Is Spring Here Yet?
By Adrienne Angelucci
As many of you may have noticed, Mother Nature has not quite made up her mind as to whether she wants to continue the blustery saga that characterized winter 2017-2018 or allow us the pleasure of an actual spring.
As a result, we along with the plants in our gardens are frustrated and not quite sure how to dress and how to react. With colder temperatures, random snow showers, and blustery winds, expect the signs of spring and plant emergence from trees to perennials to annual flowers to be arriving later than usual.
Although difficult, we will need to be patient with plants this year and give them time to react to warmer temperatures and weather that is more consistent.
One easy way to help determine if plants are simply slow to emerge or dead are a simple scratch test. Using a small knife or even your fingernail, scratch the bark to reveal the internal stem. If green, the plant remains viable; if brown, this portion of the plant may have died back.
The important thing to do is to make sure you test numerous branches in the plant in various locations. This will give you an overall sense, as it is normal for plants to have some dieback here and there. The scratch test may reveal that only the upper portion of the plant is damaged and the internal portion is viable. For this situation, a light pruning will help to promote rejuvenation.
In addition to an overall delay, the highs and lows of this winter were especially hard on broadleaf evergreens (any plant that maintains its leaf in the winter that does not fall into the conifer category). Many plants, including Nandina, Laurel, Azalea, Boxwood, etc.. , subjected to the constant undulation in temperatures, freeze/thaw cycle and harsh winds, are showing signs of winter burn and or defoliation.
You may notice this as some of the plants have brown and rust color areas with plants appearing like they have been singed in a fire. Essentially, the plant is showing damage from dehydrated plant cells.
Unfortunately, there is very little can do to treat winter burn. Recommendations will depend on the severity of the burn. For mild burn, proper feeding (fertilizing) and watering will help.
The reality of winter burn is that patience comes into play again. Waiting to see if the plant pushes new buds and seeing how the plant regenerates is the ultimate answer. Unfortunately, successful rejuvenation can sometimes take an entire season if not more.
At this point, it may be more beneficial to remove the plant and consider replacement. Proper planning is key for winter burn protection; the installation of wind breaks, burlap, or application with anti-desiccants prior to winter can help.
Unfortunately, these methods are not the end all, depending on how Mother Nature is feeling. So a little patience, TLC and fortitude will be needed heading into this growing season. If you have questions, DiSabatino Landscaping has answers. Call us to assess your plantings – we can help identify what ones to nurture and which ones need replaced.
DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can design an outdoor living environment that will add quality to your life and value to your home. Give us a call today! 302-764-0480
I DO NOT WANT ANY BEES IN MY LANDSCAPE!
I hear this remark all the time from homeowners for whom I design landscapes. It makes me ask, “Why not”?
Unfortunately, bees have gotten a bum rap by homeowners in the last 20 years or so. People unfairly view Bees as an angry and aggressive intruder in the backyard, an unwanted guest with the sole purpose of ruining your backyard barbecue with family or friends, which simply is not true.
The main purpose of bees is to collect pollen (for their hive) or distribute pollen (on other plants) to aid in the development of fruit on those plants. Pollen provides a valuable food source for bee larvae back in the hive.
Without pollen, bees cannot produce honey, bee larvae will die, and with a hive losing its ability to sustain itself through the creation of new generations of worker bees, will simply perish.
The spreading of pollen from one fruit or vegetable plant to another is how the plant forms fruit…and from that fruit, creates the necessary seed that will allow that plant to reproduce itself again for future generations.
Many of the food crops we enjoy, such as corn, wheat, apples, tomatoes, and blueberries, all rely on bees to spread their pollen. Without the efforts of those pollinating bees, the world’s agricultural industry would collapse!
Homeowners are often afraid of bees for fear of getting stung by them. By nature, bees are not aggressive, unless they must protect their hive from physical threat. Hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps (which do not resemble bees at all) are more likely to be aggressive and sting an unsuspecting human visitor in the landscape.
I have been an active gardener for over 30 years and cannot recall ever being stung by a bee.
What bees and other pollinating insects can bring to a landscape is movement…and life!
Sitting in a quiet space in your landscape and watching bees hover and dance from one flower to the next gathering pollen on their legs is almost hypnotic. For many gardeners, watching bees in their landscape definitely lowers their blood pressure.
Think about these points the next time you see bees in your backyard, and you are tempted to run for the aerosol spray insect killer.