Artificial Turf Has Come of Age for the Home

(It’s not just a rubber-filled ‘grass’ soccer field anymore)

If you have kids who play sports, or play sports yourself, you’re familiar with the artificial turf playing surfaces used for sports fields. Almost all professional, and most college, football and soccer games are played on artificial turf. These turf fields are embedded (or ‘infilled’) with granulated rubber, which gives the grass blades support and cushioning.

Turf cut in around a Bluestone walk-Schlick Design Group

Turf cut in around a Bluestone walk

However, it’s easy to tell, even at a distance, that the ‘grass’ isn’t real and wouldn’t be very appealing around the home. You’d be surprised to learn, then, that there are more models of ‘turf’ than of sports cars. And with the models used for the home and urban environments, the ‘grass’ looks pretty darned real.

A residential sports field-Schlick Design Group

A residential sports field

For one, the individual blades are thinner than those used for athletic fields, giving the ‘grass’ a more refined look. For another, most models have brown ‘thatch’ fibers woven in to imitate natural lawn thatch. That thatch gives the turf a realistic appearance. And last, the infill that’s used isn’t rubber at all, but inert non-toxic silica sand that’s almost completely hidden by the turf.

Which is the natural turf? - Schlick Design Group

Which is the natural turf? (Hint – it’s on the left)

Where can artificial turf be used? How about dog runs, rooftops, bocci courts, playground surfaces and shady areas of your yard where nothing but mud and moss will grow. Around the pool? Artificial turf is much cooler and more economical to install than just about any other kind of paved surface. Adding patio furniture is no problem. For sunbathing, just lay down a towel. Don’t worry – the sand infill won’t stick to your clothing or skin. Want to see how artificial turf might work for you? Give us a call!

September is the perfect time to reseed your lawn
Fall is almost here. The days are getting shorter and temperatures are moderating. But the ground still quite warm and most weed seeds won’t germinate. Now is the perfect time to renovate and reseed your lawn.

Call us now for a complimentary evaluation! 631-261-6668

2016 LINLA Awarded the Judges Choice Award and a Gold to the Schlick Design Group for the Single Family Category

Winter Damage

This winter’s weather was a repeat of last year’s.  The frequent snows and frigid temperatures resulted in a layer of snow covering the ground continuously for over two months!   Fortunately the snows weren’t the heavy wet kind that snaps tree limbs and crushes shrubs, so structural damage should be light.  However, the cold, dry winds caused considerable damage to the leaves of many evergreen shrubs.

Yews and arborvitae that may have bent over from the weight of snow should straighten on their own.  Pachysandra and other ground covers should be fine, as should most perennials.  Lawns might exhibit patches of pink snow fungus here and there as a result of being buried under the snow for so long, but temperatures were generally too consistently cold for this to be a big issue.

Below is a summary of the plants most likely to have suffered some winter damage this year:

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas – Last year a mid-April freeze did more damage to the stems than the winter did and destroyed most of the stems that would have given us summer flowers last year. If we don’t get another late freeze, hopefully the upper buds along the stems, which will produce most of this summer’s flowers, survived the winter.

Crape-myrtle-'Red-Rocket'

Crape-myrtle ‘Red-Rocket’

Crape myrtles – Expect them to leaf out very late (maybe not till June) and maybe not the whole tree at once, so don’t give up on any branches if the tissue under the bark is still green. To find out, scrape 1/4″ of the bark away with a sharp knife to reveal the tissue underneath.  If it’s a juicy green, the branch is still alive.

Skip-laurel

Skip laurel

Rhodos, Azaleas, Skip laurels – May have pockets of wilted-looking leaves or outright dead branches. These won’t recover and will need to be cut off.  On other branches some leaves might be half-burned and will linger into late summer before they finally fall off and get replaced by new leaves.

Evergreen shrubs near the street – Leaf tips facing the street might turn brown from the salt spray kicked up by passing cars and plows.  Browning might not appear until late April and will have to be sheared off.

Fig trees – If they survived last year but just barely, they might not be strong enough to get through a second bad winter in a row and might be dead this spring.

Euonymus 'Manhattan'

Euonymus ‘Manhattan’

Holly 'Nellie-Stevens'

Holly ‘Nellie-Stevens’

Evergreen Euonymus shrubs and ‘Nellie Stevens’ Holly trees – The existing leaves are pretty well burned up and will all fall off, but if the buds at the bases of the leaves are  green, then the first flush of new growth in the spring will bring on fresh new leaves.

Shrub Roses – Will die back further down than usual. Need to be cut back hard and dead stems removed, but the plants should be fine.

Shrub Roses

Shrub Roses

Any type of evergreen close to a street – Might have browning of leaf tips on the street side of the shrub due to salt spray kicked up off the street from passing cars and plows.  Browning foliage might not be evident until late April and will have to be sheared off to improve the appearance of the shrub.

Bounce Impatiens – filling in the Garden Impatiens void

Bounce Pink Flame Impatiens

 Bounce Pink Flame Impatiens

A new variety of hybrid impatiens has been introduced and will be available in limited quantities this Spring—the ‘Bounce’ series, along with its larger sister line, the ‘Big Bounce’ series. Both series result from a breeding cross between New Guinea impatiens and traditional Garden impatiens. Like many hybrids, ‘Bounce’ inherits some of the most desirable characteristics from each parent. From its New Guinea impatiens lineage it receives the leaf shape and the larger flowers typical of New Guineas. Perhaps most importantly, though, it also receives the celebrated New Guinea resistance to Downy Mildew.

Bounce white impatiens

 Bounce white impatiens

From its Garden impatiens parents it inherits the higher flower density, shade-tolerance and spreading habit typical of Garden impatiens. That means that each plant will tolerate more shade and cover a much wider area than will the more upright New Guinea impatiens.

Since ’Bounce’ impatiens, like most New Guinea impatiens, are produced from cuttings and not from seed, they’ll be available only in 4” pots or larger and not in flats of 48. Regardless, ’Bounce’ impatiens will make a welcome addition to the shade garden.