The past year

With the new year finally here a reflection on the following year is the best way to make 2017 the best year yet.  2016 gave us a perfect spring, a hot, humid summer bereft of rain and a late fall.  The biggest issue that the industry here on Long Island faced last year was fungus, namely Dollar Spot and Brown Patch.

These fungi appear when a number of situations arise.  The biggest proponent to a fungus outbreak is Humidity.  When there is a two or three day period of high humidity, fungus will show up.  Another practice that encourages fungus is evening and late night watering; when the lawn stays  saturated for an extensive amount of time it allows itself to be susceptible to fungi.  Drops in the Nitrogen level will also allow certain fungi to flourish.  Finally the length of the grass can either welcome or deter fungi.

Knowing what creates fungus is half the  battle, knowing the correct measures to combat them is the other.  Although we can not prevent humidity we can take preemptive measures to prevent them and use grass varieties that are more resilient to humidity and fungus.  I like to use an equal blend of Bluegrass, Fescue and Rye grasses in the fall while either over seeding  or aerating and over seeding in preparation for the following season.  I also encourage my customers to water between 3 and 6 am  to minimize the time that the ground stays saturated.  The next two practices fall solely on your landscaper, that is, maintaining a correct nitrogen level and grass cut height.  I found that frequent low nitrogen liquid based fertilizer applications helped deter fungus well.  This involved bi-weekly applications of low nitrogen fertilizer that was complimentary for my customers.  I found this to be very successful and fully intend on continuing the practice.  Lastly, the length of the grass depends on the height of the lawn mower blades.  I keep the grass very low in the spring and raise the height in the summer, this practice has a few benefits.  First, its height in the summer hides the midsummer browning in the post spring thatch and of the cooler season grasses that go dormant in the heat. Two, its' height prevents fungus, taller grass is better at thwarting fungus than shorter grass.  Lastly the longer summer grass is a darker green further up the blade, this provides a better looking, fuller lawn.

Salvia East Friesland

Happy new year!  It’s been such a mild winter, I can’t help but look forward to getting back to work.  Although it has been relatively warm, I still long for the spring, I can’t wait to see the flowers and smell the grass!  I’ve decided that I’m going to use the blog to put up some information on common and not-so-common plants for everybody.  Hopefully you all find something I have to say interesting!  I’m going to start with something everybody knows and loves, East Friesland Salvia!  

This is a beautiful dark blue/purple perennial that offers a robust color to any garden. Salvia generally grows to a foot and a half but can grow taller given time.  This particular perennial is very hardy and easy to maintain.  East Friesland Salvia’s water schedule is adaptable and will do just fine on your lawn’s water schedule.  With East Friesland Salvia, you can enjoy the rich purple color from the beginning of summer to the end of it.  It does particularly well in full sun but can survive in partial shade as well. While they are perfectly suitable for anywhere in a garden, I prefer to use these as border pattern plants and smaller backdrop plants.  I think that they go particularly well with yellow and red flowers and when combined with grasses offer a really beautiful backdrop or border along a walkway or deck.  I put these alongside my waterfall in my backyard and I really appreciate how it looks.  The best part about the East Friesland Salvia perennial is the fact that butterflies love them.  Not only do they produce beautiful purple flowers, they normally have two or three butterflies bouncing from flower to flower at any given time!