Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When to Prune - Timing for Rejuvenation Pruning

Loping shears for large branches

Shrubs are a valuable part of the landscape, filling the niche intermediate between lawn and trees. Shrubs are planted for their ornamental characteristics such as flowers, foliage, fall color, or fruit. Proper pruning by Crabapple LandscapExperts maintains plant health, controls or shapes plant growth and stimulates flowering. 

Many deciduous shrubs (the ones that lose their leaves in fall plus broadleaf evergreens) can be kept healthy and vigorous by removing a few of the oldest, thickest stems every couple of years. If this process is neglected shrubs become leggy and overgrown, and then rejuvenation pruning is needed.

Botanically Speaking
A shoot consists of a stem with a growing tip and leaves. When the growing tip is removed (pruned) then dormant, lateral buds at the base of each leaf are stimulated to grow, and the branch becomes more “bushy”. Dormant buds at the base of the shrub can also begin growth if older branches are removed at ground level.

Rejuvenation pruning is best accomplished while the shrubs are dormant- late fall through late winter. Consult your Crabpple Rep now for scheduling.

One technique used by our Crabapple LandscapExperts is to selectively remove one-third to one-half of the large overgrown branches from the base of the plant using long-handled lopers. This stimulates dormant buds to grow, producing vigorous young branching from the base.

Holly stumps will soon resprout
A drastic method we employ with success for hugely-overgrown hollies for example is to cut them back to 6 inches from the soil using a chain saw (!) on the trunks. This leaves large unsightly stumps-- but only for 3-4 weeks, until dormant buds begin to grow. Soon, within 6 to 8 weeks, a beautiful, small young holly replaces the former encroaching giant. Afterward, arrange for your LandscapExperts to take care that they are properly pruned and maintained in future.

Conifer Caution
Large, overgrown evergreens are a more difficult problem. It is sometimes best to remove overgrown junipers or arborvitaes and other evergreens that cannot be pruned back severely because they will never re-grow new shoots. Junipers for example, have a large dead zone in the center with few dormant buds that cannot be stimulated to grow. Crabapple techs know never to remove all the greenery from a juniper branch because no new branches will be initiated from bare wood. In this case, your LandscapExpert will suggest removal and replanting with appropriate shrubs.

For more pruning strategies, contact your Crabapple LanscapExperts Rep at 770-740-9739.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

8 Reasons for Rejuvenation Pruning of Drastically Overgrown Shrubs

Are overgrown shrubs draped across windows or overhanging sidewalks on the properties you manage?  Correct and timely pruning is essential for proper maintenance of commercial and residential landscapes.

Trees and shrubs should be examined annually and your Crabapple LandscapExperts Rep can help with this. If pruning has been overlooked for several years, or if previous maintenance companies have sheared the plants into “green meatball shapes” over the life of the community, Crabapple can remedy the problem. Winter is the best time to take care of remedial pruning. During this time of year, Crabapple can cut back severely, in some cases 50%) without worry to reduce the size of overgrown plants. 

To prune successfully, Crabapple LandscapExperts 1.) knows why to prune, 2.) knows when to prune and will suggest the correct timing, and 3.) knows how to prune and you can rely on us to follow the correct techniques. 

8 Top Reasons to Prune

Crabapple LandscapEXPERTS know that pruning is necessary to maintaining a healthy, vigorous tree or shrub.

1. Maintain or reduce plants to manageable size—pruning can prevent a plant from overgrowing its spot in the landscape and intruding on sidewalks or obstructing buildings or windows.

2. Eliminate dead, diseased or broken branches- maintain shape, vigor and health of handsome mature greenery

3. Reveal the true shape of shrubs- restore the graceful natural beauty of shrubs that have been sheared into squares or cubes in the past or "inverted" hedge pruning that shades out bottom branches

4. Remove undesirable growth- removal of weak, overcrowded growth and crossing or rubbing branches to open up the center of the shrub and improve air circulation inside the plant. 

5. Rejuvenate and restore old plants to vigorous growth – youthful, natural growth habit

6. Prevent damage to life and property- hazards to property, painted facades and overhead wires can be eliminated by proper pruning

7. Improve security - overgrown shrubs can conceal unauthorized break-ins at vulnerable points like windows 
8. Stimulate flowering and fruiting- new wood is younger and often more floriferous

Call your Crabapple LandscapExperts Rep to schedule an evaluation of overgrown shrubs and trees on the properties you manage and suggest the appropriate treatments. Our phone number is 770-740- 9739, and thank you!   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Top 10 LandscapEXPERTS Early Fall Clean-Up + Tasks

School buses and ripening crabapples add bright color to early fall. As temperatures begin to cool off and rains become a little more frequent, your Crabapple LandscapExperts Team will fine tune the landscapes of the properties you manage. 
Many tasks are seasonal and some are best done this time of year.  

Trim and deadhead summer annuals. We coax a last big effort from summer flower beds by  trimming back overgrown plants and deadheading spent blooms to keep them flowering. 

Select bedding annuals to plant in October forwinter color. Metro-Atlanta’s mild climate allows color 12 months a year. It is time for us to choose the hardy annuals and biennials like pansies and parsley that will keep your properties looking bright all winter.  

Apply post-emergent herbicide. We stop weeds that are already growing in their tracks with spot application of post-emergent herbicides to keep your lawns as smooth as silk.

Use time release fertilizer. Once temperatures have backed off, Bermuda and Zoysia turf grow better and survive cool winter temperatures once they have been “primed” with a slow-release fertilizer that lasts the last few months until cold weather. 

Apply lime to Fescue lawns. Metro-Atlanta area soils are often acidic in nature but most cultivated plants prefer a pH of near neutral. We don’t guess, we soil test, and apply lime that moves through the soil surface and into the root zone.

Prune shrubs. Crabapple LandscapExperts know when to finish the corrective pruning of shrubs without removing next spring’s blossoms.  

Plant or transplant trees and shrubs. “Fall is for Planting”. The months of September through December are the ideal time to plant woody ornamentals, because while the air temperatures are decreasing, soil temperatures are still warm from the summer, promoting root growth.

Accomplish general clean-up. Plants in raingardens or surrounding detention ponds can be trimmed and fallen sticks and debris are removed, keeping the properties you manage spotless!  

Edge walkways. After a summer of growth, typically walkways need to be spruced up and edged by our Certified maintenance crews.

Adjust mowing heights and keep lawns in trim. Lawns are kept in trim as Fescue begins its period of luxuriant growth, and Bermuda and Zoysia slow down.

To learn more about these and other tasks carried out by Crabapple LandscapEXPERTS, phone your rep or call 770-740-9739.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rain Gardens Part 2: Choosing Plants

Swamp Sunflowers
Plants selected for rain gardens should be able to tolerate all levels of moisture, from brief periods of flood and pooled water after a rain, to extended dry conditions during periods of drought. Native plants are often recommended for rain gardens because they are typically more tolerant of the local climate, soil and water conditions, plus they may provide a food source for native wildlife. Other plants suited to these harsh conditions are also selected.  

Crabapple LandscapEXPERTS design and plant Rain Gardens so the root systems take up excess water flowing into it and evaporate it back to the atmosphere through transpiration (movement of water through the plant, and evaporation from the leaves). 

At the same time PLANT ROOTS:  
  • slow the movement of water 
  • make the soil more permeable 
  • enhance the return of water to the ground water 
  • filter the runoff 
  • support microbes that aid in biofiltration

Wetland edge vegetation of many types can be selected, ranging from grasses, sedges and rushes to wildflowers and ferns. Some “tough” shrubs and small trees are included if they do not shade out their companions.

Inkberry Holly
Crabapple LandscapExperts will devise the dimensions, planting plan and plant list based on your unique conditions and tailored to the overall effect you desire on the properties you manage. This can vary from sedate, clipped inkberry hollies to exuberant and rambunctious swamp sunflowers teamed with ornamental grasses.

Extensive plant lists can be found at the University of Georgia Rain Garden publication as well as at the Rain Garden Alliance

Rely on your Rep at Crabapple LandscapEXPERTS to help you with this new installation.