Last winter you may have been surprised to see a lot of local trees covered with green leaves. Except they weren’t on the branches, they were all along the trunk of the tree and headed for the sky. While the sight of green might cheer you in the winter time, what you are seeing is English Ivy, which is an invasive menace. It was introduced during colonial times, and is now seen throughout North America.
What is Compost?
Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose, such as yard waste, plant trimmings, leaves, grass clippings, soil with microbes and wet kitchen scraps (but not fat and meat). Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil–dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor.
Suggested Pruning Time for Common Flowering Trees, Shrubs, & Vines
Plants that bloom in early spring usually produce their flower buds the year before. The buds over-winter on the previous year’s growth and open in spring.
Prune after flowering:
Alternate-leaf Butterfly-bush (Buddleia alternifolia)
Azalea (Rhododendron species)
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’)
Bridalwreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia)
Clematis (Clematis species)
Crabapple (Malus species)
Deutzia (Deutzia species)
Dogwood (Cornus species)
Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum)
Flowering Almond (Prunus species)
Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles species)
Forsythia (Forsythia species)
Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepsis umbellata)
Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)
Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)
Mockorange (Philadelphus species)
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
Pyracantha (Pyracantha species)
Redbud (Cercis species)
Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana)
Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Thunberg Spirea (Spiraea thunbergii)
Weigela (Weigela florida)
White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)
Wisteria (Wisteria species)
Witchhazel (Hamamelis species)
Prune Summer Flowering Shrubs In Late Winter or Early Spring.
Many summer flowering shrubs bloom on the current year’s growth. Pruning them back in later winter encourages them to produce lots of new growth that summer and will result in more flowers. Don’t be afraid to cut fast growing plants, such as buddleia or caryopteris, down to as little as 10-12” tall. The exception to this rule is Hydrangeas.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa species)
Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii)
Camellia (Camellia species)
Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus)
American Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum)
Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species)
Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria species)
Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Nandina (Nandina domestica)
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
Anthony Waterer Spirea (Spiraea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’)
Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)
Winter Garden Damage – What Now?
Winter can offer obstacles for our gardens. Cold, snow, ice, freeze/thaw cycles, wind, salt from treating roads and sidewalks are a few that spring to mind. Most of those obstacles can be readily overcome, but some are more challenging.
Cold, Snow, Freeze/Thaw Cycles – In Other Words, Normal Winter For Cold Winter Climates
What does suited to the location mean? It means if you have a place where the wind tends to come whistling through the garden, don’t plant something that is susceptible to wind damage. Put that plant in a spot where it is protected from wind. If a plant doesn’t like wet feet, don’t plant it in the low, wet spot in your garden. Putting each plant in a spot where it can thrive leads to good plant health. And healthy plants are much better able to survive adverse winter conditions than unhealthy plants
Unusually Cold Temperatures
After the Cold has Passed
Annuals – if the foliage is brown and or mushy, remove it and compost or discard it. Plan on replacing your plants in spring.
Herbaceous Perennials –Remove brown and mushy foliage. However, do NOT assume that the plants are dead. Even if you are used to the plants remaining green throughput the winter, they may not be dead. Many perennials are “root hardy” which means that although the foliage and stems are dead, the plant will regrow from the root system. In spring, be lazy and wait a bit. Give the “dead” plants time to regrow from the roots before replacing them with new plant material.
Shrubs – Do nothing. This is another great time to be a lazy gardener. Resist the temptation to help and just wait for spring. See what new growth emerges and prune after you can see the true damage to your plants. If there are obviously broken branches, you can remove them, but other than that – hands off. Pruning now could encourage new growth too early, which can harm the plant. Branches that may appear to be dead, may not be. Once spring gets here and the shrub leafs out with new growth, you will then know for sure which parts of the shrub are dead and can be safely removed.
Ice is pretty much the cruelest thing that can happen to your garden in winter. The sheer weight can be devastating. You are going to want to try and rush out and help your plants. Resist that urge. Do NOT try to help. Take a deep breath and procrastinate. Do not knock ice off branches; channel your grade school days and keep your hands to yourself. Allow the ice to naturally melt. The branches beneath the ice will be brittle, trying to remove the ice is most likely going to lead to more damage to the plant, not help.
The rest can be pruned to shape, if needed or if you want to. This may mean sacrificing blooms on spring blooming shrubs. If you don’t mind a somewhat bedraggled shrub in your landscape, wait until after the spring blooming shrubs flower and then prune to shape.
Trees: Remove downed branches or trees, if you can safely do so, or hire someone with experience to take care of this task. For broken branches and additional pruning, it is best to hire a certified arborist to assess and service the plants. Trees are a long term investment and much harm can be done by accident. Let the professionals handle it.
You may already recognize that salt really isn’t all that great for plants. Salt applied by road crews or on sidewalks by homeowners can end up in nearby garden beds. There are a couple of ways to deal with this issue.
If you can reasonably assume that salt will be applied regularly, consider choosing plants that can withstand a bit of salt (yes, we have circled back around to Right Plant, Right Place). Internet searches will yield good results for plants lists.
If salt is unlikely to be an issue, then you may prefer not to limit your plant selection. The best way to deal with an unusual application of salt to plants is water. Once the temps warm up and snow cover melts, lightly spray off plants to wash off any salt that might be on foliage. Then in early spring, water the affected areas heavily to wash the salts out of the main root zone of the plants. You want to soak at least 6 inches of soil. This will allow the majority of roots to reside in soil where the salt has been flushed out.
How to Care for Your Farm-Grown
When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree. Below are a number of tips on caring for your tree.
Giordano Christmas Tree Truths (part I)
The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally when most Christmas tree shopping begins. And you should shop for a Christmas tree as early as possible as it will pay off with less competition for higher quality Christmas tree selections and a fresher holiday tree. This is because most trees are already harvested by mid-November, and it is good to buy them early and get them into water as soon as possible.
Azalea bark scale and cryptomeria scale can be seen in our area. Apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to treat crawlers in late June through late July. Giordano’s has these organic treatments by Bonide in stock.
Do you have scale in your landscape?
Learn how this harmful insect can be recognized & treated using organics. Scale can be treated using insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils that we sell here at Giordano’s in Sea Cliff.
The scale insects are small insects of the order Hemiptera, suborder Sternorrhyncha. They comprise the superfamily Coccoidea, previously placed in the now obsolete group called “Homoptera”. There are about 8,000 described species of scale insects.
Armored scale insects:(A) Lepidosaphes gloverii, adult females. (B) Parlatoria oleae, adult females (circular, with dark spot) and immatures (oblong). (C) Diaspidiotus juglansregiae, adult female walnut scale with waxy scale cover removed.
Oystershell scale (Ceroplastes sp.), a waxy scale on young blueberry
3 Economic significance
5 See also
7 Further references
8 External links
Scale insects vary dramatically in appearance; some are very small organisms (1–2 mm) that grow beneath wax covers (some shaped like oyster shells, others like mussel shells), to shiny pearl-like objects (about 5 mm), to creatures covered with mealy wax. Adult female scales are almost always immobile (aside from mealybugs) and permanently attached to the plant they have parasitized. They secrete a waxy coating for defense; this coating causes them to resemble reptilian scales or fish scales, hence their common name.
The group shows high degrees of sexual dimorphism; female scale insects, unusually for Hemiptera, retain the immature external morphology even when sexually mature, a condition known as neoteny. Adult males usually have wings (depending on their species) but never feed, and die within a day or two.
Species in which males do have wings generally possess only one pair of fully functional wings, and in particular, the fore-wings. This is unusual among insects; it most closely resembles the situation in the true flies, the Diptera. However, the Diptera and Hemiptera are not at all closely related and do not closely resemble each other in morphology; for example, the tail filaments of the Coccoidea do not resemble anything in the morphology of flies. The hind (metathoracic) wings of scale insects are reduced, commonly to the point that they generally are overlooked. In some species the hind wings have hamuli, hooklets, that couple the hind wings to the main wings, a condition usually associated with the Hymenoptera. The vestigial wings often are reduced to the point where they are referred to as halteres or pseudohalteres, but again, their resemblance to the halteres of flies is analogous, not homologous. It is not at present clear to what extent the pseudohalteres have any substantial control function to match the true halteres of the flies.
The first instars of most species of scale insects emerge from the egg with functional legs and are informally called “crawlers”. They immediately crawl around in search of a favourable spot to settle down and feed. In some species they delay settling down either until they are starving, or until they have been blown away by wind onto what presumably is another plant, where they may establish a colony separate from the parent. There are many variations on such themes, such as scale insects that are associated with species of ants that act as herders and carry the young ones to favourable protected sites to feed. In either case, many such species of crawlers, when they change their skins, lose the use of their legs if they are female, and stay put for life. Only the males retain their legs and use them in seeking females for mating.
The specifics of their reproductive systems vary considerably within the group, including three forms hermaphroditism and at least seven forms of parthenogenesis.
Is your lawn prone to flooding? Or do you have a water feature and want to decorate it with flowers, shrubs and/or trees? Careful when selecting for your wet soil sites, plants that are not specifically adapted to wet soil conditions eventually fall victim to root rot and rarely survive, let alone thrive. Feel free to stop by Giordano’s with any questions or for additional recommendations. Enjoy this quick read and the beautiful photos!
The above PDF details many beautiful trees, shrubs & perennials that LOVE moist soil conditions. The Liatris pictured below is a prime example of a fragrant and visually pleasing flower that thrives in wet soils!
We have an extensive inventory of plants for wet soil conditions at Giordano’s Gift & Garden (Click For Directions).
Click On The Images In This Gallery For Larger Photos
Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’,
Common Name: Witherod
Winterthur is a compact cultivar that produces fragrant white flowers that grow in clusters between April & June. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies, native bees & other pollinators. As the season transitions to later summer & fall the flowers are replaced by berries that turn color as they ripen; from light pink to a purplish-black. The leaves also change color during the fall to a maroon or dark redish-purple.
- Flowers Attract a Variety of Pollinators
- Compact Plants w/Striking Clusters of Multi-Colored Berries Provide Food for Wildlife
- Wine-Colored Fall Foliage
- Plants Provide Nesting Sites and Cover for Native Bird Life0
- Easy to Grow!
Common Name: Hobblebush
a disheveled shrub found in the forest understory, ravines, coves and stream banks. It grows 6 to 12 feet high and the outer branches root wherever they touch the ground. In shady, moist woodland conditions, it can also grow down a slope along the ground like a creeping vine or “steppable” herb. The white flat-topped flowers are showy in May and develop into clusters of red fruit that eventually turn purple-black.
Common Name: Maple-Leafed Viburnum
The Maple-Leafed Viburnum has foliage that resembles red maple leaves. It is non-aggressive and does not cast a great deal of shade. It can grow to 6 feet tall and is hardy from Zones 4-8. Features creamy white flat-topped clusters of flowers that ripen into lovely black berries. During fall the leaves give the impression of pink water colors; the fruit and shelter provide home and food to both birds and butterlies as well.
Common Name: American Cranberry Bush
Since the bright red drupes often persist through winter, these bushes make a meal for migrating birds. Fun Fact: the fruits (which are not actually cranberries) are safe for human consumption and are used mostly for making jam. The American cranberry bush is ideal for hedges and/or screening your property as they can grow to 12 feet tall and are opaque with their fullness of foliage. The fall colors yield burgandy reds and edible berries!
Common Name: Black Haw Viburnum
This variety has the stature of a small tree! Typically found in the woods from Connecticut to Florida and as far West as Michigan. The Black Haw Viburnum is also famous for being drought tolerant and can grow in just about any type of soil. Flowers bloom in May, berries emerge in late June and the foliage turns a shiny, purple-red. The berries are food to birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other friendly critters! The berries are edible for humans, but usually the birds get to them first.
Viburnum Berry Recipe:
- 8 Cups Ripe Berries
- 5 Cups Sugar
- 3 Cups Water
- Juice of 2 Lemons
- 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
- Rinse Berries & Place in a Large Pot
- Add Water & Bring to a Boil for 5 Minutes
- Add Sugar, Arrowroot, & Lemon Juice & Stir Vigorously as Mixture Comes to a Boil Again
- Simmer on Low for 20 Minutes, Stirring Occasionally
- Remove From Heat and Allow to Cool Completely
- Enjoy on toast, with pancakes, on icecream, etc!
Don’t Forget to Share!
Come in and get a pH test kits or contact Cornell Cooperative Extension-Nassau horticulture to determine your soil’s pH, then refer to this pH Chart to find the optimum pH for your plantings. A pH of 7 is neutral. To lower your pH (acid), add aluminum sulfate or to raise your pH (alkaline or basic), add lime.