Saturday, November 15, 2008

March in the Garden

Winter lasted a little bit longer than Punxsutawney Phil predicted this year, but finally the ice is receding and the ground is beginning to thaw. And I suspect that spring will happen very quickly when it finally comes. So be prepared.

It is hard to tell to what extent the extreme cold and ice of the past month or so will have on our landscape plants. We may see some drying out and burning damage on broadleaf evergreens since the bitter cold set in before we had any protective snow cover, but we won’t see the full extent of this damage until the weather warms further. The solid ice cover over large expanses of lawn may create a problem…...  

The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid appears to have taken hold again and has been active all winter. This is the insect, which appears as a white cottony mass on the underside of Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis and Tsuga caroliniana) branches. If left untreated this non-native pest can kill even mature Hemlocks in as little as 3 years. Horticultural Oil spray and a systemic including Merit are the most popular treatments for this pest, but contact your arborist for more specific information on how to care for your trees. The Arnold Arboretum research study on this pest is expected to be completed this fall, this is the foremost study on this pest, which began in 1997. If you would like more information on this, check out their website: www.arboretum.harvard.edu/research/hemlock_hill.html

To help in your selection of a new or replacement tree, visit the Arnold Arboretum or Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Both locations accurately label their plant material and seeing trees, as mature specimens and seeing them ‘off-season’ will help you make an informed decision.

The New England Spring Flower Show opens Saturday, March 12 and runs through Sunday, March 20 at the Bayside Expo Center in Boston. This year the theme is ‘A Fresh Perspective’ for more information visit The Massachusetts Horticulture website at www.masshort.org.  

Q. When does season start for tapping Maples trees and how long does it last?

A. Great Question! And like most ‘crops’ harvesting depends on the weather. Last week when we had warmer days the sap of our Native Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum) started to flow, and tapping began in certain areas. According to the Maple specialists at UVM, the Vermont season is typically from March 1 to March 20 with optimal temperatures of 40 deg F during the day and 25 deg F at night. Vermont is well known for Maple Sugar production (or sugaring) but we have a number of Sugar Shacks here in Massachusetts as well. And many of these are open to the public for fun outings. For more information www.massmaple.org has listings of local activities and sugar shacks.

Questions for Cory?
Send to: Cory Landscape
PO Box 1059
Dedham, MA 02027