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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!

Spring Is The Best Time To Aerate

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

Pest Prevention

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

Anti-desiccants

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

tick

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

tree care

 

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 and improve your tree care steps.

 

Mulch

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.

 

Water

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.

 

Plant Now

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

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.

Leaning Trees

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

Multiple Trunks

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 lookout 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

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:

 

Rash

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.