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Fall Flowers That Bring Color To Your Yard

fall flowers

While many think of spring as flower season, that doesn’t mean that your fall flowers and garden has to be devoid of color. Shades of red, yellow, orange, and even pink and purple can all be used to bring a sunny touch to your yard well into the winter months. 

Hanging baskets are a great place to keep Pansies, a cold-weather favorite. Their sunny faces add great color and they are hardy enough to survive a light frost. Sweet Alyssum is another great choice for baskets and brings a white, purple, and pink combo to your landscape. 

For a gorgeous mix of red, orange, and yellow, Ornamental Peppers are a great choice. Blooming in late summer and early fall, they bring a bright spot of color to any garden. Another gorgeous fall bloomer is the hardy Aster. Similar to Mums, their fall blooms are brought on by the shortening days and they’ll bring a great spot of purple to your garden. Looking for pink flowers? Heather, Dahlias, and Chrysanthemums will bring that fall color you crave. 

If you’re looking for taller landscape plants to create that fall color, you can’t go wrong with Russian Sage in your fall garden. These hardy plants can survive drought and look gorgeous while doing so. Another idea for taller background plants isn’t flowers, but fountain grass. They come with white, purple, or even pink plumes and can be a great focal point in your autumn garden planting plans. 

Another non-flower flower choice is ornamental cabbage or flowering kale. Their lovely shades of green, cream, pink, and purple look beautiful in planters or in bunches in beds and can last almost the entire winter (if hungry rabbits don’t get them first). Their size—a potential of 18” wide—makes them a great addition for fall flowers if you like something showy in your winter beds. 

By properly planning and planting in spring, you can ensure that your yard has color almost all year round. Need some advice about what to plant and when? Call Organically Green Horticultural Services today.

Fall Tick Season

Ticks

Fall is just around the corner. You may be looking forward to cooler nights and bug-free days. Finally, you’re free of worrying about getting bitten by ticks, right? Unfortunately, that’s wrong. As long as the temperature is above freezing tick bites are still possible. Some species of ticks, such as the American Dog Tick and the Lone Star Tick, go dormant in winter months. However, the Deer Tick—which transmits the most tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme, Babesiosis, and Ehrlichiosis—will survive the wintertime unless the temperature drops below freezing.

Even worse, ticks are notoriously small. Due to their life cycles, Deer Ticks are smallest in spring and summer, however, they are active as adults all the way from fall to spring. This means that ticks can, and do, transmit diseases year-round.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best ways to control ticks in your yard and avoid infectious diseases are either to create a tick-safe zone, or treat your yard with insect repellant or pesticide.

This includes:

  • Removing leaf litter from your yard and not letting leaves build-up
  • Clearing tall grass and brush around your house and at the edge of your lawn
  • Placing a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas
  • Mowing the lawn frequently
  • Stacking wood neatly and in a dry area (to discourage rodents that carry ticks and spread disease)
  • Keeping playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees
  • Discouraging unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences
  • Removing old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide

By following these tips you can keep your family safe all year-round. If you’d like to find out about having your yard treated for ticks so that your family can better enjoy it during the fall, call Organically Green Horticultural Service today.

Tick Control – Keeping your Family Safe

Tick Control

While summer may be winding down, fleas and ticks are still a problem for lovers of the outdoors all across the United States. Grassy and wooded areas are not only attractive places to take part in outdoor activities but also perfect tick habitats. The ticks that are most concerning and the ones you may want to focus your tick control on when it comes to tick-borne diseases are deer ticks and dog ticks. These ticks live off of blood meals from animals as small as mice and as big as deer. Dog ticks, in particular, are known for spreading Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, while deer ticks can spread a number of diseases including Lyme disease, babesiosis, Powassan, and others. Treating your dogs and cats for fleas and ticks can help to keep these parasites out of your home, which is a good place to start in making your home safe.

Tick Control Tips:

The tick population at this time of year is quite high, taking tick control actions are important. Since they’ve had all spring and summer to hatch and grow so it’s very important when going outside to ensure that you’re wearing either insect repellent clothing which has been treated with Permethrin, or a tick repellent spray with the active ingredient DEET. Permethrin kills ticks after only 30 seconds of exposure, while DEET repels ticks, but may not be as effective as Permethrin clothing.  Because ticks spend the early part of their life cycle as nymphs living in leaf litter on the ground, protecting your feet and ankles is particularly important in preventing tick bites. Permethrin treated socks are a great way to avoid contact with and begin killing ticks before they get the chance to feed on you. While ticks are not born as disease carriers, if a nymph feeds on an infected animal (generally a mouse or a deer), it becomes a carrier. The disease can then be spread to other humans and animals from the bite of the tick. Because seed ticks (newly hatched ticks) infest an area when they hatch, they are very likely to be able to get a blood meal quickly and to become vectors of disease which can endanger humans and other animals.

While we all want to prevent tick bites, sometimes spraying and even putting on socks is more effort than we’d like to expend. Having your yard regularly treated for ticks by a professional such as Organically Green Horticultural Services can help to ensure that you don’t end up as a meal when you’re outside having a barbeque or just playing with the kids.

Planting in August: What Plants to Choose

Planting in August

While many people think of spring as the perfect time for planting, what you may not realize is that the growing season extends well into the fall for much of the United States. Is planting in August the best time?

Plenty of vegetables and flowers thrive in the cool season, and planting during August is the best way to have a bountiful fall garden. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are three plants that do very well when their seedlings are transplanted outdoors in August. Make note that planting them from seed in August will not give them enough time to develop before the cold weather, so it’s best to start them from seed in June or to buy seedlings to plant in August. Kale and lettuce are two more cold-hardy plants, and should be planted in August. Moreover, carrots, beets, and spinach are great vegetables to grow in August.

August isn’t only a time for vegetables. Marigolds, Alyssum, and Snapdragons are great flowers to plant in August so you’ll have color in your yard through the fall. Pre-planted annuals can also add color to your yard and prepare the fall mood. You can also plant container-grown perennials in August and they’ll have a more bountiful spring.

Something to consider if planting in August is the coming spring. If you have iris plants August is the perfect time to divide and replant them so they have time to develop strong roots before the cold sets in. August is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as crocus, tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinth, as well as plant flowers like peonies.

With more than 8 weeks to go before the first frost, don’t discount August for planting! You’ll get more enjoyment and more produce out of your garden than you ever realized was possible.

 

 

Summertime Tree Maintenance: Caring for the Biggest Plants in your Yard

tree maintenanceMost people don’t consider trees for what they are, plants that occasionally need care. But in some seasons, particularly spring and summer, your trees can often use tree maintenance and a helping hand to keep themselves strong and healthy.

In the hot months of summertime, young trees, in particular, may need help maintaining moisture. Whereas mature trees may have an easier time in drought conditions,  a younger tree retains water to a lesser degree, and will likely need a good soaking at least once a week in very dry weather.

When it comes to specific tree maintenance such as tree pruning, while most trees and shrubs should be trimmed during the dormant season, there are a few that can and should be tamed during the summer months. Lilacs, and flowering trees, for example, should only be trimmed right after they bloom, so as not to remove the next year’s blossoms.

Summer is also prime storm season, and thunderstorms and hurricanes can cause more damage if there are dead branches on your trees, which, in some instances, can only be seen after all of the leaves have opened. Proper pruning means removing dead or diseased branches as soon as they are noticed, and will benefit the overall health of the tree. In addition to taking the time to remove dead branches, you’ll want to check to make sure that branches are not intertwined with utility lines. If this is the case, or if in routine pruning you find a very large branch that needs to be trimmed, you should call a professional such as Organically Green Horticultural Services who are licensed and insured and can safely remove oversized branches.

Another reason you may need to provide tree maintenance is in the case of pests. Pests and diseases such as bagworms, Japanese beetles and blight can cause tremendous damage to a tree, even to the point of killing it. Worse yet, they may spread to other, neighboring trees if not addressed properly. When encountering pests and disease, it’s often better to call a professional rather than try to handle the problem yourself. Chopping away at affected portions of the tree without a care for the natural form can leave you with a weakened tree that looks lopsided and unattractive. While most tree care can be handled yourself, it is sometimes worth it to hire a professional for the health and good looks of your little patch of forest.

 

Summer is Here and So Are The Mosquitoes

Mosquito BitesAs soon as the weather warms up in spring, mosquitoes and mosquito bites appear seemingly out of nowhere. Bothering people with their buzzing and biting, mosquitoes are an ever-present nuisance during the summer months. What causes those itchy welts they leave behind?

Mosquitoes start life in pools of standing water as small, wriggling larvae. Their larvae provide food to numerous species of aquatic life such a fish, turtles, and frogs. Of the larvae that survive to adulthood only the female mosquitoes bite, causing the itchy and scratchy immune system response you’re used to all summer long.

When a mosquito hones in on a blood vessel or vein (if they’re lucky) it will settle on you to begin feeding on your blood. As it feeds it injects its saliva into the vessel which acts as an anticoagulant, allowing blood to flow more freely. It is your body’s reaction to the saliva that makes mosquito bites itch. The allergic reactions to mosquito bites don’t always happen on the first bite of the season; our allergic reactions can get worse with more exposure, so the second or third bite may be what it takes to kick off your immune system response.

Don’t Give In To Mosquito Bites!

Scratching may make the itching of a mosquito bite worse due to an increase in the immune response to the affected area. Lucky for you, there are a few things you can do to help with the itch.

Some home remedies that work include applying heat, aloe, or honey to the affected area. The heat has been shown to reduce itching and inflammation, and both aloe and honey have anti-inflammatory properties. These treatments can be used on other insect bites and stings as well for pain and relief of itching.

In addition to being just plain annoying, mosquitoes can carry a number of dangerous and sometimes life-threatening diseases. In the United States, these include Yellow Fever, Encephalitis, and the West Nile Virus; so wearing insect repellant when outdoors is key. To ensure you’ll have a bug-free time, you can call a professional such as Organically Green Horticultural Services to treat your property. They offer treatments that are safe for your pets and your family and help ensure that you have a bite-free summer (at least in your own backyard).

The Danger of Tick Bites

tick bitesThe danger of tick bites – As the weather warms and you begin to spend more time outside,  insects of all kinds begin to show up, including biting insects such as ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “tickborne diseases increasingly threaten the health of people in the United States. The growing threat includes newly discovered disease-causing germs, an increasing number of reported tickborne illnesses, expanding geographic ranges for ticks, and a novel tick species found in the US”.

Here in New York, the most common types of ticks are the dog tick, the deer tick, and now the lone star tick. All three of these tick bites can transmit diseases including Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis/Ehrlichiosis, Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis (including Rocky Mountain spotted fever), Babesiosis, Tularemia, and Powassan Virus Disease, and it’s important to avoid being bitten. Recommendations to avoid tick bites include wearing long sleeves and long pants and avoiding grassy areas. However, in summer that can be difficult so using bug sprays or having your yard treated regularly can be a big help. There are organic treatments that are highly effective, such as those provided by Organically Green Horticultural Services. 

What To Do If You Are Bit:

If you are bitten by a tick it’s important to remove the tick as quickly as possible. The chance of the tick being able to transmit diseases is lower if you remove it within 24 hours. If you find a tick do not burn or smother it in Vaseline. Doing these things can actually make the tick embed itself deeper. Instead, clean the area around the bite carefully and then, using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Finally, slowly and firmly remove the tick. You may want to keep the tick in a bag in the freezer in case your doctor wants to look at it should symptoms arise from the tick bite.

Infectious disease from tick bites may or may not come with a variety of signs and symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms you should seek medical advice, particularly if you have frequented areas where ticks are common.

Symptoms of Disease Tick Bites include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Joint pain
  • The classic Bulls Eye rash
  • Red bump rash
  • Skin ulcers

For some, vector-borne diseases can be treated at home with antibiotics. There are cases where infections become severe and require hospitalization. While early recognition is the key to successful treatment, these illnesses can be hard to diagnose. If you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the above symptoms be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Spraying for Ticks: What You Need to Know

spraying for ticks

Here in New York 2019 is predicted to be the Year of the Tick. Between our warmer than average winter and the high populations of white-footed mice due to a banner acorn production season in late 2018, deer ticks are something you should be concerned about for your own health as well as those of your children and pets. Spraying for ticks can help keep you and your family safe during tick season.

Unfortunately, ticks don’t just stay outside. Once they hitch a ride on your clothing or your pet’s fur they can take up residence anywhere your clothes or your pets end up. Deer ticks can spread a number of both bacterial and viral diseases and parasites including Lyme, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis. In fact, deer and dog ticks can both spread rocky mountain spotted fever. So what kind of tick control measures can you take to help avoid these parasites? Here are a few tips to help keep you safe this summer.

Creating a Safe Space: 

There are certain steps you can take to reduce tick habitats in your yard, prior to spraying for ticks and make outdoor areas safer for your family. Creating a safe space from ticks means a little bit of effort, but you’ll reap the rewards all season long.

First, a cleanup! Make sure that you rake your yard, removing leaf litter and old mulch material from last season. These are places that ticks love to hide, as do mice and other creatures that carry ticks. Making your yard inhospitable to tick hosts means making it safer for you and your family.

Next, keep your grass trimmed. Ticks hitch a ride on people and pets by hanging out on tall grass and hedges and waiting for you to walk by and brush against them. If you keep bushes trimmed back and grass cut short you’re less likely to encounter them.

Do you have wooded areas on your property? Create a protective zone made of gravel or small wood chips to keep ticks from migrating into the lawn, and teach your kids to stay inside the lines! Make sure your playground equipment and any yard furniture is well within that zone. Fleas and ticks love to hide in cracks and crevices and, if you let them, they’ll take up residence in your chair cushions.

Use fencing to discourage wildlife from entering your property. They may seem cute, but they bring along ticks and often carry disease in their feces.

Treat Your Pets:

Dogs and cats should be treated with medications all summer long to repel fleas and ticks and prevent them from coming into your home. Tick-infested pets aren’t just gross; they’re also likely to contract a disease and can spread them to your family. Your pets will be happier without the constant scratching that comes from parasitic infections.

Your Best Bet:

Spraying for ticks with an insecticide with an active ingredient that is proven to kill ticks is your best bet to deal with fleas and ticks in your yard. There are many products on the market that contain a variety of different chemicals used to treat just that. The process is relatively simple; choose a spray, calculate the square footage you’ll need to cover and have at it.

The issue here is that the choices for tick pesticide on the market for private use all come with pros and cons, so be sure to do your research. Some may cause allergic reactions or health issues to sensitive people and pets, some may lose efficiency over time, and some may not get rid of all the pests you’re looking to control. You should definitely do your research before tackling the job on your own. Remember spraying for ticks only works where it covers, so you need to cover ALL of the surfaces of the plants surrounding your property—including high up where animals climb to be sure your yard is safe.

Another option is to have a professional perform a treatment on a regular schedule to keep your family and pets safe. Organically Green Horticultural Services will use natural flea and tick pesticide treatment for your entire yard that is people and pet-friendly and, most importantly, effective. So if you’d rather leave the treatments to the pros, give them a call today and save your energy for what summer is really for: enjoying your yard!