Frequently Asked Questions
Pruning may be needed for many reasons. The main reason for pruning is to shape the tree or shrub to the desired form and to keep its growth within bounds. Damage can occur to branches from wind, ice, disease and insect problems. These dead or damaged branches will need to be removed as soon as the need arises, since waiting could allow disease to spread to healthy wood.
Trees and shrubs that are planted for their flower and fruit production may need pruning to enhance flower production. Removing weak, crossed or rubbing branches and thinning out excessive growth will result in larger and better fruit and flower production.
The proper timing for pruning will depend on the type of tree or shrub. If you have any questions, please give the office a call at (516) 352-3975.
Lawn Disease Control is a way to apply a preventative or curative to treat your lawn for Lawn Fungus. The most effective treatment requires two preemptive applications. The first is applied in July and the second in August. It is possible to treat lawn fungus after it develops, however it is more expensive and less effective to do so. If you have any further questions, please contact the office at (516) 352-3975.
A perennial is a plant that comes back each year. Some popular perennials for our area are: Daylily, Montauk Daisy, Russian Sage and Black Eyed Susan.
An annual is a plant that does not come back. It needs to be replaced each year. Popular annuals for our area are: Impatiens, Geranium, Coleus, Begonia, and Petunia.
We recommend turning your system on in mid May and turning it off for the season in mid November. This may vary based on the weather conditions of a particular season. If you have any questions, please call the office at (516) 352-3975.
As part of your preparation for planting, your soil was enhanced with organic material (compost) and Mycorrhizae, a soil additive that invades the feeder root tissues and forms modified roots (called “fungus-roots”), which greatly increase efficiency of nutrient and water uptake. Most plants require mycorrhizae for normal growth and development in natural soils. These applications, along with the nutrients that are absorbed from your existing soil are all your shrubs need to do well. After the first growing season you may want to consider a shrub fertilizer. As always, if you have any question please feel free to contact us a (516) 352-3975.
Mulching your shrub beds is a good idea for a number of reasons.
- Cultivating the soil damages the shrub roots and turns up the moist soil, exposes it to air and causes soil moisture loss.
- Mulch breaks down naturally over time and adds valuable organic material to your soil.
Ready to mulch? Give us a call at (516) 352-3975.
Dead heading is the removal of spent flower heads (by cutting or snapping them off) when flowers begin to fade or look “bad”. There are a few good reasons to do this.
- Dead heading allows the plant to use its energy to produce more flowers rather than to produce seed.
- By removing the spent flowers you also eliminate unwanted seeds. This prevents the plant from seeding (and producing new plants) where it is not wanted.
- Dead heading also keeps your garden looking good.
Dead heading is best done in the early morning or early evening when plants are least susceptible to moisture loss.
There are a number of reasons why installing an Irrigation System is a good idea. You will notice we said Irrigation, not sprinkler system. Manual, homeowner operated sprinklers water from overhead and often in areas that do not require water (driveways, sidewalks). An irrigation system is specifically designed for your property and its individual microclimates. This means taking into account your wet and shaded areas as well as dry areas. It also means installing soaker or drip hoses in shrub beds so plants can be watered at their root zone.
The best part about a well-designed and calibrated irrigation system is that it is automatic. It may need adjusting from time to time based on weather conditions, but for the most part it runs on its own! This allows for more consistent watering. It has been our experience that turf areas perform best where there is a properly set irrigation system. Homeowners, when watering on their own, tend to either under water or over water.
If you would like more information or an estimate for the installation of a personalized Irrigation System, please contact us at (516) 352-3975.
If your lawn is lush in parts and nearly brown in others, your yard isn’t being watered correctly. Your sprinkler pattern may be at fault, or you may not have enough sprinkler heads. Set out a series of open-mouth jars or pie pans at different points in your lawn and run your typical sprinkler setup for 15 minutes. Then check the depth of water in each container. The water levels will tell you how evenly your irrigation method is watering the lawn. The key is to achieve uniform water coverage across the turf.
Next, check to see how deeply the water is penetrating. Water for 30 minutes, then dig down to see how far it has reached. A healthy lawn should be moist down to about 5 inches. This depth of penetration encourages your grass to send its roots deep into the soil where they’ll be less prone to moisture loss and disease. It takes about ¼ of an inch of water to fall in sandy soil for penetration that deep. In clay soil, it takes about 1¾ inches of water for the liquid to percolate 5 inches down. If your lawn isn’t receiving the proper amount, consider watering fewer times a week but for longer periods of time – at least 30-45 minutes. This will keep soil-moisture content high where it counts: down deep.
It is important to water at the right time: between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. to allow your lawn to absorb sufficient moisture before the sun’s rays cause evaporation. Watering in the evening can cause your lawn to stay too wet, which can lead to fungal disease. Be careful, it is possible to over water. If areas of your property are shaded or have low spots, the soil in these areas will stay moist longer than in sun exposed areas. Remember, lawns planted under trees must compete with the trees for water, nutrients and sunlight. These areas rarely grown turf well. It is important to tailor your watering to your properties specific needs.
As always, if you have any question please feel free to contact us at (516) 352-3975.
Newly seeded areas require different care than established lawns. Follow the recommendations below.
- Irrigate the area; you should try to maintain a consistently moist (but not saturated) soil.
- Grass will germinate and grow more vigorously in aeration holes or slits.
- Keep traffic, including children and pets, off of the lawn as much as possible, until the lawn has been mowed a few times and the new grass begins to mature.
Start watering: For the first 7 — 10 days, keep a close eye on your seed. Give it a thorough watering to keep it from drying out. This could mean watering twice a day if the weather is warm and or windy.
After that the first 7—10 days, apply 1-2″ total of water per week. This is best accomplished by watering every other day or three times per week.
To measure the amount of water coming from a sprinkler, place a coffee can on the lawn in the midst of the sprinkler, leave the sprinkler running until it fills with 1″ of water. Record the time. If you are using an irrigation system set the timers appropriately. Once your lawn is established it is generally better to water in the early morning hours.
As always, if you have any question please feel free to contact us at (516) 352-3975.
Your new Sod looks Beautiful! Now you need to keep it that way!
Start watering: For the first 7 — 10 days, keep a close eye on your turf. Give it a thorough watering to keep it from drying out. This could mean watering twice a day if the weather is warm and or windy.
After that the first 7—10 days, apply 1-2″ of water every 7 days.
To measure 2″ of water coming from a sprinkler, place a coffee can on the lawn in the midst of the sprinkler, leave the sprinkler running until it fills with 2″ of water. Record the time. If you are using an irrigation system set the timers appropriately. Once your lawn is established it is generally better to water in the early morning hours.
As always, if you have any question please feel free to contact us at (516) 352-3975.
When starting a new lawn the preparation process is the same for seed and sod. Existing turf is removed, soil nutrients are checked and amended, slope or grade is evaluated properly and soil is tilled. The final step is to install the grass. The decision to use seed or sod will depend on the time of year and your expectations.
Seeding: Is best done in the fall. The warmer soil temperatures, cooler nights and moderate daytime temperatures that are typical at this time of year allow for better seed germination. It is important to be patient with seed. It will take 10-14 days for seed to germinate. Lawns can also be seeded in the spring once soil temperatures have reached levels that support germination.
Sod: Can be installed from Early Spring until December. Sod gives you an “instant” lawn.
Lawn Renovation involves planting grass seed into an existing lawn area. Where lawn quality is unacceptable, renovation may be necessary. Renovation should be considered if any of the following conditions exist in your lawn:
- Approximately 20-40% of the lawn is dead or has very sparse growth. This may be due to a variety of factors such as low soil fertility, drought and heat, insect damage, poor mowing practices, disease, moderate soil compaction, or increasing shade and competition from growing trees.
- The lawn is soft and spongy when walking across it and responds poorly to regular watering and fertilizer applications. This condition usually indicates excessive thatch (greater than ½ inch). Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed grass stems, roots, and rhizomes (not leaves) at the soil surface but below the green vegetation.
- Broad-leaved weeds such as dandelion, plantain, and knotweed, or grassy weeds such as crabgrass cover about 20-40% of the lawn area.
Renovation can be done by “Vertical Slicing” or “Slit Seeding”. This is a process where cuts (or slices) are made mechanically into the existing turf area. Seed is inserted directly into the furrows to allow for increased soil to seed contact and to protect it from the environment (wind and birds). This process, with proper follow up watering, can reinvigorate problem areas.
Starting a new lawn (with either seed or sod) may be the best option where removal of the existing turf, tilling, adding topsoil and compost, and changing the soil grade are needed. The following conditions may warrant starting over:
- an excessively compacted soil
- greater than 50% weeds or bare soil
- a thatch problem that isn’t corrected by renovation efforts.
Newly planted shrubs require more water than established shrubs that have been planted for at least one year. The most important thing you need to do is to water them properly. It can be tricky. The best way to water newly planted shrubs is at the root zone. This means directly into the soil at the base of the plant, not with an overhead sprinkler. Ideally you have soaker or drip hoses in your shrubs beds to water at the root zone, if not, you will need to take out the watering can or hose for a little while. You want to water the root ball frequently (and deeply) enough over the first 7-10 days so that it stays moist. In warm (or windy) weather this could mean watering twice a day. This will encourage strong roots to develop. As always, if you have any question please feel free to contact us at (516) 352-3975.
The following recommendations assume shrubs are mulched to retain moisture:
- During the first growing season, newly planted shrubs will require watering 2 times per week. Increase or decrease this amount to account for precipitation.
- Once established, small shrubs will grow well on 1 good watering per week. True low water use shrubs may require less water than this.
- In dry winters, all shrubs will benefit from winter watering up until the point that the soil freezes. This will vary from year to year based on weather and temperature fluctuations.
Water them well over the next 7-10 days so that the roots are encouraged to grow out into the soil. You may need to water them more during periods of low rainfall.
No, the rainfall of early spring, plus the cooler daytime temperatures usually allows for sufficient soil moisture for bulbs. If the weather is unusually warm or dry you may need to water at the soil level. Try not to water them from overhead, water collects between the leaves and stem and the stem may rot.
An insecticide is pesticide that kills “pests” such as Chinch Bugs and Grubs. Most of these applications are applied preemptively through application before the onset of damage. For additional information see the frequently asked questions section about Grubs and Chinch Bugs. If you are a client of ours, your ORNAMENTAL & TURF APPLICATION CONTRACT indicates dates that these products may be applied. Please call us at (516) 352-3975 with any questions you may have.
An herbicide is a pesticide that kills herbaceous (leafy plant) material.
There are selective herbicides that kill only specific weeds, like broad leaf weed and crabgrass control. These products can be applied preventatively as pre-emergents; this means it is put down before the seeds for these types of weeds begin to germinate. They can however be treated with post-emergent applications if needed to control the weeds after germination.
There are also nonselective herbicides that will kill everything, including grass. These types of herbicides are usually used when it is necessary to remove all existing turf prior to a complete lawn renovation.
If you are a client of ours, your ORNAMENTAL & TURF APPLICATION CONTRACT indicates dates that these products may be applied. Please call us at (516) 352-3975 with any questions you may have.
Fertilizer is a soil amendment that adds needed nutrients to the soil so that they can be used by your turf.
The nutrients that are added by fertilization are nutrients that are naturally occurring. There are slow release fertilizers and quick release fertilizers. One gives a boost of Nitrogen now and the other breaks down slowly over time to give a steady supply until the next application. The products we use are the most environmentally friendly and are a combination of both.
Fertilizer is NOT Pesticide.
Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) is an annual grassy weed with broad blades that have a rough texture and are a lighter green than turf grasses. Since it is annual, it germinates in the spring, develops during the summer leaving lots of fresh seeds, then dies in the late fall. The plants that are there this summer will not be back next year, but their seeds will be.
Crabgrass is a low-growing weed with lots of stems that form flat clumps. The clumps spread out and root along the stems at joints. The blades are coarse, pointed and short. As the plants get older, they send up branched seed heads that have thousands of seeds. Looking out over your yard, crabgrass shows up as patches of a much lighter green than the rest of your grass.
Crabgrass seeds are most often spread by wind and birds that eat the seed, then drop it in your yard as they fly over. From a single seed or two, you can end up with thousands of plants in just a season.
Crabgrass is highly adaptable and even grows where the soil is poor, dry, compacted and nutrient poor. That means lawns that have only minimal care are very likely to develop a crabgrass problem.
Most Crabgrass preventatives are pre-emergent herbicides that work in the spring by interrupting the seed germination process. There are also post emergent sprays that can be applied later in the growing season.
The hairy Chinch Bug (Blissus leucopterus hirtus) is a common species of Chinch bug in eastern areas. Chinch bugs feed by sucking the sap from the crown and stems of turf grasses.
Do you have brown patches on your lawn? Don’t be too quick to blame the neighbor’s dog – you could have an infestation of Chinch bugs. Damage caused by Chinch bugs appears quickly in hot weather and may be mistaken for drought damage. Signs of infestation include small, round patches of brownish-yellow grass that first appear in hottest, driest areas of lawn. Left uncontrolled, large areas of lawn may die. This damage appears as irregular yellow patches, which will spread over the summer. The grass may turn brown and die if feeding continues unchecked. A severe infestation of Chinch bugs may destroy an entire lawn.
An infestation of Chinch bugs can be effectively treated. It is important to treat the entire lawn in June. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a second application may be necessary in August.
Grubs are the immature larvae of Beetles. They live in your lawn and get their nutrients by eating the roots of your grass. If they destroy enough roots, the grass cannot get the nutrients it needs from the soil and it will die.
Grub damage is usually the cause when “patches” of grass can be lifted up; the roots are no longer anchoring the turf to the soil. Most often grubs are discovered after they have already done damage to your turf. Most homeowners prefer to treat them preventively.
Grubs can be effectively treated with Grub Control. IMMEDIATELY After an application of Grub control you must water it in with at least an inch of water after application. DON’T COUNT ON RAIN TO DO THE JOB! If you would like to schedule this application or if you have any further questions, please call the office at (516) 352-3975.