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Carpenter Costin Blog

Are Your Plants Out of Control?

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was customary for home builders to overplant house lots with evergreens.  Now those Rhododendrons or Arborvitaes may be towering over, smothering or just plain hiding your home.

One option is to cut all those evergreen plants down and start over with smaller plants.  Another idea is to cut back and prune those out-of-control shrubs so they fit into the desired space. Yearly pruning will keep your plants from overgrowing their spots and covering your home.

How to Tame Out-of-Control Plants

  • Prune annually to keep plants contained to their site
  • Prune after blooming for the best crop of flowers next spring
  • Cut back new, ‘leggy’ growth for a neater appearance
  • Prune to separate and define plants
  • Thin overgrown shrubs and ornamental trees to improve light and air circulation
  • Don’t attempt this if you are not sure what you are doing, it is easy to damage your plants

You’ll be amazed the difference a little pruning can do to make your property look fantastic.

Need some help? Contact us and we’ll send an arborist out to meet with you for a free consultation.

Create a Destination - At Home!

Soothe Your Soul by Enhancing your Landscaping

The fragrant hint of summer roses, the sound of the wind in the trees and the beauty of brightly colored flowers all reward our senses in the garden. After a long day of traffic jams, deadlines, difficult economic news and endless demands, a stroll through your garden can soothe the soul. In fact, researchers have found that exposure to nature can actually reduce your blood pressure, give you a sense of peace, and lift your mood. Lincoln patio and poolTurn your yard into a place to relax by making it a destination. You can create an inviting outdoor living space by adding outdoor ‘rooms.’  Here are some ideas:

  • Design a tropical, comfortable and calming oasis. Imagine sipping an ice cold drink and relaxing with friends in the sun!
  • Add a pizza oven for unmatched entertaining.
  • Create a special place just for the kids and bring them out into the fresh air to play. 
  • A special, secluded ‘room’ in a quiet spot can be used for reading or meditation.
  • An outdoor fireplace can be used throughout the year.

If you have any questions or interested in any of our services please call us at 877-308-8733.

Spring Flowers Require Pruning

Flowering Plants Require Summer Pruning

Craig pruning 2011 resized 600Ask an arborist when the best time to prune your trees and shrubs and he’ll tell you ‘when the saw is sharp.’ For most plants this is true but others have a specific pruning schedule.

Pruning Flowering Shrubs & Ornamental Trees

Flowering shrubs and ornamental trees have completed their flowering for the year by end of May and will soon develop buds for next year's blossoms.

Flowering Shrubs

  • Rhododendrons
  • Lilac
  • Azalea 

Ornamental Trees

  • Dogwood
  • Crabapple
  • Hawthorn 

These plants should be pruned right after they bloom for the best crop of flowers next spring. If you wait until late fall when buds have already set, you will be removing next season’s flowers.

Pruning Mistakes with Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Pruning is beneficial for all trees and shrubs but timing is crucial depending on the tree or shrub. we have a wide variety of different trees and plants in our area so be sure to ask an arborist when the best time to prune your specific trees and plants is. Be sure to check out our "Why Prune your Trees and Shrubs" post where it will go into detail why pruning is something you should always consider with trees and plants on your property.

Late May into early June is also the perfect time to prune your hedges back into shape. ‘Leggy’ growth will appear at this time of year on Hemlocks, Yews, Privet, Juniper, and Arborvitae. Bring them back into shape by hand pruning the long spindly branches. Reduction of plant height will help maintain strong stems and help protect them from snow damage. It’s also a good time to prune out deadwood and broken branches for healthy, attractive plants.

Don’t procrastinate. Give us a call to arrange a property review with one of our arborists and keep your plants blooming beautifully. 877.308.8733

Spring Landscaping Ideas

Ideas for Your Landscape in the Spring

After a long, cold, snowy winter, it’s time to get outside, take a deep breath and start planning how you are going to use your yard this year. As we all seek outlets for stress reduction and restoration, let our landscape architects help you transform your property into an attractive, welcoming and serene place to play and relax. describe the image

Here are some ideas for Spring Landscaping:

  1. Bring the warmth and fun of a campfire to your backyard with a stone fire pit.
  2. Define the entrance to your home with a new walkway.
  3. Add a beautiful flowering tree for an interesting focal point.
  4. Introduce seasonal color to your property by adding flowers that bloom all season
  5. Add outdoor living space with a new patio.
  6. Remove or transplant overgrown shrubs that may be hiding your home.
  7. Install a fence or stone wall to delineate a property line.describe the image

 Carpenter Costin’s landscape architects will work with you to explore the possibilities of your property and turn your dreams into reality.  Call now for a no obligation consultation on spring landscaping, 877-308-8733.  Visit our landscape portfolio.

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

Best Time for Lawn Seeding

Late summer is the best time for planting seed and improving your lawn’s thickness.

In New England, late summer is a welcomed time - and not just because the kids are heading back to school. During the latter part of August and into September, the climate begins to change in the North East. Although day time temperatures can still be unbearably hot at this time, late summer usually brings cooler night time temperatures along with shorter days (andbare lawn spots photo periods). The combination of cooler temperatures and shorter days creates optimal grass growing weather.

Many homeowners feel that spring time is the right time for lawn care, and we can’t blame them as it is a common misconception; however, if you focus planting and seeding efforts in the fall, you’ll be rewarded with improved results.

Grass seed excels in the late summer and early fall because it has less competition than it does in the spring. In warmer periods like spring and early summer, crab grass thrives and actually out-competes turf for space in your lawn. Long days and hot temperatures present problems for turf growth; however, crab grass will have no problem in these conditions. As temperatures cool and the photo period shrinks, crab grass cannot survive and eventually dies off. This creates a competition free growing period for turf. As temperatures become too cold at night, you will see crab grass beginning to turn purple and die – this signals the start of prime turf growing conditions.

Every year there is a three to four week window that presents optimal turf growing conditions and it usually falls between the last week of August and the last week of September. This period of time is ideal for lawn renovation, and gives turf seed the best chance of thriving.

If you have any bare spots in your lawn, we recommend raking them out and spreading some seed in the late summer and early fall. When the conditions are right, the seed will “pop” in just a few days. It will also be beneficial to over-seed your entire lawn at this time, which will help create a thicker turf.

Late summer can be a great time for DIY lawn care, but for complete lawn renovation, we recommend consulting with a professional.


late summer lawn care

If your lawn looks like this, late summer lawn care can help revitalize it and create thicker turf.

Discover When and How Often to Prune Trees & Shrubs

View the tree & shrub pruning guide to discover the best timing and frequency of shrub and tree pruning.pruning guide

Pruning the various trees and shrubs throughout your property is critical to ensure their health, appeal, and safety. Understanding that pruning is crucial to the livelihood and attractiveness of your landscape is only half the battle. Knowing when and how frequently to prune the different varieties of trees and shrubs on your property will help make certain that your landscape stays in tip-top shape, and you enjoy all the beautiful flowering and fruiting of your various trees and shrubs.

This guide gives you a concise explanation of when and how often to prune:

  • Ornamental Trees
  • Shrubs
  • Shade Trees

Click below to view the guide. For questions about pruning, request a free pruning consultation with one of our Certified Arborists.

Benefits of Phasing Landscape Design & Construction Projects

Landscape Projects in multiple phases will allow you to achieve the dream landscape you’ve always wanted

Adding a new landscape feature to your property can cost as little as a few hundred bucks, depending on what you want to have designed and installed. Building your dream landscape; however, usually requires a substantial financial investment which can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. In order to make the project more achievable, a Landscape Architect can design and plan it to be installed in multiple phases.

Multiple Phases Will Help With Financing Your Project

Installing landscape projects in multiple phases can be extremely beneficial for a homeowner. One valuable benefit of phasing landscape projects is the ability to segment the project for budgeting purposes. As previously mentioned, your dream landscape can be costly; however, when phasing into multiple parts, you can achieve your dream landscape on a budget friendly schedule over a number of months or years.

Phasing landscape construction projects also lets a homeowner take advantage of season specific benefits, such as prime planting conditions in the fall. Often times, we’ll install a patio, wall, or walkway in the heat of the summer, but wait until the fall to install the plants and softscape – both because the conditions are more appropriate, and because it is a little easier on the homeowner’s wallet.

Once you realize that phasing landscape projects can help you achieve your dream landscape, you’ll need to consult with a Landscape Architect to develop a landscape master plan. A master plan will map out the various phases of the project and display how they will cumulatively compose your dream landscape. After developing a master plan, you can work with the Architect to schedule the phases to suit your budget, as well as the installation conditions.


If you have any questions or interested in any of our services please contact us at 877-308-8733

Start Thinking About Fall Plantings

Although it is still the height of summer; preparing for fall plant installation now will ensure you’re ready when the temperatures cool down.

If you’re looking to add some plants, shrubs, or trees to your landscape, consider doing it in the fall. The fall months are great for plant installation, as weather conditions are ideal for optimal root development. Starting in September, the sun weakens, temperatures cool, and conditions for installing plants improve. From September through November, and sometimes even into December, landscape installation crews will be busy installing a variety of plants, shrubs, and trees.

Even though we’re still greeted with 90 degree temperatures on a regular basis in August, you really need to begin the planning stage early in the month. First, take advantage of a free consultation with a Landscape Architect. Most firms will offer free consultations, and I haven’t met a Landscape Architect that doesn’t like to share their wealth of knowledge. It is also wise to have a Landscape Architect inspect the property while full foliage remains on the trees, as they will be able to accurately scope the light and shade around your property.

The reason you want to start discussing fall plantings in early August is because it can be a two to four week cycle of discussion and planning before a project can commence. This time frame is actually beneficial for both the homeowner and the Architect, as it allows the homeowner to get their budget squared away, while also permitting the Architect to source the absolute best plants for the job.

Adding plants, trees, or shrubs to your property in the fall will ensure that you experience optimal blooming come next spring and helps promote long term plant health – but start planning now, or it may be too late to cash in on great planting conditions this fall.

Request Free Landscape Design Consultation

fall planting prep

Planting in the fall will have your landscape ready, and beautiful, come spring time!

Summertime Watering of Your Shrubs and Plants

Remember to properly water your shrubs and plants this summer to avoid damage from dry soil and hot temperatures.

Watering shrubs and plants cannot be forgotten during the summertime, period! This holds especially true if they have been planted this year or last year. The plentiful rains of spring usually end by mid-June and from then on, the homeowner is responsible for the irrigation of the property’s trees and shrubs. This can be done by adding a professional irrigation system with drip-irrigation; or a well placed garden hose. It doesn’t matter which route you decide to follow – just be sure you’re watering!

During the summer, a deep watering of shrubs and plants once a week is necessary. This can be accomplished simply by putting a garden hose on low and letting it rest around the base of the shrub or plant for a few minutes, allowing the water to slowly penetrate the soil and sink deep into the root system. Doing this should keep the soil around the shrub moist enough for the week and help ensure that the shrub remains healthy throughout the summer. Be sure not to have the water pressure too high as it will just run off, especially if the soil is very dry. Remember, this is extremely important for newly planted or transplanted shrubs!

When watering, always abide by your town’s water restrictions. Drought conditions can be tough on plants, but you still need to follow the regulations. If you give your shrubs and plants a deep watering once a week, they'll come through summer healthy and looking great.

summer watering shrubs

Though complex drip irrigation may be the best and most convenient watering solution; a simple garden hose can be your shrub's ally in the summer.

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