Benefits of Tree Pruning 8/6/2015

Why is it good to prune your trees? Many different benefits make this popular landscaping service a worthy investment:

It looks good.

This first reason to trim your trees is simply that you can form your trees and make them grow in ways that are visibly pleasing. The difference between a messy landscape and a clean, beautiful one could be simply the structure of the trees.

It’s safe.

Controlling the structure of the trees reduces any unbalanced growth that may cause them to fall easily in heavy weather. Trimming and pruning while trees are still young can prevent any hazards that are costly to fix.

It’s good for the trees.

Even though it sounds like a painful process for the trees to go through, in the long run, the trees actually turn out healthier and cleaner. Pruning prevents decay and fungi, and the cleared-out spaces allow more fresh air to flow through the leaves.

When’s the best time to prune?

While it may come as a surprising fact to many, the best time to have your trees pruned is during winter. The frozen ground allows for greater access for large machinery that may otherwise sink in soft ground; the lack of foliage allows for greater visibility to see and address problem spots; and since the tree is dormant, the wounds will heal before the growing season in spring. Another perk to pruning in winter is that insects, which could cause infection in the newly exposed areas, are inactive.

Big trees vs. small trees.

Smaller trees actually handle pruning better than a large tree would. A tree’s live cells only exist a few inches under the bark so a small tree is made up of mostly live cells, allowing it to adapt and regrow faster. When dealing with larger trees, don’t cut a branch more than 6 inches wide. Otherwise rot and infection could set in. Hiring a professional to do the job would be the safest way to ensure that your trees are pruned correctly and without any harm done to the tree.

Pruning your trees can greatly benefit your property—its beauty, its safety, and its health.


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11133987_1076471915715214_7666254604008273390_oThe sweet smell of freshly cut grass is summer.   That particular smell – over and above the intoxicating scents of blooming crabapple and lilacs—brings on an immediate sense of peace and well-being.

I generally believed this effect was because the smell conjured up childhood memories of playing outside. Most of us can recall the universal parental rule to “play outside until the street lights come on”. There were no structured activities and we were left to the standard games of “kick the can” or “ghosts in the graveyard” or some other game imagined up.

My belief is probably scientifically incorrect. Australian researchers have discovered that the chemical that is released when grass is cut makes people feel relaxed and happy. In fact, these researchers claim that this chemical can prevent the mental decline often associated with aging. The Times of India similarly reported that the chemistry in a pleasing odor, such as freshly cut grass, can alter gene expression in the brain and reduce aggression, calm the nerves and sharpen the mind.

On all fronts, imagined and scientific, the smell of freshly cut grass is good for you. Unfortunately, this is not so true for the grass. The same odor that calms our nerves and relaxes us is actually a distress call from the grass itself. The calming odor we enjoy so much is actually a chemical defense called green leaf volatiles [GLVs] that the grass emits in an attempt to save itself from the injury you have just inflicted upon it.

As the French writer, Alexandre Dumas stated, “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, nothing more.” So the next time you inhale a deep breathe of freshly cut grass and enjoy the flashback to childhood memories and the rush of well-being that floods you, give silent thanks to the grass.



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Is Your Lawn Happy? 6/4/2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 1.15.17 PMWhen I think of lawns, I think of bare feet, slip-n-slides and four leaf clovers.  I think of lawn chairs, cold lemonade, small children and puppies. I think about hammocks gently rocking in the wind and the click-click of a sprinkler. The scent of freshly cut grass is intoxicating and is the essence of summer.

This year’s erratic weather combining the fourth wettest June on record followed by a heat wave with tropical-like humidity, has been brutal on lawns [as well as shrubs and trees].  The weather this season is causing many lawns to look like a teenager with acne–breaking out with random brown patches [which are actually a fungal growth].  Some lawns appear zombie-like, suffering from slime mold.  Slime mold can also be found in landscape beds [where it looks like a yellow blob of dog vomit].  Dollar spot sounds like a good deal until you realize it is actually a fungal disease that makes your lawn look like a green shirt covered in bleach stains.  Red thread sounds pretty until your lawn looks like a Christmas ornament.

However, all is not lost.  There is time to repair the damage – and still enjoy your lawn.  In fact, August is a great time to address the problems that are now evident in lawns, trees and shrubs.  

Many times, lawn repair is all that is necessary to remedy any of the lawn issues. When disease has run rampant, however, re-seeding a lawn is likely the best remedy.  The best time for re-seeding is generally August through October.  

Another secret weapon to achieving a healthy lawn is aerification.  Aerification is a method of loosening up compacted soil by removing plugs of soil, allowing water penetration and the exchange of air in the soil with fresh air and water.  It also helps break up thatch and improves the uptake and utilization of fertilizer applications.

Trees and shrubs are also under tremendous stress from this year’s weather conditions.  You may have noticed some yellowing of the leaves and excessive leaf drop. This is caused by excessive moisture in the soil. One of the most effective methods to rejuvenate stressed trees and shrubs is vertical mulching.  Vertical mulching opens up poor soils to get air and fertilizer to the roots.  It also drains away salts and gets rid of toxic gases.  It also allows for more effective fertilization.  


Keep your lawn happy and enjoy the memories you make this summer.


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