As the first day of summer approaches, your thoughts might turn to keeping your home cool. Is the air conditioner working? Should we finally build that pool? While you, and your family, should always be your first priority, your garden can suffer from the heat too! Hot weather can be equally hard on your plants and, just like us; they will need some special attention when the heat gets to be too much. Don’t sweat the details though, Organically Green Horticultural Services is here to help with some advice you can use to protect your plants on even the hottest of days.
When to Water?
Like humans, or any living organism, water is crucial when trying to beat the heat. It may be obvious that plants need water, but how much water they actually receive could vary based on when you water! Watering plants midday, when the weather is at its hottest, is inefficient. A lot of the water meant for the plants will evaporate in the hot sun before they reach the roots. Watering in the morning or early evening will maximize your water efficiency, meaning every drop reaches the roots as intended. You should try to water your lawn or garden in the morning or early evening two or three times a week. With the extended daylight it should be easier to plan a scheduled watering.
Don’t Drown Your Daisies
Exposure to the sun and heat will cause a plant to wilt. The wilting comes from a process called transpiration; when a plant releases moisture to protect itself from excessive heat. The leaves wilt to minimize the surface area exposed to the sun. Some may believe wilting is the result of under watering but you should be able to see the plants recover when the sun sets. If you attempt to water your garden or lawn more frequently to counteract the wilting you might end up overwatering. Overwatering can lead to fungal diseases or root rot which will rob the roots of the oxygen it needs.
A Mountain of Mulch
Applying a thick layer of mulch will help insulate a plant’s root system from both the heat and cold. If your garden experiences extreme temperatures, we suggest at least 4-6 inches of mulch. Straw, pine needles, glass clippings, or even leaves make an acceptable basis for mulch. Mulch can also keep the soil in your lawn or garden moist.
Throw Some Shade
Over exposure to the sun can be damaging to plants much in the way it is to humans. Instead of sunburn plants can suffer from “sun scald”, which is damage to a plant’s tissue caused by exposure to excessive sunlight.
If the temperatures reach the 90’s plants will start to simply focus on survival, meaning plants like eggplants or peppers will stop flowering.
Both these issues can be resolved by placing some shade over the plants during the hottest part of the day. A simple patio umbrella or a bed sheet will be enough to protect your plants, just make sure you have them covered.
A professional lawn care service knows the importance of proper fertilization to extend the lifespan of healthy trees. Fertilization will help ensure the correct nutrients are applied to allow a tree to reach maturity.
What is Fertilizer?
Fertilizer is any natural or chemical substance added to the soil to increase the parcel of the land’s health. Fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The exact ratio of these elements is based on what nutrients are lacking in the soil. A professional service will analyze the chemical balance of the soil surrounding the tree to find the best mix.
Why Fertilize Your Trees?
The amount of time between fertilization can vary greatly depending on the age of the tree. Young saplings actually require the least amount of attention, receiving only small applications. A newly planted or growing tree is delicate.
It stands to reason the older, and larger, a tree becomes the more nutrients the root system would need to thrive. Older trees growing in a more suburban area would not typically receive the nutrients they would were they in a forest. In a forest the leaves that fall in autumn and the decay of plants or animals provide a natural fertilizer. In lieu of the decay that occurs within nature, Organically Green Horticultural Services uses natural, safe fertilizers composed of organic products.
Why Fertilize Your Lawn with an Organic Fertilizer?
Organic fertilizer is composed of materials derived directly from plant and animal sources. Along with providing a plant’s primary nutrients, organic materials can improve the soil’s integrity by increasing its ability to hold water. Chemically processed fertilizers provide real danger to the health of your lawn by damaging the soil and plant roots with a toxic buildup of uranium, cadmium, and arsenic.
Synthetic fertilizer often leads to runoff. When excess nutrients from synthetic fertilizer are not absorbed into the soil they will pollute the nearest source of water. Pounds of nitrogen and oxygen molecules intended for the lawn will eventually find their way to rivers, lakes, or oceans. Incidental fertilizing of the nearby aquatic ecosystem will cause algae buildup, leaving “dead zones” in their wake. A “dead zone” is a body of water so heavily polluted that nothing can live. The water pollutants will also affect the aquatic wildlife, increasing the number of chemicals found in the fish we eat.
Chemically created fertilizers are becoming so damaging to the environment that many lawmakers, including those here on Long Island, are considering banning the use of synthetic fertilizers altogether. Senator Kemp Hannon of New York’s 6th district (R – Nassau County) and Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D – Setauket) have reached across the aisle, working together to submit a bill that aims to cease the chemical contamination of our ground and drinking water, “we don’t have to sacrifice the quality of our coastal waters to have a healthy lawn” Englebright states. (News12 Report on Possible Chemical Fertilizer Ban)
Regardless of the upcoming legislation, Organically Green Horticultural Services has always believed in providing environmentally friendly lawn care. Our services will keep your lawn looking great and protect your family from damaging pollutants.
Most of us on Long Island, the East End, in particular, are looking forward to enjoying the outdoors now that the warmer season is upon us. But along with the arrival of flowers and greenery in the garden come dreaded pests, including ticks and mosquitos. These critters are not only pesky, but they often carry serious diseases such as Zika virus, Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other tick-borne illnesses. There were over 600 reported cases of Lyme disease on Long Island alone last year.
The challenge becomes how to best deal with these intruders without causing harm to humans, pets, and the environment. The crew at Organically Green offers safe solutions to this dilemma – organic tick and tree spraying programs that repel pests yet are completely pure and harmless to all living things.
Organically Green is certified and abides by the organic methods recommended by the North-East Organic Farming Association (NOFA). They use non-toxic compounds that ward off ticks and mosquitos naturally; and are also designed to leave your lush landscape unaffected, preserving its beauty and hardiness.
Now, at the beginning of spring, is the perfect time to begin an organic insect control program. Adult deer ticks life lay their eggs in March and April. Managing the population from the beginning is imperative to pest containment.
Aside from pest prevention, here are some other useful tips for homeowners:
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Wear long pants and sleeves, and tuck in loose clothing
- Keep the lawn cut on the shorter side
- Use repellents (natural if possible) as directed
- Keep out of tall overgrown areas
- Conduct frequent clothing, head, and pet checks
- Drying clothing on the highest temperature setting for 10 minutes kills ticks
- Keep a tick collar on the family pet
Call us today to find out more about our organic insect control spraying service. Our expert staff will assess your property and recommend the most effective course of action. So go green this year, keep your garden’s ecosystem in check, and get ready to enjoy your beautiful outdoor space!
This has been a particularly cold and harsh winter. While we haven’t been buried in a ton of snow, the cold can also take its toll on even the heartiest of winter plants such as Rhododendrons, Hollies and Evergreens. These plants are designed to survive a harsh winter with their thick waxy coverings on their leaves. This coating is meant to prevent water loss, however during the winter months the ground and any available water is frozen, making it impossible for the plant to uptake.
What can make things worse is when plants are exposed to harsh winds or profuse sunlight the plant responds by releasing water from its leaves. This biological response combined with the unavailability of water results in winter burn, which can permanently damage your plants.
Luckily, there is a way you can prevent this damage. Anti-desiccants are products that can be applied to Evergreen trees and shrubs to help create a protective barrier that holds in moisture through the winter.
Which plants benefit from anti-desiccants?
- Broadleaf Evergreens such as Azalea, Boxwood, Holly, and Rhododendron.
- Conifers such as Arborvitae, Cedar, Cypress, Juniper, and Pine.
- Tender Stems such as Rose Canes and Hydrangea Stems.
While two applications in December and one in February is ideal, it isn’t too late to protect your plants from drying out. If you think your plants are drying out or you’re finding it difficult to keep them watered in this cold, contact the experts at Organically Green. We are able to help you protect your plants from the cold, pests, and other elements.
Winter is not even here yet and Long Island has had two snowfalls. While some people revel in a winter wonderland, snow and ice can have damaging effects on your trees and shrubs.
This year we had a very late fall—there are still some leaves hanging on to the trees. When you add snow and ice to the mix it can be very hazardous. The weight of the snow and ice on leaves can bring down branches much easier than if they were bare. The high winds of a Nor’easter combined with ice and snow can also bring down branches, even entire trees.
Old and sick trees are most likely to be negatively affected by the winter weather, but harsh enough weather can bring down almost any tree. Here are some steps you can take to mitigate the damage winter can bring.
If you look closely enough you can spot a potentially hazardous tree in your yard. If you notice any signs of damage or sickness it may be time to call in a professional to prune. Trimming potential problem branches in a controlled environment can prevent damage to your home or property. Careful pruning can also protect your tree from toppling over.
When a storm hits and you notice broken or weakened branches you shouldn’t wait to call a professional. If your area just received a light snowfall take the time to gently remove snow from branches before it freezes and adds extra weight. It is important to avoid shaking branches that are coated with snow and ice. The ice cover makes limbs brittle, and shaking a frail branch can do more harm than good. Additionally, knocking off the weight may cause the branch to “snap back,” potentially damaging the circulatory system. The best solution is to allow the branch to melt naturally.
Now is the time to take preventative measures to protect your trees from winter storms. However, sometimes the worst does happen. If you need emergency tree removal service you can count on Organically Green.
As the days get darker and the nights colder, we are reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. While the festive lights of the season bring warmth to many, when setting up your outdoor light displays you should take extra care of your trees and plants.
Here are some excellent tree and plant-friendly outdoor lighting tips for you to follow:
Before you start decorating make sure you do a thorough cleanup of your yard, taking extra care to remove leaves from the areas you plan on adding lights. Even though raking leaves is decidedly less exciting than decorating for the holidays, leaving the leaves on the lawn can create some unhealthy situations for your lawn. Compacted leaves can restrict water from reaching your lawn, harbor damaging molds, and serve as a haven for pests like ticks and mosquitoes come spring.
When you are done clearing leaves, check and clear your gutters and downspouts. This will help prevent damage from water freezes that can damage roofs and tear down guttering.
After you are done with clearing your yard, mark areas of new planting or sensitive areas so you don’t accidentally trample on them and cause damage.
Plug your lights into an outdoor rated extension cord, timer, or outlet. Not only does this conserve energy, it prevents overheating and damage to your trees and shrubs.
Take care to not wrap wires and string lights too tightly around living plants. You can damage the bark and the sensitive tissue beneath the bark. This can make your plants more vulnerable to pests, fungi, and disease.
Use only high-grade outdoor lights when you light up your yard. Indoor lights and cheap lights can be a fire hazard.
If you are worried about how holiday lights will affect your trees, shrubs, and plants, or are just too busy to set up holiday light displays the way you want, the Christmas light installation experts at Organically Green not only create beautiful outdoor light displays, they will also make sure your landscaping is kept safe and healthy during set up and take down.
It is already mid-October and we are still in the grips of summer it seems. While to many this may be a time to rejoice, there are some downsides to this warm fall (and not just to those who are eager to break out their fall boots and sweaters). The warm weather also extends the tick season.
Tick populations tend to explode in seasons following mild winters when long stretches of freezing temperatures are not able to help cull the population. Additionally, small animals and deer are more likely to survive a mild winter, creating the perfect mode of transportation for these disease-carrying pests to get into your yard and pose a threat to your family and pets.
The deer tick is known to transmit Lyme disease, as well as the Powassan virus, and other serious illnesses. To avoid tick bites, hunters and others who work or play outdoors need to continue being vigilant until freezing weather sets in.
Avoiding ticks is the first order of business. Ticks like to hang out in tall brush and grass; they also love to hitch rides on pets. Until real winter gets here, pets should be treated regularly with a systemic anti-tick product so they don’t bring deer ticks into the home. Talk to your vet about recommendations for treatments, and about getting your pets vaccinated against Lyme. Sadly, there is no human vaccine at the moment.
A good way to keep ticks away is to clear brush, weeds, and tall grass from the edges of your yard. If you spray for ticks, don’t stop in the summer, make sure you schedule regular sprayings until the first frost.
With hurricane season upon us, we need to start thinking seriously about the damage these storms can bring, especially on our trees and property. Some trees are more prone to storm damage than others. A shallow-rooted tree growing in soft soil, for instance, can easily topple onto a house or car. Roots can come up and damage walkways and foundations. Trees can take down power lines causing not only a nightmare for you, but your neighbors as well.
One way to prevent tree damage from a strong storm is to spot the signs a tree is at risk.
Some potential problems are easy to spot. These include:
• Cracks in the trunk or major limbs.
• Hollow and decayed trees.
• Trees that look one-sided or lean significantly.
• Branches hanging over the house near the roof.
• Limbs in contact with power lines.
• Mushrooms growing from the bark, indicating a decayed or weakened stem.
• V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones. V-shaped are more likely to split.
• Crossing branches that rub or interfere with one another.
Regular pruning can prevent many potential problems posed by a hurricane. Prompt removal of diseased, damaged, or dead plant parts helps to limit the spread of harmful insects and disease, as well as reduce the possibility of future tree damage from storms.
The experts at Organically Green can help you secure your trees during a storm and provide assistance in tree trimming and pruning before they cause damage or help you deal with fallen branches and trees.
Now that summer is starting to die down it’s time to think about getting that last bit of beach time and forget about ticks and mosquitoes, right? Not exactly. Ticks and mosquitoes are active throughout the summer and well into the fall. Cold weather will kill off a few species, but most mosquitoes will simply go dormant in cold weather.
Ticks and mosquitoes are usually the most active during this time, fattening up for breeding season. Lyme disease infections occur most often during the July–August months and can remain active well into Halloween.
As for female mosquitoes, they will deposit their eggs in damp soil, tree knotholes, and anywhere that spring rains will allow the eggs to hatch when the weather turns warm. Like ticks, cold will not kill mosquito eggs. Predation is their main enemy, but there are few bugs or other insects out during the winter—so few eggs will be eliminated.
A good way to keep tick and mosquito numbers down is to continue with your tree and yard spraying regimen. If you do not have one yet, now is as good as time as any to start.
By eliminating adult ticks and mosquitoes throughout the late summer and fall, you can reduce their numbers in your yard next spring and summer.
Trees are often known for their strength; however, even the strongest tree can be taken down by these tree killing pests. Here are just a few of the bugs that can destroy whole yards.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an insect native to East Asia, now infesting hemlock trees from New England to the Carolinas. The presence of white cottony/waxy tufts that cover their bodies can be found on the bark, foliage, and twigs of hemlock trees; this is a sure sign of infection. The adult is less than 2mm long and wide so the white tufts are what make the insect noticeable against the dark needles.
Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle from Asia that was first discovered in the United States in 2002. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. While the larvae cause the most damage to trees, the adult beetles will graze on the foliage of the ash tree causing some damage.
To prevent the spread of the borer, the transportation of potentially infested firewood or lumber from these areas is prohibited with large fines issued to violators.
Gypsy Moths emerge from their eggs in early spring through mid-May and immediately begin feasting on trees. Feeding continues until mid-June or early July when the caterpillar enters the pupal stage emerging, finally, as a moth. They prefer to munch on the leaves of deciduous hardwood trees such as maple, elm, and oak. As it grows it will also attack evergreens like pines and spruces.
Depending on the degree of infestation, tree damage ranges from light to almost complete defoliation. Most deciduous trees can survive a moderate degree of defoliation. Many can even survive one complete defoliation by the gypsy moth caterpillar. However, continuing attacks can fatally weaken a tree or leave it vulnerable to other insects or disease.
Forest Tent Caterpillar
The name Tent Caterpillar comes from the tent-like nest caterpillars build, usually in a fork of a tree out of silk they produce. After feeding, the caterpillars return to the nest. It does the most damage to a variety of trees that include; Maples, Cherry, Oak, Sweet Gum, and many other popular trees of the Northeast.