205 Wilson Ave - Norwalk, CT 06854

Enjoy the Outdoors All Winter Long with These Three Great Apps

Miss the summer already? After months of being outside enjoying nature, winter can be tough. I mean, I love a fireplace and a mug of cocoa as much as the next guy, but nothing beats the great outdoors on a warm, sunny day.

Fortunately, in 2016, there’s an app for that – just like there’s an app for everything else!

Of course, no app can bring back summer (yet) but there are a few great ones that really enhance your enjoyment of the outdoors while you’re stuck inside. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • LeafSnap, one of our favorites at Connecticut Green, is a digital set of field guides compiled and developed by researchers from the Smithsonian Institute, Columbia University and the University of Maryland. According to the official website, the apps “use visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. They contain beautiful high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruits, petioles, seeds and bark.” LeafSnap is available for free for the iPhone and iPad. An Android app is currently in development.
  • MyNature Animal Tracks is a highly-rated app for all you animal lovers. Finding animal tracks in your yard can be really exciting – especially for the kids – and this app helps you easily determine whether you’ve got a raccoon, a skunk or something more exotic visiting your property. According to the developers, you can “search by track size and shape in seven different illustrated categories to identify over 46 animals across North America. View actual tracks in the wild, reference illustrated gait patterns, range maps, digital images of animals and listen to each animal’s vocalization.” The app is available for Android for $4.99 and iOS for $1.99.
  • If you’re a “bird nerd,” you probably already know about Merlin. While there are a handful of great birding apps out there, Merlin is by far the easiest to use. And, considering it’s been developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it’s also one of the most reliable. “First, Merlin asks you a few simple questions. Then, almost like magic, it reveals the list of birds that best match your description. Pick your bird, then delve into more photos, sounds, and ID tips about your bird! Merlin is fun and easy to use—whether you’re curious about a bird you’ve seen once or you’re hoping to identify every bird that comes to your feeder.” Download it free for Android or iOS.  (For the more serious and experienced birder, there is a series of Audubon Society apps available in iTunes!)

Whatever your interest, consider downloading these apps to stay engaged with the the big green world all winter long. Share the pictures you take and things you learn with your family and friends. It’s a great way to use technology to enhance your experiences with nature!

Winter-Proof Your Shrubs With Anti-Desiccant Spray

Desiccation, or dehydration, is the main culprit when it comes to winter damage to your broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs. Because they keep their foliage all year round, these plants need moisture throughout the winter – and they simply can’t get it from the soil once the ground freezes over. They can use the moisture stored in their leaves and stems, but once that’s gone, their needles and leaves will turn brown and drop.Anti-deiccant sprays protect broadleaf evergreens from winter damage.

Anti-desiccant products help evergreen trees and shrubs hold onto their moisture throughout the winter months. Anti-dessicant sprays basically seal off the pores in these plants, preventing the moisture from escaping. This can help save the plants we love in Connecticut, like boxwood, rhododendron, holly, and laurel.

Anti-desiccants need to be applied just before winter – that is, before the ground freezes and while the plants are still full of the water they need to survive. The spray is essentially a polymer, which puts a glossy coating on the leaves and prevents them from wilting.

But one spray is typically not enough for the entire season. For one thing, anti-desiccants don’t last forever. They will break down over time. For another, in the northeast, we often have a warm spell or thaw at some point during the winter. These “false springs” may encourage growth, but will likely be followed by another deep freeze. In our neck of the woods, this is where the majority of winter damage occurs. For this reason, we typically do a second spraying in mid-to-late winter.

Anti-desiccants are a smart, affordable and attractive way to ensure your broadleaf evergreens survive the winter months. It’s definitely nicer looking than covering your plants in burlap! (Not that we have anything against burlap…)

To schedule your anti-desiccant treatment, contact us today. The best time to do it is now!

Keep Deer Out of Your Garden Through Winter and Early Spring

The Best Way to Keep Deer at Bay

There are many people who find deer are beautiful, majestic animals. But those of us who live in Connecticut see them for what they really are: Complete and Total Garden Destruction.

Deer damage can be absolutely catastrophic. Yes, it’s a nuisance when they chew up your hostas or gobble your flowers. But this time of year, with all the annuals finished, deer are more likely to go after conifers like arborvitae and hemlocks, or broadleaf evergreens like euonymus, rhododendron or ilex. And when they tear away at the lower leaves and branches of these shrubs, they’re not going to grow back evenly. Your shrubs may be permanently damaged and need to be replaced.

For this reason, we at Connecticut Green don’t take any chances with deer. We’ve tried a number of products over the years, and we’ve found a pair of repellent sprays that are very effective. The repellents we use don’t work by making your garden smell badly. They actually make the leaves taste very bitter so the deer won’t eat them. This doesn’t hurt the animals – it just keeps them from devouring your foliage. One nibble of those nasty-tasting leaves, and they’ll move on!

We’ve noticed over the past few seasons that the deer population has become more aggressive in their eating habits. And this winter is not only expected to be great for deer hunters in terms of a large population, it’s also expected to bea low-acorn year, meaning that deer will be hungrier than we’ve seen.

That’s why, this year, for those clients who have deer issues, we recommend two applications of deer repellent.  The first treatment will be applied in late November and then a second application will be added in February or March, as the weather permits. These two sprays will keep your plants safe from deer over the winter and into early spring, as the deer await the growth of new, wild plants to eat. Trust us: you don’t want to take any chances here. Hungry deer will destroy your garden – and we’ve worked with you for too long to let that happen!

Contact us to schedule your deer repellent treatment today.