It's All About the Water!





Keeping landscaping looking great during the summer can be a challenge


Having an attractive landscape during the hot, dry summer months is dependent upon several factors, but chief among them is water.  From June 1st to Labor Day, Cape Cod receives far less natural rainfall than the rest of the state.  Thanks to the cool water surrounding us, most of the thunder storms and showers passing through the state break up and fizzle out before they get to us.  That is good news for boaters and beach goers but not so for turf, plants and flowers.


Automatic Irrigation Systems to the Rescue


Thirty years ago, watering the lawn and keeping the flowers alive in the summer was a major chore.  As a result, most people had a "Cape Cod Lawn".  This referred to a lawn that would burn out and turn brown before July 1st and turn green again around Labor Day.  This growth cycle was most agreeable for many Cape Cod homeowners, it meant more time for fishing, golfing or whatever else one enjoys - that is much more fun than mowing the grass.


Residential irrigation systems were rare before 1985 for good reason.  They were expensive to install, complicated to manage and somewhat unreliable.  The old controllers were mechanical clocks with many moving parts and not just a little difficult for most people to program properly.  The old style rotary heads were impossible to adjust and very fragile.


In 2015, a modern Automatic irrigation system is not inexpensive but they are amazingly easy to operate and very reliable.  The digital controllers are very simple to program and the options for customizing the watering cycle is nearly infinite.  The quality and variety of irrigation heads and nozzle types are very extensive too.


So, if having a "Cape Cod Lawn" isn't for you, please ask for a free irrigation system design and quote.  We can have your lawn green and your flowers looking beautiful in a matter of days.





Recognize these guys?


Winter Moth and Gypsy Moth caterpillars have been very destructive this spring.  These veracious munchers provided a one-two punch in some Upper Cape areas completely defoliating everything in their path.  The Winter Moths are gone but it appears the Gypsy Moth will be around until the middle of June. Be prepared for next year and schedule tree spaying in advance.



What's happening in the landscape?

Winter's wrath is still evident in many landscape plants.  Hydrangea took a hard hit for the second year in a row.  The dead stems can be removed now without worrying about taking off anything that may leaf out. Unfortunately, the Nikko Blue Varieties are unlikely to bloom this year, but the Endless Summer varieties should be fine, as they bloom on current growth.


Just about all broad leaved evergreens were looking brown and battered after the winter.  Thanks to a new flush of growth they are looking pretty good now.  Most needled evergreens survived the winter in good shape with one glaring exception - Leyland Cypress.  Leyland's have become very popular because they grow fast and will tolerate sun and shade conditions.  However, they aren't the perfect plant for every site. They will not tolerate salt from the ocean or the road.  The combination of Nor'easters blowing salt air off the ocean and weekly snowstorms requiring routine applications of rock salt did a number on Leyland Cypress.  In many cases, the plants are so damaged a full recovery is unlikely.  I recommend caution when considering Leyland Cypress near the road and especially on the northern exposures. 


Time to Prune Spring Flowering Plants

Every August I see homeowners and under qualified landscapers pruning shrubs.  Not that there is anything wrong with pruning shrubs in August, as long as they are not Rhododendron, Azalea, Forsythia, Lilac, etc.   Spring flowering plants must be pruned within a few weeks after the blossoms wither, to insure that the new flower buds won't be lopped off and the plant misses a year of blooming unnecessarily.

Late June and Early July is the right time to prune these shrubs and never use shears on these plants. 




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