House & Home

East End Pre-Summer Landscaping Tips: Trees, Shrubs and Bugs

’Tis the season to check for insects and trim the trees

Top on the spring-priority list for many East Enders is getting the house ready for summer visitors and summer entertaining. Sometimes, though, awe-inspiring square footage and a new coat of paint, or even a new entertainment system, do not a summer-ready house make. No one wants to be holed up inside all summer, after all. The warm summer months necessitate that a homeowner take just as much care of their outdoor space as they do their indoors. And with tick-related illnesses on the rise, homeowners will want to pay special attention to landscaping.

First things first, according to Bart Fusco, President of Fox Tree Service, is to “sign up for tick and mosquito treatments now and review the trees and other plant material for winter injury and stress. Scale and other piercing and sucking insects are starting to hatch. Look for a white cotton-like material or specks on the trunks of privet, cherry and other fruit trees.”

Every year brings change to the Hamptons, and plantings and landscape design are no exception. This season, notes Fusco, a Certified Arborist and Registered Consulting Arborist, people are tending to stay away from plant materials that cause problems—such as boxwood, Norway maples and Japanese black pines—and gravitating towards natural, park-like landscapes, as opposed to formal gardens. To that end, he recommends two of his favorites: Cryptomeria, “a relatively problem-free, slow-growing evergreen with great color and shape” and Osmanthus, which is “more shrub-like and looks somewhat like a holly, but will not tolerate very cold or windy winters, so it needs to be protected during the winter months.”

When it comes to taking care of your landscaping investments, Fusco recommends homeowners have an adequate Plant Health Care (PHC) program for their trees. “New homeowners should always arrange a PHC program because trees are valuable assets to any property,” he says. Fusco notes that the most common mistakes people make is over-watering and over-fertilizing their lawns, as well as “having sprinklers soak their ornamentals while watering the lawn ”—and beyond not benefitting the plantings, an oversaturated lawn is also prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“When the lawn mowing guy says he’ll take care of the trees,” Fusco warns, “that is the time to call
an arborist.”

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