Your landscape is finally all cleaned up from the harsh winter, back to exactly how you want it. You notice brown spots popping up in your green, spring grass and that is never a good sign. Chances are you’ve got a few pests taking up residency. Spring is the prime time for you to notice a change in your lawn and landscape’s health. Patches that aren’t growing back quite the same, spots that were looking good start turning brown, maybe even visible bite marks or holes showing up.. safe to say you want to get it taken care of.
Commonly in Ohio spring pests like Cinch bugs, Bill bugs, White grubs, and Sodweb worms begin to show up after winter hibernation. Cinch and Bill bugs can be easier, and quicker, to spot being they are considered to be surface feeders. This meaning the chance to see the bug itself, or the damage it could be causing, is high. White Grubs and Sodweb worms are sub surface feeders, causing issues with the root of a plant. The signs of these sub-surface feeders may not show up as fast which means you don’t know about the issue.. until it’s a big issue.
Proper tree and landscape maintenance includes controlling for these insect and preventing the damage they can cause. Now you’re asking yourself, how do I prevent insects? Simple tasks like the ones below can go a long way:
Cut your grass – shorter grass provides less home for the pests, and mowing disrupts their environment
Reduce shade by trimming trees and bushes – excessive shade prevents the sun from drying out soil after rain, a majority of pests enjoy taking up residency in most ground
Pay attention to areas that collect water – stagnant water is breeding ground for mosquitoes, and other larvae laying insects
You should always talk to a professional before make a decision about your pest treatment and control. Talk to an expert at Spencer’s Tree and Landscape Solutions about how you can prevent pests, or treat any current pest issues you may have.
Spring is finally on its way! Once the snow is melted, we are often left with a soggy yard, full of brown and bare patches and empty flower beds. Get your yard ready for the sunny days ahead with this checklist!
Remove Debris – Winter storms can knock down branches, bury piles of leaves or displace rocks into your yard. Pick these up and dispose of properly.
Prepare your equipment – Sharpen and replace lawn mower blades, removing dried grass and other debris. Perform maintenance and make sure you have all you need. You can do this yourself or have it professionally done.
Mow high – Start your mowing for the season on a high setting. This allows grass to grow thick and develop a strong root system, helping crowd out weeds.
Edging and mulching – Create defined beds and set yourself up for gardening success!
Grass planting – Treat the bare and brown patches of your lawn later in the spring.
Fertilize – Enhance the lush green quality of your lawn with the proper fertilization for your area. You may want to have your yard tested to see what kind of fertilizer will work best.
Weed prevention and removal – Remove weeds and treat your lawn for the more prevalent weeds.
Prune shrubs – Cutting back your shrubs can help them start healthy new growth. This is also a good time to remove dead or damaged sections.
Start planting – Depending on what you are growing, plant your flowers and bulbs in the spring when the ground is soft and easy to maneuver.
Keep your lawn looking lovely all year round. Let Spencer’s help you make a plan to care for your lawn this spring! We can help!
Most people know that trees are an important part of the earth’s eco-system. Healthy trees, dead trees and fallen trees are all common sights in our own backyards. But what if you could maintain the health of your trees and help them live longer? You could be helping the planet by caring for your trees.
Benefits of Healthy Trees
Trees have become such a natural part of everyday life that we often take them for granted. Trees are extremely valuable to the environment and to whole communities. Trees can:
Turn carbon dioxide into oxygen
Act as sound and privacy barriers
Reduce wind and water erosion by slowing wind and stabilizing the soil
Provide shade from the sun
Be used as food and shelter for wildlife
Make neighborhoods pleasant and inviting, increasing the value of homes.
When trees become sick and eventually die, all these areas suffer.
Spotting a Sick Tree
Watch for some of these common signs of problems with your trees. If you see any of these, call your local tree company to do an assessment.
Bark imperfections. Tree bark should be textured but not full of deep cracks or holes. Soft, crumbling wood is also a bad sign.
Trees decay from the inside out. If you see fungus or mushrooms growing on the outside means decay on the inside.
Dead branches. Those brittle branches that look as if they may break should be removed safely.
Change in leaves. If the leaves of your tree appear to be discolored or you see a reduction in the number of leaves produced on the tree, it may be a sign of disease.
If you have a sick tree, there are options that may help to extend its life.
Pruning can be an easy fix for many trees. The removal of dead branches, removing rotting sections of a tree, and proper cutting back, can encourage new growth and allow the tree a chance to heal. Topping is not a recommended method as this extreme cutting leaves the tree weaker and more susceptible to insects and disease. Unless the tree is already dead, pruning is a great way to promote healthy growth and give your tree a new lease on life.
Disease and Insect control
Catching the early signs of disease or infestation in your trees may save its life. Infected areas of the tree may be removed, and some insects can be sprayed. Acting early or using preventative measures will help extend the life of your trees. Unfortunately, in some cases an infected tree cannot be saved. In the Midwest, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed tens of millions of trees that were once thriving and healthy. An infected tree can be saved if it is caught early in the stages of infection. Removing dead trees can help decrease habitats for this and other dangerous insects, helping to protect your living trees. Talk to your arborist about recommended precautions and treatments.
If a tree has died, it is important to have it removed safely. A sick tree may be saved, pruned, trimmed, supported or treated but after a certain point, the safest thing to do is to remove the tree. Remember that you can always plant a new one in its place.
Know the signs and help save a sick tree! Talk to the experts in your area for a professional examination of your tree and an evaluation of its condition.
Fall is my favorite time of year. “Working weather” as I call it. The humidity and temperatures start to drop. Fall usually is very unpredictable being 45 degrees and rainy one day with sunny skies and 70 the next. The leaves changing to warm fall colors and the presence of farmers in their fields again means the end of the landscaping season is here, or is it?
I view the seasons just a little bit differently than some might. I may even suggest that fall is the new spring. In many ways for myself as a landscape contractor and tree service professional I see fall as the beginning of the landscape season. Planning a new landscape, maintaining an existing one, or trimming your trees oftentimes should be started in the fall. Not taking advantage of the fall is one of the fall follies I see homeowners make.
Fall’s follies begin before fall is even near, by the green up of spring. The grass starts growing and the box stores have aisles and aisles of assorted varieties of perennials, annuals and shrubs set out in beautiful displays nearly overflowing and packed with as many plants in bloom as possible. Spring is now in sight and the long winter likely behind us. People who have never showed any interest before, along with the seasoned gardener, may find themselves enamored with the endless gardening possibilities running through their mind. After a long colorless winter, who can hardly blame them though? The first 50 or 60-degree day, especially on a weekend, you’ll see people flock to these garden centers in droves wandering the aisles like little children in a newly stocked toy store with eyes and jaws hanging wide open as they wonder about all the little spots around their home they can plant everything that catches their eye. And with all of the posters hanging around the center and commercials on TV showing all of the wonderful possibilities, the battle seems to be over before it has even begun.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the time most mistakes are made planting and doing things that should have been done in the fall. Fall seems to be the season for missed opportunities.
Missed opportunities in the late summer or fall to visit a local quality grower nursery instead of a box store chain will leave plants with mid to late summer or fall bloom times without any consideration for your landscape. There are many varieties of hardy, beautiful, blooming plants that are all but completely forgotten because they aren’t blooming during the spring rush in May. Nurseries still rely on sales during the fall and often offer large sales to bring customers into their facility. With the exception of annuals, which require spring planting, here are some things to consider for this fall.
In most, but not all cases, fall offers the best time to plant in the landscape. New growth from spring on woody perennials by now has “hardened off” and is no longer actively growing. The foliar needs of the plant are coming to an end and any deciduous plants will have lost, or soon be dropping, their leaves. This greatly reduces transplant shock and post planting watering due to the plants inability to lose water through the leaves. As deciduous plants begin to go dormant the water and nutrients in the leaves gets sent to and stored in the root system conserving vital resources which allows the plant to survive through the winter. Because improper watering, either over or under watering are often the cause behind most new planting deaths in the first year, fall gives landscapers a window of opportunity to work in great temperatures where some root development can take place, but while potentially devastating heat and water loss is not as much of a risk.
Let us not forget about early spring color such as tulips, hyacinth, and narcissus, just to name a few. These bulbs, which are some of the first perennials to give us showy blooms in the spring, require planting in the fall, allowing them be the first out of the ground as it starts to thaw in the spring.
Of course, there is the maintenance. Herbaceous perennials or plants that don’t have a persistent woody stem such as ornamental grasses, Daylilies, and Hostas, just to name a few, should be trimmed down to, or close to, ground level and the cuttings cleaned up. There is no sense in looking at that mess all winter long. The matted down leaves and plant matter can also act as a place for many pathogens to over winter.
One thing I want to point out is that if you give plants the proper space they need to grow into their natural habit and form, excessive trimming can be avoided. Most of the time only a once yearly trimming or deadheading should be required to keep things maintained.
With herbaceous perennials, I find it also convenient to get the trimming and clean up out of the way so that when spring does come around there isn’t a panic to get out and clean the old dead growth off before the new starts coming up. Once the new growth starts coming through it can be much more difficult to clean up what would have been swift a pass with hedge trimmers close to the ground. You may find yourself hand picking the dead out of these perennials if you don’t get to it early enough in the spring.
When it comes to trimming the bushes and shrubs around your house there are some that can be trimmed anytime, such as Yew and Barberry, because neither have a bloom to be concerned with. These type of shrubs will often require some trimming during the growing season but will really benefit from trimming in the fall. This way everything looks good throughout the winter and again when spring comes these plants will be ready to go.
Other shrubs require fall or winter trimming because they bloom on new wood in the summer like Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quickfire’ or ‘Limelight’ and the many other cultavars it comes in. Hydrangea paniculata sets its flower buds in the spring. If spring trimming is done on these varieties, you will be cutting off the flower buds for that summer. This will not harm the shrub but will likely remove one of the main reasons you planted it to begin with, which are the flowers for that year.
You must know when the shrub you want to trim sets its flower buds. For instance, with lilacs and weigela, they both bloom in spring and they both set their flower buds not long after they have finished blooming. If you trim these types of shrubs in the fall after they set bud, you will be removing the flower buds that were going to bloom the following spring.
Even mulching can be beautiful and beneficial when done in the fall. Beds can be mulched to add fresh color through a long boring winter. A fresh mulch layer will also help protect the roots of new and established landscaping plants.
These are some tips that I hope help you to get the most out of your landscape. Having a great landscape starts with having a great plan and when better to start than the fall!