Winter Ornamental Grass Care

Ornamental Grasses:  Winter cold and snow can harm the center of ornamental grasses causing them to “hollow out”.  To protect ornamental grasses such as ‘Miscanthus sinensis’ Maiden Grass or Dwarf Fountain Grass ‘Hameln’ avoid the temptation to cut them all the way back in Fall.  Instead keep the roots well protected  and wait until late March to early April to cut them back fully. If your grasses become a bit unruly by the end of Fall (November-December zone 7) then just cut back the plumes and leave the rest for early spring. Another trick is to wrap a bungee cord about half way up around the center and let the grasses drape over keeping them upright and in place. Ornamental grasses can add much interest to the winter landscape and be enjoyed all winter long. For more information visit: Fall-Garden-Maintenance-Pruning-&-Dividing-Ornamental-Grasses-and-Perennials

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Anti-Desiccant Spray on Broadleaf Evergreens In November

Anti-Desiccant Spray:  Certain broadleaf evergreens are susceptible to winter burn and drying from harsh winter winds here on Long Island.  Drying is caused by moisture loss from the leaves by transpiration and the spraying of an anti-desiccant can help to prevent damage to your landscape plants.  Anti-desiccant spray is organic based and lasts for approximately three months throughout the winter and helps to prevent water loss from your evergreens.  Apply an anti-desiccant spray to your broad-leaved evergreens such as holly, rhododendron, cherry laurel, skip laurel, mountain laurel, Japanese skimmia, leucothoe, aucuba and boxwood when the daytime temperatures start falling below 50 degrees (around mid-November here in zone 7 Long Island). Apply when the temperatures are above freezing and there is no threat of rain or frost within 24 hours. (This tip applies to areas going into their winter season-temperatures dropping below freezing: 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Be sure to read all directions on the label since anti-desiccants can cause photo toxicity on some narrow needled evergreens such as Arborvitae and Spruce that could cause more harm than winter burn.  Spraying in freezing temperaures
will do harm to the plant.  Do not spray in freezing temperatures and allow time to dry before temperatures drop below 32oF or 0oC.

If there is a prolonged thaw in mid-winter it may be time to re-apply anti-desiccant spray to your broad-leaved evergreens, especially if there are more prolonged freezing temperatures on the way.  Following this simple procedure can prolong the lifetime and vitality of your landscape plants.

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Repairing Storm Damaged Trees: Some Helpful Tips

Storm Damaged Branch on Weeping Japanese Maple

Strong winds and ice can cause extensive damage to landscape trees.  This Weeping Japanese Maple recently fell victim to gale force winds and has suffered major damage to one of its limbs.  Every year extensive damage can occur to tree branches from factors such as hurricanes, ice storms and lightning. If you have experienced similar damage, here are a few helpful tips for repairing weakened trees.

Storm Damage to Tree Bark

Torn and Peeled Bark:  Repairing torn and peeled bark on your damaged trees in a timely manner can help to preserve their vitality. To remove crevices for moisture accumulation or hiding places for insects use a sharp chisel or knife to smooth the ragged edges where the bark has been torn (see diagram).  Clean ragged wounds and smooth out the area as much as possible so that healing can start.  If possible try to form an elliptical shape without cutting too deeply.  The underlying greenish inner bark (cambium layer) should start the repair process.  If the damaged area is less than twenty five percent of the circumference of the branch the tree should heal over time with no permanent damage. Anything more could be too much and could lead to eventual removal of the limb.  Avoid the usage of any wound sealants or coatings.  There has been recent controversy about the use of wound sealants over the past few years.  Recent studies have shown that sealants may not help in speeding up the healing process but may actually hinder it.  Also as the sealant breaks down possible crevices may form allowing moisture to accumulate.   This can lead to possible fungal infection and further damage to the tree.

U.S. Department Of Agriculture

Damage to Branches:   If the tree branch is severely damaged beyond repair it is best to remove it completely.  First prune smaller branches (less than 3 inches) where they meet larger ones using clean cuts with loppers or larger branches with a saw or chain saw.   Use the three cut method first making an undercut 12- 18 inches from the main stem to relieve some of the pressure of the branch.  Then make two more cuts, one closer to the  main branch (2-3 inches away) then a final smooth flush cut where the branch meets the collar as shown in the diagram.  The tree will form a protective callus tissue and heal itself.

Uprooted Trees:  Smaller trees can be saved if one third to one half of their root system is still in the ground.  Remove some of the soil around the root mass and push upright using several helpers or equipment.  Fill in the soil and cable the tree in place using two to three guide wires and anchors into the soil.  Water the tree to keep it in place and remove air pockets.  It is usual to keep the cables on for one year then remove them as the tree grows.  A spring feeding can help the tree to regain strength and encourage new growth. Following these practices can allow your tree to heal and help to ensure the extended lifetime of your landscape plants.

Author: Landscape Design By Lee Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.



Welcome to Landscape Design By Lee, LLC. I am a landscape/garden designer, consultant and garden blog author involved in the design profession for 17 years. I have a true passion for horticulture and design and believe that good communication between designer and client is the key to achieving the ideal landscape.

I am based in Sayville, Long Island, New York and specialize in all aspects of landscape design including residential entrance gardens, poolscapes, berms and walls, sun and shade gardens, cottage gardens, and hardscape design such as patios, walkways and driveways.

A variety of services are available to you depending on the size of your property and scope of your project.  Detailed scaled site plans can be made of your property as well as computer rendered imaging  with precise listings of plant common and latin names, quantity and size and hardscape specifications.  You can choose to implement the finished design on your own or have it installed professionally, a service which is available to you.

A well designed landscape can add beauty to your home, provide a place for entertaining  and supply years of enjoyment as well as add value to your property.

For more information about the process of landscape design contact me for a consultation.

As Always…Happy Gardening!


Pruning Butterfly Bush

Buddlea (butterfly bush)
Butterfly Bush

Pruning Buddleia (Butterfly Bush): When doing your fall clean-up avoid pruning Butterfly Bush all the way back here in zone 7 where winter is approaching.  If  a severe winter is on the way this practice could be detrimental to your plant.  Rather,  wait until late winter/early spring (March-April) to perform this task.  At that point you may prune your plant all the way back and promote fresh new growth for spring.  Buddleia does benefit from a severe pruning in the start of the season to promote larger and more frequent blooms.   It is also beneficial to prune off dead and faded flowers on Butterfly Bush once the flowering season has completed (August/September) in order to put energy back into the plant and promote more blooms into fall. For more information on buddleia (butterfly bush)  visit…

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2012, All Rights Reserved

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