Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pruning Crape Myrtles Properly

Pruning crape myrtles properly, like any other skill, requires knowing what you are doing to achieve success. The old idea that anyone with a chain saw or a pruning saw can be a landscape pruner is far from the truth. More trees are killed or ruined each year from improper pruning than by pests. Remember that pruning is done to supply additional energy for the development of flowers and limbs that remain on the plant. Pruning essentially involves removing plant parts to improve the health, landscape effect, or value of the plant.

How to prune crape myrtles

The practice of chopping off the tops of crape myrtle trees has become very commonplace but is completely unnecessary. Many people believe that it is required to promote flowering; some prune because the plant is too large for the space provided; others see their neighbors doing it and feel the need to follow suit. There are some instances in which pruning crape myrtles properly requires heavy pruning, but light pruning is usually all that is needed. The amount of pruning depends on the desired shape and size of the plant.

Crape Myrtle Tree

Crape myrtle can be a low-maintenance plant, and besides adhering to pruning crape myrtles properly, the best way to ensure this is to choose the cultivar that best suits your landscape needs before planting. There are many new cultivars in different sizes and colors. The dwarf (3 to 6 feet) and semi-dwarf (7 to 15 feet) selections now available make it easy to choose the right size plant for a certain space.

Eliminating Wild Onions/Wild Garlic – Winter Weed

Homeowners with turf grasses such as Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, Bahia grass, Centipede grass, and St. Augustine grass will sometimes battle wild onions/wild garlic – winter weed on their property as well as dandelion, clover, plantains, and other broadleaf weeds. With the correct application of postemergence herbicides we are able to eliminate these winter weeds from your lawn.

wild onion weed can be eaten

Postemergence herbicides target visible weeds. They are used primarily against broadleaf weeds, perennial grasses, and sedges. The chemicals 2,4-D, dicamba, carfentrazone, triclopyr, clorpyralid, MCPP and MCPA are broadleaf herbicides. They have been combined in many products that control broadleaf weeds. Most broadleaf weeds are best treated in the spring or fall when air temperatures are between 65 and 85° F. Turf damage is more likely in hotter temperatures. To reach and maintain acceptable control, repeat applications are required 10 to 14 days apart.

Effective weed control of wild onions/wild garlic – winter weed begins with proper management practices, which encourage a dense and healthy turf. A healthy turf shades the soil so that less sunlight reaches the ready-to-germinate weed seeds. A thick turf minimizes the space available for weeds to become established. Proper management practices include mowing, watering, fertilizing and liming.

Even when cultural practices are heeded, wild onions/wild garlic – winter weed may appear. If the number of weeds reaches an unacceptable level and pulling by hand is out of the question, you may want to turn to herbicides. Three-way broadleaf herbicides containing 2,4-D, dicamba and mecoprop (MCPP) will provide control of wild garlic and wild onion with repeat applications. Examples of these products are Bayer Advanced Southern Weed Killer for Lawns, Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns – for Southern Lawns, and Ferti-lome Weed-Out Lawn Weed Killer. These products can be purchased in relatively small quantities for use by the homeowner. It is also important to use a non-ionic surfactant (as described on the herbicide product label) to improve transfer of the herbicide into the weeds. Spray wild garlic and wild onion in November and again in late winter or early spring. Improved results will be obtained by spraying immediately after mowing the onion/wild garlic weeds. Alternatively you may wish to damage the smooth surface of the weed stalks by pulling an old weathered 2 X 6 board across the weeds and walking on the stalks to improve adhesion of the mixture to the weed surface. If at this point the project appears to be too elaborate for you as a homeowner to attempt, it is important to call in professionals like us who are in the lawn care and maintenance business.

Using Horticulture Oil on Trees and Shrubs

Applying horticulture oil on trees and shrubs is the ideal way to prevent tree and shrub damage due to insects. Like most living organisms, trees and shrubs are susceptible to a variety of pests. Horticultural oil sprays have proven to be extraordinary pest management tools without the traditional concerns. The application of horticulture oil on trees and shrubs is an essential part of any good tree and shrub program. A late winter/early spring and late fall horticultural oil spray protects against damaging insects.

Horticulture oil benefits trees and shrubs

Horticulture oil is recommended for both dormant and summer pest control treatments. The oils can be used on most foliage plants, trees and shrubs and they control a wide range of insects including mites, aphids, leafhoppers, white flies and chewing insects. They are considered safe to use around humans and pets.

Horticultural oils need to be sprayed directly on the pests, to be effective. The primary way horticultural oil kills insects is by suffocating them. The oil blocks the spiracles through which insects breathe. Horticultural oils also disrupt the metabolism of insect eggs and the ability of some insects to feed, causing them to starve to death. Insects, like aphids, carry diseases from plant to plant by feeding.

Be sure to protect your treasured plants from the ravages of harmful insects. If you think your landscape might be suffering from a pest problem, call us. Using horticulture oil on trees and shrubs is one of the ways damage can be effectively minimized.

Benefits of Landscape Lighting

Properties of any size and shape can be effectively lit with low-voltage landscape lighting. It’s a customizable and cost-effective way to help your property shine day and night, year-round. The basic benefits of landscape lighting include:

Carolina Creations installs landscape lighting of all types.

•    Added security: Darkness itself could make your home vulnerable to intruders, and well-lit yards provide greater safety.
•    Increased home value: Add instant curb appeal and beautify the landscape around your home.
•    Flexibility factor: As your outdoor decor changes, so can the lighting.

Whether you decide to expand your property’s lighting or cut back for a minimalist look, lighting fixtures are easily adjusted to fit your needs.

While lighting will brighten the gardens, decide what else you’d like to light. A number of popular, professional-looking techniques can create dramatic and attractive designs. For example, your home’s facade is an ideal lighting subject, but a spotlight could simultaneously back-light trees and plants for a silhouetted effect or front-light them to showcase the plants. Other popular outdoor lighting options include:

•    Pond lights for up-lighting through trees out of a water garden
•    Rail mount or step lights for a deck, porch and patios
•    Path lights for problematic areas and protection against potential liability
•    Flood lights mounted in the ground or on a wall surface or tree

Your home is your pride and joy and that includes the landscape around it. Give it the look it deserves with the proper lighting.