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 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.
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 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 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, 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.