landscaping tips

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!

How to Have Success With Crapemyrtles in Your Landscaping

How to Have Success With Crapemyrtles in Your Landscaping

Anyone who has travelled in the south during mid-summer has surely taken note of the Crapemyrtles throughout the area. The crapemyrtle, often referred to as the ‘lilac of the South’, boasts showy blooms that attract bees and provide habitats for a wide variety of birds.

How to Have Success With Crapemyrtles in Your LandscapingWhy Homeowners Should Be Positive About BEES in Their Landscape

The common crapemyrtle is a native of China and Korea. Crapemyrtles come in a variety of sizes and colors. Thanks to the hybridizing efforts on the part of the National Arboretum and several Crapemyrtle enthusiasts, this colorful specimen has made its way north for the last several decades.

From luscious colors of blooms to smooth bark and dense foliage, the crapemyrtle is the center of attention in any landscape. The tree is not only known for its beauty, but also for it hardiness and dependability.

Those of us at DiSabatino Landscaping would like to share our knowledge with you on have success with your Crapemyrtles in the mid-Atlantic region (zone 5-6). Below is a list of the basics when caring for this hardy tree in your landscaping.

Basic Care of the Crapemyrtle:

Plant in Well-Drained Soil:Planting your Crapemyrtle in a raised bed, berm or sloping area is ideal. Beware of planting flush with the ground, ESPECIALLY if your soil has a high clay consistency. Areas of your landscaping that tend to puddle or stay damp after a rain will inhibit a crapemyrtle from surviving the winter, as the stem tissue will not harden off properly. Crapemyrtles are naturally drought tolerant.

Crapemyrtles Love Heat: A sunny spot in your landscaping is ideal as Crapemyrtles easily abide extra heat that occurs near a south-facing wall or fence. If full sun is not available, they will thrive with ½ day sun.

Fertilize in Spring: A crapemyrtle blooms on current year’s growth, it is suggested to use either ‘Plant-tone’ or ‘Flower-tone’ or a comparable product. Mature plants tend to need less fertilizing. Do not fertilize after July as the resulting new growth will not harden off properly before frost hits and will die back in the winter.

Trim in Early Spring: It is best to trim from mid-March to early May before the new growth appears. While later trimming will not hurt the plant, it may delay or eliminate flowering. A trimmed branch will take 6 to 8 weeks of hot weather before it will bloom. It stands to reason, anything trimmed after June will most likely mean no blooms for the season. A big NO-NO is to trim after July, as the new growth will not be ready for winter.

Treat for Japanese Beatles: Treat for Japanese beetles in June or July if they become an issue in your area.

Except for newly planted Crapemyrtles, do not water or fertilize in the fall. It is best to have drought stress versus too much lush soft growth, as you want the stems to harden off for the winter. Crapemyrtles are the most accommodating plants, thriving in dry, full sun and requiring less maintenance that most trees and shrubs.


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

Don't Let Boxwood Blight Take Out Your Boxwoods!

Don’t Let Boxwood Blight Take Out Your Boxwoods!

Don't Let Boxwood Blight Take Out Your Boxwoods!Since early 2010, the Boxwood Blight has been slowly moving its way from the Carolina’s to the Delaware Valley region. During this period, our landscapers have noticed this issue at only a handful of our maintenance properties but we want to keep a sharp eye out for this Blight. Boxwood blight has been found in (18) states and is primarily on the East Coast. This Blight; if left unchallenged; in your yard will wipe out all of your Boxwoods!

Q: What is Boxwood Blight?

A: Boxwood Blight is a fungal disease that affects only Boxwoods. This fungus, Cylindrocladium buxicola, is found on the leaves, stems, base, and even the soil.

Q: Why is this an issue?

A: Boxwood Blight causes a blackening of the leaves and stems that will eventually lead to the death of the plant. This fungus, introduced by infected new plants, can spread quickly to older established landscapes. Once the disease has spread, there is no cure for the blight and the plant will quickly diminish.

Q: How is this spread?

A: Boxwood Blight is commonly spread during warm and humid temperatures. In the nursery, many growers have hundreds of Boxwoods growing near each other at a time; and this can cause an outbreak. DiSabatino has been ONLY purchasing Boxwoods from state certified growers in order to ensure this Blight does not come into your garden. These growers must follow stringent rules to become certified and during any inspection; typically multiple per season; if the blight is found all growing blocks are closed down and all infected Boxwoods are destroyed to ensure containment.

In the home landscape however Boxwood Blight is spread through multiple sources. The most common is planting infected materials from non-certified growers/sellers. Another is improperly cleaned pruning tools. When pruning Boxwoods all tools are to be cleaned with an alcohol based cleaner after every plant. Cloths being in contact with the fungus can even spread the Blight; it is always best to clean all cloths once finished in your garden.

Q: What can I do to save my infected Boxwoods?

A: Unfortunately, there is NO CURE for this Blight. The only way to remove this from your garden is to remove the plant entirely; including all soils around the plant and take it to an appropriate dumping site. DO NOT take this to a local dump that will shred the material. The infected plants MUST be burned to eradicate the fungus.

Q: Should I still plant Boxwoods?

A: Yes, Boxwoods are still an important plant in our area and as long as Disabatino Landscaping is taking care of or installing your Boxwoods, we are always vigilant to ensure this disease does not spread on our watch.

For further information, please go to:

Boxwood Blight: Emerging Threat to Pennsylvania’s Landscape

The Side Effects of a Late Spring on Your Plantings

The Side Effects of a Late Spring on Your Plantings

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.

The Side Effects of a Late Spring on Your Plantings 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.

EFFECTS  OF A LATE FREEZE ON BLOOMING SCHRUBS AND TREES

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.


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

Many rely on bees to spread their pollen

Why Homeowners Should Be Positive About BEES in Their Landscape

I DO NOT WANT ANY BEES IN MY LANDSCAPE!

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 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!Many rely on bees to spread their pollen

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.

An Open Rear Porch is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors in any weather

Celebrate Spring With An Outdoor Living Space To Die For!

3 Ways to Enjoy Your Backyard With Protection From the Elements:

I am sure many are skeptical that spring will arrive to Delaware any time soon. With a fourth nor’easter ushering in the season of rebirth, it is hard to imagine warm days and nights spent enjoying the outdoors.

Yet, as sure as the sun rises and sets each day, the warm weather will be here soon. Make this the year that you enhance your backyard with a Pergola, sunroom or a beautiful outdoor living space installed by Delaware’s #1 hardscape experts, DiSabatino Landscaping.

3 ways to enjoy your backyard with protection from the elements

1) A Pergola can provide a beautiful accent to your rear yard. The structure alone can produce a comfortable amount of shade. Enhance that shade with a retractable canopy or overhead lattice work.
An Open Rear Porch is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors in any weather
2) An Open Rear Porch is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors in any weather. The roof will provide protection from the sun and the rain. Add retractable screens for protection from insects. Add heaters to warm the area for all season entertaining.
A Sunroom is another wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors
3) A Sunroom is another wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Add wide open screen windows or a grand wall of doors that slide open to let fresh air in. Sunrooms can also have heat and air conditioning for yearlong enjoyment.

outdoor kitchen, fireplace, television or sound system

Don’t forget the accents like an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, television or sound system to create your total outdoor living experience.

Entertainment can be a breeze with an outdoor living space full of all the luxuries that one would expect to have to go indoors to enjoy. Get family and friends together for some fresh air, great conversation and superb entertainment that will sooth and rejuvenate the soul.

If you’re looking to extend your home’s living space to the outdoors, get in touch with DiSabatino Landscaping – 302-764-0408

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR PORTFOLIO

 

colordogwood

How to Handle the Challenges to Your Landscape for Record Cold Winter

winter landscapes

2018 has started off as a blustery cold winter and our friend Phil the groundhog gave us some more bad news when he saw his shadow, declaring six more weeks of winter. Whether you believe in Phil’s skills or not, one thing is for sure: this record cold winter has had a major impact on our area.

How has this affected homeowners?

This year, we heard from many of our clients that their pipes have burst for the first time ever in more than 50 years of living in their homes. Sustained wind chills at below zero temperatures have kept a lot of plumbers busy.

Because temperatures were so low and were accompanied by snow, there were higher than average amounts of rock salt being used. In some cases, it was ineffective because it was so cold.

This is an issue because the salt can be dangerous to driveways, walkways, garages and plants that are in close proximity to the street. Even though our clients may be diligent in using safe concrete and paved surface products, tires and wheel wells can pick up significant amounts of rock salt and brine. The residuals can drop onto the driveway or get tracked into patios and walkways. When the snow melts, the salt gets into soil, seriously hurting plants and trees.

Evergreen plants such as boxwoods, cherry laurels, rhododendrons and others get serious winter burn and browning, causing concerned homeowners. Luckily, in most instances the new growth will emerge in the spring.

In addition, our company’s work schedule has been impacted by weather delays and low temperatures that cause unsafe word conditions. This has resulted in a larger than usual backlog for the spring. Even with this cold weather, a lot of our clients have been planning their outdoor living spaces, pools and landscapes to be ready when the warm temperatures arrive. If you are planning a project this spring, we recommend contacting one of our team members for a consultation to get started soon.

This year is starting off as one of our busiest in over a decade. We are committed to taking care of our clients and continuing our tradition of excellence in customer service and quality installs, but we need your help this year to have us out early enough to take care of your landscape, outdoor living space or pool.

And when spring does come, we’ll all be grateful to hear birds chirping, see plants budding and entertain friends and family outdoors!


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

4 Steps to Optimal Plant Health for Your Landscaping:

4 Steps to Optimal Plant Health for Your Landscaping

 

4 Steps to Optimal Plant Health for Your Landscaping:

Why Plant Culture and Environment is Important for Plant Health

A healthy plant, planted correctly in the right location, is more likely to remain healthy and less susceptible to attack by disease or insects.

Healthy gardens and landscapes start not only with healthy plants but also with healthy soil and environments. Quality soil and mulch, with proper watering regimes for new (and sometimes established) plants play important parts of keeping plants healthy and thriving. Good management of the landscape is essential, especially in the soil and root systems of plants. Maintenance, plus fertilizing, pruning and making other adjustment as conditions change, is also essential.

Check out our ‘Plant Health Care Programs and/or Preservation’ suggestions to get your plants lush and healthy.

4 Steps to Optimal Plant Health for Your Landscaping:

1) Soil Testing: determines proper mode of action.
2 )Fertilizing Program: Spring – macro-element based (N-P-K); Summer – granular application for mid-season improvements; Fall – micro-element based (iron, calcium, sulfur and mycorrhizae/humates).
3) Air Spading for root systems (if necessary): De-compacts soil, root collar excavations, girdling root removals and Amendments (compost/organic matter) may be added for additional soil improvement.
4)Pest Management Applications: This should be for plants that still exhibit insect problems or trees that are susceptible to damaging invasive pests/disease. Many applications require more than one for the treatment to be effective. A goal should be to use a minimal risk treatment (cultural practices, oils, soaps, beneficial insects) before applying conventional insecticides/fungicides. However, in many instances, a zero or minimal-tolerance for pests and disease, would be considered grounds for treatment; this means, depending on the extent or severity of the infestation/or disease, that immediate action should be taken to remedy a solution.


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