutsedge in your yard. The herbicides generally used for dandelions and crabgrass are ineffective against nutsedge due to it being a sedge. Even with the proper herbicide it still may take multiple applications to control it due to the tubers that are in the soil that have not yet begun to produce a plant.

If you have any questions about yellow nutsedge, interested in our turf management programs, or are interested in any of our other services please contact us at 877-308-8733 or email us at info@carpentercostin.net. We are here to help!

Consult With A Turf Pro

 

Why Do Leaves Turn Color in Fall?

Autumn in the Northeast can be a spectacular season of bright blue skies, cool temperatures, and brilliant leaf color.

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Tree and plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. Three pigments are involved in fall color:

  • Chlorophyll — gives leaves their green color
  • Carotenoids — provide the yellow, orange, and brown colors
  • Anthocyanins — give the red and purple colors. In contrast to the other two pigments, anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars in the leaf cells

During the growing season, most tree leaves are green because they are full of chlorophyll. Plants use chlorophyll to capture sunlight for photosynthesis, the process that enables them to manufacture their own food. The amount of chlorophyll is so high during the summer that the green color masks all other pigments present in the leaf. As the days grow shorter in the fall, chlorophyll production slows down and eventually stops. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf then become visible.

Do Different Kinds of Trees Turn Different Colors?
Certain colors of leaves are characteristic of particular species of trees.

  • Oaks turn red, brown, or russet;
  • Hickories turn golden bronze;
  • Dogwood turns purplish red;
  • Beech turns light tan;
  • Red Maple turns brilliant scarlet;
  • Sugar Maple turns orange-red;
  • Black Maple turns glowing yellow;
  • Sourwood turn crimson;
  • Birches turn golden yellow.

Why Do Leaves Fall?
Deciduous trees drop their leaves in order to survive the harsh conditions of winter. Stems, twigs, and buds are equipped to survive extreme cold. Tender leaf tissues however, would freeze in winter, so plants must either protect their leaves or shed them.

Fallen leaves are not wasted, they decompose and restock the soil with nutrients. The rich layer of decomposing leaves protects the roots of other plants on the forest floor and absorbs and holds rainfall. Imitating nature by mulching with shredded leaves provides similar benefits for trees and shrubs in the home landscape.

**Excerpts from US Dept of Agriculture, Northeastern Area Fact Sheet SP-01-01

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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Fall Landscape and Tree Care Checklist

Fall tactics for ensuring your landscape and trees are in the best shape possible.

Caring for your trees, shrubs, and landscape in the fall will help ensure that it is in optimal condition come next spring. Investing in landscape care services between September and December will not only prepare your trees and shrubs for the winter, but it will also make sure that your landscape as a whole is better prepared to shine 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. Clicking on the link will bring you to an article with more specific information about each task.

  • Lawn Renovation (Sept – Oct)
  • Tree & Shrub Fertilization (Sept – Oct)
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Treatment (Sept – Oct)
  • Tree & Shrub Planting (Sept – Nov)
  • Hardscape Construction (Sept – Nov)
  • Shade Tree Safety Evaluation (Sept – Dec)
  • Shade Tree Pruning (Nov – Dec)
  • Burlap Shrubs for Winter Protection (Nov – Dec)

This checklist will undoubtedly improve the health and appeal of your landscape this fall. For more information, or for a free consultation with a Carpenter Costin professional, click the button below.

Request A Free Consultation 

Feel free to save and print the checklist below for your own copy.

Fall Tree and Landscape Care Checklist

Checking Shade Trees for Safety this Fall

Make certain your shade trees are safe before winter Nor’easters and snow storms come rolling in.

After a relatively mild year in terms of storms, New England is bound to receive a handful of threatening storms this fall and winter – in both the Nor’easter and blizzard variety. Theseshade tree evaluation storms, which usually pack a powerful punch of high wind, driving rain, or heavy snow, can cause serious damage to our large shade trees. Evaluating shade trees for structural integrity in the early fall will help to mitigate any risks associated with broken branches or fallen trees during fall and winter storms.

Even if you are not an Arborist, there are certain elements to look for that allude to structural damage in a shade tree.

Trunk and Root Area

Look around the base of your shade trees first. Is the ground cluttered with broken branches? Excessive broken branches could indicate structural damage. If there aren’t many broken limbs, then check to see if the roots are being disturbed by a nearby structure, driveway, or street. Damaged root zones can cause serious stress, leading to structural damage through the entire tree. Lastly, check for rotting around the trunk.

Middle of the Tree

The most common issues to look out for here are rotting and splitting. It is common to have splitting where large leaders break off from the main trunk. This can sometimes be remedied by installing cables; however, without added support, it is likely the split leader will fall during a storm.

Crown Area

This is the area that requires you to look up. It is often difficult to see while a tree still has full foliage, but it is imperative to do your best, as hanging limbs in a tree’s crown can cause damage to property and serious injury. Look for “hangers” or “widowmakers” and seek advisory from a Certified Arborist immediately if you notice any.

Running through the above indicators will let you know if you have structural damage in any of your shade trees. These are only the very obvious indicators - there are many other factors that will only be noticed by a trained Certified Arborist. We recommend a safety evaluation every fall to ensure your shade trees are structurally sound, and ready for whatever the fall and winter will bring us. Click below for a free 15 minute consultation.

safety evaluation for shade trees

Early snow fall (like last October) can damage trees that aren't structurally sound. Have an Arborist out for a free evaluation for safety sake!

Treatment of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the Fall

Treat Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in the Fall

As temperatures begin to cool in the fall, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid leaves its summer dormancy to once again feast on the Hemlocks across the North East. By treating hemlock woolly adelgid in the fall it will mitigate the pest just as they are coming out of their dormant stage, or prevent your healthy hemlocks from being infested. Depending on the temperature, this usually occurs between late September and October. Preventative or controlling treatments at this time are best as they will keep the pests at bay all fall, winter, and into the spring – a fall hemlock woolly adelgid treatmentperiod of time when they are most devastating to Hemlocks.

Preventing and Controlling Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Preventing and controlling Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) can be accomplished with a foliar application of Horticultural Oil. For the best preventative measures, an application in both the early spring and fall will keep your Hemlocks free of this pest. Hemlocks that have already been infested may require more treatments to kill the pest, and keep it from returning. For trees that have already been seriously infested, pair a foliar application with a soil injection treatment for the best chance of saving the Hemlock.

Once infested, a Hemlock can be quickly defoliated by HWA. To ensure your Hemlock trees remain healthy and safe, consider preventative Woolly Adelgid treatments. Our Arborists recommend preventative HWA treatments on all Hemlocks, even if they have never been infested, as the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has become so prevalent in our region. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when your Hemlocks will be infested.

The most popular question regarding HWA treatments is, “What does it cost?” Depending on the number and size of trees to be treated. The cost of removing and/or replacing the dead Hemlocks is significantly greater than the investment in HWA preventative treatments, so keeping your Hemlocks safe and healthy with preventative treatments is always a wise idea.

To have a Certified Arborist out to inspect your Hemlocks, or to sign up for a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid treatment, click the button below or call us at 877-308-8733.

Consult With A Turf Pro  

treating hemlock woolly adelgid

Treating HWA with a foliar application of Horticultural Oil will control and prevent the prevalent pest.

Why Fall is the Right Time to Add Walls, Walks, & Patios

Installing Hardscape Features: Walkways, Walls, and Patios

Even though the normal fall landscape maintenance include raking leaves and assuring your trees are structurally safe to withstand the load of snow, you don’t need to wait until spring to make landscape improvements - fall is a terrific time for hardscape installation. Take advantage of a few great months for landscape improvements and install a new hardscape feature this fall that will undoubtedly add value, and a new dynamic to your property. The fall landscape construction season can last from September until December depending on how hard the ground is.Stone Steps and Stone Pathway

Why Construct in the Fall?

Constructing hardscape features in the fall has a few main benefits over installing in the spring and summer months. During the spring and summer, you want to enjoy your landscape as much as possible, and could do without interruption due to construction. If you decide to construct in the fall, it ensures your hardscape feature will be ready come spring, and you won’t miss a single cookout or lounging opportunity. If you act fast, you’ll even be able to enjoy some of the nice nights this fall on your new patio.

Choosing to build in the fall also presents better conditions for growing turf and planting/transplanting trees and shrubs. You’ll have a better chance at establishing turf and plants around your new hardscape should you choose to install in the fall.

What to Build?

Adding a patio, walkway, or wall to your property will not only increase the property’s value, but it will also serve as a functional and attractive landscape feature. Looking for a timeless, durable entertaining space? A natural stone patio may be the answer for you. Tired of the heavily trafficked areas in your lawn wearing down to bare dirt? Add a walkway or stepping stone path for extra durability and appeal. Fall is a great time to install any hardscape - from a small natural stone patio, to a large concrete block retaining wall, or a durable new front walkway.

In addition, fall is also a great time for adding trees and shrubs, or transplanting existing plants to new locations.

Where to Start?

Start your fall landscape project with a free consultation with a Landscape Architect. During this consultation be sure to discuss all your wants and needs with the Landscape Architect and they’ll be able to discuss your various options, and work with you to find the hardscape solution that meets your needs, wants, and budget.

Don’t wait any longer to improve your landscape. Fall is a great time for both hardscape and softscape installation!

Request Free Landscape Design Consultation

fall patio hot tub

Install a stone patio around your hot tub this fall so you can enjoy the cool nights under the stars later this fall and winter!

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