Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

February 14, 2011

Forsythia Will Be Blooming in Six Weeks

Filed under: garden seasons,shrubs and trees — glenn @ 8:24 pm

That’s right.   Somewhere around April Fools Day the forsythia shrubs will be fooling everyone by showing off their  bright shocking yellow color. 

The big one in size on the market these days is usually “Meadowlark”    This and many other of the larger forsythias which are sold in our climate zone four, usually can withstand a relatively cold winter and manage to bloom well.   However, even though these plants are  thoroughtly root hardy here, some may not be bud hardy, mening the shrub is fully hardy if you don’t care about getting a bloom every year.

This April should be a good forsythia bloom because lots of snow came early this last fall, November 13….bending and covering nearly all the stems with snow.   In addition  there was no significant thaw all winter in the Twin Cities, until this past weekend.

The Amelanchiers are early to bloom as well.   They have a white flower but don’t have that knock out punch of presence as the forsythias.

A very nice understory tree for form and aroma which blooms in later April, depending on the Spring, is Toka Plum…..If there is a plum pollinator nearby you might have fruit by mid August which is a first class treat.   If there is no other  plum in the neighborhood, you will still own a lovely tree.

Spring might be a bit late this year.  

A reminder…..Forsythias, like Viburnums and Lilacs, and many other shrubs bloom on last season’s wood….meaning the best time to prune is immediately after bloom, perhapss mid May.    If you prune forsythias significantly in the summer or  fall, you will be removing the floral buds.

Schedule for your Rose “Family” Tree Prunings in February and March

Filed under: Pruning,shrubs and trees — glenn @ 7:56 pm

As we have mentioned before some of our favorite flowering and fruiting trees here in the Northland are members of the Rose family…..Anything “Prunus” , the plums, pears, apricots, and cherries, and “Malus” , the apples and crabapples.  Add to this list the Mountain Ashes, Sorbus, and the Hawthorns, Crataegus.  

There are a number of shrubs in the Rose family as well, cotoneaster and ninebark, for example, but their value in the garden rarely rises that of losing a beautiful tree to the dread disease, “Fireblight”. They are susceptible but not that common in the population.    

Fireblight is a bacterial disease and is distinguished by a hooking of ends of twigs and a blackening of that  foliage.    Generally, it needs wind and rain to move the bacteria from infected tree nearby.   If you are fairly certain there is no Fireblight in your neighborhood, I still would recommend that if your Rose family trees need pruning,  mid February to mid March is by far the best time.

Fireblight is not known to infect nonRose family plants.

If you do have a tree already infected, it might be salvageable by applying a bactericide.   Click here for further information:  http://www.ncw.wsu.edu/treefruit/fireblight/control.htm

This year, primarily due to the heavy and massive snow storm of November 13, 2010, many of your understory trees including your conifers might have been damaged.   Don’t automatically cut the tree out.   Call Masterpiece at 952-933-5777 and schedule our artistic pruning skills to restore character to your understory trees, whether of the Rose family or not.

February 9, 2011

Check Your Roof for Ice Dams…..Call 612-919-5302 if you have a problem!

Filed under: battling the Minnesota climate — glenn @ 6:02 pm

Would you call this the DEAD of winter?  When I was a kid 70 or so years ago when winters were colder, I think mid-February signaled the Dead part.

We haven’t seen 25 to 30 below zero temperatures here in the Twin Cities for a long time with one exception about 15 years ago.

Snow came this year that weekend of November 13.  We have not had a major or even a minor snow melt since.  Yet it has snowed frequently since then keeping everything white and beautiful where I live near Hopkins.  It has been the cleanest winter that I can remember for it has snowed often enough to keep everything white continuously since that November 13 disaster.

Disaster means in my grounds that the wet snow then was so heavy I had more tree damage in that storm than all of the years I have lived here put together.

Disaster of another kind comes to mind.  Ice dams .  We, at Masterpiece do offer Ice Dam clean up service.  Lucky for me.  For parts of my roof needed ice removal.  Our guys have a sprayer which ‘slices’ the ice up for removal.

There is a flat spot over the ceiling of my second floor bathroom right above the bathtub.   The last time we had ice dam buildup there which cause some problems was about 30 years ago.

It was worse this years.   Why?

We had the two feet of snow, very wet snow, mid November and probably 40 inches since without any snow melt.   Snow piles along my front grounds are over 6 feet high.   I don’t think there is a spot on my grounds with less than knee high snow.   I walk out my front door along the path to the drive way and the snow is up to my hips.

WARNING:  You may want to think about checking out your roof to see, not “if”, but where you will have damaging ice dams which will cause serious roof-ceiling leaking.   My major damage luckily came through the bathroom ceiling and dripped down into the bathtub before the guys at Masterpiece melted the ice on the roor.

Usually, if the winter has been especially snowy, the damage begins to start when the under snow and ice begin to melt by about the first of March.  But we have had so much snow and no thaws, the build up of ice has been enormous.  

Some homeowners have wisely shoveled or pulled snow off of the roof following the eaves.   That won’t help, however, where dams have already been hardened with ice.

Be sure to look for ice dam troubles on your roof.  The damage to your interior and the mold and mildew problems which may occur from water leakage can be costly to repair.   Stay ahead of the troubles by giving us a call at 612-919-5302 for and estimate and service.

One encouraging note…..some of the weeping willows branchings are beginning to change to their golden-green spring color.   Two of my Sunkist arborvitaes are already showing a touch of yellow coming out already…..just   a touch, but it is noticeable.   In two weeks it will be distinct.

Happy springtime  is coming soon.