Repairing Your Landscape From Winter Injuries

winter damage snowTrees and Shrubs can recover many ways from the harsh winter elements.  By repairing them you help prevent the stress from leading to much bigger problems or even new problems.  These harsh winters can be completely devastating to your gardens.  These damages vary from climate to climate across the United States.  This article will list some more specific things to look for and treat related to the Roanoke, Virginia area.

Inspection is the first on the list of things to do. All of your plants should be looked over when early spring hits to check for symptoms of or winter injuries themselves. Trees, especially large ones, should be inspected for frost cracks in the stem or trunk of the tree, broken and/or cracked branches, and varied other damaged or hazardous conditions that may exist.

frost crack

You must also check for signs of insects and disease in your garden.  Plants that have been stressed by the harshness of winter tend to be more susceptible to disease or insects.  You need to monitor your plants throughout the spring and summer in order to spot the problems and treat them accordingly.

mulch

Trees, shrubs, and plants need more than just water to thrive.  They require nutrients.  Having your soil tested will give you the knowledge that you will need to grow happy healthy plants.  This information will also be able to guide you toward a proper fertilizer that will enable you to replace the nutrients your soil may be lacking.  In places, like Virginia, where we have a lot of snow where we use deicing treatments it is especially important to know the salt content of your soil.  The deicing solutions contain a lot of salt that gets into the soil. Fertilization, irrigation, and mulching help to promote new growth on those plants and trees damaged by winter.

Pruning too early can cause more damage than the winter injury has caused. Many plants will push-out new limbs and buds from injured areas of the plants and trees.  You should wait until the plant has resumed its growth in the spring to prune out the old dead branches.

trunk crack

If you have a tree or shrub with a frost crack, which are cracks in the stems and/or branches, you should watch them closely.  However, do not intervene in anyway. Monitor the cracks to see if they are starting to close on their own. The foliage should also be closely monitored. Some pests can cause leaf injuries which in turn reduces the energy of the plants and stresses them further.

The extreme weather during the winter seasons such as snow, ice, hail, and even wind can cause branches to break.  These alter the plants appearance and can cause a pattern change in productivity of the plant. Again, pruning in the spring time is the biggest help. This can allow for better or restored plant productivity and also reshape the appearance of the plant.  Some damage is usually inevitable but if you remove parts of the plants or trees that may be susceptible to breakage or damage before the long harsh winter sets in will greatly help and can reduce injury to the plants.

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Careful inspections throughout the year with proper fertilization and mulching will help prevent or lessen winter damage. Get to know your plants that way when they are not thriving you will have a better idea of what may be wrong with them. As my mother-in-law, whom is Italian, says, “Parlare alle piante aiuta a farle crescere meglio!”  Which means, “Talking to the plants helps them grow better!” She talks to them well wouldn’t you say? Part of her garden featured below.

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Pictures courtesy of Ida Patatu.

Chiaramonti, Sardinia, Italy.

#saveH2B Saving The Temporary Worker Visa Program

The economy all over the world has taken major hits the last few years and they are still coming.  A lot of the world looks to the United States as a beacon in the turn to more flourishing times.  An important part of the economy is the H2B temporary worker visa program.  This program has a cap of 66,000 visas it will issue.  Small businesses, especially in the lawn, landscaping, and nursery type businesses rely on these skilled workers to help through their peak times of the year.  This allows the companies to continue to employ their US workers full-time throughout the year when it is much slower.

We, here at Roanoke Landscapes, rely on a dozen or more of these visas to help us through our busy time. In return, our workers are also relying on our work.  Some of these men have been with our company for 10 years.  They are not just workers, they are like family.  There is a lot of backlash about these workers taking jobs from US citizens.  In our experience, and we can only speak on our behalf, this is not the case.  There are many guidelines we have to follow in order to get these visas that, which by the way, we pay for. We have to run ads for employment for US workers.  Some years we have not one US worker apply or inquire.  The fact is, most US workers do not want to work outside, in the conditions we work, and how hard we work.  This is hard work and not for the faint of heart.  For those saying that these workers who come here legally are taking jobs from Americans. Americans do not want the job we are offering! That is the truth. This is what the nation needs to realize.  They are not taking American jobs, they are coming here legally and doing the jobs that Americans do not want to do.  That is the reality.

Our business relies on these workers.  If the visas are not issued, I am not sure where that leaves us or a lot of other companies, nor the families that we help by having the same men  return every year.  The most harm will come to them, what will they do?  Unfortunately, this will affect our business but will affect them much more.  We care about these people and their families.  They are just as nervous as we are.  They are like family to us.

A Judge in Florida made a decision that could once again compromise and halt the visas being issued this year.  This will either hinder our production early in our busiest part of the season or we may not get our workers all together.  This judge determined that the government had too much control over the H2B program and that these visas were supposed to be handled through the Department of Homeland Security. DHS had given some of the authority to issue these visas to the Department of Labor.

Usually, our workers arrive in April and early May, like the majority of the workers do. This could postpone their arrival several weeks or at this point not at all. There is a four-step process that we must go through and the huge delays have been with the Department of Labor, which is step-two in this process.  They all but came to a halt in March after the judge in Florida made his ruling. They opened the channels back up but the judge set a temporary halt date again that can happen tomorrow, April 15.

If our worker H2B visas are not fully processed by the end of business today, the process will halt, and we will have to start over which causes even more delays but there is still no guarantee that we will get our workers nor do we get the money back we have paid thus far either.

Jane Nichols Bishop of Peak Season Workforce has talked about the H2B workers on Cape Cod and the islands. Bishop has said the H2B workers have helped to generate more jobs for US workers. “If you were to look at some statistics, for every H2B visa worker that is here, they help to create or sustain 4.64 American jobs.” She said there is a huge misconception that the workers overstay and do not return home.  “They come every summer. They go home. They’re with their families back home and then they come back the following year,” she said.

“The H2B program is always under siege, they are managed by three government agencies that don’t always see eye-to-eye,” she said. This, with the ruling of the Florida judge, has caused the biggest problems the program has seen thus far.

Please contact your local Senators and Representatives to help sponsor and co-sponsor HR4238!  Help save small businesses!! Help save American jobs!!

Call, email, Facebook, or Tweet your representatives! #saveH2B

It is Time for Spring Turn-Ons!

It is that time of year where you begin to have your irrigations systems turned-on and checked for leaks and the back flow tests done!  It is important to have these done by professionals to ensure that your system is working properly and to fix any leaks that may have happened over the winter.

Make sure you know if your city requires a back flow test or not.  There are permits for these. Your irrigations specialists have the proper working knowledge of all regulations and will check for any leaks or broken heads. At this time they can repair or do any adjustments to any of the zones or heads.

Doing this spring cleaning for your irrigation system will prolong the life of the system, the watering efficiency which saves you time, water, and therefore, money. It is always recommended to hire a professional however, here are some helpful hints for all you DIY gurus which are in areas that a back flow test and permit are not required.

Hunter Industries Spring Start-Up Checklist:

Step 1

Open the system main water valve slowly to allow pipes to fill with water gradually. If these valves are opened too quickly, sprinkler main lines are subjected to high surge pressures, uncontrolled flow and water hammer, which may cause them to crack or burst.

Step 2

Verify the proper operation of each station valve by manually activating all zones from the controller.

Step 3

Walk through each station on the controller, checking for proper operation of the zone. Check for proper operating pressure (low pressure indicates a line break or missing sprinkler), proper rotation and adjustment of sprinkler heads, and adequate coverage. Check and clean filters on poorly performing sprinklers. Adjust heads to grade as necessary.

Step 4

Reprogram the controller for automatic watering. Replace the controller back-up battery if necessary.

Step 5

Uncover and clean the system weather sensor, if applicable.

Again, we highly recommend calling a professional, especially if you are unsure of the how-to or ins and outs of any system.  The professionals are experts in proper sprinkler system installation and layout, maintenance, and repair.  They are also very knowledgeable about the hydraulics, plant watering requirements, and the different types of soil.  The professionals skills will ensure a water-efficient and trouble-free system for many years.

If you are in the Virginia area you can call or email Roanoke Landscapes for your landscaping and irrigation needs.

Roanoke Landscapes www.roanokelandscapes.com
Professional. Quality. We Do It All!

Checklist provided by our distributor: http://www.hunterindustries.com

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The Little Project 2015

Please enjoy a project we just recently finished. This has elements of a hardscape and retaining wall. It also includes a small patio and fire pit.

You can click here to watch the progression video of the project from start to finish: video.

We would love to answer any questions you may have and feel free to leave any comments!

The Flowers of Easter

Happy Easter! Feliz Pascua! Buona Pasqua! Joyeuses Pâques!  Whatever language you may speak we want to say Happy Easter from Roanoke Landscapes!

Arm yourselves with the perfect Easter flowers for your centerpiece and in your garden.  There are many flowers people consider flowers for Easter.  Here are some of the most popular for you to pick and make your perfect arrangements for Easter.

easter lily The Lily flower is probably the most thought of flower when you think of Easter flowers.  Many florists order hundreds of Lilies just so they can have them ready for their Easter floral arrangements.  Lilies are also a very popular flower in flower gardens all over the country.  They come in many colors but when it comes to Easter, white is the most sought after color.  The lily represents love and hope.  They are grown from a bulb and not seeds; most bulbs are planted in the fall and the flowers will start to bloom in the spring.

easter hyacinth Hyacinth flowers permeate the air with wafts of sweetness.  The different colors of flowers have different meanings.  The meaning of Hyacinth, in general, is ‘comeliness’ which means; pleasing in appearance; attractive; fair. A white Hyacinth flower symbolizes the recipient is lovely or that you will pray for that person, a purple hyacinth means ‘please forgive me’ while; a yellow hyacinth is indicative of jealousy and the pink or red hyacinth says ‘Let’s play’. With the different meanings hopefully one, whom does not know the meanings, doesn’t give a flower and incite an implication they may not mean. Be careful! 🙂

easter ChrysanthemumChrysanthemums, what a word, no? We see these flowers everywhere.  All of the colors of the mums are said to represent or be a symbol of cheerfulness.  With the exceptions being white and yellow.  White implicates truth or truthfulness and yellow a slighted love.  When you present someone with any color in the Chrysanthemum family you are wishing the recipients a greatness and happiness in life. No wonder they are so popular!

easter daffodilDaffodils are just so much fun.  When you look at them they just make you smile. Typically, these can be first of the spring blooms, even peaking through the snow sometimes.  You can also find a lot of wild growing Daffodils. It might just be the most popular Easter flower after the white Lily.  Daffodils predominantly have a romantic connotation. When you give someone Daffodils you are holding that person in a very high regard and many times meaning they are your one and true love.  However, they can also represent the utmost respect you have for the recipient and that you are happy to be with them.  Any color of Daffodils are said to have the same meaning.

Easter azaleaAzaleas come in many colors.  Azaleas frequently line walkways and paths, frame the fronts of homes, and draw in the honey bees! These flowers are considered very elegant in nature with a very sweet fragrance.  A gentle breeze blowing when the Azaleas are blooming leaves your nostrils dancing in the sweet fresh smells. Azaleas can represent passion and temperance.  It is considered an ’emotion’ flower. They are often given in friendship to show that you wish the recipient excellent care for themselves.

easter daisySecond to last is one of my favorites, Daisies!  These are the wild flowers you grow up picking in fields and making flower bracelets and headbands.  When placing a Daisy behind your ear, we all become a little girl/boy again.  Don’t forget a Daisy can determine love! “He loves me, he loves me not!” They have a sweet smell to them and symbolize placidness and purity. Thus, being a very popular and more affordable choice for Easter celebrations. Many times they are dyed to create vibrant and neon colors which are beautiful for floral arrangements.

easter TulipsLast but not least, my personal favorite.  While visiting my grandmother in North Carolina I marvel at the fields and fields of Tulips being grown. We all know Tulips do not have a sweet flowery smell. However, they come in a multitude of colors and are so beautiful. I wish they stayed in bloom longer!  Tulips are the messenger of love and passion.  These are very popular Easter flowers for lovebirds. The full meaning of a Tulip is to convey the feelings of the heart to that special person in your life. Tulips have varied meanings but all of which point to love. A multi-colored bouquet mean you think the recipients eyes are beautiful. Red Tulips are indicative of the standard ‘I Love You’ while yellow means you are hopelessly in love with that person.  Tulips of any color represent that you and your significant other have the ‘perfect love’.

Even if you do not have flowers that you can cut from your own garden, or maybe you are going to someone else’s home for Easter consider buying them a potted plant as a gift.  They can then plant these flowers in their gardens and enjoy them for years to come.

Tips for Fresh-Cut Flowers:

-Early morning is the ideal time to cut your flowers.

-Have the bucket of water close to put the flowers into the water.

-Make sure it is the right stage for you flower to be cut. If gathered too early some flower buds will not open after you place them in the vase.  Flowers that grow on a single stem should be cut when they are fully open. For foliage look for firm rich green leaves.

-Use clean sharp tools for cutting. Cut about 1″ above main stem at a 45 degree angle. This allows for the flower to soak in more water.  Do not submerge foliage in water, this will just create breakdown and cause bacterial growth.

-Bulb flowers need cool water all other flowers need 100 degree water. This is what most florists recommend.

-You can use preservatives to prolong flower life.  Here is a homemade recipe and care instructions from http://www.bbg.org:

Homemade Flower Preservative

Home mixes can be as effective as commercial preservatives. This easy-to-make recipe is my favorite.

1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon household bleach
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 quart lukewarm water

Care of Cut Flowers in an Arrangement

Here are some general rules that will help you make your cut-flower arrangements last:

  • Don’t overcrowd the flowers in the container.
  • Check the water level in the vase and replenish it frequently.
  • Flowers that go limp are not drinking well and need to be recut.
  • Always discard wilted blooms.
  • Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and ripening fruits, which emit ethylene gas—a substance that causes buds to remain closed, petals to have poor color, and flowers to have a shortened vase life.

Hope this helps for your upcoming holiday.

Happy Easter from All of us at Roanoke Landscapes. logo

Article By:
Michelle Cappai
540-992-4845