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Just When You Thought You Were Safe From Ticks

 

deer tick

As the weather gets cooler, summer pests like mosquitos and wasps begin to disappear and most people think that ticks also disappear along with the risk for disease transmission once there is a frost and the weather turns cooler, but they couldn’t be more wrong. While some species, like American dog tick and Lone Star tick, are not active in fall and winter months. Others, like the deer ticks can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing.

While mosquitoes and other pests either die or hibernate during the colder months. The adult stage deer tick actually begins its feeding activity about the time of first frost (or early October throughout its range), and it will latch onto any larger host (cat to human) any day that the temperature is near or above freezing. With temperatures often hovering above freezing for most of the winter this means the tick danger rarely goes away. If it’s warm enough to go outside, it’s warm enough for ticks!

Typically, the Lyme disease spirochete infection rate in adult female deer ticks is 40-60% in the eastern and mid-western portion of this tick’s range. So, even in the fall, it is important to check yourself and your pets daily for any attached ticks, and continue to take precautions like using clothing repellents on you and topical products on your pets.

Spraying for ticks early in the spring and late in the summer can help reduce their numbers and keep your family protected year round.

What to Plant in the Fall

What to Plant in the Fall

Pumpkin Spice is out and it’s getting cooler. Fall is officially on its way.  If you’re wondering what to plant in the fall, the answer is almost anything. Here are six plant types to put in the ground during the fall.

The cool Autumn air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. The soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes unlike in spring when plants have to wait for the ground to thaw.

The weather in fall also makes it a prime time for gardening, more sunshine days than in the rainy spring.

Pests and disease problems start to decline as it gets colder. You don’t need fertilizer, either. Fertilizer promotes new, tender growth that can be nipped by winter weather; stop fertilizing by late summer.

The window for fall planting ends about six weeks before your area gets hit with a hard frost, usually September or October. Here are some great plants that do well in the fall.

Spring Bulbs

All spring-blooming bulbs need a period of cold dormancy to bloom. Plant bulbs in fall to ensure a beautiful spring display.

Pansies

Pansies do very well in the autumn months. By planting in fall, you’ll get two seasons of enjoyment out of these cool-season favorites. Fall is the best time to plant pansies because the still-warm soil temperatures give their roots time to establish.

Cool-Season Vegetables

Many vegetables thrive in cool weather, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabaga, and spinach.

Give your fall vegetables time to grow, often fall-harvested crops should be planted in early August to give them enough time to mature, but by checking the expected time it takes for fall vegetables to reach maturity you can count back from the first expected frost to see if you have enough time to plant said veggies now.

Lettuce, spinach, and other greens with a short maturity time can be planted later in the season.  You can extend the growing season by planting them under floating row covers or cold frames that will shield plants from frost.

Tip: Many root crops taste sweeter when they’re harvested after frost.

Grass

Fall is the best time for lawn care. Grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass should be fertilized in early September and again in late October or early November to give a boost for earlier spring green-up.

Trees and Shrubs

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs because the soil is still warm enough for root development.  Keep newly planted trees or shrubs well watered until the ground freezes so they get a good start before going into full dormancy during winter.

Perennials

It’s fine to plant perennials in the fall, especially specimens with large root balls such as peonies, irises, and chrysanthemums.

Any fall-planted perennials should be carefully watered until the ground freezes to keep their roots healthy and strong.

 

IS YOUR YARD READY FOR HURRICANE SEASON?

 

HURRICANE SEASON

It is hurricane season yet again, and while meteorologists predict a relatively quiet season this year it is important you prepare your yard for the worst. Here are steps you can take to prep your yard for a serious storm to prevent damage to property and most importantly people.

Do Right Now (Before the Storm):

  • Cut back all trees and weak branches that make contact with your home.
  • Thin your foliage so wind can flow freely through branches, decreasing the chance that trees/plants will be uprooted.
  • Place tree trimmings at curb side on your regular scheduled collection day and follow the 6/40 rule (i.e., each pieces cannot not exceed 6 feet in length or 40 lbs. in weight) and must be clear of any obstructions.
  • Containerize your tree trimmings such as pine needles, leaves, twigs, etc. in plastic bags.
  • Clean your yard of any items that could become missiles in a storm such as broken lawn furniture, etc.

 

Once A Storm Warning Has Been Issued:

 

  • Do not cut down trees or do any major yard work.
  • Do not begin construction projects that produce debris.
  • Do not trim vegetation of any kind.  Municipalities will need all the collection vehicles at the ready to remove storm damage.
  • Do not place materials at the curb or take materials to the landfill or transfer facility during a Watch or Warning period. Services may be suspended and facilities closed early to prepare for the storm. Loose debris can cause more damage.

 

 

After The Storm

 

  • Be Patient. Following a storm a town’s top priority is the collection of household garbage. Uncollected garbage attracts pests and contributes to the spread of disease. Garbage should never be mixed with vegetation or storm debris, which can wait for pick up.
  • Please keep all household garbage, recycling, vegetation and storm debris separate!
  • Securely containerize all household garbage in plastic bags.
  • Never place any debris near or on a fence, mailbox, power line equipment, water hydrants, poles, transformers, downed wires, water meters, or storm drains. Hidden electrical hazards can injure or kill collection personnel.
  • Be careful of unlicensed contractors willing to do non emergency tree work in your yard. Many scam artists take deposits and never return to do the work. Only work with licensed professionals.
  • If you have an emergency such as a fallen tree on a home or powerlines call the electric company or town.
  • If you see fallen branches on electrical wires report it to the electric company. Do not try to remove yourself!

Tree Boring Insects: What You Need to Know

 

treeboring

Landscape trees burst to life in the spring, sprouting flowers in almost every color and young, tender leaves that soon expand to create puddles of shade on the lawn. But what does it mean when it’s mid summer and your trees look like it’s still early spring? You might have a problem with tree boring insects.

 

What are Tree Boring Insects?

Tree borers are a group of insects that lay their eggs on or inside of trees, where the young larvae eat their way through the wood of the trees. There are many types of tree boring insects, but the results are always the same. Tree borer insects cause affected parts of trees to slowly weaken as their chewing severs vital transport tissues. Over time, they may girdle trees or weaken branches making them a hazard of breaking off and damaging property.

The most obvious signs of tree borer insects are the tiny holes they cut into trunks, branches and stems. These holes may be perfectly round or slightly oblong, sometimes a sawdust-like material, called frass, falls on branches below these holes or forms a long cylinder as tree borer insects excavate tunnels.

 

What Happens When You Have An Infestation

Treatment for tree borers can be difficult if an infestation has already occurred. Prevention is key if your trees are unaffected, but tree borer insects are active nearby. Removing and replacing an infected tree is often the best way to prevent the problem from spreading to more trees in your yard.

For trees that are not infested, or have only a few noticeable holes, protection from borers make come by improving care. It may seem too easy, but borers are attracted to trees that are stressed and injured; pruning wounds, which are a common entry point for the first generation of invading borers, may keep new borers from entering.

In addition to pruning and removal of infected trees, adding mulch around your existing trees and providing them with supplemental water and fertilizer will help to fight off borers and heal from previous damage.

When to call an Arborist

fallentree

A mature tree can account for as much as 10% of your assessed property value, depending on your market, but sometimes a valuable tree uproots. It may seem like these things happen without warning, but your trees often tell you when there is a problem.

If you think your trees are changing, or you see any of the major warning signs above, they could be “hazard trees” — trees likely to fall and destroy what’s near them — like your house.

This is a good time to call a certified arborist.

An arborist can help save your tree, or let you know if it’s beyond help. For example, bacteria or bugs could be harming your tree, and an arborist’s inspection can diagnose which disease, trauma, or fungus is the culprit. An arborist also can determine if your tree is decaying internally, something that may not yet be obvious.

Aborists can either fix the problem, or calculate the risk of the tree falling and the likely objects it could damage. That calculation will help you decide if it’s worth spending money to keep the tree alive and upright, remove the tree, or just let nature take its course and topple the tree at will.

Inspect Your Trees

  • Inspect all sides of the tree, both up close and from a distance.
  • Check for cuts in or peeling bark.
  • Inspect the tree’s crown for dead wood and brown leaves.

Here are some examples for when you should call a certified arborist:

Leaning Trees

Trees usually don’t grow straight, and a little lean is normal. But when your tree starts looking like the Tower of Pisa because of poor weight distribution or anchor root damage, it’s likely unstable. This is a good time to call an arborist.

When to call an arborist

  • Cracked or heaving soil, especially on the side opposite the lean.
  • Exposed roots around the base of the tree.

Multiple Trunks

A tree with multiple trunks, or with splits in one trunk, can be unstable.

When to call an arborist:

  • V-shaped or U-shaped multiple trunks are weak points for mature trees. The connective wood where the trunks come together may lose strength — and be more likely to split — with age and when storms occur.
  • Cracks that extend deeply into or through the trunk.

Construction Damage

Construction is tough on trees. Installing a driveway, putting on an addition, and digging up utility lines puts nearby trees under stress. Construction can damage shallow feeder roots, starving and destabilizing the tree. Construction equipment can scrape tree bark, providing a gateway set for disease and infestation.

When to call an arborist:

  • Damaged bark
  • Reduced, smaller, or no foliage
  • Premature autumn color
  • Mushrooms, conks, and carpenter ants at the base of the tree are a sign of decay and rot.

Zika Tips

zika-virus-copy

Is Zika on your mind? We’ve got some helpful information.

According to the CDC, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and most recently in the Americas. Because the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will continue to spread. While many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus. To date, there have been no reports of Zika being spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. However, cases have been reported in travelers to the United States. With the recent outbreaks in the Americas, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase.

So what can you do to keep yourself safe from Zika this season?

The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. Making your yard a tough place for mosquitoes to breed is a great first step. Remove all pooling water from around your property, and use larvicide in standing water such as birdbaths. Our customers may also choose to contact us to have their property sprayed either on a planned treatment schedule, or only occasionally for specific events.

Going outside your yard this summer? Be sure to:

Protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.  Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

When you’re ready to start your mosquito, tick, or flea treatment plan for your yard, give us a call!

 

Zika Virus in New York

zika-virus-copy

There are a lot of dangerous infections that can be spread by mosquitoes, but currently, the Zika virus is causing serious concern up and down the East Coast.

According to the CDC Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with  symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

Commonly found in South America, the Zika virus has been moving it’s way up the United States and an alarming rate. While there only have been a few cases of Zika Virus in New York.  Mosquitoes carrying diseases like West Nile Virus and the Chikungunya virus are still common on Long Island.  Organically Green has been on the front lines of fighting the spread of these viruses through mosquito control and tree spraying. Only using family, pet and environmentally friendly pesticides, Organically Green can keep your home safe from mosquito borne illness this summer.

As a Proud sponsor of the Hamptons Classic Horse Show  this summer Organically Green is keeping spectators and horses safe by spraying the arborvitae at the Hamptons Classic to keep pests away from the showground.

 

Spring Garden Tips

As we see the last of the frost we need to start thinking about early spring planting. Here are some Spring garden tips:

 

Flowers

Pansies – Will withstand late seasons frosts. Prefer cool weather and tend to decline with the onset of warmer weather.

Roses – If necessary, transplant roses as soon as the ground can be worked in late March or early April. Bare-root roses should be planted immediately after purchase. If planting must be delayed, place the bare-root roses in a cool location, such as the garage or refrigerator until they can be planted.

Sunflowers can be started now in pots indoors or direct sown into garden borders.

Nasturtiums can be sown in pots and modules now. Wait until after all risk of frost has passed to plant in beds.

Finish sowing Petunia seeds under cover this month to ensure the plants reach a good size in time for the summer.

Plant marigolds now in warmth to brighten up your summer bedding.

 

Vegetables

Radishes – Spring radishes are a cool season crop. They can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in late March or early April. Most cultivars mature in 20 to 30 days.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage – Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are cool-season vegetables, which grow best in temperatures between 60 and 70 F. However, exposure to prolonged periods of temperatures below 50 F may cause problems.

Lettuce, Spinach, Collards, and Kale – Quality of these plants are reduced with the onset of hot weather due to seed heads and bitter taste.

Onions – Plant onion seeds, sets, and plants as soon as the ground can be worked in spring

Peas – Garden, snow, and snap peas should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in spring. The crop should be mature in approximately 60 to 70 days.

Carrots – Carrots can be sown from early spring to early August. For an early crop, sow seeds in early to mid-April.

Potatoes – Plant certified disease-free potatoes as soon as the ground can be worked in spring. Large potato tubers should be cut into pieces, each containing 1 or 2 growing points or “eyes”. Small potatoes may be planted whole.

 

How to Spot a Problem Tree

Emergency Tree Removal Long Island

 

Fallen trees can cause serious damage to property. Here are some tips to help you spot potential problematic trees that are at a greater risk for falling branches or even the entire tree itself.

 

Start from the Bottom

Check the tree’s base, take notice for hollow cavities or the presence of mushrooms could indicate a serious problem. Move on to checking the ground around the circumference under its canopy. Look for roots protruding up from the ground. Visible roots are not problematic in and of themselves, but if there’s other evidence to suggest that the tree is struggling, then protruding roots might mean that the tree is on the verge of toppling over.

 

Lightning

If you encounter a tree that’s missing a long streak of bark along its trunk, it was probably struck by lightning. Being composed mostly of water, trees are excellent conductors of electricity. When lightning hits the canopy, the bolt careens all the way day down to the roots, boiling sap in its wake and creating explosive steam. If there’s damage to one side of the trunk only, the tree might fully recover. But if bark’s missing on multiple sides, it’s likely that the tree isn’t going to survive.

 

Branch Inspection

Remove dead branches as they are the first to fall. On deciduous trees, dead branches either have no leaves or brown leaves in the spring/summer. With evergreen trees, look for brown needles and the absence of bark. If you successfully identify dead branches—and if those branches are easily accessible—go ahead and prune. Otherwise, call in a specialist.

 

Two-Trunk Trees

When trees have two or more trunks, be sure to look closely at the point where they meet. U-shaped connections between trunks are usually not a problem. A tight “V” shape, however, suggests a weak spot. If you’re worried about a particular tree, you can have a steel or elastic cable installed to keep it from splitting apart in high winds. But to be clear, this isn’t a project for the do-it-yourselfer; hire an experienced pro.

 

Call in the Pros

If any of the red flags discussed leave you uncertain about the health of a tree on your property, it’s best to call in a certified arborist. Besides having training and hard-earned knowledge, arborists also have specialized tools they can use to make sophisticated diagnoses far beyond the scope of this article.