Blog February 2013

Salt and Lawn information

Posted On: February 28, 2013

If your lawn had waves of coastal water pouring over it, the best management practice for those flooded lawns is to leach salts through the soil and away from the roots. All of the rain following Sandy has been very helpful. High salt levels in the soil solution draws water out of germinating seedlings and the roots of plants, causing desiccation.


Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) application removes sodium from soil, by calcium ions displacing the sodium ions. The sodium ions are then flushed through the soil, and out of the rooting zone. Therefore, following a broadcast application of gypsum, the area must be irrigated to leach the sodium through the soil. Gypsum is usually added at 46-138 lbs/1000 square feet.  Gypsum is much more effective for silt and clay soils then for sandy soils.  In clay soils, the excess sodium leads to deflocculation and destruction of soil aggregates causing a “chemical compaction.” Thus the addition of gypsum to clay soils will also help improve the soil texture.


The addition of compost will help improve the soil and mitigate salty or brackish water effects on soils. Do not use manure, sewage sludge, or any other compost that may have high salt content.

If you want a quick test to check the health of your soil, try sprouting (indoors under houseplant conditions) a few tomato, cucumber, lettuce, or clover seeds in affected soil and also, as a control, sprout some seeds in soil that you know was not exposed to extra salt.  If the seedlings in the affected soil do not grow or begin to be sickly at the two leaf stage compared to the ones in the unaffected soil, then you know there are salts in the soil.

Test the soil for pH and salts before reseeding in the spring to be sure the soil is viable. Autumn is the best time for renovation, but if necessary renovation can be done in the spring. Cores aerate to improve the soil, along with the addition of compost, followed by seeding

Cornell University

Cooperative Extension

Nassau County


Important information about Impatiens

Posted On: February 24, 2013


The common bedding impatiens walleriana, have been getting a new downy mildew, that makes the plant look like green sticks.

We recommend not to plant these common bedding impatiens for several seasons until hopefully a cure is found.

New Guinea impatiens are not affected.


Deciduous Tree symptoms from flood stress

Posted On: February 21, 2013

Deciduous Trees:

After Super Storm Sandy it is important to recognize symptoms of flood stress which can include:

  • · Leaf yellowing or chlorosis followed by leaf drop
  • · Early fall color and leaf drop
  • · Small leaf size
  • · Excessive watersprouts
  • · Dieback at the crown or top of the tree
  •   Infestation by insects
  •   Root Rot



Evergreens - Dead or not so Dead?!?!

Posted On: February 20, 2013


You need to be patient until mid to late spring to assess your plants. As spring progresses  watch for signs of die-back but don't rush to cut dead branches!!!When  branches have lost leaves does not mean they are dead.  There may be buds that will re-leaf in the spring or early summer. Live stems will have green tissue visible. Remove only those limbs that appear dead.


The Good News about this Very Cold Winter

Posted On: February 05, 2013


Well the good news about this bone chilling winter weather is that it will lead to a great spring and summer season. The reason is simple, when you have a sustained deep freeze as we have been experiencing, as the smart farmer knows, the freezing temps will lead to a better soil for spring planting. Also Mosquitoes and other pests are in hibernation now and the deep freeze will help decrease the population and the spread of West Nile virus. Now all we need now is a below average rainfall for the spring and we will be lined up for a fantastic summer with less pests attacking us and our plantings. Sooooo.... bundle up and enjoy the cold winter weather and remember the benefits are just around the corner !!