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Carpenter Costin Blog

Protect Your Plants from Harsh Winter Weather

Apply anti-transpirants or anti-desiccants to protect your plants from damaging winter cold and winds.

During the winter, cold winds do their best to dry out or dehydrate your plants. This is commonly seen in the Arborvitaes (pictured) in our area, particularly when they do not receive dehydrated arborvitaeenough water before the winter. Using an anti-transpirant will help fight dehydration and drying in your plants and trees.

Anti-transpirants and anti-desiccants are actually the same thing. Although the word transpire means to pass through a pore or membrane, and the word desiccate means to dry or dehydrate; when paired with the prefix anti they both allude to the fight against dehydration or drying. The term anti-transpirant; however, is the more commonly used term.

The cold, seemingly ever-lasting, winter winds that we experience in New England can dehydrate a plant or tree in no time. Applying anti-transpirants in the late fall will help your plants retain moisture and protect them the cold, drying winds. Anti-transpirants will also help protect from salt damage in the winter. It is a good idea to coat your plants with anti-transpirants if they are close to a road where rock salt is used for snow and ice control, or if they are along the coast and are susceptible to salt spray during winter storms. Burlapping plants and shrubs will also fight dehydration and salt damage this winter.

Anti-transpirants sprays can be found at your local hardware or garden store. If you do not feel comfortable with the application, our Plant Health Care technicians can provide the service for you. Ensure that you protect your plants from damaging wind and salt this winter. Request a consultation a Plant Health Care pro to learn more.


Slice Seed Your Lawn for Thick, Healthy Turf Year Round

Slice seeding during the fall helps to promote a healthy, great looking lawn throughout all of the seasons.

A slice seeder is a mechanism that creates small slices or slits in your turf to helpslice seeding improve the water, mineral, and air flow in your soil, and help relieve soil compaction. Couple these slices with the broadcast of new seed, and you'll be well on your way to developing a dense, lush lawn this fall.

The increase of organic material, water, and air in your turf will help speed up seed germination and promote optimal root development.

It is best to slice seed in the fall, especially if you experienced drought-like or dry conditions over the summer. Cultural practices, like slice seeding, will efficiently repair a lawn that was damaged over the summer. With the fairly warm day time temperatures we experience in late summer/fall, and cooler, wet nights that come in September and October, slice seeding your lawn now can truly improve the short-term and long-term appeal of your turf.

Your lawn can benefit from fall cultural practices. Don't miss out on a free lawn care consultation with a Carpenter Costin pro. Click the button below to arrange a free meeting with a turf care pro.



Rose Bush Care: Tips for the Fall

Follow these tips for fall rose bush care to ensure beautiful, healthy roses next spring.

There are many tasks that need to be completed in order to bring your roses through the winter. Effort invested now will be rewarded next spring as beautiful rose blossoms pop up.

The following tips can help your rose bushes survive this winter and thrive next spring:

  • Roses is pots should be brought into a cold, dark place, but kept out of the snow and elements. A garage will work perfectly.rosh bush pink
For roses that are not in pots, we recommend the following:
  • Rose canes should be cut back to around 12"
  • Mound up the base of roses with soil or mulch to prevent roots from freezing
  • Wrap delicate roses in burlap with straw for added protection against drying and frigid winds.
  • Lastly, ensure that they are watered thoroughly before the ground freezes.

These tips will help your beautiful roses make it through the harsh New England winter. To learn more about rose bush care, and other plant health care, please call 877-308-8733 or request a free consultation with a plant health specialist.


Lime Application to Our New England Lawns

To Lime or Not to Lime? That is the question.

Routine, yearly liming of your lawn is often not necessary and it can even be detrimental if lime is applied too frequently. In our area, turf grows best at a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0, which indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Nutrients in our lawns our readily available between a pH of 6.0 and 7.0, creating the best environment for healthy turf and root growth.lawn lime application

Lime (calcium carbonate) is used to raise the pH of soil that has been lowered over time by the normal boilogical process of plant growth, and other factors such as acid rain. Yearly applications of lime can raise the pH level of you lawn higher than 7.0 if you are not careful, making the nutrients in your lawn less available. Be sure to keep the pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 for best results.

How to determine if you should lime:

  • Determine the pH of your lawn by using a pH meter or soil test kit. These are readily available at your local hardware store.
  • If you are between a pH of 6.0 and 7.0 then you will need no lime, but below 6.0 and above 7.0 will require action.
  • Have a Carpenter Costin turf expert come out for a free lawn consultation to discuss pH and more.

Our turf experts will gladly assist you in your lawn care process. Our complete line of turf care services can not only ensure your soil pH is at the appropriate level, but we also provide fertilization and weed control solutions.


Fall Tree, Lawn, and Landscape Care Calendar

Follow these landscape tips to help ensure your landscape is healthy and looking good through this fall and winter, and into next spring.

As we approach mid-September, it is time to start thinking about prepping your landscape for the remainder of the fall and beyond.

September: Be sure to care for your lawn with the appropriate fall cultural practices. Core aeration is great for relieving compacted soil, while top dressing and over seeding will help thicken your existing lawn, for a lush, full look. September is also a great month for fall tree and shrub fertilization. Fertilizing now will help grow strong root systems to withstand the winter and thrive next spring.

October: The 10th month of the year might be the best month for planting and transplanting trees and shrubs. Planting or moving trees and shrubs in the fall is a great way to spice up your landscape, prevent erosion, or add a privacy screen. Doing this in October allows plenty of time for root development, and ensures that spring flowering will not be interrupted. Planting bulbs; daffodils, tulips, and crocus in October promotes spring color. Don't forget to rake up all your leaves as well!

November: You should begin prepping for the winter in November. Be sure to thoroughly water your trees and shrubs before the ground freezes. It is also a good idea to apply an anti-transpirant to broadleaf evergreens to help ward off overdrying this winter. Start planning your winter tree pruning and removal as well. We offer a 10% winter tree work discount come December 1st.

These tips should carry you through the remainder of the fall and into the winter. Investing in your landscape now will pay ample dividends come spring time. Unsure of exactly what to do? Don't be afraid to have an Arborist or Turf Expert from Carpenter Costin out for a free property review. Call 877-308-8733 or click the button below for your free consultation.


plant tulips bulbs fall

Plant tulip bulbs in the fall to ensure great flowering color come spring!

Fall Lawn Renovation Tactics

Cultural practices, such as core aeration and top dressing, in the fall can pay big dividends to your lawn year round.

It is important to pay attention to your lawn in the fall. Most people invest heavily into prepping their lawn each spring; however, they rarely invest in fall lawn care practices. As summer winds down, we highly recommend a selection of cultural lawn care practices to help prep your lawn for the winter and promote long term lawn health, especially since many of these practices are easy enough to do yourself.

Core aeration is the process of removing small cores of soil and thatch from your lawn. Removing these cores helps increase water, air, and nutrient flow in the lawn, and also decreases soil compaction. The organic matter in the cores is also spread around and helps to promote seed germination. Core aerators are fairly simple to use and can be rented at hardware stores and equipment rental stores. Of course, we also offer core aeration as a service.

Top dressing is the act of spreading a thin layer of rich soil or compost over your lawn. The addition of this nutrient rich, organic material is great for you lawn, especially when combined with the practice of over seeding. Spreading seed over your existing lawn helps build thick and lush turf. When paired with core aeration and top dressing, over seeding is an extremely effective lawn care tactic.

As we get further into the fall, it becomes time for a liming application. You should apply lime after the final lawn mowing of the season. Lime helps to correct pH levels in the soil which allows your turf to draw nutrients from the soil. Incorrect pH levels can really limit turf growth.

Fall lawn care practices are essential to promote overall turf health. To learn more, visit our complete line of lawn care services on our website. If you would like to have one of our turf management specialists come to your house for a free consultation, please click the button below.


core aeration

Core aerator hard at work, removing cores for optimal nutrient and water flow.

Coastal New England Planting

Beware and prepare for nature's harmful effects.

It's wonderful to live on the beautiful New England coast, but the nature of coastal living can provide a harsh environment for trees, shrubs, and plants. Salt spray, high winds, sandy soil, and saltwater overwash can limit the type of plants that can be grown on coastal properties.

Salt in the air and in the soil acts as an herbicide, effectively burning and killing the leaves, twigs, and roots that it touches. This is what creates that "wind-blown" shape of trees that we often see along the coastline.

Careful landscape planning can help reduce the exposure to wind and salt spray and promote the livelihood of your coastal landscape. Planting a screen of rugged Rosa Rugosa or Bayberry can act as an outer defense to salt damage. Once the screen is established it will help shield less tolerant trees and plants. Hydrangea walls and Rose of Sharon are tolerant to these environments as well.

Soil preparation is also critical to the success of coastal plantings. Sandy soils require the addition of organic material to increase the ability of the soil to retain water and nutrients. In addition to soil preparation, we also encourage using native plants whenever possible. Native plants usually require less maintenance and are also a great means of controlling erosion.

The fall is a great time to revive a coastal landscape, or any landscape for that matter. We recommend requesting a free consultation with one of our Landscape Architects to discuss any of your planting needs.


coastal new england planting

Left to Right: Hydrangea wall, Rose of Sharon, Rosa Rugosa

Adding Appeal to Your Yard

Transform that ignored corner of your property with a combination of hardscape and softscape features.

We all have, or have had, an area of our property that needs some revitalization. Investing the time to revive an area that has potential is often difficult. Thankfully here at Carpenter Costin we have the best Landscape Architects and crews in the region, making landscape transformations a breeze.

Our Architects and Designers are always diving into projects of all sizes and creating beautifully crafted landscapes to meet customer's specifications.

Here is a before-shot of a recent project:


This slope on the edge of a client's property was in need of some landscape love. Our Lead Designer, Chip Gill, devised a great combination of natural stone features and native plants to help revitalize this landscape. We think Chip did a great job, but why do you be the judge of that. Here is the after-shot of the project.


If you have an area of your landscape that needs revitalization, regardless of the size, please don't hesitate to request a free consultation with a Landscape Architect. Our expert Landscape Architects can design a hardscape, softscape, or combination to suit your needs and wants.


Fall Tree and Plant Insect and Disease Update

Although summer does not officially end until September 23rd this year, we are already experiencing some fall-like weather and patterns.

I really love the fall. The days are still comfortably warm, and the nights cool down just right. Though the fall is really a great time of year for us, with great foliage across our region, warm apple cider, apple and pumpkin picking, and the beginning of football season, there are some things that you need to look out for, most notably insect and disease activity across your landscape.

Here is an update of pest infestation activity across Massachusetts, and a few potential pests to look out for:

  • Oyster Shell Scale - greatly affecting Hollies and Euonymous already this year. Keep an eye out.lacebug massachusetts
  • Lacebugs - some areas across our region were heavily infested. They infest a variety of trees and plants. 
  • Diplodia - continues to infect our pines through the fall. Requires seasonal treatment.
  • Apple Scab - affecting Apples and Crabapples now. Look out for it when apple picking this fall.
  • Fall Web Worm - their large web-like nests are appearing across our region. They can easily and quickly defoliate an entire tree.
These pests are only a selection of what may be impacting your landscape this fall. As always, we recommend taking the occasional stroll around your property and looking for any signs of pest infestation. If you spot anything unusual please give call us at 877-308-8733 or request a consultation with a Certified Arborist for a free consultation.


Preparing Your Landscape for Hurricane Irene

Gale force winds and driving rain are heading our way. Be sure that your landscape and trees will survive.

Hurricane Irene's path is becoming more predictable, and it appears as though she will be hitting southern New England and taking a route through the middle of the Bay State. Even if her status is downgraded to a tropical storm prior to her arrival, we will still be experiencing winds upwards of 70 mph, and some seriously heavy down pours and lightning storms. All of which can be devastating to our trees and landscapes.

It is a good idea to start by securing all outdoor furniture. Tropical storm winds are more than enough to pick up a lawn or patio chair and move it several hundred feet. We also recommend moving any potted plants you may have around your patios or yards to a safe place, potentially inside a garage or three season room.

wind blown treeUnfortunately, if you are just thinking about removing hazardous trees now it is likely too late. If you are worried about an unsafe tree, we recommend having an Arborist come out to inspect the tree immediately. Even if the work can't be done until after this weekend, it is very possible that another storm may come up our coast this summer and fall. A strong storm can put extreme stress on an already damaged tree. Don't think because it made through one hurricane, that it will make it through the next.

We hope everyone stays safe through the storm. If you would like to have a Certified Arborist come out to inspect any of your trees please call 877-308-8733 or click the button below. 



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