Trees and shrubs add so much to your Northern Virginia property. A well-landscaped home is known to contribute tangibly to your property’s value while also providing you with something aesthetically beautiful to enjoy yourself.
With all of these benefits, you certainly want to keep your landscape in the best possible health.
That’s why a big part of landscape maintenance in northern Virginia is tree and shrub care.
Homeowners are sometimes surprised to learn that trees and shrubs in the residential landscape are not self-sustaining. Without some attention and care, they can really begin to struggle. Unlike the forest’s natural setting which has everything plants need to perform well, our suburban soils are often depleted of nutrients and lack what plants need.
Trees and shrubs planted in the suburban landscape do not always receive all the water that they need, either.
Fortunately, with some tree and shrub care, your landscape can continue to look and perform its best.
Let’s talk about some important ways to help keep trees and shrubs healthy.
Tree and Shrub Pruning and Trimming
A critical component of landscaping services in northern Virginia should be proper tree and shrub pruning. Since shrubs are often installed close to one another and near walkways, they sometimes need some trimming to keep them looking their best.
Your property can start to look messy when shrub branches are growing over your walkways or on top of one another. Some light trimming and shaping of certain shrubs can fix this up.
While some shrubs can get away with just a quick trim, other ornamentals need more substantial pruning services. Pruning is a service that can help preserve the health of ornamental trees and shrubs as it involves cutting away diseased, dying, or dead branches in order to reinvigorate the plant’s health.
Since proper pruning does impact the tree or shrub’s health, it’s important that you take care to understand best practices. Or, even better, work with a professional who regularly performs this type of work.
Watering Your Property’s Trees and Shrubs
Water is the lifeblood of all living things and in order to keep your trees and shrubs healthy, you need to water them (particularly when Mother Nature isn’t providing ample rainfall).
Sometimes homeowners aren’t sure how much water their plants need (or even how to properly water them). The best approach is to try and mimic the “soaking” that occurs during rainfall. You want to apply water at the soil level, not overhead.
Watering from overhead can aggravate certain plant diseases.
The optimal tool is a soaker hose (though you could also use a regular hose set on a slow trickle). Be careful not to water to the point where the soil is soggy as this can contribute to soil-borne diseases like root rot.
At Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, we are always happy to provide guidance and advice related to watering. We care about helping set your landscape up for success and know that proper watering is a critical part of that. We’re always here to help.
Mulching Trees and Shrubs
Mulching is another important task to include in your landscaping services in northern Virginia Proper mulching can play a valuable role in helping your plants retain some of that precious water that we talked about above. Mulching in your plant beds and around ornamental trees also helps to insulate plants’ roots from extreme weather conditions.
Of course, there’s no denying that a fresh coat of premium-grade mulch simply looks great, too.
Getting the most out of mulching means making sure that this important service is performed properly. There is a common but incorrect mulching practice out there involving piling mulch against the base of trees and shrubs. We call these “mulch volcanoes,” and they are actually very harmful to your landscape.
Mulch volcanoes can ultimately lead to unhealthy growth habits (like girdling roots) and can contribute to disease and decay.
You want to make sure that your landscape is being mulched properly if you’re having this service done. We recommend mulching at least annually, but we have many clients who like a fresh coat of mulch to be applied two or even three times per year.
Addressing Tree and Shrub Diseases and Pests
Unfortunately, trees and shrubs face two common foes in the landscape: disease and pests.
Often, these problems can be attacking your trees and shrubs right under your nose without you even realizing it. Sometimes it’s not until the problem has become advanced that homeowners become aware of it. At that point, it’s a much bigger issue to deal with.
Let’s look at each of these concerns.
Tree and Shrub Disease
We see a number of tree and shrub diseases here in Northern Virginia. Here are a few of the common culprits.
- Fungal Leaf Spots: There are many different “leaf spots” in our area, but thankfully few are lethal. Most established trees and shrubs will be able to recover because they have enough leaves that they are able to replenish their foliage without too much detriment.
- Root Rot: This shrub disease appears mainly on wet landscapes. As roots are killed the leaves begin to turn a lighter green and eventually yellow. The plants decline in vigor and suffer additional damage from other pathogens and pests.
- Boxwood Blight: There are two forms of this disease—one is lethal; and one is not. This one had a lot of people scared after it showed up here in Virginia. Boxwood blight pathogen is most active at temperatures between 64 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can survive and grow outside that temperature range.
It’s always helpful to have a professional determine what is going on with your tree or shrub so that the right course of action can be taken.
Tree and Shrub Pests
Tree and shrub pests are another enemy of your landscape. Pests can harm your trees and shrubs by feeding on them. Here are some of the most common tree and shrub pests that we see in our region.
- Japanese Beetles: Japanese Beetles in Northern Virginia are plentiful. The Japanese Beetle is unfortunately a threat to your landscape throughout its lifecycle. When Japanese Beetles are born as grubs they feed on your grass roots. And once in the adult stage, Japanese Beetles will make a feast of your plants.
- Scale Insects: Scale insects use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to drain fluids from your plants. The result of scale insects in the landscape can be seen in yellowing or wilting leaves.
- Bagworms: There are more than 120 different kinds of trees that Bagworms are known to attack, though they prefer evergreens like juniper, spruce, or arborvitae. On evergreens, Bagworms will consume the buds and the foliage, leading to branch decline and death. If left to consume enough, the entire tree may die. On deciduous trees, bagworms chew small holes in the leaves and cause defoliation.
- Spider Mites: Spider mites are a particularly troublesome pest that needs to be addressed. People don’t always realize that there are “good mites” and “bad mites” in the landscape. Whereas the good mites help to feed on the bad mites, spider mites are aggressive attackers that use their piercing mouthparts to feed on the chlorophyll in plants.
Choosing a Tree and Shrub Care Service
If you want to truly get the most out of the trees and shrubs on your property, it makes sense to partner with a professional.
At Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, we not only offer lawn care in Springfield, Arlington and Alexandria, VA (and beyond), but we also offer landscaping services that include tree and shrub care, too.
This includes mulching, pruning, and plant health care services. We can also help make cultural recommendations in regard to watering so that your plants can perform their best.
We can customize a maintenance plan that is right for you. We make it easy for you to enjoy the beautiful ornamental trees and shrubs around your home.
Do you want to be sure that your trees and shrubs are receiving optimal care so that your Alexandria, Arlington, or Springfield, VA landscape can look its best? Request your quote and relax as you get the royal treatment.