Summertime Already?

in Design, Landscape, Past Postings, Pest Management, Plants | 0 comments

Summer Is Here   Greetings Crew, How was your spring? We would describe it with one word…”exhausting”. Our landscaping company is beginning to finally catch up on pruning and weed control. This is pretty much on schedule. Spring explodes into green growth with weeds, shrubs, and trees. It seems like three weeds pop up for every one that we pull. This is somewhat true. In the soil, thousands of dormant seeds are waiting for the right conditions to germinate. As we disturb the soil by tilling, or pulling weeds, seeds may travel to the surface. These seeds are suddenly in perfect germination conditions. Vines, like English Ivy take for the skies up tree trunks, fences, and any vertical structure within reach. It’s obviously easier to stay on top of smaller properties, but larger properties are more challenging. Nature is often like chasing a gang of rogue two-year-olds. The minute you get one mess cleaned up, you turn to find another in the making. Spring often brings extreme weather conditions that knock deadwood, pine cones/needles, and leaves to the ground. This debris removal, on top of weed control, pruning, edging, and mulching can  make it hard to “stop and smell the roses”. Now we are into summer and the heat has set in. In Virginia, we have already had record temperatures on and near 100ºF. Gardening is generally not thought of as an athletic pursuit, but no one can deny that it is a physically challenging vocation. Author, and friend of Mark Twain, Charles Dudley Warner stated, “What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.” As we move further into summer, most gardeners will refrain from planting. Installing plants in the summer heat requires more frequent watering to enable a new plant to establish. With that in mind, as the turf relaxes its explosive growth, and you begin to catch up on other chores, this is a great time to begin planning for autumn planting. Some people will research, contemplate, and validate most purchases whether it’s a new coat, or a plant. Others hop into their automobile with wallet in pocket, and go to make a purchase without forethought. We want to encourage you to take...

Read More

How Was Your Summer?

in Design, Fertilization, Landscape, Past Postings, Pest Management, Plants, Pruning | 0 comments

Hello Crew Wow! What a summer it has been. Our landscaping company has been incredibly busy with installations, renovations, and maintenance. We’ve battled parasitic insects, fungal problems, and of course…weeds. While things have slowed momentarily before the onslaught of leaves, cool weather planting, and prepping for winter, we thought that this would be a good time to get back in touch with you…the crew.  Hopefully, this posting finds you all healthy, and your gardens in fine condition. Below you’ll find some practical advice, new resources, and an interesting story concerning an egregious horticultural horror. Horticultural Horror Recently while reading the garden section of our local newspaper we were appalled by a letter written in to the local garden columnist asking for advice. The writer began by explaining that a neighbor had planted Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans), and it had moved onto her property. Trumpet vine is a vigorous and potentially invasive grower that can quickly get out of control without adequate attention. If you don’t want to put in the time pruning and containing it, please don’t plant it. The letter writer said she had been battling the plant, and had applied Sevin to the foliage in hopes of killing the vines. For those of you that don’t know, Sevin is an insecticide not an herbicide, and will in no way kill nor control the growth of a plant. Trumpet Vine produces an abundance of bright orangish-red trumpet shaped flowers which are a very powerful attractant to hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. In an attempt to control the vine this person, unaware of the proper chemical to use doused it with an insecticide – most likely (though unintentionally) killing many of the beneficial pollinators attracted to it. This sort of mistake is maddening! Sevin contains Carbaryl, a chemical acutely toxic to humans, marine life, amphibians, and most wildlife. The columnist, politely and respectfully replied, advising her to pull the vines, and then use an herbicide to control the new ones. Unfortunately, the columnist did not take the opportunity to point out that insecticides do not kill plants, and that this broad spectrum insecticide can cause harm to insects, wildlife and marine life (she was on a coastal property). Nor did he...

Read More

Landscaping = $$$$$

in Design, Landscape, Past Postings, Plants | 0 comments

    Curbside appeal… Real estate agents use the term often, but what does it really mean? Simply stated it is the attractiveness of the exterior of a residential or commercial property. Although there are many ways to improve the “curb appeal” of a property, painting, new doors, windows and fixtures for example, landscaping may well be the easiest outdoor “fix”. If you are planning to sell your property, it is essential that the landscape be in good condition. Many real estate agents feel that the sale is made or broken by the initial curb appeal. Buyers do not want to feel overwhelmed by a messy landscape or the thought of all the work it will take to get it in order. According to the Society of Real Estate Appraisers, 95% of their members say landscaping adds to property value, and 99% agree that a good landscape increases the speed of home sales. Smart Money Magazine reports that by spending 5% of the value of your home on a quality low-maintenance landscape, you could boost the resale value by 15%, earning back 150% of your investment. Estimates vary and range from a 15% to 30% increase in the resale value of a home. Money Magazine reports that good landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100% to 200%, by far the most recovery value of all the other home remodeling efforts. Even if you aren’t selling your home it is a good feeling to come home to a well-ordered landscape. Plantings designed to shade the windows and walls of a home can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50% according to the American Public Power Association. Additional benefits of a well designed landscape other than the obvious aesthetics include: air quality improvement, reduced temperatures, increased habitat, fruit, vegatables and herbs for eating if you choose to plant them, but in this busy world noise abatement is an important quality that plants possess.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that trees and shrubs can reduce traffic noise by up to 50% and mask unwanted noises with pleasant sounds. These facts are proof that landscaping/gardening is an excellent investment of your time and money. Take this last bit of winter to observe and make...

Read More