Don't Cut That Tree Down Yet!

Salt burn and its devastating effects on trees, shrubs, and lawns.

Notice the brown on your evergreen trees?

What most people do not realize, Hurricane Sandy has had a devastating effect on plants and trees from the south shore all the way to the north side of the island. We are saturated with salt burn.

If you look very closely at an evergreen tree, the south side of the tree is burned and the north side of the tree is virtually untouched and still green. And this spring you will start to see damage to boxwoods, Japanese maples, fruit trees and hemlocks. It will also be a battle maintaining a healthy green lawn this year due to the salt content in the soil this year.

If fertilized properly, over 85 percent of your trees and shrubs will survive. It will be a great opportunity to use organic fertilizers as most conventional fertililizers contain 42 to 57 percent salt. This is where your landscaper needs to know his business. If not give us a call. At this writing there are only two fertilizers you should use this year.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

jmm February 22, 2013 at 04:36 AM
what are the two fertilizers?
Tom Mac February 22, 2013 at 05:04 AM
A few thoughts on this. Give us a call and I will be more than happy to talk with you. Even if you are a professional, I will be happy to share some info with you. 631 725 1249. Thanks
Aspatuck Gardens February 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM
^^Holly-Tone around April 15 (It's organic)... Absolutely nothing else before then..... At this point gypsum, calcitic amendments, and anything rich in synthetic nitrogen won't make much of a difference. Cryptomerias and White Pines were the most affected by this, but like the original poster mentioned it makes sense to fertilize and see if new growth flushes out. This is an unprecedented event, so honestly, nobody know how will these plants will recover.
Tom Mac February 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM
We do how they won't recover if fertilized improperly. I agree with Aspatuck. They also have been around a while. But in order to rid the soil of salt the best way to date is to spray yucca around the base of the tree. Also if you use a deep root fertilizer (organic only) do not use needle this year. Spray the base once again. Use a slow release because while Holly Tone is a great product, the microbial will gobble it up like PAC Man. I'm getting old if I can remember that game! Thanks for the input
Mauro Filicori February 23, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Interesting way to solicit business.... Would be even more successful if more detailed and useful information could be provided.... Maybe the Cornell Agricultural Extension Program could help with that. I will call them up.
Tom Mac February 23, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Cornell is awesome. My intent is to educate more than to solicit business. Of course I would love more business. I've been in this business for over 31 years and still consider myself a student. Your note is valuable. Thanks for sharing
Tom Mac February 23, 2013 at 01:56 AM
Mauro, After thinking about your postI couldn't help think about how we all used to work together as contemporaries rather than adversaries . I miss those days.. There was deep respect for each other even though we were competitors. Now everybody is out there trashing each other. I never have anything bad to say about my competition, I am still old school. Let this blog be the start of that vision. After all, we are here to educate and serve our clients. Thanks
Aspatuck Gardens February 23, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Mauro- Happy to answer any questions you or anyone else might have. Free of charge. Just post them here. Regarding Cornell; When we don't know the answer that's who we call. The extension service is amazing. :) Tom Mac-Thanks for bringing this up. I always hate to see people cut down trees. As a community it's important to be as helpful and transparent as possible :)
Aspatuck Gardens February 23, 2013 at 08:09 PM
one more thing to add. For the homeowner that just wants to take a hands off approach, contacting someone like Tom Mac (I've never met him so I can't vouch for him, but still) might be the best approach or visit your local garden center.
John Pine February 25, 2013 at 05:18 AM
We wouldn't have this problem had we planted native trees and plants. White Pine is an inland conifer that is not tolerant of salt spray. But look around at the Pitch Pines, the native Pines of Long Island, which have not been affected by this because they are native trees, and tolerate salt spray and acidic soil well. All these reddening White Pines are an eyesore, and one that we would not be looking at, had Pitch Pines been planted instead. Other native trees and plants are Eastern Redcedar, Highbush Blueberry, Post Oak, Scarlet Oak and many others.
CMagee February 25, 2013 at 09:16 PM
I have three of four White Pine on my property - two quite large and they are looking pretty sad right now. The hemlock look even worse and not just on the south side! So what exactly is this yucca that I should spray around the base? Is it a solution I can make up myself? or is it a mix I should buy from a local garden center/Home Depot? By the way - I am just a homeowner - not in the business, and I have never heard of Eastern Redcedar, Highbush Blueberry, Post Oak or Scarlet Oak! Are they available in local nurseries?
Tom Mac February 26, 2013 at 01:27 PM
To John Pine:Thanks for the input. FYI The Northwest area in Easthampton Town is the only know area to have NATIVE White Pines On Long Island. They are even on the native species list for revegetation restoration, which I consider a no no because thePine are brought in from other states. All of the species that you mentioned are totally correct but here in the Hamptons hundres of plants and trees that are not native are brought in because they are appealing. Thanks John
Phuk Huo February 28, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Wow thought this was the police blotter
TTTT February 28, 2013 at 02:45 PM
You need to be very careful when cutting down trees. It is absolutely true you may need approval from the town, even when the trees are totally obviously dead. We had several fall on our property in the past, and were questioned by "inspectors" when they walked our property line which borders on a preserve because of stumps that were clearly newly cut. Others in our neighborhood had to replant when they had vegetation or plants removed to have pools put in or changed their landscaping schemes. We even had a tree fall from the edge of the preserve onto our property just missing our deck, and had it cut and had to explain why we had it removed. Dead trees fall all the time, and nor'easters and hurricanes and heavy winds of any kind make the hollowed out oaks tumble and can completely uproot pines. It happens. But we were advised to wait and have certain trees treated when the gypsy moths de-leafed them in the 1990s - and sure enough, after 3 years, many trees recovered - not all, but many. You can see patches of land all over Northwest where they did not come back to life ..... and other plant life takes over. I say, contact Cornell and see what they recommend and find a reputable tree service to help you do it right.
nawthfawk February 28, 2013 at 03:50 PM
In chemistry, calcium sulfate (gypsum) qualifies as a salt. The salt from the seawater that Sandy brought in is Sodium Chloride. Leaching sodium chloride out of the soil profile is helped with gypsum because when the calcium and sulfate dissociate in the soil solution, the Calcium (Ca++) with its +2 valence number is exchanged for the sodium (Na+) that is adhered less strongly to negatively-charged soil particles (organic matter and clay mainly). Sodium sulfate is formed, is soluble, and is then leached from soil profile with clean water (rain or irrigation).
Tom Mac February 28, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Call your town natural resources dept. They dictate what native plants to use. They have plant lists that are approved


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