landscaping tips

Mulch is an excellent way to keep new plantings healthy

Three Ways Over-Mulching Can Harm Your Trees

Are You Over-Mulching? It May Be Harming Your Trees

Chances are, you’ve heard about the benefits of mulching around your trees. Mulching properly can suppress weed growth, help the underlying soil retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and add nutrient value over time. However, improper application or too much mulch can be detrimental to your trees.

Look at your mulch for these classic signs of too much mulch:

1 ) Get Out the Tape Measure – Is Your Mulch Over Four Inches Deep?

Mulch should be no more than two to four inches deep throughout. Finely shredded mulch should be less than two inches deep. Ideally, moisture should soak through the mulch, and the soil beneath should stay sufficiently moist. If the layer of mulch is too thick, it can block essential moisture from reaching the roots of your tree.

The same goes for air. If your mulch layer is too thick over the root ball, air will not be able to reach the roots of the tree. If the problem continues, roots may grow up through the mulch in search of air and moisture. This condition, known as stem girdling, can be deadly for vulnerable trees.

5 Steps to Prepare Your Landscape for Spring

2) Are You Practicing Volcano Mulching? 

Mulch should not touch the trunk or root flare of the tree. Piling mulch against the tree in a cone shape can hold moisture against the root flare and trunk bark, causing bark death, root girdling and more. Piles of mulch can also house pathogens, insects and rodents, which can damage your tree in their own ways.

Instead, start 12 to 18 inches from the tree. Start with about 4 inches of mulch, then work your way to a 2-inch layer as you move inward. Do not cover the base of the tree with the mulch.

3) Are You Using the Same Type of Mulch, in Large Amounts? 

Using the same type of mulch season after season, especially while mixing that mulch into the soil, can cause pH imbalances and nutrient deficiencies in the soil. For example, pine bark mulch is acidic and can change the pH balance of the soil if used repeatedly.

3 Ways to Prepare Your Patio for Spring

Mulch should provide benefits for your tree, but over mulching can cause more problems than you may think. Consult with a DiSabatino arborist to determine the types of mulch that are best for your trees, as well as any recommendations for your area. If done properly, much can be a great addition to the aesthetics and the health of your landscaping.


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help build an outdoor living area that will have you enjoying the great outdoors in style!  Give us a call today! 302-764-0408

Seven Tips for Integrating Bulbs Into Your Landscaping

Seven Tips for Integrating Bulbs Into Your Landscaping

Here’s How You Can Integrate Bulbs Into Your Landscaping

Nothing says spring quite like bulbs. Varieties like tulips, daffodils, and lilies are perhaps the quintessential marker that winter is over at last. There’s a great variety of bulbs beyond these three well-known classics, and knowing how to integrate them into your landscaping can keep your property looking beautiful all growing season long.

Work Bulbs Into Existing Landscaping

Likely, you have existing landscaping you’d like to improve. Bulbs can be a great way to add some extra color and interest to the landscaping you already have. Here are a few ways to incorporate bulbs into your current design:

  1. Use clusters of color – plant bulbs in irregular clusters of 12 or more for the larger bulbs and as many as 50 or more with the smaller, less showy bulbs. Use pops of one color near shorter shrubs or larger clusters of two or three colors in more open areas between plantings.
  2. Plant a border – use a border of low-growing bulbs like hyacinths to form a border around existing planting areas. Be sure not to plant straight lines of bulbs in ordered rows, which can look too formal for many gardens.
  3. Plant with companions – plant bulbs with companion perennials of a similar size. After the blooms die off, the perennials will help disguise the remaining foliage.
  4. Use bulbs to brighten tree plantings – early spring bulbs like crocus, early daffodils, and grape hyacinths do well under deciduous trees since they bloom before the tree’s full foliage develops. However, do not plant bulbs beneath evergreen trees – these produce too much year-round shade.

10 Landscaping Improvements to Make this Spring

Bulbs Can Be Beautiful Alone

Sometimes, unfilled spaces seem to be begging for a bulb garden. Luckily, the sheer variety of bulbs ensures a space full of bulbs will never get boring.

  1. Arrange bulbs purposefully – plant shorter varieties near the front, with taller ones near the back. Keep in mind which bulbs will bloom when, so you don’t have entire sections of your bulb garden bare as one time.
  2. Mass plantings – address mass plantings of one type of bulb and large groups of multiple bulbs similarly. Plant in natural-looking clusters to get a uniform texture. Also, consider mixing leaf types – mix variegated leaves with plain for a natural, creative look.
  3. Try container gardens – use containers of bulbs to extend your landscaping onto your deck or patio. Plant containers in the fall, winter them in a garage and then bring them out in the spring for an early pop of color.

Check Out Our 17 Landscape Trends for 2019

Contact us for more information about bulbs that will perform best with your existing landscaping.


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help build an outdoor living area that will have you enjoying the great outdoors in style!  Give us a call today! 302-764-0408

10 Landscaping Improvements to Make this Spring

With all the artic weather that has hit our area these past few weeks, it may be hard to imagine that spring is upon the horizon. Just as the sun surely rises, so will the sunny warmer days of spring and summer be here soon.

That is why we thought a little talk about improving your landscaping this spring might be helpful for planning some improvements to enhance your home’s curb appeal.

10 Landscaping Improvements to Make this Spring:

1) Plan your landscape: Well before you break ground, it is important to plan your landscaping project. Are you going to hire a professional landscaper? Might as well get them involve from the beginning, as their knowledge and expertise will be a big help. Plan for the types of plants you would like to grow, the layout and what you need to complete the tasks. This will make your landscaping endeavor significantly easier in the end.

2) Know Your Options: The geographic location of your home should play a big part in landscaping decisions. Choosing plants according to the climate of your yard is crucial. If your yard is full of mature trees, you will want to select plants that thrive in shade. While a more open landscape will make those plants that thrive in sunny conditions a better option.

The Side Effects of a Late Spring on Your Plantings

3) Give Plants Room to Grow: Most plants have an estimated maturity height and width. Consider a plant will grow over time in order to space it properly and place in best area for growth.

4) Know Your Pests: Familiarize yourself with the pests in your neighborhood so that you can plan for ways to protect your landscape from them. Insecticides, wire mesh or fencing can keep wildlife and insects from destroying your new plantings. Your local nursery or department store should be able to help you find the tools you need.Consider Soil Conditions: The quality of the soil used will play a big part of your landscaping efforts. Adding mulch to your plantings not only adds to aesthetics, it will also help maintain the soil.

5) Consider Maintenance Needs: If you are not planning on spending the time or hiring someone to maintain your plantings, select plants that are lower maintenance to keep your landscape looking nice. Consider placing flowers in planters to add color and texture to the landscape while cutting back on need to weed.

5 Steps to Prepare Your Landscape for Spring

6) Style Your Landscape to Compliment Your Home: The specific style of your home needs considered when selecting plantings. A traditional style home with landscape that flourishes with sunlight is conducive to flowering plants and shrub, while a rustic or modern home might look better with cacti or ornamental grass.

7) Use Landscape Rocks: Rocks can provide a natural, textural element to any landscape and a great way to create focal points. Better yet, rocks are very easy to maintain.

8) Make a Blueprint: Once the types of plants are selected, map it out. Items such as walkways or decorative elements need to be added in order to see how the landscape project will work and the materials you need.

Check Out Our 17 Landscape Trends for 2019

9) Timing is Everything: Since many plants respond better when planted during a particular time of year, you’ll want to plan for that to give them every chance of flourishing year over year.

10) Spy on Your Neighbors: Look around your neighborhood to see what is working for them as a guide to what might work well for your landscape, as well. Talk with a local nursery to get professional advice on what types of obstacles or what is native to your area.


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help build an outdoor living area that will have you enjoying the great outdoors in style!  Give us a call today! 302-764-0408

rejuvenative pruning

What Is Rejuvenative Pruning and Why Do You Need It?

Over time, your landscaping can become less sharp than it once was. Throughout the changing of the seasons, your shrubs and bushes can begin to lose their shape and look unhealthy around the edges. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to help give your landscaping a facelift. One of these is rejuvenative pruning.

Most shrubs benefit from annual pruning. The practice keeps them from becoming overgrown and producing branches that are unproductive or unattractive. Once a shrub is overgrown, it no longer responds to the typical methods of thinning and trimming. As a result, more drastic actions, such as rejuvenative pruning, become necessary.

Rejuvenative pruning is a good option for shrubs that have not been maintained with annual trimming. When performed correctly, it works as the name implies. It is like replacing the old shrub with a new one. Rejuvenative pruning, at its most basic form, requires cutting the shrub to a height between 6-12 inches and allowing it to grow. However, since it requires a certain technique to be successful, it is best not to attempt rejuvenative pruning yourself.

Hard Versus Gradual Pruning

rejuvenative pruning Rejuvenative pruning, when done correctly, allows a plant to grow new, productive branches after cutting away any productive growth. Two main methods exist for rejuvenative pruning: gradual or hard. A hard prune is the act of cutting the whole shrub down and allowing it to regrow. Gradual pruning, on the other hand, involves the removal of unproductive branches over a period of three years.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of hard pruning is that it allows a shrub to rejuvenate more quickly, typically over a growing season. However, not all types of plants respond well to hard pruning, and attempting it on a plant that does not respond well could result in loss of the plant. Additionally, you may have to deal with the unsightly prospect of a bare stub until the plant rejuvenates.

Gradual pruning is a slower process than hard pruning, but it has the advantage of visual appeal. These plants tend to look better in your existing landscaping as they regrow, and are better for types of shrubs that do not respond well to hard pruning, such as caning shrubs.

Rejuvenative pruning can be a great way to improve your landscaping, but it requires help from an expert. The landscaping team at DiSabatino can help your shrubs and landscaping reach their full visual potential.


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help build a outdoor fireplace or fire pit to keep you warm over the winter months ahead. Give us a call today! 302-764-0408

Design Your Landscape Projects

5 Steps to Prepare Your Landscape for Spring

Winter is just beginning, but it is never too early to think about your spring landscaping. Taking heed of a few simple tips this winter can help you make the most of the warmer spring temperatures when they come. Prepare for your spring landscaping by taking these steps.

Clean Your Yard Periodically

1) Clean Your Yard Periodically

One of the first things you will have to do when beautifying your lawn for spring is to clean up the debris, such as leaves and twigs that accumulated over the winter. If you do not attend to your lawn until you begin the process in April, the task can seem daunting. On the other hand, taking advantage of periodic thaws in the wintertime can help you stay on track all season long and help with the cabin fever we all begin to feel over the winter months.

For the more manicured preference, clearing of debris is the first step to the cleanup in preparation for mulching. If of the more naturalistic mindset, leaves and debris can be collected and composted or even further broken down and recycled as mulch.

2) Choose Your Mulches Now

It may not be time to lay mulch and other landscaping materials, but you can lay the groundwork. Edge out your beds, trim back any dead branches, and begin to research what kind of mulch you might want to lay in the spring. Hardwood mulches have become the norm for many homeowners due to color and longevity. Homeowners may want to consider natural mulching options such as bark and leaf mulch. Many public and professional gardens utilize natural mulches as these options successfully break down and contribute to plant health and soil biodiversity.

THREE WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR PATIO FOR SPRING

3) Examine Trees After Every Storm

In order to keep your lawn in the best shape (as well as protect the structures around your house), look for signs of dead or hanging tree branches after every winter storm. You should remove dangling limbs immediately for safety’s sake, and to save time on spring cleanup.

THE BENEFITS OF PLANTING WINTER INTERESTS PLANTS

4) Apply Pre-Emergent Controls

Late winter or very early spring (think February/March) is actually the perfect time to get a jump start on weed control in both your lawns and your landscape beds.  Crabgrass control should be applied to lawns and pre-emergent should be applied when mulching landscape beds.  Pre-emergent should be in the ground once thawed but before temperatures reach 55 degrees. If you wait too long to apply your pre-emergent, seeds will begin to germinate and it will no longer be effective.The Side Effects of a Late Spring on Your Plantings

5) Design Your Landscape Projects

Springtime may seem like a long way off, but it’s mere months away. If you are planning for any landscape or outdoor living projects or renovations for the upcoming season, now is the time to contact your landscaping design team. Take the winter to plan and coordinate details so that when spring rolls around, you ready and can enjoy the results of your project throughout the rest of the season.


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help build a outdoor fireplace or fire pit to keep you warm over the winter months ahead. Give us a call today! 302-764-0408

preparing your landscaping for the cold winter

Using Anti-Desiccants To Protect Broadleaf Evergreens During Winter Months

The colors of fall are all around us this year and thanks to the continuous rainfall our area has received these last few months, the contrast is AMAZING! Now that Halloween is a distant memory and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, it is time to talk about preparing your landscaping for the cold winter months ahead.

Winter can be harsh on trees and shrubs that do not drop their leaves
Rhododendron bud with leaves trapped in ice

Winter can be harsh on trees and shrubs that do not drop their leaves, such as broadleaf evergreens and conifers. These varieties of landscape plantings often suffer winter damage through desiccation. Desiccation in layman’s terms means drying out.

Broadleaf evergreens, such as azalea, rhododendron, holly and boxwood, in addition to Conifers, such as arborvitae, juniper, pine, cedar and cypress are the most susceptible to desiccation. So are tender stems, such as rose canes and hydrangea stems.

As the ground starts to freeze, a plant’s roots effort to take up water from the ground are thwarted. The plant will begin to use up all the water stored in their leaves and stems and they begin to dry out. That is why landscaping professionals suggest strategic application of anti-desiccants.

Anti-desiccants are sprays that provide a protective coating to evergreen foliage that reduces the amount of water that escapes from evergreen trees and shrubs to help hold in moisture through the winter. However, if applied too early in the season, anti-desiccants can cause injury.

As temperatures begin to drop in the fall, a plant prepares for dormancy by sending water from its foliage to its roots. Anti-desiccants applied before a plant goes dormant will trap water in the leaves which will freeze and cause cellular rupturing.

spraying broadleaf with anti-desiccant
spraying broadleaf with anti-desiccant

That is why it is important to pick an appropriate time to spray. Most landscapers suggest waiting until December and picking a day when temperatures are between 40-50 degrees F with no immediate rainfall in the forecast. The plant’s foliage needs to be dry before application and given enough time to dry after spraying with the anti-desiccant.

In addition, be sure to spray the plants thoroughly, even the underside of the foliage. Just to reiterate the most common types of landscape plants that should be treated are broadleaf evergreens, conifers and tender stems, such as hydrangea.

Landscaping trees and shrubbery is a big investment. Properly maintaining and protecting your plants can ensure that they look healthy and green for the next growing season. If you have problems with cold damage in your garden, you may want to try anti-desiccants this winter.


To learn more about protecting your landscape this winter, check out these articles:

HOW TO PROTECT TREES & SHRUBS FROM WINTER DAMAGE

WHY LATE WINTER IS THE BEST TIME TO PRUNE

IS YOUR LANDSCAPE READY FOR WINTER?

PROTECT YOUR TREES AND SHRUBS THIS WINTER

4 BENEFITS OF PLANTING WINTER INTEREST PLANTS


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist DiSabatino Landscaping is Delaware’s #1 Hardscape and Landscape Specialist. We can help get your landscape ready to face the winter months ahead. Give us a call today! 302-764-0408

HERE ARE 5TIPS FOR CREATING AN OUTDOOR OASIS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

How to Create an Outdoor Oasis in Your Own Backyard

Outdoor rooms that extend the living area of your home have become all the rage. Full kitchens, fire pits or fireplace with plenty of comfortable seating are perfect for evening garden parties or fun-filled family nights.

Modern day living has evolved since the turn of the century. Many homeowners are looking to express their styles through creating outdoor living spaces that fit their lifestyle and extend their square footage of usable space.

Imagine the kids lounging outside enjoying nature instead of cooped up in the basement or separate bedrooms playing video games. No matter what climate you live in, there are ways to make a comfortable and inviting outdoor living space to suit your family’s needs.

Creating outdoor rooms into living areas, recreation areas, and more are a great way to bridge the interior and exterior of the home. There should be some real thought as to how to create a space that will work within your parameters and flow properly.

HERE ARE 5 TIPS FOR CREATING AN OUTDOOR OASIS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD:

1) Create a Master Plan

One thing to avoid is haphazardly creating outdoor spaces casually without a real master plan. You’ll want to concentrate on functionality, as well as style. Look at the big picture and create goals and a plan for accomplishing those goals.

One way to ensure success for the space and still maintain good design is by breaking the area into smaller rooms. Do not forget to take into account the effect of outdoor elements, since the climate will have a big role in how inviting your outdoor space turns out to be. Observe how the sun looks at different times of day and how the wind blows in different areas of the space to get a feel for your optimal arrangement of the space.

Which Material is Best for Your Perfect Patio?

2) Consider Your Entertainment Needs or Aspirations

The whole point of an outdoor space is to make it inviting and functional to your personal style of entertaining. For one, consider the distance from the cooking to the eating area when planning for a dining pavilion, porch or pergola. You don’t want to end up with a beautiful entertaining space that’s rarely used. Also consider the flow from the indoor to the outdoor area. Make access easy and seamless

3) Put a lot of Thought into the Outdoor Kitchen Design

Look at an outdoor kitchen the same way you would an indoor kitchen to make sure you create a workable space. Consider what kind cooking appliances and refrigeration units you will need. Determine how often you will be entertaining and typical size of your events. Think through the function and style of your cooking area. 

4) Do not Skimp on the Details

Take into consideration all the details such as landscaping, lighting, and materials. Lighting and landscaping are an excellent way to enhance a great pool or barbecue. While these are not expensive upgrades, they enhance an outdoor space and extend the value into the evening hours.

Transform Your Old Tired Pool into an Oasis

5) Sit Back and Enjoy

Above all, hire a local design professional with a great reputation to create the space you really want. Even if it cost a little more, your outdoor space can be your stay-cation spot that is relaxing and rejuvenating – ALL in your own backyard.

How to Create an Outdoor Oasis in Your Own Backyard

 

Want to extend your living area by creating an ideal outdoor spaces to meet your recreation and entertainment needs? Get in touch with DiSabatino Landscaping.


Tree and Shrub Care Specialist 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

What Landscaping Challenges to Expect From This Past Year's Volatile Weather

What Landscaping Challenges to Expect From This Past Year’s Volatile Weather

Wild Weather Ride Recap

Every landscaper experiences landscaping challenges — fighting the good fight can help us to conquer and surpass these tests from mother nature.

What a crazy spring and summer we’ve had! From snowstorms in the end of March to the sixth coldest April in 100 years, we experienced May rain for 15 out of 30 days followed by a mild June with major downpours of more than two inches of rain causing drainage problems.  When we finally got a chance to enjoy the summer weather, temps rose to high 90 degree heat waves in July. Luckily, we did have some breaks of low humidity and pleasant summer days in the 70’s.

What Landscaping Challenges to Expect From This Past Year's Volatile Weather

What does this volatile weather mean to our clients in the landscaping world?  A lot of challenges, both good and bad.

The good news is that up until the last month or so, you didn’t have to run your irrigation system or do any hand watering on your property. Unfortunately, our plants and lawns have been experiencing fungus and disease from getting too much water followed by high temperatures.

Mother Nature isn’t always kind.

Our change of seasons have been extremely erratic. This past fall, we went from beautiful 70 degree weather one day to below freezing temperatures. These extreme temperature changes have dramatically affected plant materials such as crepe myrtles, skip cherry laurels, evergreen magnolias and holly’s, which cannot take these extremes. It’s very hard for these plants, which are prevalent in our area, to come back to life.

As for weeds….this season is epic for weed growth due to the weather extremes. Thistle, nut sedge and crab grass have been hard to keep up with. Weeds love hot temperatures and rain.

What can we do to fix this?

Patience and persistence are what is needed during this growing season. We have to continually work to clear weeds and overgrowth for landscapes to flourish. Take the time to stop to smell the roses, but make sure you stay on top of those beds because the weeds, especially thistle, can jump up inches overnight! These weeds aren’t in the mulch – they’re actually airborne – and require dedication to remove.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of these summer days. Let’s hope for more consistent weather this coming fall!

 

 

5 Watering Tips for Your New Plantings

5 Watering Tips for Your New Plantings

You just invested time, money and energy installing new plantings into your landscape, keeping them watered and hydrated is the most important aspect in helping them become established. While there is no universal rule of when and how much to water, the general rule of thumb is one inch of water per week.

Obviously, your watering amount and frequency will be determined by what Mother Nature offers up. On those hot and dry weeks of summer, there is a higher need to keep your new plantings hydrated.

5 Watering Tips for Your New Plantings:

Mulch is an excellent way to keep new plantings healthy 1) Mulch is an excellent way to keep new plantings healthy, as it keeps soil moisture and temperature more evenly regulated.

2) Spring plantings tend to need a more diligent watering routine versus fall plantings, as the root establishment may only be a few weeks. Fall plantings generally need less watering due to cooler temperature and increased rainfall and the roots will be more established that first summer.

3) It is better to water new plantings in the morning, as it is considered more effective. Daytime watering is less effective due to evaporation. Excess moisture that is not absorbed into the soil during the morning will evaporate, keeping plants from too wet during the day or into the night.

4 Steps to Optimal Plant Health for Your Landscaping

4) Fully analyze a drooping plant before assuming that it needs water. While this is a sign of dehydration, it could also be a sign of a plant being starved of oxygen. The cause could be that the plant has been overwatered and the soil is saturated.  Check the soil to see if it is really dry before watering.

5) Avoid oversaturating your new plantings. Puddling is a sign that the plant cannot absorb water at the rate it is being applied. Overwatering can cause root rot, foliar diseases and deprive the soil of oxygen.

The Side Effects of a Late Spring on Your Plantings

The Beauty of Mass Plantings

Why Less is More: The Beauty of Mass Plantings

Mass planting embodies simplicity because it reads as one large element instead of a wide variety of individual plants.

As a lover of plants I often become bogged down when trying to decide how many types of plants to use in a design. When I go to a nursery or garden center, I start thinking how many of each different plants I can get into my personal garden. Then I stop myself and wonder, “Do I really want to take care of all those different types of plants? Do I really need that many different types?”

Ornamental plants for landscaping.

Most of us have limited amount of time to spend on tending our gardens. That is why scaling beds back to a limited palette of long lasting, animated perennials that are low maintenance or grasses that offer a different look for each season makes for the easier way to go.

How to Create a Sustainable Garden that Helps Wildlife

Mass planting embodies simplicity because it reads as one large element instead of a wide variety of individual plants.

Mass planting embodies simplicity because it reads as one large element instead of a wide variety of individual plants

The first step is to decide on an overall look of your landscaping.  Do you want a variety of small shrubs, simple groupings of different grasses, or maybe you’d like an assortment of large herbs, small flaxes and shrubs?

Don’t forget to take into account colors. Are you looking for a bold and dramatic contrast of colors or do a variation of complimentary colors?

Finally, choose mass plantings suitable for your climate. This will mean a better look with less maintenance and budget-friendly.

NATIVE PLANT FINDER

Over the years my designer’s eye has come to appreciate simple, effective and minimal different types of plants in a garden. Planting in masses leads to a larger splashes of color & interest. No matter the size of the space I have found less varieties of plants actually compliments their surroundings more. Less is more!