Using the right materials on your front walkwaycan add instant curb appeal. From bluestone to crushed stone, custom pavers to brick there are a variety of materials you can pick from in order to match the landscape style that appeals to you and works well with your home. Statile & Todd is featured in Houzz for a herringbone brick pattern which is classic and stately, and creates a traditional feel that is pleasing to the eye and adds further curb appeal. To learn more about enhancing your front walkway contact us today!
Spring is in full swing which means more and more people are outside walking, and enjoying the relief from the cold winter. With all the action outside you need to make sure you’re thinking about your front landscape. What is your curb appeal like? What better way to enhance your curb appeal than by adding a welcoming walkway from the sidewalk to the front door. Adding shrubs, flowers and more will welcome your guests as the weather continues to get better. Contact us today to get started improving your front walkway!
Statile & Todd was featured on Houzz for their work creating a Brooklyn, NY garden sanctuary. The enclosed outdoor garden creates a feeling that you are alone in your own “secret garden” in the midst of the city. If you are looking to create your own private garden sanctuary, whether it is in a city, or out in the country contact us today to see how we can help you create that perfect garden room.
May marks the peak of spring gardening. What can you do to ensure your landscape looks great this spring? Take a look at some of the landscape tips featured on Houzz for your region to see what you can do.
Now is a great time to think about what to plant to replace all those NJ trees that we lost last fall from Hurricane Sandy. This is a symbolic day when people are encouraged to plant trees and this year, we have deeply symbolic reasons to plant trees in NJ.
We were part of the massive shore cleanup and are still helping people in our close proximity of Bernardsville, Basking Ridge, Harding, Far Hills, and Bedminster in Somerset County. Our surrounding Warren, Essex and Morris counties were also hit hard by Sandy.
The absolute best time for digging up trees is before they leaf out in mid-to-late April.
Trees give us shade that can help cool our homes in the summer, act as a wind block from prevailing winds, give us fuel, privacy, protect animals and birds from predators and the elements and can generally warm our hearts.
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
It’s a difficult decision to pare down a list to 11 trees since there are so many. John Todd has been a tree guru for 40 years and has many favorites. Here’s his list of the 11 best types of trees to plant in NJ that qualify as low maintenance, disease and pest resistant:
1) Acer Buergeranum – Trident Maple – Likes full sun, tolerates drought, excellent lawn specimen for patio or yard, 20-25’ tall and 30’ wide.
2) Carpinus Betulus – European Hornbeam – Likes full sun to light shade, often used as hedge or screen, versatile for many situations, 40-60’ tall and 30-40’ wide.
3) Cercidiphyllum Japonicum – Katsura Tree – Likes sun or part shade, heart-shaped leaves, fall fragrance, can handle wind, not much drought, very graceful, 60-100’ tall and 20-30’ wide.
4) Cornus Kousa – Kousa Dogwood – Likes sun or part shade, acid loving soil, blooms in June, nice winter interest, outstanding choice for small space especially when combined with shrubs, 30’ tall and 20-30’ wide.
5) Ginkgo Bilboa – Ginkgo – Likes full sun, prefers sandy and moderately moist soil, can handle many pH soils, great for shore areas in Monmouth and Ocean counties, female tree fruit may be a little stinky so many people prefer male cultivars, 50-80’ tall and 30’ wide or greater.
6) Koelreuteria Paniculata – Golden Rain Tree – Prefers sun, adaptive to many soil situations, drought tolerant, large leaves make this a great shade tree, nice flowers when hardly anything else is flowering in July, fruit may be a little messy, 30-40’ high and 30’ wide.
7) Magnolia Virginiana – Sweetbay Magnolia – Likes full sun, however can handle shade and wet soils, fragrant white flowers in May/June, gorgeous leaves, evergreen in mild winters, North American native, outstanding small specimen near a patio, 20’ tall and 10-20’ wide.
8) Betula Nigra – Heritage River Birch ‘Cully’ – Soil adaptive, tolerates moist or dry situations, terrific exfoliating white bark, pyramidal shape, North American native, 40-70’ tall and 40-60’ wide. There are smaller varieties that are also outstanding such as ‘Little king’ and ‘Dura Heat’.
9) Metasequoia Glyptostroboides – Dawn Redwood – Likes full sun, well drained soil, can handle wet soils, easily transplanted, deciduous, excellent in large open areas as specimen or in groups, reddish bark exfoliates as it matures, 70-100’ tall and 25’ wide.
10) Juniperus Virginiana – Eastern Redcedar – Prefers full sun in moist, sandy soils, drought tolerant and excellent for salt sprays windy, exposure, great for NJ beach areas, green foliage turns bronze in winter, North American native, 40-50’ tall and 8-20’ variable width.
11) Abies – Concolor – Full sun, moist well drained sandy soil preferred, can also handle light shade, drought conditions, will not do well in clay soils, citrus fragrance, excellent substitute for Colorado Blue Spruce, great for large landscapes, North American native, 50-100’ tall and 15-30’ wide.
There has been a lot of news recently on the pending arrival of cicadas in the Northeast. Scientists are calling the upcoming infestation Brood II. Their arrival depends on the ground temperature. Once the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees they will break the surface of the earth. Scientists are estimating we will see 30 million, but they really don’t know and won’t know until they arrive.
There isn’t much to worry about when it comes to your landscapes, the cicadas are coming to reproduce, not feed. Potentially some saplings or young shrubs could be damaged, but overall you really have nothing to worry about. To learn more you can also read the article EAST ABOUT TO BE OVERRUN BY BILLIONS OF CICADAS from the associated press.
If you are at all concerned about how the cicadas will affect your landscape give us a call at 908.204.9918.
Winter has finally loosened its grip on the New Jersey area as temperatures remained steady above freezing for the first time this year. This weekend promises for more of the same and folks will be spending lots of time outside surveying their properties and/or enjoying time in gardens and parks. Spring is the time of rebirth as plants that have lain dormant sprout their first growth of the season. Even with the memory of snow showers in the past weeks, there are plenty of plants throughout NJ in bloom right now.
Here are a sample of some plants we found on a walk at a local NJ public garden.
A war was declared in New Jersey that very few New Jersey residents ever heard about. In 2002, the discovery of the Asian Long Horned Beetle could have seen devastation to hardwood trees in New Jersey if the Department of Agriculture had not reacted as quickly and effectively as it did. An infestation of this nonnative species while appeared apocalyptic to the local communities that were affected, the plan to aggressively eliminate the host trees surrounding the area worked in preventing the beetle from escaping and ruining the hardwoods of the highlands and central part of the state. Over 100,000 trees were taken down, chipped and then incinerated to ensure that the insects eggs and subsequent generations were eliminated. Peter’s Todd Tree Service, the sister company of Statile & Todd Landscaping played a critical role in the five year battle.
“If you took a cross section of a tree infested by Asian long-horned beetles, it would look like Swiss cheese,” said Rhonda Santos, a spokeswoman for the federal Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
But this month, New Jersey declared victory in its war against the Asian long-horned beetle, an invasive, hardwood-eating insect that arrived on the shores of New York City in 1996, most likely on wood pallets. The beetle has since surfaced in a total of five states and, by tunneling through tree trunks, has threatened some of the nation’s most common tree species, including maples, London planes, birches and poplars.
More than 20,000 trees were removed in New Jersey during the struggle, but — knock on wood — the beetles are now vanquished from the Garden State. “It shows that the program works,” said Paul J. Kurtz, a state entomologist who led the eradication effort. “I’ve been doing this for 11 years nonstop, so it’s a little weird that it’s over. But at the same time, it’s like, ‘Wow, we did it.’ ”
New Jersey was the second state, after Illinois, to announce its ouster of the beetle, which is black with white spots and has long antennas resembling horns. Massachusetts, New York and Ohio are still in the fight, with federal, state and local officials using a combination of techniques, including tree removals, insecticide injections, public education and surveillance.
The beetles lay their eggs inside the bark of the tree, and after the eggs hatch, larvae feed on the trunk’s hardwood. “It kills a tree by eating the wood from the inside out,” said Rhonda Santos, a spokeswoman for the federal Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “If you took a cross section of a tree infested by Asian long-horned beetles, it would look like Swiss cheese.”
In New Jersey, the beetle was first detected in 2002 in Jersey City, in Hudson County, where 113 trees were found to be infested. But a separate and more serious outbreak occurred in Carteret in 2004. A homeowner there called the state to report a strange-looking insect in his yard. Mr. Kurtz dropped what he was doing to investigate. After confirming that it was, in fact, the Asian long-horned beetle, Mr. Kurtz appeared on the local news to alert the public. During the broadcast, a woman from West Carteret called the hot line to report that she, too, had spotted the invader.
“We went out to see and, sure enough, the lady’s trees were covered with hundreds of exit holes,” Mr. Kurtz said of the telltale pockmark, measuring three-eighths of an inch in diameter, through which the adult beetle emerges from the trunk. State officials discovered over 600 infested trees, in Carteret and the neighboring municipalities of Linden, Rahway and Woodbridge.
During the next two years, New Jersey’s agriculture officials delineated a 25-square-mile quarantine zone across the four communities, which include both industrial and residential neighborhoods, and inspected 129,686 trees. Officials urged the public not to transport firewood, the main way the beetles are spread. Workers removed not only infested trees, but also a wide swath of nearby trees that were at high risk. Here in Linden, for example, only 11 infested trees were discovered, but 14,894 trees, including many saplings, were cut down. The trees were then chipped and burned.
“It’s because of the host ratio,” Mr. Kurtz said, referring to the number of trees in proximity to an infested tree that are potential hosts. “If you’re in an area that has a higher host ratio, you’ll be removing more trees.”
The Department of Environmental Protection replanted about one-third of the trees that were removed, favoring species that are not attractive to the beetle. “Sometimes it may seem a little draconian,” Mr. Kurtz said, “but in Jersey City you would never know we were there.”
The last live beetle in New Jersey was seen in 2006, but state and federal agriculture officials require localities to go through three “confirmation cycles” in which no invasive species are found, which can take years.
Across the Hudson River, officials are making their own progress in New York City, where the beetle was first detected in the United States in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In New York State, the pest is now found in every borough of New York City except the Bronx, and in Suffolk County. A federal study found that 43 percent of the city’s 5.2 million trees were “potentially impacted” by the pest, said Matthew P. Wells, director of tree preservation for the city’s parks department.
Since the discovery in Brooklyn, workers have removed 12,749 infested and high-risk trees from the four boroughs, treated 588,000 others with insecticide and carried out 1.2 million inspections. The last beetles were seen in 2010. As a result, the city is poised to proclaim a partial victory. Ms. Santos, of the Agriculture Department, expected the city to announce the beetle’s eradication from Staten Island and Manhattan by summer.
Just because New Jersey has conquered the Asian long-horned beetle does not mean that Mr. Kurtz is idle. “If you’re not minding the store,” he said, “someone else could come in.” He was referring to the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect and fast flier that attacks ash trees and is now in 18 states, including Pennsylvania and New York. “It’s inevitable,” he said of the ash borer’s arrival. “We’re surrounded.”
Learn more about how landscape structures can enhance your landscape. From custom benches and planters, trellises, pergolas, gazebos, fencing, decks and arbors, Statile and Todd ensures your landscape looks its best with custom designed and placed structures. View more examples of completed landscape structures in our portfolio.
The ground hog didn’t see his shadow this year which according to folklore means we are due for an early spring. Statistics show that he is correct about 39% of the time.
One thing is certain, spring is coming and we are already busy planning our gardens for this year. We plan to explore more biodynamic methods which is a holistic approach using the interrelationships between the soil, the land, and the animals (i.e. pests) to create a more ecologically minded and sustainable system. Notable vineyards have been using biodynamic strategies for many years. http://www.freywine.com/press/top-ten-reason-to-buy-organic.html
Ever wonder why your lettuce petered out and never grew? Or why your green beans were spongy?
Certain vegetables are best planted at specific times based on the placement of the moon and this technique has been practiced for thousands of years around the globe. This is one aspect of biodynamic gardening. Just as the ocean tides rise and fall with the moon, the water content, roots and leaves in plants react to this influence. Certain plants perform better when the planting is timed to a specific time during the lunar calendar.
We found an excellent resource for a software program to help plan growing our vegetables this year and we invite you to take a look: http://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/phases.html
Hopefully this can help turn your brown thumbs to green!
Here in NJ we may have begun hibernating, but in Texas it’s the perfect time to start planting bulbs, and Houzz featured Statile & Todd in their latest article: Texas Gardner’s December Checklist. Houzz is a great source for ideas about your home, garden and decorating ideas. Statile & Todd has been a resource to illustrate many stories on this site. The mass of yellow daffodils planted around the serpentine wall in this Far Hills NJ property welcomes spring with a splash. Before the ground freezes, you can still get them in for spring display so don’t delay.
Have you invested in a beautiful landscape, but now don’t have the time to maintain it? Look no further than the Estate Management Services offered by Statile and Todd. We understand that your yard is an investment, and believe that taking care of it year round will increase your property value. Learn more about our Estate Management Services by browsing through our Estate Management PDF Portfolio below.
Like what you see? Ready to get started? Give us a call today at 908.204.9918.
Winter is approaching. Now is the time to display colorful outdoor planter arrangements in choice ornamental containers for your porch, patio or entryway. Paying careful attention to design elements such as scale, texture and color, they will delight the senses through the bleak winter months.
These focal points can be inexpensive and eco-friendly using clippings of plant material from your own property. You can repurpose spent perennials and select garden debris that will brighten gloomy winter days and last until spring. Imagine an ornate steel container with red twig dogwood clippings in a bed of blue spruce and a touch of dried hydrangea flowers. These arrangements, simple and elegant, will sparkle with each new blanket of fresh snow.
When the warm weather finally returns, you can continue the green theme by chipping and composting the plantings to create rich soil for your spring beds and borders. Visit us in Far Hills, NJ for more natural winter arrangement ideas, or follow these simple tips.
Natural winter arrangement ideas:
Prepare your outdoor pot with drainage material and potting soil as you would for indoor plants.
Carefully choose your clippings for proportion, texture and color. Evergreens such as spruce, juniper or holly make a good bed or background. Branches such as birch, red and yellow twig dogwood, or curly willow can add drama and height. Perennial blossoms that have gone to seed such as astilbe, hosta or grass plumes add textural contrast. Use pine cones, Osage oranges or berries such as winterberry or bittersweet for embellishments.
- Cut the greens and branches at an angle for easier insertion into the soil and place deep enough to withstand winter winds.
- Layer evenly from all sides to create a balanced composition.
- Water immediately and keep hydrated for longevity whenever the soil is not frozen.
- Freshen up the arrangement periodically by adding or removing items to create a new look.
You are only limited by your imagination to create interesting planters. A rustic or elegant look can be created with varied natural materials. Invite friends to help out or create whimsical pots with the kids. Brighten someone’s day by giving them a handmade gift. Most of all, have fun!
Visit us for more ideas and material at our holiday shop at Statile & Todd, Inc. 540 Route 202, Far Hills, NJ.
New York and New Jersey were hit hard last week as Hurricane Sandy barreled onto shore, bringing with it 60-70 mph winds with gusts reaching 90 mph. Sandy destroyed the NJ coastline, sending some houses out to sea with thousands of others becoming damaged from flooding, gas leaks, uprooted trees and much more.
In the Northern and Central NJ areas many homes were damaged from trees falling on them. Many other homes lost power from trees that fell on the lines to their house, or to their neighborhood. We’ve been working around the clock to get around to our client’s homes and clean up their fallen trees, so that power can be restored, and landscapes can be fixed.
We can also learn something from this storm. Older trees, trees whose root systems aren’t as expansive and as strong as they need to be, should be removed from your landscape, and replaced with trees that will better survive in your landscape environment. We all love the shade that trees bring in the summer, the canopy of a tree lined street, and know what a difference a tree can make in your landscape, but you need a strong, healthy tree in order to avoid the catastrophe’s like we saw throughout Hurricane Sandy. Proper pruning of the tree canopy is critical to keep a tree from becoming top heavy. Lots of damage was caused by trees whose canopies were beyond what their root systems could support.
So, if you’re reading this and thinking that 1) you need help cleaning up your yard after this storm or 2) you are extremely thankful that tree in your yard didn’t fall during this storm, but are nervous it may come down during the next one and don’t want to play with your odds, then give Peters Todd’s (our sister company) a call at: 908-204-9918 to schedule your tree service needs today. Peters Todd’s offers the following tree services:
- Tree Removal & Chipping
- Stump Grinding
- Tree & Shrub Pruning
- Tree & Shrub Fertilization
- Insect & Disease Control
- Air-Spading & Vertical Mulching
- We supply seasoned firewood (just in case you’re power goes out again!)
Remember, trees are a valuable part of every landscape and proper care and pruning can assure that their beauty and value will only grow with time. We look forward to working with you on all your tree needs.
Have you been wondering what to do with your NJ landscape? Looking for inspiration across the internet, from Pinterest to Houzz, but still not sure? It’s time you “Flip” through our portfolio of work and see how we’ve transformed our client’s landscapes from blah to beautiful.
Like what you see? Give us a call today at (908) 204-9918 to learn more about what we can do to transform your New Jersey landscape into the landscape of your dreams!
How Does Your Garden Grow?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that there were a record twelve weather disasters in the US costing more than $1 billion in 2011. The previous record was nine in 2008. Extreme weather events are occurring more often. But, it’s the less catastrophic climatic changes that take a lasting, but hidden toll on our landscape plants, from lawn grasses to mighty old shade trees. And we need to intervene in order to help our landscape investments avoid suffering the ravaging effects of pests and diseases that thrive in these punishing circumstances.
Some symptoms of these stressors may be obvious, such as burnt leaves, grass as dry as straw, and wilting flowers. But, plants often suffer quietly through the challenges of temperature extremes and rainwater fluctuations. After you water a plant that has wilted in the heat, it may look fine but, not really be fine. Trees do not exhibit signs of environmental stress until it becomes chronic. Just as a human with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable to disease, a weakened plant becomes susceptible to a host of opportunistic pests and afflictions.
The Northeast Regional Climate Center reported that the average temperature between January and July was the warmest such period since 1895, the year regional climatic record keeping began. But, extra hand watering or installing an automatic irrigation system may not be enough to fully protect our plantings. The proper application of water, fertilizer and mulch should be just part of a coordinated program to protect our growing herbaceous and woody ornamentals.
This year, we experienced a warm March which forced many shrubs and trees to push new growth much earlier than normal. The following frosts and freezes damaged or killed the tender new growth. June was very dry, July set record high temperatures and August arrived with a series of damaging storms causing cracks and breaks which allow entry for pests and diseases.
Even before your garden grows, you affect the health of your plants. Quality topsoil and proper plant spacing provide long-term benefits. Effective plant placement ensures that they are oriented to receive the correct level of exposure or protection and that they will comfortably adapt to their new setting.
Regular hand watering is essential in the summer if you don’t have an automatic irrigation system. If you do, ensure that your system is well maintained and don’t assume that everything is properly watered unless you actually see it operating. Set your zones to reflect the different micro-climates on your property and adjust the timing incrementally as the weather demands.
Fertilize plants in early spring based on soil tests and the type and size of plant. Fertilizer can seriously harm plants if it’s not the right type or not applied at the right time and in the correct amounts. Nitrogen should never be added in the late fall as it may cause new soft growth which is easily damaged by cold weather.
Mulching is one of the best ways to maintain healthy landscape plants. Regular replenishment of hardwood double-shredded mulch affords many benefits; it retains moisture, suppresses weeds, releases nutrients, protects against compaction and insulates the soil from temperature extremes. Mulches that do not offer all these advantages include; wood chips, pine bark and inorganic mulches such as pea gravel.
As we indicated in our earlier Integrated Pest Management (IPM) post, insect pests may be the number one cause of disease spreading among plants. Good insect control is really the key to preventing many disease related problems. Insect screens and timed sprays including dormant oil and anti-desiccant can be a life-saver.
Careful and regular inspections of your plants can prevent a minor problem from becoming chronic or fatal. You can detect pests and diseases before they get out of hand. Like preventive medicine for people, IPM systems are customized to avoid problems before they arise, and they save money by limiting chemical treatments.
A clean landscape is fundamental. As important as mulch is, leaving leaf litter, matted grass clippings or broken branches around your plantings invites pests and diseases. Improper pruning can also transmit plant diseases if your tools are not kept clean. Clean up now, avoid headaches later.
A customized, well-informed focus on plant vitality is essential to protect our landscapes from increasing environmental stressors. Applying the variety of preventive techniques currently available is cost-effective and enhances our green world.