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Prepare Your Property for Spring

prepare your property for spring

Believe it or not, spring is coming, and it’ll be here sooner than you think. For some, you’ll want to prepare your property for those real estate hunters by boosting curb appeal; for others, you just want to make sure that your garden looks its best once the blooms appear. Whatever your reason, a bit of effort in advance can give you big results later. So let’s talk about some things you can do now to get that showy summer look.

Start to Prepare Your Property for Spring, Even in the Winter

If you step outside and look at your yard you’ll likely see a post-winter mess, but you may not realize that one of the biggest contributors to that messy look is the edging on your garden beds. Neat beds not only make mulching easier but they give your yard an instant facelift. To help your yard look its best you should make fresh, sharp cuts and clear out the accumulated dirt, leaves, and old mulch that has collected there. This is the perfect task to start on nice, late winter days because you don’t have to wait for plants to bloom and it can take quite a while to complete. If you’d prefer to avoid dealing with edging altogether then creating raised beds will eliminate that task.

Weeding is something you can do almost year-round, but once the cold weather comes to an end weeds are often the first plants to wake up.

After a spring rain is the best time to weed because the ground will be softer and more capable of releasing the roots. You shouldn’t wait with weeds, pull them up as soon as you see them and keep checking for them all season long!

When the risk of frost is over it’s time to smell the roses, or at least get ready for that. Regardless of the type of roses, you should prune them back before the new shoots reach half an inch long. You’ll want to take off dead and rubbing stems or stems that ruin the shape you’re going for once the season starts. On Long Island, late March is a safe time to prune your roses.

Roses won’t be the only plants in your yard that need pruning. Before your plants put out new shoots you should remove old, dead stems from your perennials. If new shoots have already appeared just be extra careful not to damage them. Don’t pull stems, cut them with gardening shears or hand pruners. Yanking stems can cause damage to tender new shoots. Ornamental grasses that have not been cut in the fall should be topped.

Before new growth appears you’ll also want to remove old, dead stems from perennial plants. Don’t yank stems as that can damage new growth, use gardening shears or hand pruners to cut the death growth away.

For ornamental grasses, you can use a hedge trimmer. Be sure to cut off old, dead tops before the new leaves emerge.

Last but not least, you should feed your garden! Your plants will be hungry after a long, cold winter so mixing fertilizer into the soil is a great idea. Don’t forget to soak it into the soil so that it’ll get down to their roots where it does the most good.

Putting in some effort early in the season can make a big impact when spring finally comes. It can take some doing, but the results are worth it. If you’re thinking that you’d rather have a professional handle all of this, give Organically Green a call! Or complete our contact form! They’ll schedule an appointment to take care of all of your landscaping needs, and they can handle what needs to be done before, during, and after the growing season! You

Snow and Ice Removal Tips from Organically Green

The cold weather is indeed here already, but fortunately for Long Island, the snow hasn’t arrived just yet. Waking up to a blizzard or 2 feet of snow on the ground used to be magical as a child but as we mature snow days and snowmen are replaced by fears of slipping on ice and unbearable commutes. The exchange doesn’t quite seem fair, but few things are. Snow might not feel as fun as it used to, but as responsible adults, it is essential to prepare for the snow and ice that inevitably arrives every year. Organically Green Horticultural Services wants to provide you with a couple of tips we’ve learned along the way to make snow and ice removal a little easier. For answers to your specific questions and help to ensure you are prepared this winter, contact us at (631) 467-7999 or use our contact form.

Snow and Ice Removal Tips:

Tip #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

When shrubs become loaded down with snow, your first instinct might be to shake the plant to remove the snow pushing down upon the branches. However, shaking a shrub to remove the snow can cause damage to the tree limbs. Evergreen branches are especially vulnerable to breakage because their foliage remains on the branches throughout winter. Gently brushing the snow off is your best option.

Tip #2

 

 

 

 

 

If a large tree limb breaks due to the weight of the ice or snow, Organically Green Horticultural Services recommends removing the broken limb as soon as possible. Hanging branches are a danger to you, your family, and pedestrians—depending on the tree’s location. Having a professional horticultural service tend to the broken branches can aid the tree’s recovery as clean edges provide an easier path to healing than ragged tears.

Tip #3

 

 

 

 

 

Snow blowers have certainly made life easier on our backs and our psyches as waking up to see 2 feet of snow isn’t as daunting as it once was. While it may be tempting to bring out the snow blower for a few inches, we recommend using it when there are at least 10 inches on the ground. The blades may become damaged if the snow is not deep enough.

For some of us, winter becomes a little harder with each passing year. Organically Green Horticultural Services wants to help you make the best of the winter weather. Stay warm, protect your plants, and if the snow gets terrible maybe stay home and build a snowman! For more information or to contact a representative, please call (631)467-7999 or use our contact form.

Protect Your Plants from Winter with Anti-Desiccant Spray

Anti-desiccant Spray can protect your plants from winter

Evergreens are a focal point for your winter landscape. Their beautiful green branches coated with snow are the picture of seasonal perfection. While they may look invulnerable maintaining their looks against the elements, they do face one issue during winter and, surprisingly, it’s not the cold. Winter weather, particularly on Long Island, can be very dry, which is the reason you develop dry, flaky skin. And in much the same way as you need lotion to help keep moisture in, evergreens need something called anti-desiccant spray to help keep them from experiencing “winter burn” which is caused when trees and hedges lose too much of their vital fluids in harsh winter weather. While dry skin can make you itchy and miserable, drying out can actually kill your evergreens.

In winter when the ground is frozen your evergreens cannot draw water up through their roots because the groundwater is frozen. This isn’t a problem for deciduous trees like oaks and maples, because they shed their leaves and therefore do not have surface area through which to lose water. Because evergreens retain their leaves through the winter, they can suffer desiccation injury when the water loss through their needles is greater than the water they can take up through their roots from the frozen ground. Keeping water in the leaves of these trees and shrubs is vital to prevent winter desiccation, and that’s where anti-desiccants come in.

What kinds of plants need anti-desiccant spray?

While most evergreens can benefit from an anti-desiccant treatment, there are a few that are more prone to winter injury than others. Arborvitae, cedar, cypress, juniper, and pine are some of the evergreens that need help handling the winter weather. Broadleaf evergreens such as azalea, boxwood, holly, and rhododendron are also great candidates for anti-desiccant treatment. Even shrubs with tender stems, such as roses and hydrangea, can benefit from treatment. One word of warning before we get to treatment, make sure that you do NOT spray waxy-blue conifers such as blue spruce because they have a natural coating of wax and you want to avoid damaging them as they have evolved to protect themselves.

How to apply anti-desiccant spray

The first thing to consider when applying anti-desiccants is the weather. You’ll want to wait for a dry day in the 40s through the 50s, and you’ll want to make sure that there won’t be any rain for a few days after application. It’s important that your trees and shrubs are completely dry when applying the spray and after application; the spray needs time to dry, so you will want to ensure a day or two before rain is due.

Spraying should not happen too early. It’s important to wait until at least December before applying anti-desiccant spray. Trees need to be completely dormant before spraying. This means that their water has been moving down to the roots from the leaves. Usually, it takes at least a few periods of freezing weather for this to happen, so December is a good time to apply your treatment. Applying too early can result in water becoming trapped in the leaves, which can burst plant cells as the leaves freeze in colder weather.

Because plants lose water from both the top and the bottom of their leaves, you will need to make sure you completely coat all surfaces of your trees and hedges.

Anti-desiccants are available in most home improvement stores with names like Wilt-Pruf and Wilt Stop. It is extremely important to follow the label instructions exactly, or you can damage your plants.

If you decide that you’d rather have a professional do the work for you, schedule an appointment with an experienced company such as Organically Green. They have a number of treatments for trees and shrubs for any time of year that can keep them looking green and healthy all spring and summer long. Their anti-desiccant sprays are safe for your family and pets and will protect your trees throughout the cold weather months. So if you’d prefer to let professionals protect your trees instead of doing it on your own, give them a call, or visit them on the web.

Winter Spray. When Do I Start?

Winter can be harsh on your yard, a winter spray can help your yard bounce back quicker!

Winter can be harsh on your yard, a winter spray can help your yard bounce back quicker!

Were your plants looking ragged this year? Whether it be from pests, disease, or insects, shrubs and trees can benefit from dormant spray treatments scheduled throughout the year. Organically Green will utilize a dormant winter spray to help prevent damage from these problems before it becomes an issue for your plants.

Horticultural oils often made from seeds, such as Neem oil, are able to smother hibernating insects like aphids, scale, thrips, and mites. It also prevents their eggs from hatching.

Plants such as roses and fruiting trees may benefit from controlling and preventing these pests. They produce more flowers and fruit if not under the stress that fighting off disease and pests causes.

Dormant sprays are available for application at any time throughout the year. Whereas dormant oil sprays used as a preventative measure for spring should be applied once the growing season is over. Be sure to apply before the temperatures drop below 40 degrees. To fully control pests year-round, a regular series of spray treatments should be scheduled.

Finally, to aid the spray in doing its work, it is important to do a thorough fall cleanup. Rid yourself of fallen leaves and twigs that may harbor insects and their eggs, or fungal spores. Ignoring this step can result in these pests gaining a fast stronghold as soon as temperatures rise again. Pests and fungus could spread to other plants throughout the winter as storms move debris around your property.

Call Organically Green at (631) 467-7999 for assistance or more information about winter sprays. Organically Green uses only safe, organic materials to protect the health of you and your family!

When is the best time for tree trimming outdoors?

Most people know that tree trimming is an important part of yard maintenance; but they’re not sure exactly when, or how, to do it.

You should trim trees (and shrubs!) regularly to help maintain their look as well as their health. Additionally, regular tree trimming can help prevent problems during storms, as weak or dead limbs can fall off and cause damage to your home, property, or even people.

It is best to call a tree trimming company for any high or large branches; these tasks can be dangerous if done improperly, and may even lead to the death of the tree. Companies like Organically Green keep arborists on staff. They can consult with you regarding the safety of pruning larger sections. As well as discuss how it may affect the health of the tree.

While pros are best for bigger jobs, there are tree care tasks that can be done without help, so long as they’re done according to the proper schedule.

Pine Trees

For conifers (pine trees) and non-blooming trees and shrubs pruning in late winter while fully dormant is best. While you can prune them during other seasons, it is safest for the tree to prune in winter.

For trees and shrubs that bloom in summer, you will want to prune them in late winter—whereas trees and shrubs that bloom in spring should be only during the time immediately following their bloom. Otherwise, you risk losing buds they are setting for the next year.

Trimming small branches, or any shaping tasks can be year-round activities. For those of us on Long Island, early spring –before hurricane season– and late fall before winter storm season are important times to remove weakened branches; otherwise, the tree can be in serious trouble.

For more information please contact Organically Green Horticultural Services at 631.467.7999 or visit our website organicallygreen.org!

What Causes a Tick Infestation In My Yard?

Ticks can certainly be a pain in the short-term and long

Many people have noticed that the tick population in wooded and grassy areas of Long Island has exploded, leaving residents to wonder why this is happening.

It all starts with the trees.

In addition to ticks, you may have noticed that nuts and acorns seem to be more numerous than usual. While they’re a pain for us when we step on them in bare feet—or when they fall onto and dent our cars—for squirrels, mice, rats, and other small mammals they’re a windfall. Unfortunately, that’s also great news for ticks.

While most people think of deer as the main source of disease-carrying ticks, small rodents are often a big contributor. And while high fences can sometimes keep deer out of your yard, whether you have tall grass or a perfectly maintained yard, squirrels and mice can always find a way to get onto your property. These small animals carry ticks that can spread disease and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more tick-borne illnesses in New York since 2004 than in almost any other state in the U.S.

Due to the dangers of disease, most people want to keep their family safe from ticks; but for a lot of our customers how to get rid of ticks in the yard naturally is another concern.

What many people may not realize is that there are organic options for tick spraying that are not only safe but also effective. Organically Green offers a spray that is safe for your family and pets, as well as for beneficial insects such as bees. This is important because bees are necessary for your summer gardens to bloom and for fruits and vegetables to grow.

We recommend spraying every 6-8 weeks from early spring to late fall, as ticks remain active all the way through the first hard freeze. Calling to arrange a spraying schedule sooner, rather than later, is the best way to keep your family and pets safe from ticks and the diseases they carry.

How Tree Trimming Can Help To Keep You Safe In A Storm

Safe In A Storm

Long or dead branches hanging over your home can cause real damage! Be sure to get a trimming!

Throughout the spring and summer months, when you’re outside more, you may notice that your trees need a trim. A few of the reasons you may want to trim your trees include keeping leaves off the roof and out of the pool, opening the canopy for gardening, or even getting more sun to your solar panels. But another very important reason to consider trimming your trees is to prepare your property for storms.

Young trees have trouble in storms because they have not had the time to develop a strong root system, additionally, newly planted larger trees will have the same issues.

Trees with lots of branches and twigs, particularly weeping varieties, can be victim to a “sail effect” which can help blow trees right out of the ground. Additionally, lopsided trees, where most of the weight leans to one side or the other are also prone to storm damage.

The best thing to do if you have these issues is to contact a professional arborist. An arborist is someone who has been trained to understand exactly what specific species of trees can withstand in regards to pruning. They will ensure that your trees will be able to continue to grow.

Another reason to call an arborist is if your tree limbs lean over your roof, or are near or touching power lines. Both of these situations present a great danger in not only wind and rain but also in snow storms when the weight of ice and snow can cause them to snap, not only knocking out your power but also possibly damaging your house.

Damaged branches can also be more dangerous than people think. After a storm, people tend to assume that trees which are still standing are safe, and will attempt to clean up their yards. However, storms can weaken tree limbs and branches and on occasion, can fall later, during the cleanup process, endangering people, animals, and vehicles.

Electric service that is disrupted by downed lines can sometimes take quite a while to restore, so preparing by calling to have a good tree pruning is a smart preventative measure.

Organically Green Horticultural Service helps to keep trees all across Long Island healthy, and ready, no matter what the season may bring. From Hurricanes to nor’easters. If you haven’t prepared your yard for storm season, give us a call today.

Why do Mushrooms Appear in my Yard?

mushrooms in your lawn

Mushrooms Growing

Why do Mushrooms Appear on my Lawn?

We have been experiencing some torrential downpours lately; I am guessing you’ve noticed. At night you’re watching the rainfall from the safety of your home, glad to have a roof. The next morning you go outside to fetch your newspaper and notice random patches of mushrooms. The mushrooms appear near trees, gardens, everywhere really.

Mushrooms are the reproductive part of fungi. They appear in numerous shapes when fruiting out of the soil for exposure. The rounded, umbrella mushrooms are the most common shape. They will begin to appear on your lawn after a heavy rainfall or irrigation.

Fungi can survive in soil for years; to decrease the growth of mushrooms you can allow more sunlight onto the lawn, dethatch your lawn, or give your lawn better aeration. Many of these things are best being taken care of by a professional landscaping service like Organically Green Horticultural Services. We recommend calling as soon as possible because left unattended mature mushrooms will spread spores to reproduce. Spores travel through the air to germinate and will land in seemingly random places and will continue to spread. We do not recommend raking or mowing the mushrooms as it may help them spread quicker and reach further areas.

You should know that while you find the appearance of these mushrooms to be unsightly, they are actually a great indicator that your lawn has healthy soil, rich in organic matter.

There are Benefits to Having Mushrooms on My Lawn?

Mushrooms are, surprisingly, beneficial to your lawn. The mushrooms can break down and decompose into organic matter, releasing helpful nutrients into your yard.

There are various types of organic matter that can be used to fertilize your lawn; many of which are much more visually appealing that wild mushrooms growing in your yard. So, while the mushrooms may not be the end of the world, we do recommend removing them from your yard before they spread.

Organically Green Horticultural Services is here to make your lawn looks amazing using only organic, healthy materials. Contact your closest office 631.726.0505 for Watermill or 631.467.7999 for Port Jefferson.

How to Attract Birds To Your Yard!

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Gardens can be visually stunning and—if you are using the right plants—will provide a wonderful bouquet; they can create lovely arrangements for your home and emit a welcoming scent! Sitting outside, surrounded by nature you might feel like something is missing: birds!

Birds can provide a variety of benefits to your yard and a natural soundtrack to the outdoors with their songs. Birds can help with the pollination of certain plants by spreading the plant’s nectar. Birds like sparrows or finches can eat the seeds from various weeds and actually limit the propagation of unwanted plants. Swallows can be especially beneficial to you and your garden; they love to eat the insects that can plague your yard.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can use to help attract birds to your yard. Let your professional landscaping architect at Organically Green Horticultural Services know if you intend on making your yard more attractive to local birds.

One of the most obvious ways to attract birds would be to plant vegetation that is native to your area.  Using native plants will provide a familiar and trusted source of nourishment. The east end of Long Island provides fertile soil for a variety of plants, which is great news because the more varied your garden, the more variety of birds you could attract.

Growing a variety of native vegetation with differing heights, density, and periods of flowering will attract a diverse set of birds. Planting earlier in the spring, when plants begin to bloom, will draw in birds that are attracted to nectar or insects. Planting later in the year will give birds the nuts and fruits they need for nourishment. Some species of birds prefer to forage on the ground for food, while some will search low shrubbery for food sources. Even evergreen trees can be used to provide a shelter for birds during the colder winter months.

Our use of natural and organic fertilizer will not harm the birds that find refuge in your yard. Making your home more habitable for birds can also limit the number of insects in your yard, meaning you can minimize your pesticide use. Lessening the use of pesticides will make your lawn safer for your pets and your family!

Birdhouses, birdbaths, and feeders can make your home more attractive to birds as well. The experts here at Organically Green Horticultural Services can make your home more attractive and safe for you and birds. Give us a call today at (631) 467-7999 to see what we can do for you!

Help Your Plants Beat The Heat

beat the heat

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.