What happens when a tree is topped?

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

Topping a tree is an unacceptable way of reducing the height of a tree.  It may provide short term control of the size of a tree, but it causes serious problems in the future.

A few things happen when a tree is topped:

  1. The points on the tree where it was cut will produce vigorous irregular growth.  The irregular growth ruins the trees natural growth habit.
  2. Because the tree is going to try and regain the foliage that it lost the tree will soon be just as tall as it was before it was cut.  Now the crown of the tree will be thicker which will require more time to cut the next time.
  3. Now that the crown of the tree is so thick from the irregular growth the interior of the tree is not going to get enough sunlight causing inside branches to die back.
  4. The last thing is that the new growth is weakly attached so the chance of breaking is much higher.

If the size of a tree needs to be shrunk more than 20% it is probably planted in the wrong place and needs to be removed and replaced with something better suited for the location.

Selectively pruning a tree so that it keeps the natural shape is a much better way to go about maintaining the trees on your property.  Not only will the be healthier, but they will also look much more appealing in every season.

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Why isn’t my Hydrangea Blooming?

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

One of the most common questions that we get here in our office is why isn’t my hydrangea blooming?

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There are many different forms of hydrangeas.  Above are just a few.  Depending on which one you have they need to be maintained differently.

For some great info on the subject visit: https://www.provenwinners.com/sites/provenwinners.com/files/pdf/hydrangeas_demystified_2015.pdf

 

 

2018 DNLA Plants of the Year

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

The 2018 Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association Plants of the Year have been selected.

Dryopteris marginalis – Marginal Wood Fern

marginal-wood-fern

  • The east coast native forms tidy clumps and can be easily identified by the spores along the outermost edges of the fronds.  Leathery leaves are evergreen, blue-green on the upper surface with a light green underside and reach a height of 18 to 30 inches.  Marginal wood fern requires good drainage and grows best in shade or partial sun.  It tolerates dry shade and like all ferns is deer tolerant.  It is extremely cold hardy, but may need a protected location to keep the evergreen fronds looking good.  Stands of marginal wood fern provide valuable habitat to small wildlife.  The dramatic feathery foliage makes marginal wood fern a great accent for a shade garden or in the right conditions, a lush, verdant groundcover.

Asimina triloba – Common Pawpaw

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  • Common pawpaw is a small to medium sized tree or large multi stemmed shrub (10-40 feet tall).  It is a native to the eastern United States, but has an exotic feel due to large, tropical-looking foliage.  Pawpaw is the northernmost member of a primarily tropical family (Annonaceae; Custard Apple Family).  Thick, bright green leaves turn yellow-green for interesting fall color.  Fruit are large, cylindrical and edible.  They have a soft texture and flavor often described as strawberry banana-like.  Fruit aren’t commercially available because they bruise easily and do not withstand shipping.  So, if you want to taste pawpaw, you need to grow one.  Pawpaws make an excellent grove-forming understory tree.  They provide food for birds, butterflies and small mammals and give an exotic touch to a native garden.

Boxwood Blight

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

Boxwood Blight in the home landscape

  • This fungal disease attacks all boxwood species/cultivars and now is confirmed on pachysandra.
  • Boxwood blight can defoliate a boxwood in one season.
  • Fungicides do not eliminate this disease

Symptoms

  • Tan to brown circular spots on leaves
  • Increased leaf litter as leaves shed
  • Black to tan lesions develop on twigs

Best Management

  • Examine any Boxwood that you buy
  • Isolate new plants from established plantings
  • Maintain adequate spacing between plants to maximize air circulation
  • Avoid overhead watering
  • Remove plant debris

boxwood-blight

If you suspect boxwood blight symptoms you can call the University of Delaware Plant Diagnostic Clinic at (302) 831-1390

How do i take care of my irrigation system?

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping
If your home has an irrigation system there are a few things that you need to do each year to make sure it is running smoothly all season long.
Spring Start up
  • Proper maintenance of your system begins at start up. Addressing potential issues early can help avoid surprises later. During the startup process you should inspect the entire system for mainline, lateral line and valve leaks.  Check all heads for proper operation and perform adjustments as needed.  Examine the controller for winter damage, check the backup battery, check the wire contacts and adjust the settings for spring conditions.
Seasonal inspections 
  •  You can stay ahead of issues by making controller adjustments in a timely manner.  During the inspection you want to run every zone and adjust heads for proper coverage and clean any nozzles not operating as they should.
Winterization
  • involves purging the system with high volume compressed air.  Close the supply valves and set the controller to “off”.

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Spotted Lanternfly

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

The Spotted Lanternfly

It is a destructive, invasive plant hopper that attacks many hosts including grapes, apples, stone fruits, walnut, willow, and tree of heaven.  It has been confirmed in New Castle County.  We are the second state to have found the insect, which was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014.

spotted-lanternfly

Susceptible tree species such as tree of heaven, walnut and willow might develop weeping wounds, leaving a grey or black trail along the trunk.  In late fall, adults will lay egg masses on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stone, outdoor furniture, and vehicles.  Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like covering.

 

Benefits of Dormant Pruning

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

Like most people you are probably thinking, “what in the world is dormant pruning?” Dormant pruning is the practice of pruning trees and shrubs over the winter months when the plants are dormant.  There are many benefits to this type of pruning and deciduous trees and shrubs respond well.

Without all the leaves in the way, you can see what you’re doing. The structure of your tree or shrub’s branches is obvious, and easy to follow as you cut.
Dormant pruning puts less stress on the plant.Baum verschneiden - tree cutting 16

Fresh pruning cuts typically heal faster during dormant season and are less likely to attract disease-carrying insects.

Most deciduous trees and shrubs can be pruned in winter, as soon as they go dormant.
But don’t touch those evergreens: For the most part, they should be pruned during the growing season, since they never become fully dormant.

Creating Privacy for your Backyard

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

Typically when you think of privacy for your backyard you think of a tall fence or a wall of green using leyland cypress trees or arborvitae.  A great way to break up that wall is to add some shrubs that will give you some more color and different shades of green throughout the seasons.  Add some curves to the flower beds and you will get some more room to add perennials or annuals for some extra color.

Great Natural Screening Trees:

  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Norwegian Spruce
  • River Birch
  • White Pine
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Serviceberry

Shrubs to add to the mix:

  • Itea
  • Clethera
  • Winterberry
  • Hydrangea

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Transplant Stress

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

Fall is one of the best times to plant new trees.  Cool season planting allows for good root development, as long as there is adequate moisture.  There may be less stress from heat and drought in cool conditions.  Woody trees and shrubs may take as long as 3 years to recover from transplanting and become established.

When trees and shrubs are moved from one planting site to another, or out of containers into the landscape, they experience stress that may affect root establishment.  Stress may be the effect of handling, wounding, poor site selection, poor site preparation, or poor soils, and transplant shock may occur.  Plants that suffer transplant shock may show dieback, wilt, marginal scorch, chlorosis, small leaves, leaf drop, suckers or water spouts, slow growth, or die.

When transplanting trees you can add watering bags to help you get the correct amount of water to the trees.

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(Information from University of Delaware Cooperative Extension)

Phyllosticta Leaf Spot

By Dan Bailey, in Landscaping

PHYLLOSTICTA LEAF SPOT, sometimes called frogeye leaf spot, is caused by the fungus Phyllosticta minima, and is common on red, silver, Norway, and sugar maple species. Round spots or lesions will appear on the leaves, usually in the lower third of the tree where there is more moisture. Leaf spot disease is more severe in rainy seasons. Most trees are able to tolerate the disease but measures can be taken to prevent further spread of infection. Avoid excessive water on the tree and rake up leaves that fall. In rare severe cases, fungicides can be used in the spring.

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Info from University of Delaware Cooperative Extension