Last week was cold but it was nothing compared to what is headed our way. The long range forecast only has 4 days above freezing over the next 10 days. The projected high temperature over that time is 47 degrees. The projected low..... -7! Yep, that is a negative seven!. If the snow does fall tonight (who knows until it happens) then it will be on the ground for a while. That will set our mulching plans back a bit but don't worry, we will catch up and be ready for seeding and mowing when Spring finally arrives.
Here are a few things to remember about the snow from a landscape perspective:
1. Salt is not good for anything in high concentrations. Grass, plants, pets, hardscapes, even the paint and metal on our vehicles can be hurt by too much salt. You can find lots of salt alternatives listed around the internet but my personal opinion is to spend bit more and get some of the pet safe deicers. Kitty litter also works well for traction but it will not melt the ice.
2. Keep your ornamental trees and shrubs clear of snow as best you can. This storm will be hard since most of the heavy snow will occur over night but get those plants cleared off as soon as you can. The weight of the snow can lead to limb damage and breakage. Also, don't forget about your outdoor heating units. Deep snow around the units can cause poor air flow and freezing.
Hopefully the coming snow will be calm and peaceful. Just enough to give the kids and extra day off school to enjoy a bit of sledding, but not so much that it causes damage or power outages.
Each Week I am going to attempt to post a short re-cap of what we did the prior week and what is coming up. Check in every Sunday to stay up to date with what is happening with Eco-Logic.
The past week was taking up by one driveway project at a small city home. We started with a washed out mud and gravel pit and finished with a new driveway complete with a cobblestone entrance and natural stone border.
Coming up, we will be setting our sights on mulch! Lots and lots of Mulch! We will throw in a few Spring Clean Ups this week as well. Yes, I know it is only February so "Spring" is still a long way off but I like to stay positive. If you have not booked your mulch application yet please contact us soon so we can get you on the schedule.
Please get informed on the issue!
I am not a very politically motivated individual. I have my opinions but I try not to push them on anyone else too often. However, there is something occurring in my community right now that has impelled me to speak. VDOT and the County Board of Supervisors is pushing a new interchange at rt. 29 and Rio rd that will change our major street forever. I am not going to delve into the political slight of hand or the disregard of county mandates that has moved this interchange forward.
Instead I am going to implore you to educate yourself on this issue because it will effect every single person in our area. It will effect small business like mine with increased travel time over and fuel costs over the construction period which will lead to higher rates for the customer. If you agree with the interchange after you have viewed all of the information then that is your opinion. I will not try to sway it. However this in not a time to sit back and let our elected officials make choices for us that will change the face of our city and cost $84 million. It is a time to make them step back and listen to the people and at the very least do the job that they were elected to do regardless of monetary loss or gain.
Please get informed! Take a look at the information below form VDOT and different community groups.
This is some of the information available. Take a look and form your own opinion.
Crape Myrtle Pruning Tips
To follow up on my post about winter pruning I thought I would share a few tips about pruning Crape Myrtles.
Crape Myrtles are extremely popular in commercial areas especially around parking lots. The distinctive bark and showy blooms make it a beautiful and fairly low maintenance plant. Unfortunately, they are one of the most incorrectly pruned shrubs in our area. Every year we are forced to gaze upon poorly pruned specimens that are no more than woody trunks sticking up out of the ground. The poor pruning results in weak, droopy growth and increases the plants susceptibility to breakage and disease. The practice of topping crape myrtles and leaving woody stubs has been donned “crape murder” by many in the landscaping field.
Before you prune your plants this year be sure that your equipment is clean and sharp and remember these few tips:
First, start at the bottom of the plant. Ideally you want either 3, 5, or 7 main trunks. If you need to remove a main trunk cut it as close to base of the plant as possible. Also, cut off any suckers from the base as close to ground level as possible.
Second, choose a height to start branching out. Most of the time this will be based on the height of the plant but you want it to be at least three feet from the ground. I prefer the 5 to 6 foot range which enables most people to walk under the plant.
Third: Remove any branches that are below your selected height. You want to cut these branches all the way back to the main trunk as well. Removing the lower branches and unwanted main trunks will help to thin the crown of the plant and make shaping the plant a little easier.
Forth: Begin to shape the crown by removing any interior branches that are growing too close together or rubbing together and causing damage to the trunk. Also, remove any smaller branches that are less than the size of a pencil growing from the interior of the plant.
Fifth: Continue shaping the crown by pruning the exterior branches. You want the branches to spread out in multiple directions but you do not want two branches to occupy the same area. Pay attention to the buds when you prune the exterior branches. Cut the branch slightly above any bud that is facing the direction you would like the branch to grow.
Following these steps will help you create a crape myrtle that is natural yet neat in appearance. Pruning correctly will give your plant the best chance to survive disease. Removing weaker branches will strengthen the plant against winter snow and ice and allow it support the weight of the summer blooms. Keep practicing and will become an experienced pruner helping in the fight against “crape murder.”
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask. Good luck and happy pruning.
To all Albermarle County and City of Charlottesville Residents.
The Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department has begun its Christmas Tree Recycling program. The program runs from December 26th to January 18th. There are seven county parks where you can drop off you tree. See the press release with park information here.
The Charlottesville Curb Side Pick-Up Program will be picking up trees for city residents beginning the week of January 5th. Trees must be at the curbside by 7a.m.
All of the trees collected by the City and County will be taken to Darden Towe where they will be “recycled” and chipped into mulch. The mulch will then be available to the public at no charge when it is ready in February.
Be sure that all of the decorations are removed from the tree before dropping it off or leaving it at the curb. Be sure to check it twice!
I would like to offer Christmas tree pick up for my customers that are residents of Albemarle County. I am still arranging the details but my plan would be to have one day during the week of January 5th where I will collect the trees and take them to one of the drop of sites. If you are interested in having me pick up your tree please let me know. I am not going to charge anything for the service. I will only request that you make a donation to a charity of your choosing. It's my way of keeping the Christmas Spirit alive a little farther into the new year. Once I find out the level of interest and finalize the details I will let everyone know.
Some of our most popular landscape plants can benefit from pruning this time of year. According to Virginia Cooperative Extensions “Guide To Successful Pruning,” Winter is the best time to prune over 30 species of the most common landscape shrubs.
Plants like abelia, aborvitae, beautyberry, butterfly bush, crape myrtle, euonymus, gardenia, and nandina all benefit from winter pruning. Most of these plants bloom on “new wood” and do not create flower buds until stem growth begins in the Spring. These plants also tend to bloom later in the season.
Plants like azalea and forsythia bloom on “old growth” and carry their buds through the winter. Pruning now would reduce their blooms in the Spring.
Take a look at the pruning calendar to see if any of your landscape plants could stand a good trim. Let me know if you have questions about winter pruning. I am always happy to help.
Native Plant Spotlight:
Every now and then I will be positing information on a featured plant native to our area. Why plant natives? Natives provide a great habitat for wildlife and pollinators. That are generally more hardy and less susceptible to drought and pest than non-native plants. That means less need for water, fertilizer and pesticides. If you would like more information on Native Plants visit some of the links below or contact me for information about adding them to your landscape.
Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)
Winterberry Holly is a shrub native to Albemarle and Charlottesville that provide dramatic winter color. Unlike many other hollies, Winterberry are deciduous and loose their leaves in the Fall. What is left on the woody stems for Winter are clusters of small pea-sized red berries that can give your landscape a splash of color at an otherwise drab time of year. The berries are not suitable for human consumption but they are a great source of food for birds. They are deer resistant and their small Spring flowers attract butterflies and provide nectar for bees. Winterberry are great for garden borders and adapt well to most light and moisture conditions.
For more information on Winterberry Holly visit the following sites:
Cold and rainy today. Not the type of weather you need to finish the last few leaf clean up projects of the year. Once I finish the last few projects up I will be taking some time off for the holidays.
We will not be out and about from the 24th to the 3rd so that we can enjoy some time with family and friends. I will still be answering emails and such over that time and we will resume projects in the new year.
Happy Holidays to all!