Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks: Winter Lawn Care

It is October in Rochester, and even though we may not like it, the weather will soon turn cold and we won’t see our lawns until next spring. Even though winter is almost here, there is plenty of work you can do to help your lawn look extra beautiful for the spring! Here are a few tips for how you can help your lawn during the winter.

Keep your yard clean

Traditional-Lawn-Fertilizer-Program-Pleasant-View-Nursery-Garden-Center-Worcester-MA.jpg

A good, thorough fall cleanup is critical to making your lawn look great for the spring. Leaving anything in your yard before snow falls will cause dead spots to form in your yard. Make sure to clear all yard waste from your lawn as well as move any lawn furniture or other objects left out in the lawn over the summer.

Aerate and Fertilize

One great way to get a jump on getting your lawn beautiful is to aerate and fertilize your lawn before the winter. First, you should aerate your lawn. By aerating your lawn, you will give your lawn a chance to breathe before it is covered with snow and will release any compaction built up over the summer. After you aerate your lawn, it’s time to fertilize! Fertilizing your lawn will help replenish the nutrients that your grass has lost over the long and hot summer months. Once the ground freezes, the fertilizer will be frozen with it and feed your grass all winter long! While you can aerate and fertilize your lawn by yourself, we reccomend that you get help from a professional. To request an estimate from Ted Collins, give us a call at (585) 381-9000 or visit us at tedcollinst-l.com.

Mowing

It is best to keep your lawn as short as possible during the winter months. If your lawn is left tall, it will attract mice and other rodents trying to find food and a comfortable place to eat. These animals can destroy your yard, creating nests of dead grass and making brown dead spots in your lawn. Over the last few weeks of the summer going into fall, start to cut your lawn increasingly lower and lower to avoid shocking your grass. Before the winter, make sure to give your lawn once last short cut.    

Tips and Tricks: Fall Maintenance

Think your yard doesn’t need any attention during the fall? Think again! The fall is one of the most critical times of the year for maintenance. The work you put in in the fall will pay dividends to the appearance of your garden in the spring. Here are some small tasks to take care of in the fall that will make a world of difference in the following spring.

Mulching

Gordon-Mulching-1200x800.jpg

When it comes to clearing leaves from your lawn, many people think raking is the way to go. However, it has been proven in recent years that mulching is actually better for your lawn. Mulching refers to shredding the leaves that cover your lawn with a lawnmower attachment, dispersing the refuse all over your lawn. While it may seem unorthodox, it has many benefits. Mulching replicates the natural processes that happen on a forest floor while not killing your grass by blocking sunlight. As a result, your lawn will have replenished nutrients and will look amazing in the spring!

Mowing

Although it may not seem like it, it is best to continue mowing your lawn well through the fall. Keeping shorter grass in the fall has multiple benefits for your lawn. If your lawn is too long before snow accumulates, it can become a safehaven for mice, voles, and other rodents. These rodents will build nests throughout the winter that will leave large brown spots of dead grass in the spring. By consistently keeping your lawn low throughout the fall, you will be able to keep your garden green and pristine for the spring and summer!

Watering and Irrigation

There are several tasks related to watering that need to be taken care of in the fall. Before the first snowfall, it is best to do a long, deep watering of your entire yard. This will give your lawn the water needed to survive the winter. Make sure to cut shut off any water lines to the outside. If you have an automatic irrigation system installed, make sure blow out the water with compressed air before the first freeze to avoid damage to the pipes.

While you can do all of these chores by yourself, sometime it’s better to get a little help from a pro! Here at Ted Collins, we offer custom fall cleanup plans to help you get your yard prepared for the winter. To request an estimate, give us a call at (585) 381-9000 or visit tedcollinst-l.com.

Tips and Tricks: Fall Tree Care

The leaves are turning and the air is starting to get crisp. It is the perfect time to spend some time taking care of your trees! Trees face a great deal of stress during the summer because of the hot temperatures and violent thunderstorms. The fall is the perfect time to address your trees’ weaknesses and get them ready for the harsh winter that is right around the corner. Here are a few things you can do in the fall to get your trees ready for the winter!

questions-ask-hiring-tree-care-service-bedford-tx.jpg

Pruning, Cabling, Trussing

Winter storms can cause a significant amount of damage to both your trees and property. If there are any dead or unstable branches, they can come down in a strong storm. These can serve as a threat to your property and loved ones. Therefore, before the winter, take some time to prune dead branches off of your tree. In addition, unstable sections of your tree that are still alive can be saved by cabling and trussing techniques.

Food & Mulch

During the hot summer months, your trees can experience a lack of water and nutrients due to the hot weather. Therefore, it is best to replenish its water and nutrients before it undergoes the stressors of the winter months. There are a few ways that you can help bring your trees back up to speed. We recommend that you mulch the area at the base of your trees. Mulching is a fantastic way to reduce temperature extremes in the winter, acting as a sort of blanket. In addition, make sure to keep your tree as well watered as possible throughout the fall and winter. Subsurface watering is one method that can help get water as close to the roots as possible.

In addition to taking care of the established trees in your yard, the fall is a great time to plant new trees! To read more tips and tricks on planting trees, click here.

How to Protect Your Lawn From Heatwaves

One of the biggest challenges to keeping a lush, healthy lawn is the dreaded summer heat wave. A prolonged heat wave is not only a concern to the health of your family but also your lawn. While it may seem daunting, with the right techniques your lawn will remain lush and green no matter the weather. Here are a few tips to keep your lawn healthy through a heat wave!

Don’t Cut Your Grass Too Short

maxresdefault.jpg

One of the best ways to combat a heat wave is keeping your grass cut high. This technique benefits your garden in several ways. First, by keeping your grass cut high, your grass will develop stronger roots. This will keep your plants stronger and will help them deal with harsh conditions easier. In addition, keeping your lawn longer will help it retain moisture and keep cooler during hot summer months.

Water With Care

When the weather turns hot, many people further damage their lawns by watering them incorrectly. Many people will water their lawns lightly and frequently throughout the entire day and even during the night. However, it is best to water your lawn in the mornings between 6 AM and 10 AM each day. This will allow your lawn to soak up as much water as possible and prevent water waste. Make sure that your lawn is completely dry before you water

Consult a Professional

If these tips do not work, call one of our professionals for an estimate today at (585) 381-9000 or request a free estimate at tedcollinst-l.com.

Composting: The Secret to a Beautiful Garden

Are plants in your garden having a difficult time, and aren’t thriving like you hope they would? The cause of many problems for plants is in the soil. Depending on the composition of your soil, it may be making it more difficult for your plants to grow well. Not all hope is lost though! There is a way for you to alter the composition of your soil and make it easier for your plants to grow and thrive. Adding compost, or organic material, to your soil can have a dramatic effect on your plant’s health, and better yet, you can do it all yourself! Here are a few tips and tricks that will help both veterans and novices get the best results.

Choosing a Compost Bin

While you can pile your compost, it is much more effective and safe to compost in a bin. There are many shapes, sizes, and variations of bins that you can purchase on the market, all with their strengths and weaknesses. We recommend a closed bin that can rotate on an axis. By rotating your compost, you will ensure that all materials intermix and decompose evenly. However, you don’t need anything fancy to start composting! To see how to make your own DIY compost bin for under $10, click here.

You Can Compost More than You Think

compost_methods_food_scraps.jpg

Most composters know that you can compost most food, you can compost a lot more than scraps of food. Composting green matter, such as lawn clippings, leaves, and other plant materials is extremely beneficial. It is best to maintain a 1 to 1 ratio of brown to green matter, alternating layers of the two to ensure best results. Just make sure that none of the plant matter has been sprayed with chemicals!

Maintain the Right Moisture

One of the ways to ensure your compost’s success is by maintaining the right amount of moisture. To make sure your materials decompose at a good rate, you must strike a balance of how moist the compost pile is. If your compost is too dry, it will not be able to support the worms and bacteria that break down material. If it is too wet, some of the most industrious bacteria will not be able to do their jobs. Make sure to water your compost moderately to ensure the best results.

With these tips, you are sure to produce fantastic compost to better your garden! For more information on composting, check out the Cornell Cooperative Extension website.

The 3 Best Exotic Plants for Your Garden

Looking for something to help your yard stand out from your neighbors? Exotic plants can give a unique, explosive pop to your garden or landscape installation. While it may not seem like it, many tropical plants are hardy enough to be grown right here in Rochester! Here a few of our favorite tropical plants that will give your garden the pop it needs:

Hardy Hibiscus

The Hardy Hibuscus is a showy perennial found throughout many tropical climates. Hardy Hibiscuses come in a range of different cultivars and colors, most of which are suitable to our climate. The Hardy Hibiscus is surprisingly easy to grow, but do best in well drained, acidic soil. To increase the acidity of your soil, try adding peat moss or potting soil to your garden. In climates with harsh winters like Rochester, it is best to cover the plant in the winter.

Elephant Ear

5771_l.jpg

Colocasia, more commonly known as elephant ear plant, are best known for their huge tropical leaves. Much like the Hardy Hibiscus, there are a range of cultivars of  Elephant Ear, each with varying different shapes and color. Also like Hibiscus, the Elephant Ear is incredibly easy growing. The Elephant Ear has many uses: background plants, edging, or ground covers. No matter what you use it for, is sure to bring a tropical flair to your garden!

Angel's Trumpet

Angel's Trumpet refers to a number of tropical plants native to South America in the genus Brugmansia. These large shrubs are best known for their large, fragrant, downward hanging flowers. The plant is incredibly dangerous if eaten, so make sure your kids and pets stay away! Otherwise, the plant is a wonderful centerpiece shrub that will make your garden smell and look lovely!

If you want any of these plants included in your landscape installation today, give us a call today at (585) 381-9000 or request an estimate at tedcollinst-l.com!

Top Plants for Your Indoor Garden

Want to start a garden but don’t have the money or space to plant outside? Houseplants are the perfect alternative! Buying and taking care of houseplants is the perfect way to bring a bit of outside indoors and give your living space a splash of green. While being cheaper and easier to take care of than an outdoor garden, you will also be able to enjoy plants throughout Rochester’s cold winters.

Here are a few of our favorite houseplants to get your indoor garden started!

Aloe

You might know Aloe from curing your sunburns, Aloe is a wonderful addition to any home garden. The succulent grows up to 3 feet high and wide, making it a great mid-sized plant to brighten up your home.

Christmas Cactus

thanksgiving-cactus_nadezhdanesterova-ss.jpg

The Christmas Cactus is a beautiful, arching cactus usually planted best in a pot. Don’t worry about poking yourself with needles, the Christmas Cactus’s leaves won’t hurt if you touch them. The Cactus is filled with beautiful red blooms around Christmastime, giving your garden a needed pop during the winter. The Cactus is also well known for its ability to propagate by cutting, meaning you can fill your house with Christmas Cacti!

Spider Plant

The Spider Plant is a sprawling green and white leafed plant, most striking in a big pot or in a hanging basket. While it looks great, the Spider Plant is very sensitive to contaminated water, low humidity, dry soil conditions, and over fertilization. If your water is fluoridated, be sure to water your Spider Plant with distilled water or rainwater.

3 Tree Planting Tips

In the Rochester area, we’re approaching the best time of year for planting trees and shrubs. Here are a few tips to make sure your trees flourish!

Pick the Right Trees

Probably the most important step of the tree planting process is picking the right tree! It is necessary to pick trees that will thrive in your USDA climate zone. Here are some of our favorite trees and shrubs to plant this summer:

Juniper

While there are many species of juniper, all of them serve as a great addition to your yard. Junipers are hearty deer resistant plants that can serve as a great screens to place along property lines. You can’t go wrong with a juniper for your yard!

Japanese Maple

The Japanese Maple, best known for its spectacular dark red and purple color, can grow up to 30 feet tall. The tree’s foliage puts on a spectacular show, especially in the fall months.

Green Mountain Boxwood

The Boxwood is another plant that stands up to the test of the elements. The plant performs well in both sunlight and partial shade, will survive in a drought, and is deer resistant. The Green Mountain Boxwood is wonderful for an accent plant to your garden.

Call Before Digging

Because of the depth required to plant trees, it is important to check your property for any existing utility pipes or lines. Striking utility lines can knock out service to entire areas, make you liable for huge service fees, and may even cause significant bodily injury. Before starting any project make sure to call 811 to have your utility lines marked for free. Avoid planting your tree in any area near utility lines.

Protect Your Tree

Once your tree is planted, it is extremely important that you protect it. When mowing, be sure to steer clear from the tree. It may be beneficial to construct a buffer area to make it easier to avoid. In addition, you may want to purchase a plastic tube wrap to protect the tree’s stem.

If you would like us to assist you with planting or selecting your tree, give us a call today at (585) 381-9000.

How to Make a Hummingbird Sanctuary

One of the best parts of summer is the possibility of seeing a hummingbird flying around your garden. However, because of climate change, hummingbirds may become a rarer sight. The changing environment has altered what plants grow on migration routes, eliminating food resources. Help keep hummingbirds thriving by making your own hummingbird sanctuary! Here are a couple of tips for how to attract hummingbirds to your garden.

Select the Right Plants

rufous-hummingbird-at-showy-milkweed_tom-koerner_usfws.jpg

One of the best ways to attract hummingbirds is to plant the right plants in your garden. There are several things to keep in mind when selecting plants that will attract hummingbirds. First, hummingbirds are especially attracted to the color red, so be sure to include red tubular flowers in your garden. Also, hummingbirds are especially attracted to native plants, such as honeysuckle and bee balm. These plants produce more nectar than exotics. In addition, make sure to plant several different kinds of flowers with different blooming periods to attract hummingbirds throughout the year.

In addition to flowers, hummingbirds also love deciduous trees and shrubs close to nectar sources. These plants give hummingbirds cover and a place to nest.

Put Up Feeders

While hummingbirds love nectar rich tubular flowers, they also love hummingbird feeders. You can buy these feeders at your local hardware or garden store. It is best to fill your feeder with your own mix of one part sugar and four parts water. Be sure not to include any artificial dye or sweeteners. Make sure to hang it in a shady place to avoid fermentation and change the feed regularily.

Include a Water Source

Hummingbirds love to bathe in water and love water drip sources or a misting device. Hummingbirds will flock to your garden to bathe!


Importance of Tree Maintenance

Keeping your yard beautiful and healthy takes time and dedication. One important aspect of yard care is caring for your trees. At Ted Collins, we have solutions for every problem that may arise. Here are a few common tactics that we use to care for trees.

Pruning

Tree pruning is a key component of keeping your tree healthy. In many cases, certain branches of your tree may cause harm to your tree if not pruned. Some branches may be diseased, dead, or otherwise structurally unsound. By pruning your trees, you can keep diseases spreading to the rest of your tree, avoid storm damage from falling trees, and keep the structural shape of your tree intact.

Cabling

Tips For Tree Care.jpg

Tree cabling is a process by which high strength steel cables and bolts are attached to tree branches in the upper crown of a tree canopy. This is done to support trees with splitting v-crotches. A v-crotch is an area of a tree where it diverges in such a way that the trunk begins to split. By bolting a cable between two larger branches in the canopy, it helps to bind the tree together as branches twist and turn in storms. If your tree has a v-crotch, it is important to address so your tree does not become harmed in the next storm.

Removal

Obviously the most permanent of the three options, removal eliminates any tree problems altogether by removing the said tree from the property. Removal may be necessary if a particular tree is affected by certain diseases or infestations. Removal should only be done at the recommendation of an arborist when absolutely necessary.

All of these solutions should only be recommended and implemented by a licensed arborist. If you are interested in keeping your trees as healthy as possible, Ted Collins is here to help! For more information, please call us at (585) 381-9000.