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Tree Killers

tree killers

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:

  1. Bugs

Insects like the Asian Long Horned Beetle or the Gypsy Moth can take out blocks of trees in a very short time. Insects, attack the leaves of trees and 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 may have a bug problem. Check the trunk for tiny boring holes as well. Once insects are near, it is easy for them to infect other trees.  It is imperative you contact a professional as soon as you suspect an infestation before your whole yard falls victim to these pests.

  1. Disease

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.

  1. Weather

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.

  1. Neglect

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.

Preventing Mosquitoes

mosquitobreed

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  

soil_in_hands_-_francesca_yorke

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.

Compost

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.

Why You Should Spray For Ticks

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 densely wooded areas and like to hide out in tall brush. The average yard on Long Island provides the perfect habitat for ticks. Every year we see more ticks spreading diseases, many of these are difficult to diagnose and treat. Powassan virus now joins other, more common tick-borne illnesses already present in our area. These include; 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. It is imperative to spray for ticks before the ticks arrive.

Mosquitoes are not only annoying, but they can also carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Zika. These pests breed anywhere where there is standing water. 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  

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 is a list of things that can be done to make sure you get the most out of your planting season.

  1. Order Summer Flowering Bulbs

Summer-flowering bulbs such as Lilies, Gladiolus and Ranunculus can be planted in early spring for a colorful summer display.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

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

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

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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.

 

Trend #1

 

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

LED Lights

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

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.

  • Turf

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.

 

  • Weeds

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.

 

  • Perennials

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

Storm Damage

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.