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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.

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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

 

Beautiful Bluestone Patio Melrose, MA

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We recently completed a beautiful bluestone patio that transformed the back of a house in Melrose, MA. We worked closely with the clients and established a plan to remove the old and unsightly asphalt and concrete from the back area of the house and replace it with a beautiful bluestone patio.

You can see that one of the challenges this yard presented was the sloped landscape.

before 2 resized 600We put a lot of thought into figuring out exactly how the grading was going to work, in order to guarantee rain water would sheet-flow away from the house, and to make sure that the house, patio, driveway, and yard were all tied together properly.

A creative solution to the grading problem was to extend a stone retaining wall out of the foundation of the house and top it with a thermal bluestone cap.

This not only solved a grading issue, but the wall is a perfect seat, running along the side of the new patio.

after 2 resized 600Emerging out of the end of the seating wall is an uncapped retaining wall that returns back into the grade and allows a perfectly scaled walkway with granite steps to guide the clients or their guests from the driveway to the patio. Unlike the smooth, newly cut granite steps within the walkway at the entrance to the patio area.

The rough, recycled granite steps anchor the far corner of the space and lead one down to the sunken grass glade below.

The finishing touches will come in the form of a custom deck being constructed adjacent to the patio and colorful perennials within all the planting pockets we created throughout the landscape. We can't wait to share the final results!

 

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Pruning Timing Depends on Pruning Goals

pruningWhile it's true that most pruning can be done at any time of year, your pruning goals dictate when a shrub or tree should be pruned.

Size Control of Non-Flowering Shrubs

When pruning shrubs such as Yews, Holly, Juniper, Privet, Arborvitae or Burning Bush, the best time to prune is just after the initial flush of growth.  Bud break occurs on most shrubs in April or May based on temperature and rainfall.  Immediately following the opening of the buds, the shrubs explode with new growth.  This growing period subsides with summer heat and reduced rainfall.  It's at this time, late June to early July, that pruning begins, removing the excessive growth that can cause shrubs to outgrow their intended space.  Later in the summer, usually around September, a ‘touch up’ pruning is done to control the limited growth that occurs in the hot summer months.  This second pruning helps maintain a neat appearance during dormant months.

It should be noted that shearing of shrubs, other than hedges, is not an accepted practice by horticulturalists.    

Spring Flowering Shrubs

There are two main goals in pruning flowering shrubs:

  1. To maintain the shrub within its intended site
  2. To promote maximum flower display

The timing for pruning shrubs such as Viburnum, Honeysuckle, Forsythia, Potentilla and Weigela, is after they flower.  These types of shrubs produce flower buds later in the summer for next year’s blossoms.  Late June or July is the appropriate time to prune such plants to maximize the next year’s flowers.

Large Leaved Rhododendrons

rhododendronLarge leaved Rhododendrons should never be sheared.  Shearing damages the leaves, causing unsightly brown cut margins.  Also, shearing creates a dense outer crown that does not allow light and airflow to easily reach the inside of the shrub’s crown.  Shearing definitely increases insect and disease activity in all shrubs, especially Rhododendrons.

Carpenter Costin hand prunes all large leaved Rhododendrons, maintaining a natural appearance, while maintaining the size of the plant within its intended space.  Rhododendrons are pruned shortly after flowering, which usually occurs sometime in late June.

It should be noted that plant development does not occur based on our calendar, but rather on daily temperature, called ‘Degree Days Heating.’

Summer Flowering Shrubs

blue hydrangeaAs with other flowering shrubs, pruning shortly after flowering is the best time.  Shrubs such as Clethra, Spirea, Rose of Sharon, and Hydrangea flower later in the season.  Summer flowers are produced on the new wood/shoots and develop in the same calendar year.  Hence, pruning too early will remove flowers getting ready for this year’s display. 

Our Strategy

At Carpenter Costin Landscape Management we plan for 3 separate prunings each season targeting specific shrubs.  The timing of our target pruning dates is completely dictated by the shrub’s development and species.  (We monitor Degree Day Heating through the University of Massachusetts for a variety of purposes).

First Pruning

As we can all see, large leaved Rhododendrons are in bloom right now.  I estimate that these shrubs will be pruned at the end of June, just after their flowers fall.

Second Pruning

Spring and early summer shrubs are either flowering now or have just passed flowering.  Pruning of these shrubs and the first pruning of non-flowering shrubs will occur approximately 4 weeks from now, or early July.  This timing will assure that we get the most out of our spring and early summer flowering shrubs and get the best flower development for next year’s blossoms.

Also, the initial growth spurt will be behind us for non-flowering shrubs, allowing for a longer period of time with a managed shape.

Third Pruning

Late summer pruning, to ‘touch up’ the almost certain additional growth of non-flowering shrubs, and the proper pruning time for summer flower shrubs, is September.

Tips for Protecting Shrubs in the Winter

Keep your shrubs safe from winter elements with these simple winter shrub care tips.

If you ensure your shrubs make it through the winter damage-free, you’ll be preventing many landscape-associated headaches come spring time. The main threats for shrub damage in the winter include wind damage, snow-weight damage, and salt damage. protect shrubs in winter

Wind Damage

The cold winter wind is capable of excessively drying out the shrubs that maintain their foliage in the winter. The drying process occurs through transpiration of the water within the shrub’s foliage, and is also known as desiccation. To protect your shrubs from drying out, you can apply anti-desiccant liquid to all your broad leaf evergreen shrubs.

Wrapping your shrubs in burlap, or creating a burlap screen, will also help protect your shrubs from damaging winds.

Snow Damage

Depending on which New England winter shows up (100” season like 2010 or hardly a dusting like 2011); your shrubs could potentially be damaged by heavy snowfall, and the placement of snow by shovels, snow blowers, and plows. The weight of heavy snow alone can be enough to damage shrubs. Compounding that weight by clearing snow from your walkways, driveways, decks, and patios onto your shrubs can cause serious harm. If possible, try to limit the amount of snow weight on your shrubs, especially the younger, less established ones.

Salt Damage

The salt that is used to melt snow and ice is another threat to your shrubs in the winter. Salt acts as an herbicide and can seriously damage or kill the shrubs in its path. There is very little you can do for your shrubs that line the streets that are salted by the town or state; however, on your own driveways and walkways, try to limit the amount of salt used near your shrubs, as it will have a negative impact on their health. If you are experiencing salt damage year after year, you should consider planting a salt-tolerable variety of shrub. Burlapping may help protect from salt damage slightly; however, it is very possible that salt will penetrate the burlap.

If you can limit the damage that the wind, snow, and salt cause to your shrubs in the winter, you’ll be much happier with your landscape come spring. It is also a wise idea to have an Arborist inspect the shrubs and trees on your property before winter hits to ensure everything is in a safe, healthy condition.

(Image by Clementina - Wikimedia Commons)

Summer Lawn Care Practices to Follow

Help your lawn through the summer and follow these lawn care practices.

Lawn care is often a forgotten practice in the summer, as home owners submit to the hot, humid, and dry weather. These summer conditions make it difficult to keep your turf lush and green, but that doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your lawn. The following practices will help you keep your lawn looking great through the summer.

Raise the Blades

Increasing the mow height of your lawn in the summer will help your turf out-compete weeds, such as crab grass, and also helps to promote photosynthesis - as longer blades of grass have more surface area. If you mow your lawn too short, crab grass will quickly sprout up higher than the turf, resulting in an unattractive look. Since you’re mowing less in the summer, raising the blades usually doesn’t require increasing the frequencies of mows.

Don’t Forget the Water

Ensure your turf is getting enough water throughout the summer. The general rule of thumb is 1” of water per week. If you don’t have a preprogrammed irrigation system, be sure you are manually watering your turf in either the morning or evening to be certain your lawn gets the 1” per week that it needs.

Inspect for Grubs

Grubs are a nuisance in the summer, as are the creatures that eat them. Some animals, such as skunks, find grubs to be quite the delicacy and will destroy your lawn digging for their next meal. If the skunks haven’t got to your grubs yet, that doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done. Grubs will eat at the root system of your lawn, effectively damaging it from below.

Top-Dress and Over-Seed

Top dressing and over seeding is usually a spring and fall trick, but it can help in the summer as well. Lightly spreading some organic soil and grass seed will help fill in thin spots and create a denser lawn in the future. This new soil will help provide essential food for your turf and help hold in some moisture. Don’t expect the new seed to sprout up this summer, but it will germinate come fall.

Following these lawn care practices will help you maintain a great lawn throughout the summer. Remember, lawn care is not just a fall and spring activity – it requires active participation throughout the summer as well. To learn more about lawn care, or for a free lawn care consultation, click the button below.

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Lush, green turf is achievable in the summer months!

Review Your Landscape this Summer with a Landscape Architect

Have a Landscape Architect over to review your landscape, and start planning projects for the fall or spring 2013.

Summer is a great time to review your existing landscape. In the summer, a trained Landscape Architect will be able to see all the plants in your landscape, including perennials in full flower, and get an excellent idea of exactly what can be done in your landscape. Evaluating your landscape at this time will allow an Architect to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of your landscape, and design a plan to highlight the strengths and remove the weaknesses.

Consulting with a Landscape Architect this summer is also a great idea because it will allow you to begin installation in the late summer and early fall should you choose to make any improvements. The fall is a great time for plant installation and should not be overlooked for hardscape construction as well.

Carpenter Costin’s landscape evaluations are completely cost and obligation free. Our Landscape Architects are here to help, so take advantage of our free consultations and meet with one of them this summer.

Request Free Landscape Design Consultation

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Avoid Soil and Turf Compaction this Summer

Limit the amount of foot and vehicle traffic on your turf this summer to avoid compaction, and maintain a healthy lawn.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of outdoor cookout and gathering season, which often entails heavy foot traffic, and even vehicle traffic, on your beloved lawn. If you work hard to have a great looking lawn, by all means enjoy it, but beware that excessive foot and vehicle keep off grasstraffic will lead to soil compaction and turf compression, which can seriously damage your lawn.

Once the soil is severely compacted it can really only be relieved through core aeration (which is best in the early spring and late fall) and time; therefore, it is best to pay attention to traffic paths on your property, and install a walkway, patio, or even a turf stone area that is suitable for driving and parking on constantly.

A more frugal alternative is to simple mix up the high traffic areas on your property. Don’t always set up a buffet table in the same spot on your lawn, rather rotate where you direct guests to avoid putting too much pressure on a certain part of turf.

If you love entertaining outdoors, but do not like the toll it takes on your lawn, considering adding a hardscape feature, like a patio, that is perfect for entertaining and will take the stress of your turf. Avoiding turf compression and soil compaction will help keep your lawn healthy and attractive throughout the summer. Click the button below for a free consultation with a Landscape Architect to discuss outdoor entertaining area ideas.

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Save your turf, install a patio and improve your outdoor entertaining space.

Tips for a Great Lawn This Spring

Take advantage of the weather this spring and make some significant improvements to your lawn.

It seems like we’ve settled into a normal spring weather pattern. A few days of moderate temperatures, cloud cover, and precipitation followed by a couple of warm, sunny days. This cycle usually occurs for about four weeks each spring before settling into a more summer-like pattern, and it can be a tremendous time to make improvements to your lawn, without any back-breaking or wallet-wrenching work.

First step to improving your lawn is to ensure it is clean of all leaves and debris, which usually occurs in a spring clean up. Clearing your turf of debris will help minimize pest activity and will allow for photosynthesis to occur without disruption. Next, you should dethatch your lawn and remove the dead “thatch.” This can be done with a rake and strong shoulders, or a dethatching machine that can be rented at your local equipment rental store.

The next step to take to improve your turf is to create a thicker, healthier lawn by over-seeding. This is a simple process that requires broadcast spreading new seed over your turf. As the seed establishes it will create lush turf and out-compete weeds. Weather conditions are perfect this time of year, allowing seed to germinate very quickly; however, don’t forget to water if we’re not receiving enough rain. Also, if we’re expecting torrential downpours, don’t spread seed right before as it will just wash away with the water. A good slow soaking rain is the best to help the seed germinate.

Following these easy steps will undoubtedly improve your lawn this spring and help create a thick, lush lawn that will last all summer long. 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.

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spring lawn care tips

Following the above tips will help create a thick, lush lawn this spring.

Will May Showers bring May Flowers?

The saying usually goes, “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” but with very little precipitation in April, what will happen to our landscape in the 5th month?

The abnormally dry and warm early spring gave us an early glimpse at many flowers, but it also created some potential problems in the landscape. Flowers that bloomed early were then welcomed with chilly temperatures at night, sometimes dropping into frost-potential temperatures. Many flowers, shrubs, and flowering trees in our region have evidence of frost damage.

Due to the lack of rain in April, soil is very dry in our area, and even with the recent rain, moisture is not penetrating the soil nearly as much as it needs to be. Picking up a few inches of rain in early May certainly helps, but it will not be surprising to see damage from the dry soil, especially in areas where root competition is high.

Despite the lack of rain in April, we have experienced 235 growing degree days (GDD) in the Boston area. GDD is a measurement of heat accumultion used in the green industry to forecast plant and pest development. As a comparison, the Boston area only received 107.5 GDDs total in 2011, so it is safe to say we are ahead of schedule compared to last year.rhododendron bloom

Consider the number of GDDs we’ve received and couple that with the abundant moisture this past week and we should see some great things in the coming weeks in our landscapes (assuming the meteorologists are correct in forecasting sunshine in the coming days). Just to mention a few, Rhododendrons should stick out in the landscape, and lilacs should begin flowering shortly if they haven’t yet.

Plants aren’t the only thing ahead of schedule – pests in our area have shown much earlier than last year as well. Our Plant Health technicians have been out in full force since March, so if you’ve put off protecting your landscape from pests, you shouldn’t wait any longer! If you’re unsure how to protect your landscape from pests discover which pest management program you’ll benefit from the most.

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Think That Tree is Dead? Don’t Count It Out Just Yet

If you think you have dead trees on your property, don’t write them off just yet. They may just leaf-out or bloom late, like Locust trees.

The wacky weather this spring has had quite an impact on our landscape. Some flowering trees bloomed very early, only to be damaged by freezing temperatures a few nights later; while others may be a little behind schedule. Due to the earlier than usual bloom/leaf-out, many home owners are surprised to see other trees and shrubs in their landscape that look completely dormant. If this is happening in your landscape, don’t be so quick to write off the tree as dead, it may just leaf-out or bloom late.

Some trees, like the Locust, and shrubs, like Clethra, are late arrivals to the landscape scene. Often times a landscape will be full of green leaves and colorful flowers, but there is a bare Locust tree that most people will swear is dead. It truly is difficult to believe that a tree is healthy while it is completely bare and surrounded by thriving, colorful trees and shrubs, but it happens every year, and we get calls every year from people worried about their locust trees (sometimes the same people year after year).

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consult with a Certified Arborist if you think you may have an unhealthy tree. If you have any questions regarding any tree or shrub on your property it is a good idea to have a Certified Arborist out for a free consultation. Not only can they evaluate tree and shrub health, but they will be able to provide an education on specific trees and shrubs in your landscape – and ensure you that the locust tree around back is in fact healthy!  Please note that phenology can change significantly across Eastern Massachusetts. If your cousin that lives two towns over has a tree that is flowering, it does not mean that your tree needs to be flowering at the exact same time.

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