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Fall Foliage: Tips for Backyard Maintenance

 I Love NY’s Fall Foliage Chart

I Love NY’s Fall Foliage Chart

It hurts to let summer go. But Mother Nature offers us a big treat to ease the pain —

Fall foliage.

It’s so sublime — with its blaze of colors taking weeks to complete — that some of us are desperate to photograph it.

Others can’t wait to walk, bike, or drive Long Island’s trails and byways to watch the leaves change.

Without throwing too many wet blankets on Nature’s gift, just remember that these colorful leaves — glorious as they are —

will be falling to the ground before we know it.

 

 

And that means…

drum roll please…

Fall maintenance clean up!

 

“Taking care of fallen leaves is one of a variety of chores worth your time,” says Deck and Patio’s owner, Dave Stockwell.

 

 

 Prevent Leaf Tannin Stains:

Prevent Leaf Tannin Stains:

Leaf tannin stains pavers, concrete, and decks. It is better — and easier — to remove the leaves than to seal your decks and patios. Sealers need to be constantly redone, which turns into a lot of maintenance.

 

 

Keeping Lawns Healthy in Fall:

Keeping Lawns Healthy in Fall:

“It’s also important to keep leaves off the grass,” says Dave. “Healthy grass can get matted down, and in winter, when it needs sunlight and oxygen, this could be a problem.”

 

 

Tree Maintenance in Fall: (Photo: Aquascape, inc.)

Tree Maintenance in Fall: (Photo: Aquascape, inc.)

This is a good time of year to cut any dead tree limbs away, so that coming snow or ice storms won’t cause them to crack and fall. Falling limbs can result in accidents to people, cars, and homes.

One way to predict future problems is to look up the tree carefully before the leaves have fallen. Any branches completely bare of leaves indicate they should be cut off. Also check to see if any low-hanging branches are near power lines; trim these so the weight of snow or ice won’t pull them dow into the wiring.

 

 

Fall Driveway Prep with Stakes:

Fall Driveway Prep with Stakes:

To prep your driveway and walkway for winter, it’s helpful to get supplied with fiberglass stakes (sometimes called “plow stakes” or “snow stakes”) for placing along your driveway in advance of the first snow storm.

You position the stakes to indicate where any costly Belgium Block or other edging could be damaged from snow plows. One end of the stake is pointed for easy insertion in the ground. Also, they come in different colors and you can let a particular color indicate, for example, where a fire hydrant is, the regular curb, your driveway entrance, etc.

 

 

Now back to the good news.

As you can see from the above chart from NY State’s Division of Tourism, I Love NY foliage page, Long Islanders have a bit of time yet before peak foliage to schedule our outdoor maintenance  — and our fall foliage activities as well.

This also means, if you have a pond, there’s time left to get netting to protect it from fallen debris.

 

 

 

 

By | 2017-10-12T12:00:45+00:00 October 12th, 2017|Composite Decking, Deck and Patios, Landscaping, outdoor maintenance, Patios & Decks, paving stones|Comments Off on Fall Foliage: Tips for Backyard Maintenance

Fall Maintenance Tips

Fall foliage is glorious. That is until the leaves fall. Indeed, clearing away fallen leaves from key outdoor areas is one of the most important chores you can do this time of year. Here’s some tips from Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell and Bill Renter on fall outdoor maintenance.

 

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Photo: Aquascape, Inc.

 

Tip 1: Tree Trimming:

Before leaves fall, Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter suggests looking up your trees to see if any branches are completely bare of leaves.

“This is a good indicator of what needs to be cut off. Also, look to see if any low-hanging branches are near power lines; trim these so the weight of winter’s ice or snow won’t pull them down into the wiring. Also, falling limbs can result in accidents to people, cars, and homes, so this is an important step in fall maintenance.”

 

 

 

 

 

insert-2Tip # 2:  Leaf Piles Are Unhealthy:

Forgive our paraphrasing an old adage, but when it comes to DIY fall maintenance: Don’t let the leaves fall where they may.  “Too many leaves settled on your grass not only suffocates the lawn below, but piles of damp leaves breed insects and germs,” adds Deck and Patio owner, Dave Stockwell. “However, used correctly, collected leaves do make great compost or mulch.”

Tip # 3 Wet Foliage Can Stain:

“Fallen leaves also have tannin,” adds Bill. “The tannin can stain concrete, pavers and decks. People often don’t realize that it’s preferable to simply remove the leaves than to seal your deck or patio.”

Sealants, Bill explains, need to be regularly redone, which is a lot more maintenance than just getting rid of the leaves. (Indeed, some new deck materials such as Trex Transcend, don’t require sealants and it’s a good idea not to use them at all on these types of decks.)

 

 

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Tip # 4 Fall Pond Maintenance: 

We are nearing peak season for fall foliage here on Long Island and many backyard ponds are positioned near deciduous trees. Even if there aren’t trees hovering immediately around your pond, fallen leaves from nearby trees can also make it into the water.

“It’s advisable, then, if you haven’t already put up netting to catch falling debris, we suggest you tend to that soon in order to maintain your stream or pond’s water. Once all the leaves have dropped, you can pull up the net and get rid of the leaves. You’ll be delighted come spring how much cleaner your water will be and how much less maintenance will be needed.”

 

 

NY’s Central Park in Fall

NY’s Central Park in Fall

If you are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of deciduous trees, you already know that fall foliage is a beautiful sight. So take your photos of the blazing colors, trek along your favorite orange-and-red-crowned paths, canoe beside vibrant vistas, and sometimes just stop to sit and ponder Nature’s majesty.

Just don’t let the beauty of it all make you forget the above chore tips. Whether you perform them yourself, or call a trusted landscaper, you’ll be happy you did.

 

 

Get Your Heart Pumping with Some Fiery Fall Foliage

 

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When the weather gets cool, some really like it hot…fiery red hot, that is. The heat we’re talking about is blazing red foliage — bursts of color that some find ease the pain of the outdoor season coming to an end.

In fact, experts say the color red goes beyond sensual pleasure. It stimulates the human system — even increasing pulse and heart rates.

 

However, brilliant red foliage outside our very own windows requires planning. To get all the dirt on what trees to plant, we spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division at Bissett Nursery (Holtsville, NY).

“One of the most popular and widespread deciduous trees that produces bright reds in autumn is the beautiful Maple tree,” says Pueleo. “In particular, we recommend Sugar Maples, and, of course Oaks for great fall red color.”

 

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Note: Be sure to ask experts at an established nursery or landscaping firm which variety of maple, etc. will produce red leaves in fall, as some varieties offer up a blazing yellow instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…it’s just for another blog post.

 

Cleveland Select Pear

Cleveland Select Pear

 

 

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color. Like the Oak and Maple, it is also hardy and can withstand most winds and storms, including ice storms — a real plus in our neck of the woods (the Northeast).

“In spring, the Cleveland Select bursts awake in beautiful white flowers, and in the fall, its leaves offer up a deep orangey-red blaze of color,” he says.

 

 

When it comes to smaller trees, Deck and Patio designers often consider Japanese Maples in landscaping plans; red-leafed versions of this beautiful tree offer degrees of red from spring through fall (see last photo). Planting them in early fall allows for new root growth in time for spring.

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Another option is the Crape Myrtle tree (immediately below), which, as Puleo admits, is not quite as brilliant as the other trees, but it does offer an attractive reddish-orange color.

In addition, when the Crape Myrtle finishes flowering in fall, it pods-up with berries, and attracts such delightful visitors as the Yellow-rumped Warbler, a sweet little visitor who feeds on these berries after insects are gone.

 

 

 

 Crape Myrtle Tree:

Crape Myrtle Tree:

The Crape Myrtle tree that thrives on Long Island is a hybrid of other Crape Myrtles that flourish in warmer climates such as the Southern United States. Clusters of pink blossoms appear in late spring (shown here) which are so delicate and crinkly they look like they are made of crape paper. In fall, it showcases bright red-orange-y leaves.

 

 

Red Maple in Fall:

Red Maple in Fall:

A beautiful shade tree in summer with brilliant color in autumn, the Red Maple can be planted any time of year, including fall. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, place it in the ground, and fertilize and water well, says Angelo Puleo of Bisset Nurseries.

 

 

 Mighty Oak:

Mighty Oak:

The oak grows rapidly, making it an ideal choice. Like all the trees mentioned in this blog post, leave about 10 feet between each one when planting. Note: For those who keep horses, the oak’s acorn and leaves can be toxic to animals such as horses.

 

 

Cleveland Select Pear Tree in Spring:

Cleveland Select Pear Tree in Spring:

This tree brings forth three great seasons of leaves; white blossoms in spring (shown here), lively green leaves in summer and bright reds in fall (see above).

 

 

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

A close cousin of the Cleveland Select Pear, the Bradford is pictured here as its leaves begin to turn from green to fall-red.

 

 

Japanese Maple Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

Japanese Maple Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

This beautiful Japanese Maple is native to Japan and other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea. It’s prized for the shape of its leaves and rich red color.

 

So, get your heart pumping every time you walk outdoors come fall. The fiery red scene will so take you away that you’ll forget you’re wearing a jacket.

 

 

 

 

Planning A Landscape For All Seasons

An undulating backyard landscape, with shrubs and trees at different heights, and berms and pitches causing changes in the property grade, make a great canvas for Mother Nature to paint on in every season.

If budget and room permits, an in-ground free-form pool can suggest a natural South Sea lagoon — which will entice you outdoors from late Spring through Autumn. Planting a few trees chosen for their fall foliage can set your yard ablaze in color come Fall. And when winter arrives, the undulating landscape, dusted with snow, is a wonderland that brings the child out in everyone.

Such vistas on their own are, indeed, lovely. BUT! Now, add in a few very special touches, such as a stream or pond with waterfalls — landscaped with an array of long-blooming plants, including some hardy evergreens — and you have scenery that will truly uplift your spirit any time of year.

At Deck and Patio, we keep our waterfalls running all winter. You need not worry about your koi either.

Even without much of the above, something that guarantees outdoor winter enjoyment is the addition of a hot tub. Used all year, especially on cool nights, or when you want to warm up after a long swim in the pool, a spa’s bubbling warm waters is especially welcome in winter.

 

Winter Landscape (Long Island, NY):

Winter Landscape (Long Island, NY):

With evergreens offering punches of color against a blanket of white, and grades in the property adding interest, this front yard looks like a fairytale in winter.

 

 

Summer Landscape (Long Island/NY):

Summer Landscape (Long Island/NY):

This is how the same front yard, pictured above, looks in summer. The stream works its way down a hill through several spills, with a final spill freshening the pond; bridge crosses over the stream for the perfect stroll through it all.

 

 

Garden Gnomes (Long Island/NY): Garden gnomes manage to make you smile no matter the season or weather.

Garden Gnomes (Long Island/NY): Garden gnomes manage to make you smile no matter the season or weather.

 

 

Hot Tubs in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Hot Tubs in Winter (Long Island/NY):

A steamy hot tub, set in this same yard, is so inviting in winter. Plus, it offers an ideal spot to sit outdoors and enjoy your backyard winter wonderland.

 

 

Enjoying Hot Tub inWinter (Long Island/NY):

Enjoying Hot Tub inWinter (Long Island/NY):

Bill and Gina Renter particularly appreciate their hot tub in winter.

 

 

Backyard Winter Pond (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Winter Pond (Long Island/NY):

This is Deck and Patio’s display pond and waterfall at our Design Center. We run this all winter long.

 

 

Summer Outdoor Paradise (Long Island/NY):

Summer Outdoor Paradise (Long Island/NY):

With an in-ground free-form pool, attractive surround, lush plantings, and waterfalls, you’ll find it hard to ever go back indoors.

 

For Fiery Fall Foliage: Are You Barking Up the Right Trees?

To get the lowdown on the best trees to plant for fiery Fall color, Deck and Patio spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division, Bissett Nursery (Holtsville, NY).

“One of the most popular and widespread deciduous trees that produces bright reds in autumn is the beautiful Maple tree,” says Puleo. “In particular, we recommend Sugar Maples, and, of course, Oaks for great Fall red color.”

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color. Like the Oak and Maple, it is also hardy and can withstand most winds and storms, including ice storms —a real plus in our neck of the woods.

“In Spring, the Cleveland Select bursts awake in beautiful white flowers, and in the Fall, its leaves offer up a deep orange-y-red blaze of color,” he says. Another option is the Crape Myrtle tree, which, as Puleo admits, is not quite as brilliant as the other trees, but it does offer an attractive reddish-orange color. When the Crape Myrtle finishes flowering in the Fall, it also pods-up with berries, and attracts such delightful visitors as the Yellow-rumped Warbler, a sweet little visitor who feeds on these berries after insects are gone.

In addition, when it comes to smaller trees, Deck and Patio designers often consider Japanese Maples in landscaping plans; red-leafed versions of this beautiful tree offer degrees of red from Spring through Fall. Planting them in early Fall allows for new root growth in time for Spring.

Note: Be sure to ask experts at an established nursery or landscaping firm which variety of maple, etc. will produce red leaves in the Fall, as some varieties offer up a blazing yellow instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… that’s just for another blog post.

 

Red Maple in Fall: (Photo With Permission © by Jeff Dean)

Red Maple in Fall: (Photo With Permission © by Jeff Dean)

A beautiful shade tree in summer with brilliant color in autumn, the Red Maple can be planted any time of year, including Fall. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, place it in the ground, and fertilize and water well, says Angelo Puleo of Bisset Nurseries.

 

 

Mighty Oak: (Photo With Permission: SimMaster)

Mighty Oak: (Photo With Permission: SimMaster)

The oak grows rapidly, making it an ideal choice. Like all the trees mentioned in this blog post, leave about 10 feet between each one when planting. Note: For those who keep horses, the oak’s acorn and leaves can be toxic to animals such as as horses.

 

 

Cleveland Select Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Ltshears/Photos of Flowers)

Cleveland Select Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Ltshears/Photos of Flowers)

This tree offers up three great seasons of leaves, white blossoms in Spring (shown here), lively green leaves in Summer, and bright reds in Fall.

 

 

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami)

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami)

A close cousin of the Cleveland Select Pear, the Bradford is pictured here as its leaves begin to turn from green to Fall-red.

 

Crape Myrtle Tree: Photo With Permission: Southern Lagniappe)

Crape Myrtle Tree: Photo With Permission: Southern Lagniappe)

The Crape Myrtle tree that thrives on Long Island is a hybrid of other Crape Myrtles that flourish in warmer climates such as the Southern United States. Clusters of pink blossoms appear in late spring (shown here) which are so delicate and crinkly they look like they are made of crape paper. In Fall, it showcases bright red-orange-y leaves.

 

 

Crape Myrtle Berries: (Photo With Permission: Forest & Kim)

Crape Myrtle Berries: (Photo With Permission: Forest & Kim)

In Fall, as they finish flowering, the leaves of the Crape Myrtle pod up into pretty berries.

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (Photo With Permission: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (Photo With Permission: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Escaping the harsher winters up north, the Yellow-rumped Warbler makes a home in our area as Fall sets in. With insects less available, it loves to feast on Crape Myrtle berries. If you plant this tree, this little fellow — and some of his friends — will no doubt visit and stay awhile.

 

 

Japanese Maple:  (Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳)

Japanese Maple:  (Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳)

This beautiful Japanese Maple is native to Japan and other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea. It’s prized for the shape of its leaves and rich red color.