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How to Handle Tick Bites

Tick bites

The warmer weather is here and spending more time outdoors means more chances to encounter ticks and tick-borne diseases. Here on Long Island deer ticks are almost everywhere there are trees and grass, so learning how to handle tick bites is important for keeping you and your family safe.

Tick bites can spread a number of infectious diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and more. It’s very important to check for ticks every time you come in from the outdoors; the longer a tick remains on your skin, the better the chances for it to spread disease. If a tick has bitten you and you think it has been in place for more than 24 hours you should call your doctor.

Ticks are small—particularly the deer tick—sometimes the size of the period at the end of this sentence, so they can be hard to spot; be sure to look carefully because of the danger of them transmitting diseases.

Some of the potential signs and symptoms of tick bites are:

  • A small red bump near the bite site
  • A bullseye rash
  • Joint pain or feeling achy
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • An expanding red rash (called Erythema Migrans)

If a tick has bitten you recently you will want to remove the tick as quickly as possible. There are myths about removing a tick such as smothering a tick with petroleum jelly or burning it off with a match, but those are NOT how to remove a tick. In fact, doing those things can make the tick burrow even deeper which is something you definitely don’t want to happen.

To remove a tick, you should:

  1. Grasp the tick firmly with tweezers, as close to the head as possible.
  2. Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go, but do not twist or rock the tick as you pull. Use a smooth motion. If part of the tick breaks off, don’t worry, it will work its way out on its own.
  3. After removing the tick, wash your hands and the site of the tick bite with soap and water.
  4. Finally, swab the bite site with alcohol and place the removed tick in a plastic bag and call your doctor. The doctor may want to see the tick, so it’s important to keep it and date the plastic bag. Your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotics right away to help prevent Lyme and other bacterial diseases from taking hold.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to avoid ticks is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants and to stay out of grassy and wooded areas. This can be hard though, especially in summer, so getting your yard sprayed for ticks is the next best thing. This allows you to enjoy summer without having to worry about wearing extra layers. Companies like Aronica Plant Healthcare will use an organic, family and pet-friendly spray that keeps the ticks away and helps to keep you safe from disease.

 

Tips to Prep Your Property for Spring

That’s right, SPRING! After a very long winter, spring is finally just around the corner (give or take a snowstorm or two) and whether you plan on selling your home this year and want to offer the best face for real estate hunters, or you just want to get the best curb appeal, prep your property now so you can be more organized when it’s time to get outside and get them done. 

Time to prep your property for sping!

Believe it or not, spring is almost here already!

How to Prep Your Property for Spring

The first thing you’ll want to do to get ready for spring is to take a look at your beds and address their edging. Neat edges on your beds will make mulching tasks easier and give the property an instant aesthetic boost. You should make a fresh cut around the edge of your bed and scoop out whatever has accumulated over the winter, such as leaves, unruly grass, soil, or mulch. This is a task you’ll want to do early in the season because it’s not dependent on plant growth and it can sometimes be time-consuming. Hate edging? Think about creating raised garden beds, which don’t need edging!

 

Another task you can do at any time is weeding. As soon as the weather warms even a little, weeds will wake up. Spring rains can make weeding easier as the ground is softer and weeds will come up easier. You want to pull up weeds as soon as you see them, and check for them regularly throughout the spring, summer, and fall. 

 

Once the final risk of frost has passed you’ll want to get a handle on your roses. Whether they’re climbing roses or shrub roses you should prune them back to a more reasonable shape before new shoots reach half an inch. Remove dead stems, rubbing stems, or stems that are just outside of the shape you’re aiming for once blooming starts. 

 

Here on Long Island, you’re looking at late March before it’s 100% safe to prune. 

 

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, instead use gardening shears or hand pruners to cut the death growth away. For ornamental grasses, you can use a hedge trimmer, and be sure to cut off old, dead tops before the new growth appears. 

 

Finally, plants in spring are hungry after a long winter’s dormancy, so fertilizing them is always a great idea. Mix fertilizer into the soil once new growth is seen and make sure to soak in the fertilizer so it mixes with the soil. 

 

Getting all of this done before your garden starts to come back to life can make a big difference in what you see come mid-spring through summer. It’s a lot of work and can be time-consuming, but absolutely worth it once you see those plants blooming and bringing color back to your garden. 

 

If you’d prefer to have the experts take care of the dirty work, give Aronica Plant Healthcare a call, and they’ll be happy to prep your property! Visit our website to complete our contact form or call 631.928.9000.

Snow and Ice Removal Tips from Aronica

As January comes to a close, Aronica Plant Healthcare wanted to share a few snow and ice removal tips to prepare you for the rest of winter. Ice and heavy snow can be troublesome if you aren’t equipped with the proper tools or knowledge. Minimizing the time spent outside—especially as the temperature is scheduled to drop to 4 degrees—is an important part of staying warm. We want to share some tricks we learned through our decades of experience when it comes to snow and ice removal.

Snow and Ice Removal Tips

Use Cooking Spray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This might be the most well-known “trick” for handling heavy and wet snow because, well, it works! The cooking spray will help prevent heavy snow from sticking to your shovel.

Just be sure to wipe the shovel clean before returning it to storage.

Shovel on a Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

We know it can be difficult to motivate yourself to go outside in the middle of a snowstorm, but shoveling the snow every hour or two as it falls can save you a lot of work compared to shoveling all the snow after. Shoveling during the snowfall will lessen the strain placed on your joints and back when attempting to shovel several feet at once.

Be Aware of Snow Placement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continually piling snow against the side of the house could result in issues with the foundation. When the snow begins to melt it seeps into the ground and leaks into the foundation. This can speed the eroding of the foundation and cause real problems in the long run.

Snow Blowing

Snow blowers have made snow and ice removal a lot easier but you have to use it the right way!

Snow blowers have made snow and ice removal a lot easier but you have to use it the right way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When using a snow blower to remove the snow in your driveway, Aronica recommends starting in the middle. Place the chute toward one edge of the driveway, as you make a u-turn the snow will shoot to the other side and help you to avoid having to make a second pass over the middle.

Keep Your Phone with You

Believe it or not; phones can do more than take selfies. They can help keep you safe when shoveling

Believe it or not; phones can do more than take selfies. They can help keep you safe when shoveling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though some people may take their safety for granted when shoveling outside, there are dangers that can cause serious issues. From falling on the ice to throwing out your back, you might find yourself unable to recover from the injury on your own. With your phone readily available you can call for help if the worst were to happen.

Dangerous cold and ice can be tough to handle if you are ill-equipped for the situation. We hope you take our tips and tricks with you as we approach the end of winter. If you would like assistance clearing broken branches, preserving your yard from the harsh winter, or removing the ice and snow in your driveway; contact Aronica Plant Healthcare at (631) 928-9000 or use our contact form!

Keep Your Evergreens Safe with Anti-Desiccant Spray

Anti-desiccant spray can protect your trees from Winter!

The evergreens in your yard are the foundation of your winter landscape. Winter just wouldn’t be the same without their snow-coated branches swaying in the wind of a winter storm. But, while they may seem as though they can withstand anything as they stand against the winter elements, there is something that can cause them quite a bit of damage, and it’s not the cold temperatures. Winter weather can be very drying, which is the reason you develop itchy, flaky skin. The same way we use lotions to retain moisture, evergreens need an anti-desiccant to protect them from “winter burn”. Winter burn can occur when trees and hedges lose too much water through their needles as a result of exposure to dry winter air. While your dry skin can make you itchy, drying out through their leaves can kill your evergreens.

In winter, your evergreens cannot take in water 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 don’t shed their leaves before winter, they can suffer desiccation injury—that’s when the water loss through their needles is more than the water they can take up through their roots. Keeping water from escaping is the best way to prevent winter desiccation problems, and that’s where anti-desiccants come in.

Which plants can benefit from anti-desiccant spray treatments?

Most of the evergreens in your yard can benefit from an anti-desiccant treatment. Arborvitae, cedar, cypress, juniper, and pine are a few of the evergreens that can benefit from a protective treatment. Broadleaf evergreens such as azalea, boxwood, holly, and rhododendron are also great candidates for anti-desiccant treatment. Even the tender stems of bushes and shrubs like roses and hydrangea can benefit from treatment.

An important note:

DO NOT spray waxy-blue conifers such as blue spruce. These trees have a natural coating of wax to help them retain water. Application of an anti-desiccant can actually cause these trees to dry out, as their natural coats can be damaged.

Applying anti-desiccants

Weather is an important consideration when applying anti-desiccants. A dry day in the ’40s through the ’50s is just right for applying the spray. It’s also important to check and be sure that there won’t be any rain for a few days after. Your trees and shrubs should be completely dry for proper spray application. It is also important to allow the plant time to dry in a rain-free environment.

It’s important to wait for cold weather before applying anti-desiccant spray. Waiting until at least December is best to ensure that the trees are completely dormant before being spraying. During the dormancy phase, the water in the trees has moved down from the leaves to the roots. It can take several episodes of freezing weather for dormancy to happen, so waiting until at least December ensures that all of the water is out of the leaves. Any water left in the leaves at the time of anti-desiccant application can cause that water to become trapped in the leaves. If that happens, when the weather freezes again that water can burst plant cells.

As you apply your spray be sure to cover both the top and the bottom of the leaves of your plants because they lose water from both sides of the leaves. It can be tedious, but it is important that all surfaces of your plants are treated.

If you purchase your anti-desiccant spray in a home improvement store, be sure that you follow the label instructions.

Many people would rather have a professional do their spraying than do it themselves, as the job can be difficult. If you’re one of those people you should make sure that you have a licensed professional do the application. Aronica Plant Healthcare offers a wide variety of tree and shrub treatments that can keep your yard safe and your plants looking their best, all year long. To schedule an appointment for your anti-desiccant spray, you can either give them a call or visit their website for more information.

Winter Spray for a Great Spring Lawn

Pr

Proper maintenance in the fall and winter is one of the best ways to ensure a green spring!

How a pre-winter spray can give you a great looking spring!

If your shrubs and trees had a hard spring and summer—whether it was from pests and diseases, such as fungal diseases, or burrowing insects that damaged fruit trees and other garden plants—you may want to consider dormant winter spray treatments.

Dormant spray is an umbrella term that covers treatments such as horticultural oil, which smother hibernating insects—such as aphids, mites, scale—as well as their eggs.

Another type of dormant spray uses either synthetic fungicides or copper and to treat fruit and flower bearing trees and shrubs. This treatment gives your plants a head start into spring.

Sometimes, liquid lime-sulfur will be used on smaller fruit plants such as blueberries or blackberries to kill fungus and bacteria.

Dormant spray application should be after the growing season, but before the weather drops below 40 degrees. While a pre-winter treatment will suppress spring pests, it may not fully control them. Schedule regular treatments throughout the year may be necessary for the optimal health of your plants.

Common sprays may include:

A fixed copper fungicide containing elemental copper, such as tribasic copper sulfate, copper oxychloride sulfate or cupric hydroxide

Neem oil from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica )

Lime-sulfur is a mixture of hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) and sulfur

An important step to secure the health of their trees and shrubs that may be forgotten by homeowners, whether or not they choose to treat with a dormant spray is maintaining good housekeeping of their plants.

Remove fallen leaves from the base of plants to prevent pests from laying eggs, or hibernating for the winter. The leaves can contaminate adjacent plants, thus hampering success in disease control efforts.

An important step to securing the health of your trees and shrubs that is often forgotten—whether or not you choose to treat with a dormant spray—is maintaining good housekeeping of your plants.

 

Tree Trimming: When is the Best Time?

Without tree trimming falling tree branches can cause serious injuries

A tall tree without proper tree trimming can actually cause a lot of damage!

While tree trimming is important for the look and health of your trees, knowing when to trim is important too.

Both shrubs and trees require regular trimming to maintain their looks and health. In addition, practicing regular tree trimming can help prevent problems during inclement weather. During a storm, weak or damaged limbs can break off and damage your home, or even injure someone.

High and large branches require a professional tree trimming service. These tasks can be extremely dangerous and can result in damage to, or even death of, the tree. A reputable company such as Aronica Plant Healthcare will have professional arborists on staff; who will consult with you about which sections we can safely remove from the tree.

While professionals are definitely necessary for heavy tree work, there are a few jobs you can do on your own. As long as you do them at the right time of the year.

Evergreen Tree Trimming

You, or an Aronica specialist, can prune evergreens, non-blooming trees, and shrubs in late winter while they are fully dormant. If you require smaller shaping, you can do that any time of year. For larger cuttings, waiting for winter is best.

Summer Blooming Trees

Summer blooming trees and hedges should be pruned in late winter, and spring blooming plants should be pruned right after they’re finished blooming. Otherwise, you risk losing buds they are setting for the next year, as they set those immediately following their blooming cycle.

The trimming of small branches (those that can be cut with a hand lopper) or the shaping of hedges can be a year-round activity. Most importantly, for those of us who live on Long Island, removing weakened branches—during early spring before hurricane season and late autumn before winter storm season—is important. Removing weakened branches before the whole tree suffers an injury in a summer or winter storm could be vital to the survival of the tree.

For more information or for a professional consultation with Aronica please visit our website’s contact page: https://aronicaplanthealthcare.com/contact-us.php or call 631.928.9000

Should I Spray My Yard for Ticks to Stop Lyme Disease?

Stop Lyme Disease?

Ticks can be a danger to you and your family. Stay safe from Lyme Disease

The tick population across suburban areas of Long Island has exploded this year. Many residents are wondering why there are so many ticks, and what they should do about it.

To find out where the ticks are coming from, take a look on the ground.

In addition to the abundance of ticks, you’ve probably noticed an abundance of nuts and acorns. Well, those nuts are great news for small mammals like squirrels, mice, and rats. Those animals are where ticks get most of their meals.

Rather than deer, small rodents are actually one of the biggest issues when it comes to disease-spreading ticks, and it’s those smaller animals that bring the ticks onto your property. 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.

Because of worries about diseases such as Lyme, Babesiosis, Chikungunya…etc people often ask us whether spraying for ticks is an effective solution and whether it can help stop Lyme Disease.

The good news is, yes, they are!

Aronica Plant Healthcare offers a spray that is not only safe for your family and pets but also has no harmful effects on beneficial insects such as bees.

For effective tick prevention, have your property treated every 6-8 weeks from early spring to late fall. Ticks remain active all the way through the first hard freeze, so it’s important to keep up with treatments—particularly since deer and small mammals are very active all the way through fall. Call today to get your yard sprayed for ticks, so you can rest easier when you play in your yard tomorrow!

Watering your plants is an art. Are you doing it right?

Farmer's hand watering a young plant

Farmer’s hand watering a young plant

Everyone loves a deep green lawn, and big, colorful blooms on their flowers but if you’re not watering just the right way, you could end up with a brown lawn and drooping flowers.

If you’re ready to have the best-looking yard on the block, just follow these temperature related watering tips, and your plants will reward you with a beautiful view!

When the weather is from 65-75 degrees:

General lawn care:

During mild temperatures,  your lawn needs about 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water a week. During the spring, if there are several days of above average temperatures with no rain, this means that your irrigation system should be turned on for at least once a day for a half hour to 45 minutes.

(Remember, this is only a general irrigation guide. If your lawn has more areas of shade, or if you have clay soil where drainage is poor, you should visually monitor the turf and adjust your watering accordingly.)

Watering when the weather is from 75° to 85°

If there hasn’t been any significant rainfall, irrigation should consist of 1 to 1.5 hours of watering, twice a week.

Temperatures 85° and above

If there hasn’t been any significant rainfall, irrigation should consist of 1 to 1.5 hours of watering twice a week, plus daily syringing. Syringing is when you give the lawn an extra soak for 15 minutes during the hottest portion of the day. These short watering sessions will help the grass cool itself and maintain its vigor.

No matter the weather, trees, shrubs, and gardens also have a few rules.

For newly planted trees/shrubs: Smaller trees and shrubs should receive a few inches of water every two weeks for the first three years as their roots grow, and they adjust to their new environments. Bigger and more established trees will fine with just natural rainfall (larger more established trees will make do with rainfall).

Garden beds (trees, shrubs, perennials): Need one inch of water a week.

Vegetable gardens: Need one and a half to two inches of water a week (in extremely hot weather, check for drooping and give a bit of extra water.)

Bagworms?

bagworms

It usually starts in the 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 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!

tick

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!