What Are Those Bags Hanging In My Trees?
It usually starts in spring. One day, you’ll go outside and suddenly you’ll notice large, grey bags made of thick webbing hanging in your trees. If you’re lucky, it’s just one, but sometimes it’ll be dozens spread across your yard. If you look closely, you’ll see hundreds of wriggling caterpillars inside, just waiting to get out. They’re bagworms, and they can destroy your trees in a single season.
What exactly are bagworms? Bagworms are actually not worms, rather, they are caterpillars which will eventually grow into a moth. A female bagworm moth can lay up to a thousand eggs into the bag she has created. The eggs will remain in the bag until they hatch until they hatch into caterpillars. After hatching, they will escape the bag, and begin eating anything they come across. On a windy day, the caterpillars can be blown to other trees and shrubs, which can spread the infestation. Eventually, they will grow into moths. Female bagworm moths cannot fly. They stay in place and weave a bag for the next generation, and males fly off to help spread the infestation.
Bagworms are ravenous eaters and can destroy trees, bushes, flowers and even gardens. They eat almost any arborvitae but will also eat maple, boxelder, willow, black locust, poplar, oak, apple, cherry, persimmon and just about anything with green leafy leaves. While a single bagworm infestation may not kill a large and established tree, it can significantly weaken it, leaving it susceptible to disease and further bug infestations. For smaller shrubs and newly planted trees, a bagworm infestation can be a death sentence. Bagworms can do thousands of dollars in damage to your landscaping over just a few weeks.
Bagworms can be difficult to treat because in their pupae stage when most people first notice the infestation, they are not susceptible to treatment because their “bag” (actually a cocoon) protects them from chemical applications. However, catching them just when they emerge is tricky, and if you miss that moment, you’ll have a hard time ensuring that you’ve treated all of the caterpillars.
Bagworms can have up to two seasons per summer, depending on whether or not they were laid early enough in the spring, so multiple applications of treatment may be necessary throughout the season, particularly if you don’t have experience with this type of treatment.
Your best bet if you notice bagworms in your trees, or even close to your property, is to call in a professional to have the situation assessed and a treatment plan created that works specifically for you and the needs of your property. Certain landscape treatment companies, such as Aronica Plant Healthcare even offer organic options that can be used for bagworm treatment, but early treatment is key to the health of the plants in your yard.
If you suspect bagworm or any other insect infestation in your yard, give Aronica Plant Healthcare a call today. They’ll make sure your plants are protected from bagworms and other pests that can ruin your summer.
Ticks Are Here!
If you’re online and on Facebook, you’ve seen the posts from your friends and neighbors about the severity of the tick problem this year. In most years, you don’t hear about ticks until June, but this year looks like ticks are an issue we’ll all have to deal with.
So, what can you do to keep your family safe from ticks, and the diseases they carry?
First, know your friends! If you see opossums in your yard, don’t chase them off, welcome them! Opossums are nature’s tick vacuums, eating thousands of ticks, and helping to keep your yard safer.
Likewise, owls, snakes, and frogs and foxes can also help, as they eat the small mammals that bring the ticks in.
Second, create a tick-safe landscape for your property. This includes:
•Getting rid of leaf litter, and ensuring that your grass is clipped short around your home.
•Utilize wood chips or gravel between your lawn and open or wooded area to restrict the migration of ticks between these zones.
•Maintain the area around bird feeders. Loose seed attracts rats and mice which are major carriers for ticks.
•Keep children’s play equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees, ticks can even drop down from branches!
You can also call a reputable landscape company to ensure that your landscape design is as friendly to people (and unfriendly to ticks!) as possible and to apply a tick-repellant spray to your yard.
The latest generation of tick-repellants is safe, effective, and environmentally friendly. For families with children and outdoor pets, a regular schedule of tick spraying can be a literal lifesaver.
If you’re interested in looking into tick-free landscaping options or setting up a tick spraying schedule for your property, call or visit Aronica Plant Healthcare today!
Spring Is The Best Time To Aerate
Aeration is a crucial part of any lawn care regimen. It is important to aerate as spring begins so your grassroots can not only survive but thrive in the hot weather. If not properly aerated; water, grass seed—and even air—will have difficulty penetrating the soil. As time passes the ground becomes more compacted, limiting the space in which those vital nutrients can be absorbed. Organic debris beneath the topsoil can also limit the potential of your yard. The process of aeration requires poking holes in the ground to allow nutrients, air, and water to seep into the soil. The openings in the yard allow the roots to strengthen and grow.
Things to consider when asking if your yard should be aerated:
- Does my lawn endure heavy use?
If your yard is a heavily trafficked area the soil compaction could be significant. Even small children or pets could have a large effect on your yard.
- Does my lawn or garden feel spongy or dry out easily?
These symptoms, along with bare patches, might be a sign that your yard is suffering from excess thatch. Thatch is the accumulation of organic matter underneath the topsoil. Thatch could be formed by roots or stems of undesirable plants, like weeds. Thatch buildup could be caused by acidic soil, certain fungicides, or even over application of nitrogen-based fertilizers.
- Are there large puddles forming when you water the lawn?
Puddles, large or small, could be a sign that your yard is in need of core aeration. If the water is unable to penetrate the soil it could leave your plants and grass malnourished.
- Have you recently, or ever, aerated your yard before?
Over time your soil does begin to layer. Soil layering is when the finer soil is layered over the coarser soil. Our aeration equipment will reshuffle the compacted soil shifting and moving the particles so they may realign.
To make your yard the best it can be it is important to take the time necessary to care for it. We know it can be difficult to find the time with work and social commitments but we are here to help. The professionals at Aronica Plant Healthcare will bring your lawn back using our lawn maintenance expertise.
Pest Prevention – The Green Way
The East End of Long Island is lush and bucolic, which also makes it the perfect setting for pests. The twin forks abound with trees, grass, and plants, exactly where the dreaded tick and troublesome mosquito take up residence. Usually dormant – not dead – through the winter here on Long Island, deer ticks are rejuvenated come spring and will lay their eggs (anywhere from 1,500 – 3,000 each) through the end of April. Mosquitoes will also reappear with the commencement of the warmer weather.
These insects in particular pose serious health threats, carrying dangerous diseases and illnesses, such as Lyme, Zika, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more. Initiating a comprehensive treatment plan now, at the beginning of spring, will help manage the population growth throughout the season.
But many of us, as much as we’re both frightened and annoyed by these insects, are concerned about how to eliminate them without harming anything around them. Conventional pesticides are toxic and are a tremendous health concern.
Aronica Plant Healthcare can treat tick and mosquito infestation naturally. We specialize in organic tick and tree spraying programs that are not only safe for people and pets, but are also harmless for tree and plant life. The compounds we use are non-toxic and pure – a “green” method that actually works.
In the meantime, aside from treating the outside of your property, there are preventive measures you can take as a family to reduce your risk of exposure to ticks and mosquitoes:
- Wear light-colored, snug- fitting long pants and long-sleeved shirts when working or playing in the garden
- Apply a citronella-based bug spray to your skin, which is all-natural
- Check children’s heads and bodies after being outside
- Inspect the family pet as often as possible – they are notorious for giving these pests a free ride into the home. And invest in a good tick collar…worth every penny.
For optimum prevention and peace of mind, call us today find out more about our organic tick and tree spraying service. Our team visit your property, explain the process, and recommend the best course of action.
Anti-desiccants to Protect Your Trees and Shrubs
We started 2018 with a polar vortex and it seems like these frigid temperatures are here to stay until spring. With so many days below freezing your plants health might be at risk.
The main cause of winter damage to trees and shrubs is their drying out. When the ground freezes plant roots are unable to take up water from the soil, so they quickly begin to use up all the water stored in their leaves and stems. Though they are built for it, the winter is still a tough time for Evergreen plants and trees. Plants such as rhododendrons and hollies have thick waxy coverings on their leaves to try to prevent water loss. During these times if plants are exposed to harsh winds or harsh 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 ruin your plants and shrubs.
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. While two applications in December and one in February is ideal, it isn’t too late to protect your plants from drying out.
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.
If you are worried about your trees and plants this winter call the plant health care experts at Aronica Plant Healthcare.
Tick Control in the Winter
One of the few good things about winter is that the bugs that pester us in the summer go away, right? Well, unfortunately as winters on Long Island become milder, the tick population gets a chance to grow.
While mosquitoes are usually dormant until April for Long Island, deer ticks can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing. As one of the most common ticks on Long Island, deer ticks are one of the most common hosts of Lyme Disease. A recent study found that around 60% of deer ticks in the North East of the United States are carriers of Lyme Disease. This means that there is still a chance of getting Lyme Disease if you are outside even in the winter time.
Ticks survive the winter months by going dormant hiding in the undergrowth and leaves in wooded areas which becomes more insulated after it snows.
While it is true you will see fewer active ticks during the winter, this doesn’t mean they are dead. Female ticks lay their eggs before the winter begins they can lay up to 3,000 eggs that will hatch in spring. Tick control measures can result in fewer egg-laying females come summer. By taking preventative measures, we can help prevent some of these eggs from hatching in places you don’t want them to, like your backyard.
So as you enjoy the winter don’t let the cold fool you. Continue to check your pets for ticks, not to mention yourself after being outdoors. Make sure your property is clear of debris and piles of sticks, brush or leaves so the ticks don’t have a place to go this winter. Continuing your tick control regimen can also keep tick populations down in your home.
Fall Tree Care Tips
It seems that summer has extended itself way into October, but the cold weather of fall has finally come in and now is the time to start thinking about protecting your trees from the winter.
Many trees go into a state of dormancy during the winter, but harsh conditions can still stress them out and cause damage. Here are some ways to mitigate the harmful effects winter has on your trees.
Mulch retains water and reduces temperature extremes in the soil during the cold winter months. A thin layer of mulch will act like a blanket and give the tree’s roots a little extra protection. The best time to mulch around your trees is in the fall.
Winters can produce droughts just like in summer. If the temperature is above freezing, the occasional watering during the winter can be just what your trees need.
Prevent Tree Damage
Bare branches are more at risk for damage from high winds or hungry animals. You may prevent problems with young trees by wrapping their base in a hard, plastic guard or a metal hardware cloth. Wrapping trees with burlap or plastic cloth prevents damage from sub-zero temperatures. As long as you remember to remove the wraps and guards in the spring to prevent damage when the tree begins to grow. Be mindful of limbs and trunks when plowing or shoveling snow because plow blades, or a sharp shovel, can be detrimental to trees.
Prune your trees
Fall is a good time to prune your trees. Ice and wind can pull down weak branches, causing not only damage to your tree but your property as well! Consult a tree care expert before pruning, as pruning in the wrong place or time can make your tree more vulnerable to the elements.
Once the cooler weather has set in conditions are perfect for stimulating root growth in new trees and shrubs. Once roots are established throughout the fall and dormancy of winter, spring showers and summer warmth encourage new top growth.
If you have any questions on how to better care for your trees and plants, contact the tree and plant health care experts at Aronica Plant.
Recognizing Hazard Trees
With fall and winter on their way, Long Island faces a risk of hurricanes and nor’easters; both storms can spell disaster for your trees. Fallen trees not only can damage your property, or take out power lines, but a mature tree can account for as much as 10% of your assessed property value.
Here’s how to tell if one of your trees is in danger of falling over, and what you can do about it.
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.
A tree with multiple trunks, or with splits in one trunk, can be unstable. 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 or when storms occur.
Damaged or Sick Trees
Pests, disease, and events like construction, can weaken and damage and destabilize your trees. Be on the look out for 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.
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 Aronica Plant. Our tree experts can help save your tree, or let you know if it’s beyond help.
Lyme Disease on Long Island
Lyme disease is spread through the bite of a deer tick, common on Long Island. Ticks are found in dense wooded areas and like to hang in tall brush. Every year we see more ticks spreading more nasty diseases, many of which are difficult to diagnose and treat. Powassan and Lyme disease are just two diseases that can be spread by these pests.
Ticks are insidious and are resilient to cold and inclement weather. Tick breeding season is in the fall, so they will spend the summer attaching themselves to their victims and feeding off of them.
Ticks feed off of blood so diseases carried by them enter their host’s bloodstream and can make them very sick. Lyme disease is one of the most common tick borne illnesses and infects up to 300,000 people a year!
Here are some symptoms of Lyme disease:
A rash usually occurs at the site of the bite, but sometimes will manifest at other parts of the body. The rash may or may not be the classic bulls-eye (EM) rash. It is important to note that fewer than 50% of patients recall the actual tick bite and, according to recent CDC numbers, fewer than 50% of confirmed cases in some states exhibit the bulls-eye rash.
Other symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight gain, loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Swollen glands/lymph nodes
- Unexplained fevers (high or low grade)
- Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc,)
- Symptoms seem to change, come and go
- Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts
- Early on, experienced a “flu-like” illness, after which you have not since felt well
- Low body temperature
- Allergies/chemical sensitivities.
Getting treated for Lyme disease early is essential. The more the disease is in your system the greater damage it does. Just because symptoms went away doesn’t mean you are in the clear, Lyme disease can lie dormant for years.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses is to have your yard sprayed for ticks regularly. Keeping them out of your yard will protect your pets and families from being hosts to these pests.
Trees are known for their strength, durability, and their ability to stand against the elements, so much so that often times a tree is a symbol for strength itself. Unfortunately, trees are not exactly indestructible; the tiniest of bugs or even mold spores can take down the mightiest of trees. Here are some of the dangers trees face and how you can stop them before they take down your trees.
Insects like the Asian Long Horned Beetle or the Gypsy Moth can take out blocks of trees in a very short time. Insects that attack the leaves of trees prevent photosynthesis from occurring. Even more insidious are the larvae of these pests that bore into the tree, eating it from the inside out. A good sign of tree damage caused by insects is the leaves. Leaves that are dying in the summer—or leaves that have been feasted down to resemble lacey skeletons—signal that your tree might have a bug problem. Check the trunk for tiny boring holes as well. It is easy for these insects to infect other trees so it is imperative you contact a professional as soon as you suspect an infestation before your whole yard falls victim to these pests.
Just like people, trees can get sick. Diseases like Maple Wilt or Phyllosticta, which is caused by a fungus, can weaken or even kill your tree. The easiest way to spot a diseased tree is by looking at the leaves. If you notice brown, or otherwise discolored, spots on your tree you may be dealing with a disease. Contact your local arborist or tree specialist so they can diagnose, treat, and prevent your other trees from succumbing to the same potentially disastrous fate.
Trees were built to weather the storm, however, ice storms, high winds, or drought can bring down almost any tree if it is not protected properly. Trimming stray or weak branches before a storm can prevent damage to the tree and your property. Provide support and bracing for smaller and younger trees. Keeping them free of disease will also help keep them strong enough to face high winds, ice, and snow.
Trees often need our care to ensure that there is proper soil, room for the roots to grow, and enough water and sunlight. Keeping a keen eye out for disease or pests can stop small problems before they become major ones. Care for your trees and they will last a long time.
Mosquitoes are not just annoying pests, they can be downright deadly! With diseases such as the West Nile and Zika, it is now more important than ever to prevent mosquitoes in your yard. All mosquitoes need to lay their eggs is an inch of standing water, and from there one mosquito can easily turn to hundreds.
Here are some things you can do to prevent mosquitoes from ruining your summer.
Get Rid of Standing Water!
Mosquitoes can breed just about anywhere there is standing water. Here are some places to check that you may not have thought about:
- Remove all discarded tires from your property. Drill holes in the bottom of tires used for swings or other playground equipment so water cannot collect in them.
- Turn over or remove all water-holding containers (tin cans, plastic jugs) lying around your yard.
- Drill holes in the bottom of any unused containers so water won’t collect inside.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
- Change the water and clean birdbaths weekly. Cleaning the bath removes organic matter and changing the water removes any mosquito eggs or larvae.
- Clear leaves and twigs from your Eavestroughs, storm and roof gutters throughout the summer.
- Check flat roofs frequently and remove any standing water.
- Remove dense brush and weeds where mosquitoes rest and hide during the day.
- Turn over compost piles on a regular basis.
- Fill in any low depression areas in lawns.
- Immediately throw away raked leaves and other decaying items—such as apples or berries—that fall from trees. If they are not to be composted, place them in a closed container until disposal.
- Put a filter in your pond to keep the water moving.
Tree and Shrub Spraying
Another surefire way to keep mosquitoes out of your yard is regular tree spraying. Aronica Plant Health Care offers tree spraying for ticks and mosquitoes that is not only highly effective, but safe for your family and pets. If you are interested in setting up a tick and mosquito spraying program for your yard, call Aronica Plant Health Care at (631) 928-9000
How to keep your soil healthy
Healthy plants and trees need healthy soil to flourish. Nutrients, moisture, and oxygen are all necessary components for the soil in order to allow plants and trees to grow. Getting the right soil can be both an art form and a science experiment, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Here are some simple tips to keep your soil healthy.
Keep Your Soil Well Drained
Just like with humans, water is vital; but too much can be damaging. In well-drained soil oxygen is able to reach the root zone to promote optimal root health. Optimal root growth happens best in soils without drainage problem. So make sure the water has a place to go!
Don’t Plant on Wet Soil
Packing down wet soil gets rid of the air, and traps the moisture in the soil. There will not be enough space for the roots to grow. Wait until the soil is dry to do planting.
Adding compost to your soil will improve soil nitrogen, which is good for plants. It helps both dense and loose soil gain a better consistency, ideal for planting. Also, compost brings earthworms and other living things that help plants and roots grow strong and healthy.
Be Careful with Fertilizer
Fertilizer can be a good thing but, just like water, there is such thing as too much. Different plants require different nutrients, so make sure you are using the right fertilizer. Follow instructions and remember: a little goes a long way.
Keeping soil healthy is a major part of keeping plants healthy. The experts at Aronica Plant Health Care can help you with all of your tree and plant health needs.
Time To Spray For Ticks
With the warm weather on its way, it’s time to start thinking about how great it is to spend time outdoors in the yard during the summer months. Unfortunately, with the nice weather also comes the ticks and mosquitoes that can not only ruin your barbecue, but also carry potentially deadly diseases.
Ticks are found in dense wooded areas and like to hang in tall brush. The average yard on Long Island provides the perfect habitat for ticks. Every year we see more ticks spreading more nasty diseases, many of which are difficult to diagnose and treat. Powassan now joins other, more common tick borne illnesses already present in our area, including Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Lyme Disease. Take ticks seriously and consider doing more to keep you and your family safe from them, because what you’ve been doing may not be enough.
Mosquitoes are not only annoying, they can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Zika. These pests breed anywhere where there is standing water, even just an inch of water can breed hundreds of mosquitoes. The best thing you can do for mosquito control is tree spraying. There are plenty of organic insect control compounds that kill the dangerous insects, but are safe for your family and pets. Discuss your tree spraying schedule early to ensure a happy, mosquito free summer.
Scheduling regular tree and yard spraying for ticks and mosquitoes can help you take back your yard from these devious pests. Call Aronica Plant Health Care today and keep your family safe.
5 Tips to Prepare Your Garden for Spring
Spring is around the corner and now is the time to get your garden prepared for spring and summer planting. Here are a list of things that can be done to make sure you get the most out of your planting season.
- Order Summer Flowering Bulbs
Summer-flowering bulbs such as Lilies, Gladiolus and Ranunculus can be planted in early spring for a colorful summer display.
- Clear up Beds and Borders
This was quite a windy winter, remove leaves and other debris from your flower borders, lawns and ponds. You can cut back the old dead growth of deciduous grasses and perennials now to get the task out of the way. If the soil is workable you can dig a 5cm layer of organic matter such as well-rotted manure, compost or recycled green waste into empty garden borders.
- Get Rid of Pests
Hunting down and removing hibernating pests now can save a lot of trouble come spring and summer. Take a closer look at the crowns of your perennial plants and you may find slugs, snails and aphid colonies sheltering for the winter. If you still haven’t cleared last year’s pots of summer bedding then do this now and be on the look-out for the white vine weevil larvae, which live in the compost and feed on plant roots. You can also schedule preventative pest control with Aronica Plant Health Care to keep pests out of your yard.
- Move Deciduous Shrubs
If you have a deciduous shrub that you want to move then now is the time to move it while it’s dormant. When digging it up , try to take as much of the root ball as possible for the quickest establishment in its new location. When planting shrubs in their new position, place them at the same level they were previously in the soil, and remember to water them in well afterwards.
- Take care of Garden Structures and Garden Tools
Although it’s cold outside this is the ideal time of year to make sure your garden structures and tools are ready for the spring! Any broken structures or tools are best fixed now so you have more time to spend in the garden during spring and summer. Treat your wooden garden structures with a wood preservative during dry periods. This is also a good time to give your tools a clean and a sharpening! Caring for your garden tools not only helps preserve them, it saves you money in the long run and helps prevent the spread of disease. Dirty secateurs may introduce bacteria and fungi to fresh pruning wounds. Sharpening your tools will also improve their performance; they’ll be easier to work with and will give cleaner pruning cuts.
The Dirt on Roots
While we often choose plants for their beauty, the most important part of a plant is where you can’t see. Roots make the plant, if a plant’s roots are sick, so is the plant. Roots provide the anchor needed to keep a plant in place. They are the lifeline of a plant, taking up air, water, and nutrients from the soil and moving them up into the leaves, where they can interact with sunlight to produce sugars, flavors, and energy for the plant. Roots also secrete compounds that affect the microorganisms in the soil, doing things like helping protect the plant from disease and encouraging it to absorb nutrients from the soil.
- Checking for Healthy Roots
Healthy roots should be white or tan, succulent, and numerous and long enough to hold the soil in the shape of the pot. Visible roots should be white. Roots that are brown and crumbly mean that your plant is unhealthy.
Note: Immature plants have small roots that don’t hold the shape of the soil, this is okay and just means your plant is not ready to be transplanted.
- Caring for Roots
Want to have healthy roots? Remember seven words: “Healthy, deep soil. Adequate moisture and nutrients.” If everything you do in your garden works toward that, your plants should thrive.
Healthy roots need a regular source of moisture, so make it a habit to water regularly. A good rule of thumb is to make sure plants get an inch of water per week through rain and/or watering. Loose soil, adequate water, and plenty of nutrients are the keys to healthy roots and productive plants.
Protecting Your Trees from Winter
With winter comes ice and winter storms. Unfortunately, these winter storms can wreak havoc on your yard, weakening your trees and damaging your property. There are steps you can take to secure your trees in the winter months to help mitigate the damage caused by old man winter.
Here are things you can do in the yard or landscape to prevent ice damage:
- Plant only strong trees in your landscape. Certain trees are popular year in and year out for a reason – they show well and live well. Fast-growing trees are often more brittle and develop weak, V-shaped crotches that easily split apart under the added weight of ice. Because these trees usually take some damage from storms throughout the year, internal rot, decay and lead to weakened trunks and limbs.
- Brittle species should not be planted on sites where heavy ice and snow is a problem. Brittle species include elm, willow, box-elder, hackberry, true poplar and silver maple.
- Be wary of trees that keep their leaves later in fall in areas that are prone to early ice storms. Icy leaves put stress on limbs and branches causing potential damage.
- Wrap small multi-leader trees. If ice is predicted, secure the tree with strips of carpet or cloth two-thirds of the way up. Remove wrapping in the spring to give your plants room to grow.
- Start pruning when your trees are young. Prune dead or weakened limbs and excessive branches from trunk and crowns. This reduces ice weight that can damage your trees.
- Hire a professional arborist for particularly valuable, susceptible or large trees. An arborist can strengthen a tree by installing cabling or bracing on weak limbs. The tree experts at Aronica Plant Health Care can help you develop a winter action plan to protect your trees.
Trending Outdoor Holiday Lighting Ideas For 2016
The holidays are upon us yet again and don we now our gay apparel not only for ourselves, but our houses as well. Americans are projected to spend about $6 billion dollars this year on holiday decorations including outdoor holiday decorations. While some holiday lighting is tried and true: Twinkling lights. Front door wreaths. Towering trees, festooned with decorations, here are some of the hottest lighting trends for 2016 that might tempt you to hop out of your decorating routine to try something new.
Color Is Back!
White lights have reigned for years, outlining roof peaks and twinkling on trees and shrubs, but this year, multicolored lights make a comeback!
Kids love color, and families are including children more than ever in holiday decorating choices. Wow the kids with your most colorful display ever.
Commercial properties that have relied on traditional white lights for holiday decor might catch the eye of new customers with a dazzling new light display packed with color.
While white lights are classic and understated, multicolor lights shout festive and fun.
Trend # 2
These energy saving bulbs are becoming more popular than ever. Today’s outdoor LED holiday lighting offers a much more vibrant look than the colored bulbs from days of yore. Incandescent lights get their color from covering the white glow of the filament with colored bulbs. But the diodes of LED bulbs actually generate different colors on the color spectrum, so the color is more intense.
If this is your year to switch to colored holiday lights, be sure to do it with LEDs, which are not only more vibrant, but use much less energy than your old strings of lights.
An easy way to hop on the color train: Simply replace the white bulbs in your landscape lighting fixtures with red or green bulbs to wash your house in holiday spirit.
Trend # 3
Multimedia Holiday Light Shows
There are many products on the market that project vast multi-colored light displays onto your home. Create the illusion of freshly falling snow, or have reindeer dash across your roof. These fun displays make for a great 21st century holiday.
If you want your house to say Clark Griswold without having to sacrifice an entire weekend out in the cold, give Aronica Plant Healthcare a call and let us do the work!
Prep Your Yard For Winter
The weather has been unseasonably warm these past few weeks, but don’t let that fool you. Winter is coming and there is still lots of work to do to prepare your yard and gardens for the upcoming cold months.
Now is the time to fertilize your lawn. If you fertilize it this fall, when it’s still green, it will survive winter best and come back more vigorously in spring. Keep mowing your lawn to a 2½ to 3-inch height for as long as it is green. Don’t scalp it by mowing short while it’s still green. It’s also a good idea to aerate the lawn and to continue watering until it turns brown. Even then, water once a month throughout winter, especially if there is little snow.
- The Vegetable Garden
Insects that feed on your vegetables during summer and fall often lay eggs on the old plants so pull them up once you have harvested. If the vines are left on the soil surface, insect eggs will survive the winter and hatch in the spring!
In addition to garden debris, other organic material may be added to the soil in fall to help it keep its nutrients. You can use well-rotted manure, compost, peat or leaves.
For fall vegetables like winter squash and pumpkins, harvest them after the first light frost.. Do this before a heavy frost damages the fruits. Cut from the vines leaving 3 to 4 inches of stem on the fruit so they keep longer.
- Annual Flowers
Rip up spent vines and foliage of annual flowers and compost them or dig them into the garden, the organic material will help the soil. If the plants are diseased, however, discard them in the trash.
Fall is the best time to get rid of weeds. Perennial weeds, such as dandelion, thistle and bindweed, are more easily killed by fall sprays than in the summer. So get down in that dirt and pull those weeds!
- Tree and Shrubs
Shorter days and falling temperatures are prompting deciduous trees and shrubs to drop leaves and prepare for winter dormancy. Limit fertilization in fall, as nitrogen stimulates useless late-season growth and delays dormancy which can damage the tree when the temperatures begin to drop rapidly.
Do continue to water trees and shrubs through fall, sending them into winter with ample moisture. Dry soil kills roots and puts stress on trees and shrubs so make sure to water every three to four weeks. Water when temperatures are above freezing and when the soil is not frozen. Appling water early in the day will give plants time to absorb moisture before the soil freezes at night.
Wrapping trees and shrubs prevents sunscald injury, a conditions that develops when the warm winter sun is absorbed by the plant’s bark. By the first of November, wrap trunks of your deciduous trees with crepe-paper tree wrap. Begin at the base of the tree and wrap upward, overlapping about a third of the paper with each turn. Stop when you reach the first set of branches. You can remove the wrap in April.
After temperatures hit freezing and the plants die back, cut the stems on most perennials to within an inch or two of the ground. Do not work the cuttings into the soil! They can harbor diseases that could survive the winter and return to the plants in the spring
As the season progresses and the weather becomes colder, mulch the soil around the plants. This is generally done in mid-to late November. It is not necessarily the cold that damages perennials in the winter, it is the fluctuation of temperature. Mulch keeps roots cold, not protect them from the cold.
Use mulches that are light and won’t pack or suffocate roots. Apply to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Make sure to water once a month if the winter is particularly dry.
Preventing Storm Damage Before A Storm
This year it is expected to be a pretty quiet hurricane season, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be prepared. Tree damage is a huge concern with storms and although severe storms will always result in some uprooted and broken trees, thankfully some preventative steps can lessen the impact.
Knowing how trees fall victim to storms can help protect your trees.
Give Room For Your Trees to Grow
It is important the trunk and branches to be free to grow, but don’t forget the roots. Mature trees can grow roots extending hundreds of feet from the trunk and this root zone should be protected from compaction. Minimize foot and vehicular traffic which can cause damage to the root system. Planting shrubs or beds of native plants around young trees helps to prevent trampling.
Plant trees when they are small.
Smaller trees establish healthy root systems much more efficiently than larger trees.
Remove the tree stakes quickly. Just like working out our muscles makes us stronger, allowing a young tree to flex in the wind results in a stronger tree.
Plant trees in groves.
Plant trees in groups. Trees planted alone or in a lawn are more susceptible to wind damage than trees in groups. Groups of five or more trees planted ten feet or less from each other are 33% less likely to be blown over. The root systems will grow to interlock, reinforcing the roots of nearby trees. If you don’t have space for multiple trees, plant some large shrubs within a couple yards of any large trees you plant.
Plant Hardwood Trees over Evergreen
Different trees are more susceptible to damage. Evergreens are popular for privacy but are more likely to come down in a storm. Hardwood trees, like white oaks and hickories, are more likely to survive a storm than pines or even fast-growing trees like red maple and birch. (Remember, fast-growing trees should never be planted right next to a house or power line!)
Taking these steps early can help prevent tree damage way before a storm hits. If you have questions about keeping your trees safe during a storm call the experts at Aronica Plant Healthcare.
Breathe Life Back into Your Late Summer Garden
Your garden bloomed into color in spring but now as summer begins to fade, you realize the plants don’t look as exuberant as they once did. Lower leaves are turning brown and dropping off. Spider mites are spotting the leaves. There’s less new growth. Those beautiful blooms are wilting in the heat of the afternoon. The fruit is ripening more slowly. Fewer new flower buds appear. The nutrients in the soil are being used up or washed away.
Mature plants need more water. The late summer garden certainly requires more effort, but fear not, all is not lost. You can boost your garden back to life. As late summer and fall arrive, atmospheric humidity declines. This causes soil moisture to evaporate more quickly. Your normal watering routine from June and July just won’t cut it and will need to supplement with regular soakings to support your late summer garden.
One way to supplement your watering is to set a dripping garden hose at the bottom of each plant for a couple of hours. Repeat this every few days. Try creating generous watering basins around the base of each plant. Make them big enough to hold a lot of water directly over the root zone so it may gradually percolate down into the soil. Soaker hoses and sprinklers will also help if left on long enough to penetrate deeper than the top few inches of soil.
As time goes on the nutrients in the soil begin to get used up adding a second helping of fertilizer in August can make a big difference.
Select a fertilizer carefully, too much nitrogen can sacrifice flower production. Rather than using a single form such as manure or compost, fertilizer blends that contain a diverse formula of minerals and nutrients. They are as easy to apply as any larger name brand. They are manufactured locally, so each region of the country will have its own brands. You’ll find them at quality garden centers.
Keep watering and fertilizing your garden through the late summer and you will see your garden spring back to life.
What’s with All of These Moths?
Around this time of year, you may notice an abundance of moths when you’re out and about. You’ll see them stuck on windows and walls everywhere you go, and can’t seem to escape the seemingly endless swarms of them if you’re walking near trees.
So what’s going on with all of the moths? The answer is easy! Lots of moths around now means there were lots of caterpillars around before!
This spring there was a boom in the caterpillar population, so now we’re experiencing a heavy moth infestation.
Called Winter Moths, they originally came from Europe. They most likely hitchhiked to New York by attaching themselves to crates containing imported products, and since they have no natural predators here, their population is swelling.
The big problem comes in the spring though, when their caterpillars emerge and feast on leafy deciduous trees like maples, oaks, elms, and fruit trees. If it’s a weak stressed out tree to begin with, the caterpillar can kill it.
Your trees are at a much greater risk now than they used to be, because in addition to the Winter moth, other tree munching species, such as the Gypsy moth have also experienced soaring numbers.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to get rid of the moths now. Prevention is the cure, and the best cure is to spray for the caterpillars in the spring.
Experts say these moths will be around through the end of December.
To prevent a similar swarm from occurring again next year, you should schedule a tree spraying for early spring. Scheduling a spraying now will help make sure this doesn’t happen again next year.
For tree spraying questions or if your trees have had damage by caterpillars call Aronica Plant and ask about tree spraying and tree care.
Tree Trimming Long Island
Tree trimming and pruning is important for healthy trees.
Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their structural integrity and aesthetics. Improper pruning can create lasting damage or even shorten the tree’s life so tree trimming and pruning must be done with an understanding of tree biology.
Reasons for Pruning
Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no branch should be removed without a reason. Common reasons for pruning are to
- Remove dead branches
- Improve form
- Reduce risk to property and other trees
- Increase light and air penetration to the inside of the tree’s crown or to the landscape below.
Routine thinning does not necessarily improve the health of a tree. Trees produce a dense crown of leaves to create the energy for growth and development. Removal of foliage through pruning can reduce growth and stored energy reserves. Heavy pruning can be a significant health stress for the tree.
There are many outside considerations, however, that make it necessary to prune trees. Safety, clearance, and compatibility with other components of a landscape are all major concerns. Proper pruning, with an understanding of tree biology, can maintain good tree health and structure while enhancing the aesthetic and economic values of our landscapes.
Having a few inch worms is not destructive to the natural habitat, since many trees and plant life can survive minimal inchworm feeding. However, when the number of inchworms grows, they can become a destructive pest, often damaging vegetable crops and ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers. The inchworm can be particularly destructive once an infestation is present because female moths lay their eggs in both fall and spring cycles.
To find out if you have inch worms, you can lightly shake plants to check for worms and larvae, or you can carefully examine branches for signs of infection. Infected plants will have noticeable tiny and irregularly shaped holes between the veins. Generally reaching one inch in length, they can be any color from white to green or black and are smooth and hairless.
The diet of an inchworm varies by its species. Typical inchworms cause damage on apple trees, oaks, and sweet gums. Other species of inchworm prefer vegetable gardens, and will feast upon almost any vegetable you plant, including tomatoes, celery, beans, potatoes, cabbage, and radishes.
The best type of prevention of an inchworm infestation is making sure your lawn or garden is hospitable to the inchworm’s natural predators like birds. Attracting birds with a birdhouse is a great way to get ahead of the problem.
However, if the infestation is large enough to present significant damage, you may opt to hire a professional to take care of the problem. A professional extermination company may use any number of treatment options.
Mosquito Control and the Zika Virus
With the mosquito borne Zika Virus making its way up the coast the need for mosquito control. There are no treatments for mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika and dengue, so preventing mosquito bites is key.
There have been several dengue outbreaks over the last several decades. These infections can escalate to the point of causing severe pain, bleeding, shock and death. Other states have seen pockets of chikungunya in the last couple of years. It often afflicts the infected with debilitating joint pain. Another mosquito-borne virus, West Nile and can cause severe disease like chronic kidney disease and neurological problems.
The lack of antiviral medication and treatments for these diseases makes prevention even more important.
While there have been reported cases of Zika Virus in New York, once the warm weather hits it is unknown how north the virus will travel. It is already not possible to entirely avoid dengue and chikungunya in the United States.
The good news is that all these viruses can be avoided by taking measures to prevent mosquito bites, which pass the viruses in their saliva.
Americans can take a break from worrying about diseases from mosquitoes in the winter because most mosquitoes are not active when it is cold, but summer is coming
You are more likely to encounter mosquitoes, which can carry West Nile virus, outdoors and at night. But you are at higher risk of bites from some breeds of mosquitoes, which can spread dengue, chikungunya and Zika, inside. That is because these types are active and feed during the day. They come in the house for shade … they live very close to people.
The best thing you can do for mosquito control is tree spraying. There are plenty of organic insect control compounds that kill the dangerous insects, but are safe for your family and pets. Discuss your tree spraying schedule early to ensure a happy, mosquito free summer.
One of the most important things to do when the weather warms up is make sure you don’t have standing water outside your house, such as in a garbage can lid, birdbath or trays of potted plants. Anything sitting around for more than five to seven days can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Dump standing water at least once a week on dry ground — any larvae in the water will die when the water evaporates and they dry out. You can also take a look at standing water to make sure it does not contain mosquito larvae, which are visible to the naked eye.
Spring Has Sprung!
Spring is around the corner! It’s time to break out the trowels and those gardening gloves.
Here is your spring gardening check list:
• Prune away winter-killed branches to make room for new growth. Cut back spent perennials and pull up old annuals if you didn’t get around to it last fall. Then look around. March is a good time to take stock of your yard and see if it’s time to thin out crowded beds and do some transplanting to fill in bare spots.
• Check for signs of growth-If the weather has been warm enough, some plants might have gotten started without you.
• Prep the beds-Remove winter mulch or, if it has been well composted, work into the top layer of the soil. Clear away any broken or damaged branches. Rake out fallen leaves and dead foliage. Also remove existing mulch to set the stage for a new layer once spring planting is done. Push heaved plants back into flower beds and borders. Spread a pelletized fertilizer tailored to existing plantings on the soil’s surface so that spring rains can carry it to the roots.
• Prune away dead and damaged branches-Where tree or shrub branches have been damaged by cold, snow, and wind, prune back to live stems; use a handsaw for any larger than ½ inch in diameter. Shape hedges with hand pruners, rather than electric shear.
• Divide perennials-Before plants have begun spring growth is a good time to divide many perennials. Prune flowering perennials to a height of 4–5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2–3 inches to allow new growth to shoot up.
• Where soil has thawed, dig up perennials, such as daylilies and hostas, to thin crowded beds; divide them, leaving at least three stems per clump, and transplant them to fill in sparse areas. Cut back winter-damaged rose canes to 1 inch below the blackened area.
• Perform basic maintenance-Check stonework for frost heaves. Check and clean the deck now so you don’t have to do it later; make any repairs.
• Start seeds indoors- Set your indoor seed planting now so they will be ready when the time is right.
• Plant veggies-Hardy vegetables, such as onions, potatoes, artichokes, and some lettuces, should be planted now.
Prevent Tree Trimming Emergency This Winter
Winter storms routinely dump ice and snow on trees and branches. Falling branches and trees can destroy cars, homes and knock out power systems. If a particularly bad storm hits, there can be a long wait for licensed tree service companies to take care of the damage.
Many Long Island tree service professionals agree that prevention is key to sparing your property from tree damage during a winter storm.
- Know the signs of a weak tree
You should routinely inspect your trees throughout the year, especially after a storm or heavy winds. Keep an eye out for any type of visible decay, such as mushrooms growing out of the base of the tree, or dead or hanging branches.
- Not all trees are created equal
Certain trees are more likely to fall during a winter storm than others. Silver maple hybrids and fast-growing trees, such as poplars and cottonwoods, are more likely to fall during a winter storm due to their brittle wood. When planting these trees keep in mind that you should not plant them too near structures or powerlines.
For stronger, more storm-resistant trees, consider planting hardwoods, such as oaks and maples.
- Tree Pruning is Important
Regular tree pruning will keep problematic branches from endangering your property. If you notice a weak or broken branch, it might be a good idea to call a local tree trimming company or certified arborist before a storm to take a look at any potential problem trees
Pruning at an early age can help a tree build a strong foundation and prevent storm-related damage. However, homeowners often neglect pruning young trees because they assume there’s no immediate threat to their property.
Pruning can be done any time of year, but there is an advantage to assessing a tree while its leaves are off.