Winter Landscapes

Our newsletter pertaining to Winter Landscapes.  There are 3 pages to this article and we hope you enjoy it!

Aeration and Bulbs

Ready to Fertilize? Round 2 – Post-Emergent Control and Fertilizer

If you want a healthy, robust lawn, fertilizing and weed control should not be once-a-year chores. Instead, several seasonal treatments can be adjusted to meet your turf’s changing nutritional needs throughout the year. Late spring is the ideal time for post-emergent weed control and fertilizer to nourish vigorous growth as the growing season really gets underway.

About Post-Emergent Weed Control

Weeds can germinate at any time, and a good post-emergent herbicide will help deter weeds even after they have sprouted. These herbicides work on actively growing weeds, and may be absorbed through the plant’s foliage, root system or both, depending on the formula and weed type. Post-emergents are most commonly used to control various broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions, clover, ragweed, chickweed, plantain and chicory.

Because these herbicides are most effective when weeds are actively growing, they are best used on young weeds in late spring, after pre-emergent formulas have already minimized how many weeds are popping up in the lawn. Post-emergents are ideal for spot treatments of individual weeds, but can also be used across your entire turf to kill any weeds that are just making their appearance. Older, more mature weeds may take several herbicide applications to completely kill.

Because post-emergent herbicides are available in both selective – kills only specific plants – and non-selective – kills all plants – formulas, it is critical to choose the right type. A non-selective formula will kill all the weeds, but will also kill your grass, shrubs, flowers, garden and anything else that may be growing. Selective formulas are safer for lawn use, but be sure that the specific formula you choose will be effective on the weeds you want to eliminate.

Both types of post-emergents are available as either liquid sprays or granular products, but whichever one you choose, read the application directions carefully and follow them meticulously to avoid any overuse that can harm your turf. Apply the chemicals at the proper time of day, and allow adequate drying time if needed. Some formulas may need watering-in, which can be done naturally if there is rainfall expected, or you may need to use sprinklers or manual watering to ensure effectiveness.

Spring Fertilizing

Controlling weeds in spring is of little use if your turf is thin and weak, because new weed seeds will simply take over after every herbicide treatment. It may seem counterintuitive, but you want to avoid heavily fertilizing your lawn in early spring – this is the period when roots are growing most actively, and most fertilizers are designed to “green up” your lawn and foster shoot growth instead. Improperly applied, spring fertilizers will instead take away from your root system and create a lawn that, while it looks healthy at first, has a weaker root system and will not withstand summer stresses.

In late spring, however, fertilizing can be very beneficial for your lawn. In mid- to late May or early June, your lawn will crave more nitrogen as its stored supplies are exhausted. Weed-and-feed combinations that include post-emergent herbicides as well as late spring fertilizing formulas are ideal. These blends will not only help combat unwanted weeds, but will give your lawn adequate nutrition for building up its strength against the heat, drought and heavy use that summer brings.

Everything is growing in spring, including the lawn you want and the weeds you don’t. With a post-emergent weed control application and appropriate late spring fertilization, you can keep weeds away and let your lawn thrive.

And hey…..if you just don’t have the time to drag out that old wobbly spreader out of your shed to perform your Round 2 application, then give us a call.  We would be more than happy to treat your lawn for you.

How Important Is It to Feed Trees and Shrubs – Really?

We tend to pamper our gardens, lavish care on flowerbeds, closely supervise containers and even be scrupulous with lawn care, but one of the most prominent parts of our landscape is often overlooked. Trees and shrubs of all sizes, shapes and cultivars also need proper feeding to stay strong and healthy. Spring is the ideal time to feed them a nourishing meal just as they need more energy and nutrients to grow lush buds, blossoms and foliage.

Why Trees and Shrubs Matter

Trees, shrubs and bushes are an important part of any landscape. They help define borders, create different levels of growth and form a living backdrop for more dramatic plants and flowers. Trees and shrubs also help serve as windbreaks and provide shade in the yard, creating microclimates for other plants to thrive. They are also important shelter for wildlife, including birds. These plants can be long-lived with very little maintenance, but proper feeding is essential to help them resist insects and diseases. Well-fed trees and shrubs will more easily reach their full growth potential, showing all their beauty for years of landscaping enhancement and enjoyment.

To Feed Your Trees and Shrubs

Different trees and shrubs – evergreens, conifers, flowering, fruit, berry,  etc. – all have different nutritional needs. For the best feeding, it is important to meet those specific needs, or else excess nutrients and minerals will go to waste. To feed your trees and shrubs properly…

  • Learn Your Plants
    Properly identify any trees or shrubs in your yard that you may not be sure about, and study their nutritional needs so you can provide the best food. Many plants have similar needs but may have specific requirements for better blossoming, larger fruits or broader leaves, and you can adjust the nutrition the plant receives to help it grow just as you want to see it.
  • Get a Soil Test
    You won’t know what nutrients your soil is already providing if you don’t have it tested. Trees and shrubs need adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and other minerals for strong growth, and a reputable test can help determine what your soil already has to offer your plants. When nutrients are noticeably missing, you can choose the right fertilizer and feeding regiment to replenish the soil.
  • Check Your Plant Growth
    Mature, well-established trees and shrubs may not need feeding every year if the soil is still richly nutritious. Check how much plants are growing, including how large and lush leaves, buds and blooms are. When growth seems much too slow or may be lacking altogether, it is time to give your trees and shrubs a good meal. Also note the conditions of your plants’ growth – very stressful years, such as after a hard winter or during a drought period, may require better feeding.
  • Determine the Best Food Type
    Not only should you choose a fertilizer that will meet the nutritional needs of your trees and shrubs with its chemical additives, but you want to choose a fertilizer that meets your needs as well. Even though some fertilizers may have the same nutrient composition, there are different formulas to choose from – quick- or slow-release fertilizers, liquid compounds, feeding spikes, pellets and more. Read usage instructions for each one and choose a fertilizer you feel confident applying correctly.
  • Apply the Fertilizer Properly
    Your trees and shrubs won’t eat well if you don’t feed them properly. Follow the fertilizer’s instructions meticulously in terms of when it should be applied, whether watering is necessary, amounts to spread on different ground sizes, etc. The best way to feed your trees and shrubs will vary depending on the plants’ size, age and general health, as well as your local climate and moisture levels. Make adjustments as necessary to help the fertilizer do its best work.

After the Meal

Just feeding your trees and shrubs isn’t quite enough to be sure they are as healthy and thriving as possible. Continue giving them the best possible care with appropriate pruning, a proper watering schedule, staking young saplings against strong winds and mulching plants to preserve water and discourage weeds. Along with the right nutrition, these steps will make sure every tree, shrub and bush in your landscape looks its very best.

How Do I Control Crabgrass?

ControllingCrabgrassFlickrMattLavin

As part of your lawn care schedule, you may need to take steps to control crabgrass in your yard. It can take several years to manage the problem since seeds can stay dormant for several years before germination, so the best time to start the battle is now.

Begin With Hand Removal

If you only see a few crabgrass plants, you can try to remove each one by hand. Aim to do this before the seed heads form and make the problem worse. Larger crabgrass populations may need a chemical control.

Use a Pre-Emergent Herbicide

One of the best ways to control crabgrass is to use a pre-emergent herbicide twice in the growing season. These compounds are able to kill any seeds that have recently sprouted , so the crabgrass never gets a chance to take hold. This is important because each plant produces thousands of seeds

Begin with a round in spring to catch as many of the seeds as possible. Follow up with another session right before summer to catch any that have started growing since the last treatment.

If you find some persistent plants that have still managed to grow, you can use a post-emergent herbicide that specifically mentions crabgrass on the label. Some herbicides affect all grassy plants, so your lawn grass can be affected as well. You want to especially avoid compounds like glyphosate (Roundup) since they are designed to kill any kind of plant present.

A word of warning: Do NOT use a pre-emergent herbicide at the same time that you plant grass seeds. Since it is tied to germination, your desired lawn will not sprout either. Plan these events to be several months apart so the grass will grow, but you still stop the crabgrass as much as possible.

Keep Your Lawn Happy and Healthy

If your lawn is lush and growing well, it is less likely that crabgrass will be able to compete and become established. Make sure you are doing your yearly maintenance tasks like aeration, fertilization and any reseeding needed.

Image by Matt Lavin under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Choosing Plants for Your Garden

ChoosingPlantsFlickrtracie7779

Spring is right around the corner and you may have already started planning for new landscape improvements. It’s tempting to run down to your local garden center and buy any plant that catches your eye, but you must resist that urge and do your homework. Choosing plants for your garden requires attention to the conditions present in your yard.

USDA Zones

The USDA produces a map that divides locations into hardiness zones based on the average minimum low temperature each year, with 1 being the coldest and 13 the warmest. For example, Yonkers, NY is rated as USDA Zone 7a.

Each plant has a general range of zones where is it most likely to be successful. While this is not an absolute guarantee (microclimates and other factors can affect its chances in your own garden), choosing a plant that is meant for your zone helps its possibility of survival.

Plant Life Span

Think about how much work you want to do in your garden and whether you want it to change yearly.  Annuals grow for one season, then die. Biennials last two growing seasons before the end. Perennials, trees and shrubs usually live for many years. Some people like cheery annuals like pansies that brighten up your garden, but need to be replanted yearly. Perennials last longer, but may need pruning to spruce them up.

Size

When you are shopping, make sure you look at the tags to see what the expected size will be at maturity. It is easy enough to forget and buy a plant that looks like it will work in your space based on the container size at the garden center, but turns out to spread farther than desirable over the years. You don’t want to have an imbalance where front plants tower over rear ones (thus hiding them) or end up with your plants becoming crowded from improper spacing

Planting Site Conditions

Plants do not all have the same preferences and needs. Look at the tag and see the sunlight requirements. Ask a garden center associate if your site has special needs. For example, clay soil, places that tend to be wet or acidity all require specific species that are able to tolerate those conditions.

Ensure Fruit Pollination

If you are trying to grow fruit in your yard, make sure you have enough plants available for cross-pollination. Some species are able to fertilize themselves, but many need a different cultivar (cultivated variety – think Golden Delicious and Fuji for applies) nearby. If you only have one plant, you may not get any fruit at all.

Choosing plants for your garden carefully will help you get the best possible look for your landscape and make it easier for them to grow properly. If you would like assistance in planning out your garden this year, don’t hesitate to call.

Image by tracie7779 under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Planning for Landscape Improvements

A landscape plan can help you improve your garden successfully

Is your garden ready for an update? When you are planning for landscape improvements, take the time to research your options and carefully consider any new plants or other garden features that you want to add. This can help you optimize costs, pick the best options and avoid problems in the future

Think About Your Needs

Why do you want to make changes to your landscape? How much do you want to spend? Perhaps you now have kids and would like to add a playground. You may want a garden that attracts hummingbirds, or one that provides fruits and vegetables. Write down a list of possible additions for your garden. Look at the costs for different options.

Create a Landscape Plan

Sketch out at least a basic layout of your yard. Note where there are currently plants, concrete, and any other features. If you are adding plants, research some different possibilities to make sure they will grow in your garden. Use the mature size when calculating where you can place them.

Need a Helping Hand?

If you are not sure about the best options for your garden, you may want to call in a professional for assistance. They can help you lay out a plan for your landscape improvements and even install it for you.

Image by Landscape Design Advisor via Flickr Creative Commons

Contract or No Contract?

Signing a contract

You’ve done your homework and selected a landscaping company to come and do work at your house. They had great reviews, beautiful examples in their portfolio and seemed to understand what you wanted done to your garden. Since you clicked so well, do you really need to have a contract?

Expectations Are Laid Out

Have you ever played the game Telephone? Spoken messages can become distorted and we tend to forget parts or transform it into what we think we heard. A written contract solidifies what each side is expected to do and when. You won’t have to wonder if your landscaper remembers that you really wanted petunias or that you don’t want a fountain. They won’t have to hope you know when to pay them and how much.

Peace of Mind

In a perfect world, a contract would not be needed. Both parties would fulfill all of their obligations without fail.  We know, of course, that this is far from the case. Unexpected things can happen even with the best of companies and clients. A contract will help protect you just in case things cannot be resolved and you need to meet with a mediator or go to small claims court.

Always Have a Contract

When you hire someone to beautify your landscape, always sign a contract clearly stating what you would like them to do. If they refuse to do one, move along. Professional landscaping companies will always want to have one written up to protect both of you.

Image by danmoyle via Flickr Creative Commons

Hiring a Landscape Professional

Perhaps you’ve been daydreaming of renovating your garden this spring once the cold snowy days are over. Is hiring a landscape professional to do it for you worth it?

The answer is a resounding yes!Paver-patio

When you hire a landscaping company, you get the benefit of their years of experience in creating and caring for yards. They know the plants that grow the best locally, the best way to mow a lawn and how to get rid of those pesky pests. They have trained in safe methods and have the proper tools to help make your garden flourish.

Curb appeal can be yours….

images-14

A landscape professional can also help your add value to your home. A properly maintained landscape provides beauty and “curb appeal” to the neighborhood. Your house becomes worth more since it has an attractive exterior. Trees and shrubs can also be especially beneficial since they reduce energy costs, can provide edible fruit and live for a long time.

This is especially important when you are thinking about selling your place.Think about it from a buyer’s perspective…if you drive up to check out a prospective house, your first impression is the front yard. If it’s unimpressive or unkempt, it will color the whole experience. You can hire someone to improve your curb appeal

 Finding the Right Professional Is Key

When you are checking out potential landscaping companies, look for their credentials. They should hold the proper licenses and insurance for your area.  Other good signs include national accreditations and memberships in trade organizations. Ask to see a portfolio with examples of their work so you can assess whether they can provide the level of care and style you are wanting. Look for reviews on the Internet.

Ready? Call Us Today!

We here at Emil Yedowitz Landscaping and Irrigation Solutions would love to help you transform and maintain your garden. Contact us now to get started!

Late Fall Fertilizer

Yes, it’s getting chilly out there and YES It is time to apply your final application of fertilizer to your lawn!  If you think it’s too cold to fertilize your lawn….think again.

Fall Fertilizer

Here are the many benefits to a late fall, early winter fertilizer:

  1. The grass plants will have better color going into the winter months
  2. And, the grass plants will green up earlier in the spring
  3. The grass plant foliage will be much denser going into the winter
  4. The grass plants roots will grow deeper and denser
  5. and the grass plants energy reserve will be increased going into the winter.

So break out the spreader and break open a bag of fertilizer and spread away!