plant health

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

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

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!

 

 

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

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