Winter Damages Have You Down?

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.

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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.

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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.

Frosty Spring

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By the end of March we all feel Spring is in the air. Days get longer, warmer weather starts to peak through the cold and snow, and our plants begin to get blooms and start to grow.  A late pesky and horrid heavy frost or snow can damage or kill those blooming plants and trees. Roanoke Landscapes  would like to give you some helpful hints to help protect your plants.

The warm spring weather followed by a late freeze or even snow can cause your fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and your ornamental flowers to be damaged or die.  You can do several things if you are anticipating a freeze.

——-You should water the soil the day of a freeze.  Make sure it soaks into the soil at least to a depth of 6 inches.  The wet soil allows for the dirt to hold in more heat than the dry soil.  This helps to insulate the plants roots. At all costs, try to avoid actually getting the plant wet, as the water can cause the plant to freeze——-

——-You can spread a couple of inches of mulch around your plants.  This also holds in more heat and insulates the roots.  For your ornamental flowering plants the chopped or shredded bark mulch is recommended.  For vegetable gardens the main product used is hay or straw, however, you can use even your dry glass clippings from your yard——-

——-You should cover them overnight with bed sheets, burlap, or light blankets.  This acts as another insulator on the inside where the roots are and on the outside where the blooms are located.  You can cover the plants with cans or tomato cages around them. You can also use stakes to drape the insulator material so it will not smash any small delicate plants or baby seedlings.  Only remove all the coverings the following day after the temperature is above 40 degrees.  If it has snowed and is still cold, try and dust off the snow with a broom lightly or shake out the coverings and then replace them until it becomes warm enough to remove them——-

——-You can also place coffee cans or buckets of hot water periodically under the coverings with the plants which helps maintain heat around the plants under the insulated coverings——-

——-Following the freeze there are a few things to check.  Check to see if there are any leaves falling from your plants.  If there are this could mean that your ground and root system is frozen.  Water the plants, the saturation will help thaw the ice.  Inspect your plants blooms and buds over the next few days.  If you notice the inside is dark brown or black, this generally indicates that your plant is damaged.  Watch it closely. Remove any damaged blooms or buds once the all-clear has been given for the late-season frosts.  This pruning will stimulate new growth in your plant and if you remove them before all the possible late frosts it can become damaged again——-

——-Remember to bring in any potted plants and planters.  These types of plants are extremely susceptible to the frost or freeze since they do not have the underground protection.  If the planter is too large to move, wrap a blanket around the pot and also take the above precautions——-

With any luck these preparations will help you avoid any loss of your plants and trees.

Spring has sprung! Happy Planting!

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Roanoke Landscapes
Professionalism. Integrity. Uncompromised Detail.

March Showers Bringing Easter Flowers

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.

March Landscaping Tips

easter daisyPLANTING:

Plant Perennials and Cutting Flowers- Early spring is one of the best times to get perennials started in the garden, such as columbine, correa, lavender, penstemon, phygelius, rosemary, salvia, and yarrow.  It is also time to sow flower seeds such as asters, cosmos, cleomes, lobelias, lunarias, marigolds, nicotianas, sunflowers and zinnias in flats or directly into the garden.  For those eager gardeners, starting March 15th, after “last” frost, you can begin to plan the vegetable gardens.

MAINTENANCE:

 

Spraying – Dormant spray your fruit trees: i.e. apricot, peach, nectarine and plum for leaf curl, bugs, and other dormant diseases. If buds have started to break and blossoms are emerging DO NOT SPRAY, flowers may fall off and you will have no fruit for the year.  Many trees bloomed early thanks to the unusually warm weather we received in January. Wait until leaves have opened completely before attempting to spray again.

LAWN: 

reno8What is aeration? 

Technically speaking, aeration is the naturally occurring process of air exchange between the soil and its surrounding atmosphere.  Practically speaking, aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn to improve natural soil aeration.

 

Why is aeration important?

Foot traffic and mowing compacts soil and stresses lawns.  Irrigation and raindrops further compact the soil, reducing large air spaces where roots readily grow.  Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils than in sandy soils.  Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing your grass to grow deeper roots and make better use of water and fertilizer.reno4

 

What are the benefits of aeration?

  • Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere
  • Enhanced soil water uptake
  • Reduced water runoff and puddling
  • Improved fertilizer uptake and use
  • Stronger turf grass roots
  • Reduced soil compaction
  • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance
  • Improved resiliency and cushioning
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown

Call us today to help you with any of these tips mentioned. We can customize a plan for you and get your landscape whipped into shape by the time the warm weather of spring arrives! 540-992-4845

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