Pipe cracking cold

On December 28th we woke up to the upper teens in our area. I literally heard PVC pipes cracking in the nursery. That sound is expensive and especially if the back-flow is involved. The lease little bit of water left still in the line will expand upon freezing and crack brittle pipes. Be sure to leave your outside faucets  dripping if we are going to be below freezing for more than four hours. If you find you're going to be out of town and you are a Dickerson Landscaping client, call us in advance and we will schedule someone to do it for you. 

Save money in less time

Your irrigation system may be running too much. Your lawn still needs water during the winter months but not as much as it does in Summer, so scale back the number of days it runs from November to April 1st. Set it to come on for once a week at most. Your lawn can get by on about half an inch a week now. This tip will save you water and electricity. If you need to schedule an irrigation optimization audit give us a call. For Veranda and Southern clients this is free, for Hammock clients this is around $85, and for non Dickerson Lawn care clients it is $135. 

Ever wanted a fruit tree?

Do you know when is the best time to plant fruit trees? Now!...During the winter the sugars in the trees are dormant and drawn back into the trunk, making it the optimum time to plant deciduous trees; so now until March is the best time. In addition to this being the best time to plant fruit trees we have been doing research in edible landscaping. As a result we have come up with a list
of several fruits trees that grow and produce fruit in our area. Growers have achieved this by graphing production buds to stock that will grow in warmer climates.

These trees are: Chestnuts and Pecans; Kaki Persimmons, Fuyu, Homestead, and Jiro; Apples: Dorsett and Anna; Peaches: Florida Crest, Florida King, and a dwarf variety called Zorrito; Plums: Gulf Coast and Gulf Ruby; Pears and Nectarines. So quite a list to chose from and if you're looking for a nice midsize shade tree that can add attractive accent to your property and provide a tasty treat.

Pruning time

Time to prune your Crape myrtles, if you so desired. Thanks to David Marshal and the research done by Gary Knox; more and more people don't really see the benefit to pruning Crape Myrtles back so drastically. There is very little to support this annual event. Here are a few reasons to prune your Crape Myrtles but not to the point of making it Crape Murder

  1. To get our any dead or damaged wood
  2. To keep the tree in scale with the surrounding landscape
  3. To keep it from rubbing against the side of your house
  4. To keep branches from blocking and interfering with security lights
  5. To free up walkways so your guests don't have to duck on the way to the front door.

If you want to have this done please call and we will get it scheduled. 

Tallahassee hospitals grappling with worst flu season in 10 years

Tallahassee hospitals have seen a rise in patients with flu symptoms, in what some are calling the worst flu season in a decade.

“The season hit us earlier than last year,” said Dr. Joseph Mazziotta, a family medicine physician at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “It’s the worst we’ve had in 10 years. What we’re experiencing here is being mirrored all over the country … and above normal.

“The volume is up across the board.”

This year's flu season is widespread nationwide — and has already killed 20 children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. So far Florida has not declared a state of emergency, unlike neighboring Alabama, where emergency rooms have begun restricting visitors.

This year, it appears we are seeing some strains that weren’t included in the annual flu vaccine, Mazziotta said. The CDC and the World Health Organization decide which strains of flu go into the vaccine, he said.

"At best, it’s an educated guess," he said.

Leon County Schools is taking precautions to avoid outbreaks. Alan Cox, an assistant superintendent who oversees health services for the district, said if a student's temperature reached 100 degrees or more, he or she is sent home immediately per county policy.

"We tell our parents to keep their children home" if they're sick, Cox said.

Allison Castillo, a nurse and director of emergency services at Capital Regional Medical Center, says the hospital has been seeing between 30 and 40 patients per day with a chief complaint of flu, out of an average 250 patients.

The virus brings symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, the CDC explains.

If those symptoms are exhibited, patients can simply call their physician and not necessarily come into the emergency room, said Dr. Sam Ashoo, an emergency medicine specialist at TMH.

But some people, such as the elderly and those with respiratory conditions, are at risk of complications.

If a patient is suffering from shortness of breath, chest pain and difficulty breathing — those symptoms could signal complications from the flu, Ashoo said. A visit to the emergency room can be in order.

The Florida Department of Health estimates between 15 and 40 percent of the population annually could develop illness from influenza. For those who haven’t had flu shots yet, it is not too late.

This year it appears we are seeing some strains that were left out of the vaccine, Mazziotta explained. But getting a flu vaccine could still be helpful, protecting "against a serious case of influenza and pneumonia," he said.

He advises avoiding large crowds, especially for people with risk factors, as well as frequent hand washing or sanitizing throughout the day.

Along with flu vaccinations, the CDC offers several tips for preventing the flu:

1. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Jodie Strong, the nurse manager at TMH's Family Medicine Residency Program, demonstrates the processing of a rapid flu detection test. These tests, administered to patients with flu-like symptoms, can produce results in less than 15 minutes. (Photo: Hali Tauxe/Democrat)

Jodie Strong, the nurse manager at TMH's Family Medicine Residency Program, demonstrates the processing of a rapid flu detection test. These tests, administered to patients with flu-like symptoms, can produce results in less than 15 minutes. (Photo: Hali Tauxe/Democrat)

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