Pest Control: 3 most important practices to control insects.
Cinch bugs, Mealy bugs, Scale and Grubs are just a few examples of problem insects that can damage and kill your plants and lawn here in Southwest Florida. By proactively controlling the problem insect population in your landscaping, you can prevent aggravation and save money. Below are three proven methods to prevent nuisance insect outbreaks and damage to your landscaping:
Promote Healthy Landscaping
Healthy lawns and landscaping are the best defense against unwanted insects. For example, providing the appropriate amount of fertilizer, water, and sunlight for your turf and plants will promote healthy root systems that deter insects such as chinch bugs from destroying your lawn. Chinch bugs feed on the roots of turf grass. However, they are rarely found in healthy grass with a strong root system. Keeping your plants and turf healthy is the best defense against unwanted insects.
Correctly Identify Insects During Spot Checks
Your Estate landscape team is constantly on the look out for any indications of insect damage to your landscaping. The insect(s) that have caused the damage are identified and controlled with organic or chemical insecticides. Frequent property inspections are a great idea since insect populations can spread rapidly if not caught quickly . More importantly however is correctly identifying the problem that you are having with your landscaping and the insect responsible.
Use the Right Control Method
Insecticides can be expensive and over use of some insecticides can cause insects to build up resistance. In some cases, beneficial insects such as ladybugs will provide effective treatment of aphids without resorting to use of chemicals. Only after correctly identifying the problem insects in your landscaping, can a treatment program be implemented. For example, insecticide used to treat chinch bugs is not effective on grubs. Before applying expensive control treatments it is necessary to know what insects need to be controlled so that time and money are not wasted treating the wrong insect.
If you are thinking about installing a new plant or tree, please consult with your Account Manager at Estate Landscaping. There are several plants and trees that may be susceptible to insect and disease problems. Your Account Manager will be able to advise you on a landscape design that is most resistant to problem insects.
Estate’s Certified Pest Control Operators will be able to spot check your property and correctly identify and treat problem insects. Please call Estate today if you would like and evaluation of your landscaping.
Tree Pruning: 3 most important hardwood and palm pruning practices.
With proper care and pruning, hardwood and palm trees can enhance the value and curb appeal of your property for decades.
Provide Wind Flow
Opening the canopy of hardwood trees allows the wind to move through the trees and helps reduce stress and the chances of the tree collapsing in high winds. No more than 20% of the tree should be removed during the pruning of a hardwood tree. Over-pruning could damage the tree by limiting its ability to produce food through photosynthesis. Thinning out or opening the canopy of hardwood trees is typically done once every 2 years or on an as needed basis.
Remove Cross Branches
Crossing branches can rub together, weakening or damaging the limbs as the tree grows. Damaged tree limbs are susceptible to the infestation of insect pathogens and disease that can result in permanent damage or death of the tree. Removing smaller crossing branches allows more nutrients to go into the other limbs, promoting a stronger and healthier tree.
Prune Palms at 9 and 3 O’clock Position.
Palms do not need to be pruned to allow for wind flow. Over pruning a palm tree can cause permanent damage or death. The fronds of a palm should be at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. Palms have a limited number of fronds and capability to produce food through photosynthesis. Remove dead fronds as needed. Fronds with yellow or tan spots caused by cold weather should be kept on the palm to aid in the recovery of the tree.
For more information on proper pruning techniques, please consult with your Account Manager with Estate Landscaping.
Drought: 3 important irrigation topics that can help you save money, use water effectively, and preserve your landscaping.
The end of the rainy season here in Southwest Florida was marked by the driest October on record. Over the next 6-7 months your irrigation system and the durability of your landscaping will be put to the test. Now is the time to take steps in order to ensure that you are preserve the health of your landscaping during the dry season:
Know When You Can Water.
Drought conditions combined with county water restrictions makes it very important to use the maximum amount of water allowed effectively. There are different restrictions for Collier and Lee Counties and these restrictions may change.
Perform An Irrigation Audit.
Estate Landscaping’s Irrigation Audit is a thorough evaluation of your irrigation system to determine how effectively water is being used and ideas on how to im- prove your system. Some simple improvements include raising sprinkler heads above plant material for proper coverage and adjusting the spray radius of irrigation heads to minimize overspray of streets and driveways. Other recommendations made during an irrigation audit may be to upgrade the current system with new technology such as low volume MP sprinkler heads that have a lower application rate and can prevent water runoff and Smart Timers that automatically adjust the sprinklers every day based on weather.
Use Drought Resistant Plants.
One way to deal with drought conditions is to integrate drought-resistant plants. This does not necessarily mean using cacti and succulents. There are many native plants that are tolerant of the wet and dry seasons of Southwest Florida. Native plants are generally more durable and are more likely to survive hot/cold and wet/dry weather. This means that you will be less likely to spend money on replacing native plant material. Some popular drought resistant plants include the Firebush,Cocoplum and Buttonwood. Your Account Manager with Estate Landscaping will be able to help you incorporate native and drought resistant plants into your landscape design.
With Estate’s Irrigation Management program, you can be assured that your irrigation water is being used efficiently and effectively. Our irrigation audits will not only ensure that your turf and shrubs receive the appropriate amount of water, but in many cases save our customers money by reducing the water bill. Estate’s Account Managers are Florida Certified Horticulturists and can recommend a landscape design with drought resistant plants. Please call Estate today if you would like more information on our Irrigation Management program, Irrigation Audits, or suggestions on drought resistant plants. Click on the links below to learn more about your local water restrictions:
For Lee County Water Restricrtions click here:
For Collier County Water Restrictions click here:
Shrub Pruning: 3 Things That Can Save Your Plants.
Proper and timely pruning will provide a return on investment by enhancing the curb appeal of your landscape and expanding the life of your plants. On the other hand, improper pruning may result in a less than desirable appearance, shorten the life of your plants and result in costly plant replacements.
Avoid shearing large leafed plants
To achieve a more formal vs. natural appearance to your landscaping, the use of gas or electric shears can be used to precisely shape your hedges. However, there are some plants where mechanical pruning should not be employed. These plants are typically larger leafed plants and include Awabuke Vibernum, Sea Grape, Arbicola, and Hibiscus. Mechanical pruning of these varieties of plants will tear the leaves causing brown edges where the leave was torn and will stunt new growth of the plant. The top right picture shows torn leaves on a sea grape hedge that has been mechanically pruned.
Perform “Rejuve” pruning in the Spring
In the Spring when the weather warms up and plants begin to grow more rapidly, Estate performs “Rejuve” pruning. Other companies may call this a “hard cut-back.” Estate does not indiscriminately hard-cut ornamentals and shrubs and hope that they will grow in fuller during the Summer months. Our “Rejuve” pruning is done using Hand Pruners and cutting plants at a slight angle on the stem between nodes preferably at least 1’’ above the bottom node and at least 1’’ below the top node. Nodes are points on the plant’s stem where a branch or bud forms. This intermodal technique encourages new growth and results in fuller, healthier shrubs. We use “Rejuve” pruning to cut back any plant material that has been damaged by a hard freeze over the Winter. Dead, freeze damaged branches are cut back to let new growth fill in.
Avoid thinning out the bottom of hedges
When pruning with gas or electric shears to create a more formal look (on plant species that can be pruned mechanically), a technique called beveling must be used. Beveling is where you bevel the top edges allowing the sides of the hedge to protrude at a slight angle. This prevents the top of the hedge from blocking sunlight to the bottom of the hedge resulting in thinning at the bottom. There is an art to pruning and like any other skill, requires technical knowledge and training. The kind an established firm like Estate provides. The idea that anyone with a chain saw or a lopper can be a landscape professional is far from the truth. As evidence of this, more trees are killed each year due to improper pruning than die from pests.
There is an art to pruning and like any other skill, requires technical knowledge and training. The kind an established firm like Estate provides. The idea that anyone with a chain saw or a lopper can be a landscape professional is far from the truth. As evidence of this, more trees are killed each year due to improper pruning than die from pests.
Trust your landscape to trained horticulture professionals and talk to your Estate Account Manager about our programs for Shrub Management and Pruning.
Annual Flowers for Southern Florida and their 5 Principles to Success:
Choosing The Right Plant -
Culture of annuals in Florida is different from that in most states. Florida has three climatic regions. During the winter, nights are cool with an occasional freeze in central and south Florida and frequent freezes in north Florida. In early spring and late fall, nights are cool, whereas high night temperatures, heavy rains, and high relative humidity are typical during summer and early fall. Careful attention must be given to climate in order to be successful in Florida.
Choosing the Correct Location -
Selection of annuals should be greatly influenced by the available light in the area. Some annuals, such as marigold and ageratum, perform best in full sun. Others, such as impatiens and dahlia, grow best in semi shade or limited hours of sun. There are no flowering annuals that will perform well under heavy shade. For light shade try crossandra or tuberous begonia.
Site Preparation -
Annual plantings sites should be spaded or tilled at least 6-8 inches deep several weeks before planting. Organic material should be incorporated in the soil or planting soil, designed for annuals, installed on top of existing soil at a depth of 6-8 inches.
Planting Properly -
Annuals purchased in plastic containers usually have a root-bound root system. If planted intact, the root system will be slow to establish and will suffer. The preferred method is to loosen and untangle the root with out breaking the soil ball. Tall and spindly plants should be pruned to half their size. Spacing is based on the size of maturity of the plant.
Pests and Diseases -
The best method of reducing insects and/or disease problems is to keep the plants growing vigorously and free from stress. Cultural practices that should help are:
- Proper Plant Site
- Avoid low light and minimal air circulation
- Keeps plants growing vigorously
- Avoid frequent wilting
- Remove spent flowers if necessary
- Keep water off of plants as much as possible to limit fungus
- Remove Weeds