plant health

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

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