|ANNUALS||RIVER BIRCH||BOX PLANTERS||BULBS|
|DAHLIAS||DECIDUOUS SHRUBS||DROUGHT PLANTS||FALLS COLORS|
|FERTILIZING||FLOWER BASKETS||FLOWER BED||FUNGUS/MUSHROOMS|
|GARDEN FLOWERS||DECIDUOUS FRUIT TREES||GERANIUMS||HEDGES|
|HERBS||HOUSE PLANTS||HUMUS||LADY BUGS|
|LAWN WEED CONTROL||PAPERBACK MAPLE||MOWING||MULCH|
|PERENNIALS||PESTICIDE ALTERNATIVES||BACKYARD PONDS||PRUNING|
|RHODODENDRONS||ROSES||SEED GERMINATION TEST||SOWING SEEDS|
|SPRING TUNE-UP||PURCHASING SOIL||SUDDEN OAK DEATH (SOD)||SYCAMORE TREES|
|TETANUS||TOXIC PLANTS||SHADE GARDEN||TRANSPLANTING|
|TREE MYTHS||VEGETABLE GARDENS||WATERING||WEATHER|
We come from the earth, we return to the earth, and in between we garden.--Author unknown
First things first!
Hardwoods) Deciduous: Ash, Aspen, Basswood,
Birch, Cherry, Coffee Tree, Cottonwood, Elm, Hickory, Honeylocust,
Maple(s), Mulberry, Oak, Poplar, Walnut.
Gymnosperm -Needled- ( Softwoods) Conifers Family: Cedar, Fir, Pine, Spruce,Tamarack (Larch).
Willow Salix Species
For additional Information, visit http://www.etsu.edu/arboretum/trees.html
Birches are deciduous trees in the family Betulacea.. The word "birch" originates from ancient Sanskrit language meaning "tree bark used for writing on". It is believed that the bark of these trees was once used for paper similar to papyrus.
There are many varieties of birches, but the more common ones
you see native to this area are called river birch (Betula nigra). They
love acidic, wet or even flooded areas, but can survive dry, alkaline
soils, although, in these soils their leaves may turn yellow and drop.
They seem to tolerate extreme heat, but need plenty of water to keep
their leaves from burning and dropping. If you plant a birch, be ready
for it to be a fast grower and reach up to approximately 40 feet wide
and 70 feet tall by the time it’s 30 years old. So, in other words,
give birches plenty of room to grow.
The leaves of river birches are usually glossy and dark green on their upper side, lighter green on the underside. The leaves tend to be shaped like diamonds, hence they look as though they are flickering in a breeze. Birches produce male catkins up to 3 inches long and female flowers up to an inch long, but the flowers are not significant or showy. While birches tend to lose their leaves a little earlier in autumn, if they are not deprived of moisture, they will display beautiful golden, yellow and brown leaves with cinnamon-colored twigs and branches.
While all of the birches have their unique elegance, some are more adaptable and disease and pest resistant than others for this area. Since the river birch is a native of this area, that makes it more adaptable than some of its cousins like paper birch or European white birch. Heritage or "Cully" cultivar tends to be resistant to the Bronze Birch Borer and in general considered the most trouble free. Heritage is also known for being more resistant to leaf spot and its bark is a rich creamy color, as it peels away from an almost orange colored trunk. River birches tend to be susceptible to aphids and caterpillars under less than ideal conditions.
As mentioned earlier, birches come in single trunks and multi-trunks (called clumps). They tend to send up new shoots from the ground, so you may want to cut these off for a cleaner look and to reveal more of the interesting bark. I often trim the branches of my birches up to about 3 feet from the ground so I can enjoy that intriguing bark revealed beneath a wispy canopy.
Birches are beautiful whether they are planted in landscape gardens or alone as a specimen tree. While white birches are popular because of their beautiful stark white bark, the river birch has more subtle, rich, creamy colors and adds its own beauty to just about any landscape. They are easy to transplant and do well when transplanted in the spring or fall when rainfall is heavier. They need little or no maintenance once they become established, and under ideal conditions will even naturalize. The scaly bark so characteristic of birches, makes them ideal providers of year round interest for your garden. After the leaves fall in autumn, you will continue to enjoy the richly textured hues of cream, brown and cinnamon bark throughout winter.
|Tip: Make sure that your garden
slopes away from the house.
|BOX PLANTERS & WINDOW BOXES|
Planting a window box provides for a little bit of color, just about anywhere, the balcony, the patio, a window box or just about anywhere. Will become a breeze. The perfect soil, the right flowers, and a great selected location can lead to a beautiful floral addition.
When planting your box planters or window box, always remember healthy young plants transplant the easiest. Plants and flowers of with colorings that complement one another will create the best visual scene. trailing plants, such as vines, are the best borders at the sides. Place the taller plants at the back, unless it is in a open space and one can walk around it, enjoying it from various angles. Do not plant too many in the box, as they will grow to large and lose their visual uniqueness, but do pant them closely together. If you are going to place your box outside a window, then avoid the tall plants..
A variety of flowers and plants will do well in a window box, including many typical houseplants. Annuals do great in a window box. Many houseplants can be brought in at fall and they become your visual display inside.
Window boxes require a soil-less mix that will encourage the plants to grow. A soil-less mix provides better aeration for the roots of the plants, as well as better drainage ( make certain that you do have drainage holes in the bottoms, so you do not drown your plants) Soil-less mix with added fertilizer provides the plants need for continuous blooming and sturdy root growth.
|Quick Tip: Prevent mosquitoes from breeding in rain barrels by floating 1 teaspoon of olive oil on the water's surface (It is lighter than water)|
"Dianthus" from two Greek Words - "dios", referring to the god Zeus, and "anthos", meaning flower. Carnations are thus "The Flowers of God".
Carnations have become the most popular florist flowers
are the symbols of expressing many feelings as above. Hence, it is
recommended that one should check the meaning of the color of
carnations when you gift them.
Carnation cultivars are mainly of three types:
The three most common are annual Carnations, border carnations and perpetual-flowering carnations.
To obtain the best quality, it is recommended that these carnations be
grown at a day temperature ranging from 50 - 59°F and a night
temperature of 41- 46°F.
The Symbolic meaning of the Carnation:
( Greek words chrysos, meaning gold with anthemon, meaning flower (family of daisies)
Are a entire genus within Asteraceae, are the next largest group of flowers many people think of as daisies. Many Chrysanthemums appear very similar to the English daisy, with white petals and a yellow center. Others come in decorative colors, ranging from vibrant pinks and blues to deep purples and reds. The most common Chrysanthemum, grown in parts of Asia as a food crop, is Chrysanthemum coronarium; this flower, also known as the crown daisy, appears very similar to the English daisy, but with yellow petals as well as a yellow center.
Each Chrysanthemum flower head is actually a cluster of many flowers, composed of a central group of short disk flowers surrounded by rings of longer ray flowers. Chrysanthemums are classified into nine categories according to the type and arrangement of disk and ray flowers - Incurved, Reflexed, Intermediate, Late Flowering Anemones, Singles, Pompons, Sprays, Spiders/Spoons/Quills, Charms and Cascades. For example, the 'reflexed' Chrysanthemum consists of ray flowers that curve downward into an umbrella shape; the 'quill' has tubular ray flowers that radiate from the center of the head.
Petals on chrysanthemums are actually florets (a small flower, usually part of a dense cluster, especially, one of the disk or ray flowers of a composite plant such as a daisy) since both sexual parts (male/female) exist in each one. The chrysanthemum flower has two types of florets - ray florets that would be called petals on a daisy, and disc florets that are the center florets in a daisy type of bloom. Only the disc florets can reproduce. All classes of chrysanthemums have both types of florets, but in many of the classes, the disc florets are not apparent. In those plants, the plant breeder uses a pair of scissors to uncover the disc florets for pollination and the development of new cultivars.
The chrysanthemum is the largest commercially produced flower due to its ease of cultivation, capability to bloom on schedule, diversity of bloom forms and colors, and holding quality of the blooms.
As a landscaping plant, the chrysanthemum makes a beautiful Fall display for the home garden. With skill and artistry, many varied effects can be achieved, even when only a small growing area is available. Chrysanthemums can accentuate an entrance way; provide the Fall colors to a season-long growing bed; or dominate a growing area with the many varied shapes, sizes, and colors.
Most clematis species are vines, and the most widely-grown vines are the so-called "large-flowered clematis" like Nelly Moser (pink), Duchess of Edinburgh (double white), and Jackmanii (dark purple). There are hundreds of varieties, and most require the same basic, if somewhat confusing, cultural conditions: partial to full sun exposure with protection for the roots, regular watering without waterlogging, heavy feeding, and soil that ranges from pH neutral to slightly acidic.
The most important of these requirements is "good light, protected roots." You can provide this by mulching the base of the plant heavily, or by placing low-growing companion plantings at the base of the plant, or by growing the plant through an upturned terra-cotta pot with its bottom knocked out. (This is more confusing to describe than it is to do. You just have to start with a small plant.)
Vining clematis also need a support: they're not wall-crawlers like ivies, but their tendrils will wrap around just about anything, including other parts of the plant. There are creeping and shrub-like clematis as well. Although my own experience with the coarse C. heracleifolia "Wyevale" has been less than stellar, I have seen clematis species used as effective ground covers and borders.
Many of the spring-blooming varieties provide restrained repeat bloom throughout the season.
Clematis usually take several years to become established, so it's important not to become discouraged too quickly. They are also fragile when handled: treat the plant gently until it is settled in. Once they're happy, the plants can become extremely vigorous, easily growing 8 to 10 feet tall. The fall-blooming clematis like the native Virgins Bower (C. virginiana), C. terniflora, and C. vitalba can cover small sheds and slow-moving animals with a mass of tiny, fragrant white flowers - in fact, they can become invasive (but still beautiful) weeds.
Most, however, are well-behaved, providing that they are properly pruned. When, how, and if you prune your clematis are critical but confusing questions. Some flower on the previous year's wood, some on current growth only. You must learn the pruning recommendations for the variety you are growing. Many specialty growers are happy to provide this information when they sell you the plant, and there are several excellent references available
|DAFFODILS (genus Narcissus)|
Daffodils grow perennially from
Depth, as a general rule, needs to be thrice the height. This
large bulbs should have depth of 6 to 8 inches, medium size 3-6 inches
and smaller size 2-3 inches. Always remember that the load of soil
prove helpful to protect the bulbs from breaking too easily and keep
them upright for a longer duration. If this fact is ignored and enough
depth is not given then the Daffodil will bend down very soon. Though
Daffodil blooms will come in bigger clumps, the bulbs and flowers will
be scant. Here are the steps to grow Daffodils.
Daffodils come in all sizes from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. Along with the early harbingers of spring, there are also daffodil cultivars in mid and late season varieties. Growing daffodils in an assortment of sizes, colors, and bloom-times gives you an irresistible display that carries through spring into summer.
Plant outdoor bulbs deep-six to eight inches down from the top (pointy end) of the bulb- in a location where they will get plenty of sun. Remember, they're going to make their appearance when sunshine is at a premium! Also important for growing garden daffodils is a location with good drainage.
Less is more when growing daffodils. Space your daffodil bulbs according to the package directions. Although you may be tempted to plant them close together for a great looking first-year group, it's important to be mindful of the fact that they are prolific in bulb propagation. Planting daffodils too closely together results in a crowd of bulbs that fight each other for growing room!
The first step is to dig them up. You can dig the clumps before the frost, in which case you need to hang or lay the entire plant in a protected ventilated area to dry slightly, allowing the nutrients to return to the roots. Or you can wait until a frost or two has 'killed the tops, but before the ground has frozen. That way the nutrients have returned to the roots naturally and you save a step. However, knowing you may dig clumps either before or after frost allows you "a wider time range to get the job done.
Once the tops are dried, cut the stems from a few inches to a foot above the bulbs and place them in your storage medium. Storage media can be vermiculite, perlite, dry sand, peat moss or layers of dry leaves. The tricky part of storage is that the bulbs must "never become wet enough to rot or be allowed to completely dry out. Trial and error will ' be your best instructors. Try ' different options to see which works best for your situation. It could be your garage or basement or a shed close to ' the house that stays between 35 and 45 degrees, the ideal temperature.
Be sure to label your plants clearly; so you will know 'which colors and varieties are which in the spring when you go to plant.
Mice find Dahlia tubers to be quite a convenient winter snack; so make sure your containers are rodent proof. A layer of hardware cloth secured over top an otherwise sound container works well to allow ventilation and keep out the critters.
The clumps are easiest to divide if you wait until spring when the buds (also called eyes) are more apparent. Divide your tubers into the number of plants you want for the season. If you want many smaller plants divide them into small pieces. If you want larger but fewer plants, plant clumps without dividing intensely. Make sure each piece contains at least one eye since that is where the new growth will emerge. If you Want a jump on the season, plant the tubers in pots a few weeks before the last frost date but pots must he large enough to hold the roots and shoots comfortably.
After all danger of frost has passed, replant your tubersaccording to size. Large dahlias should be planted 6 to 8 inches deep; shorter varieties, 2 to 3 inches plant the tubers in pots a few deep. At the bottom of the hole, sprinkle a little bulb fertilizer or compost, then set the tuber with bud or sprouts facing upward and cover with soil. Space plants apart accordingly: large ones 3 to 4 feet apart, smaller ones 8 to 12 inches apart.
Tall dahlias should be staked, and now is the best time to insert stakes so you will not damage the tubers later.
|Deciduous shrubs lose their
foliage in the fall; evergreen ones do not. They come in a wide variety
of heights, shapes, foliage colors, textures and forms. Taking these
factors into consideration when selecting shrubs can result in a
landscape that is both aesthetic and functional. Shrubs can serve as
border plants, accent plants with seasonal color or as screening for
Determining which shrubs to include in your garden can be a difficult decision. Depending on choices made, shrubs may come to take up a majority of the space available on an average size lot. The best way to make wise choices is to find a good resource and check out plant material available at local nurseries. Many shrubs are currently available in smaller sizes. Note that plants native to the area where you live will be easier to grow and maintain. Here are a few of my favorites:
Glossy abelia is a delightful shrub. It is exceptionally easy to grow. If necessary, it can be cut back to emerge again just as beautiful. Although it leafs out later than some shrubs, the glossy leaves and dainty pink blossoms stay for most of the summer.
Clethra, also called summersweet, is another delightful plant. The fragrant white flowers come mid to late summer. The blossoms are small but form on 3 to 6 inch spikes. This shrub is very adaptable to a variety of light conditions. It prefers acid soil, and the leaves turn yellow to golden brown in autumn.
Callicarpa or beauty berry bush is a plant the may seem very plain for most of the year. The flowers in mid-summer are a non-descript white or pink and almost hidden by the foliage. But it shows off in the fall when clusters of lilac colored berries form all along the stems. These last long after the leaves fall. This is a shrub that can easily be kept at 4 to 6 feet in height and width. If necessary, it can be cut to within 6 inches of the ground in the spring before growth starts.
Calycanthus or Carolina Allspice grow well in some areas. The blossom, which comes in late spring, is a dark reddish brown. It has the lovely fragrance of strawberries. This plant can grow 6 to 9 feet high and just as wide but can be cut back and kept to a manageable size. For the best flower production, remove 1/3 of the stems each spring.
Deutzia has tiny white 5-petaled flowers in mid to late spring, but there are so many blossoms that the bush appears totally white. Deutzia usually grows 3 or 4 feet in height and width. It can be used as a hedge. It adapts to almost any soil type and thrives in sun or partial shade. Prune after it blooms.
Lilacs come in many varieties. There are doubles or single blossoms. You will find white, pink and all shades of purple. There are dwarf varieties. They grow under almost any condition, although they flower best in full sun. And best of all the fragrance really spells spring for many gardeners.
Viburnums are another great choice. This large group of plants numbers about 120 species and contains numerous cultivars. They range in size from 2-3 feet to 30 feet, in odor from the sweetest perfume to the most unpleasant smell, in flower from white to pink (rose) and in fruit color from yellow, orange, red, pink, blue and black.
|Flower Tips: Scatter color throughout blanket your flower garder with petunias, impatients and other small annuals that will flower throughout the current growing season.|
Many beautiful drought
tolerant plants are available in local nurseries and garden stores.
They come in a wide range of colors and sizes.
Perennial Bachelors Button (Centaurea montana). This lovely rounded plant grows about 12 inches high and 12 inches wide. Its leaves are long and a silvery green. Flowers are blue and about 2 inches in diameter. With deadheading (removal of spent flower heads before they go to seed) Centaurea will bloom from May through September. The one downfall of this plant is that it spreads by underground runners and may also reseeds itself throughout the garden. You can take care of this problem by pulling up unwanted seedlings in the spring.
Daylily There are more than 20,000 registered hybrids, in colors ranging from yellow, to red to deep purple. They range in height from 6 inches to over 30 inches. Most bloom only once per summer, but every year more repeat or continuous bloomers are being developed. The most famous and earliest repeat bloomer is 'Stella d'Oro'. The foliage of daylilies stays attractive all summer, although the appearance of the plant does benefit from removal of spent flower heads and browning leaves. Daylilies generally need to be divided every 4 or 5 years.
Candytuft is a great spring-blooming low-growing plant for the front of the border. The flowers last for about 10 weeks. Its evergreen foliage is dark green and the flowers are pure white. The plants have a woody base and should be cut back severely every other year to insure that they do not get leggy.
Black Eyed Susan and Coneflower (Echinacea) are well-known summer blooming, daisy-like flowers of similar habit. They come in yellow, pink and white. Plants typically grow 3 to 4 feet high, although some dwarf varieties have been developed. These are low maintenance plants, but deadheading is recommended to improve plant appearance and prevent reseeding.
Many popular annuals are also quite tolerant of dry conditions. Marigold, Zinnia, Geranium (Pelargonium), Spider Flower (Cleome), Cosmos, Portulaca, Nasturtium are just a few. Most herbs are also happy in low water conditions, as are ornamental grasses.Even drought tolerant plants will not grow completely without water. Their needs are about 50 percent of the water needs of non-drought tolerant plants. What should you do to insure their survival? First of all, now is the time to buy and plant them! We are getting some rain and weather conditions are somewhat cooler than they will be in June, July and August. Buying and planting them now, and hand watering them when rain is insufficient will give them the start they need to survive a hot, dry summer. Water your plants infrequently as deeply as your soil drainage situation permits, rather than doing light, frequent waterings. Deep watering encourages deep root development, which will stand your plants in good stead when dry, hot summer conditions arrive.
There are many more draught tolerant perennials, as well as
trees and shrubs. So seek our your nursery supplier for more.
|Tip: Design your border in curves for better visual balance, avoid straight lines or perfect circles|
|Many factors such as soil
conditions, weather, and genetics all contribute to the equation.
The whole process is a slow one and begins as the length of the nights increase. This change in the light causes the plant to produce phytochrome. Phytochrome is the chemical that starts the process of dormancy. A layer of cells is produced between the branch of the tree and the leaf stalk. This layer is called the abscission layer and it blocks the passage of water and nutrients (carbohydrates) to and from the leaf. The production of the green pigment, chlorophyll, which is the predominant pigment, begins to break down.
Without the chlorophyll to color the leaves green we begin to see the other pigments, carotenoids, give the leaf its yellow, orange and brown color. Now here is where the genetics fits in. Some trees also have the ability to form another pigment known as anthocyanin, which gives leaves a red or purple color. For anthocyanins to form there must be sugar present so any weather condition that enhances the production and accumulation of sugars in the leaf helps with the intensity of the red color.
Sunny days result in a high production of carbohydrates in the leaf and cool nights help to break those carbohydrates down into sugars. The cool nights also help to keep those sugars in the leaf instead of going to other parts of the plant. When the skies are cloudy and the nights warm, less sugars are produced and more are moved from the leaf, leaving us with less intense color.
the abscission layer gets bigger it divides into two layers. One layer
is protective and forms on the branch. The other is a separation layer
and forms on the leaf stalk (petiole). Once both layers form there is
not much left to hold the leaf in place and down it comes. A popular
myth about fall color is that we need a frost to produce good fall
The colorful trees for Fall:The size and character of your own landscape will determine which woody plants can give you the best chance for fall color. In the native Northeast landscape, maples are the great color artists, especially red maples (Acer rubrum). Almost any red maple will give you some fall color, but there are a number of varieties available that promise spectacular results (and we all know how accurate those plant catalogs are!) Try "Red Sunset " or "Autumn Flame".
The genus Fothergilla, another northeastern native, provides spectacular fall color on a much smaller scale - red maples can reach well over 50', but Fothergilla is a spring-flowering shrub that rarely reaches 10', depending on species and variety. There are a number of cultivars on the market, but "Mt. Airy" is one of the best, and is widely available. Delicious flower fragrance is another benefit of this desirable shrub. Itea virginica, known as Virginia sweetspire, is also a native. The glossy leaves of cultivar "Henry's Garnet" turn a rich mahogany in fall, and are reason enough to grow the plant even if it didn't produce drooping 6" spires of tiny white flowers in early summer.
witch hazels are another multi-season treat, with early flowering,
fragrant blooms and good fall color that seems to be very moisture
dependent (this is not a good year for witch hazel leaf color).
Hamamelis x intermedia, a hybrid between H. japonica and H. mollis, is
most commonly found in nurseries in a number of varieties. "Jelena,"
"Arnold Promise," and "Diane" provide orange, yellow, and red flowers
respectively. Viburnums, usually grown for their flowers, often reveal
strong muted fall colors as well, in tones of red, burgundy, and faded
orange. The list could go on, but it's fun to make your own
|Tip: Choose climbing or vining flowers to grow near a trellis or garden arbor.|
There are five basic families of scented geraniums determined by fragrance: rose, citrus, mint, fruit/nut/spice, and pungent. The first three are the most commonly used for their fragrance, especially in cooking. The variety name is not always indicative of the plant’s real scent; it is best to rely on your own nose before adding leaves or flowers to food or potpourri. Be certain to use only organically grown pelargoniums in food.
Pelargoniums are tender perennials, hardy only in zones 9-10. They can be grown in the ground or in pots; in either case, they must come indoors when outdoor temperatures go below 45 degrees. Outdoors they thrive in full sun, except for the peppermint varieties, which will grow in the sun but are happier in shade or semi-shade. The flowers of all pelargoniums tend to be small, but the textures and colors of the leaves are a beautiful addition to any garden. They can be planted in borders, as ground covers, in rock gardens, or in mass plantings. Planted in the ground, the some plants will grow so large that they can be difficult to bring in before the frost. In this case, take cuttings in late summer to grow smaller plants for bringing indoors for winter. To take a cutting from a healthy stem, cut just below a node and strip off most of the leaves. The use of rooting hormones is not necessary, but if they contain a fungicide, they may be helpful when used at their mildest strength. Cuttings will root in a variety of well-drained media, but not in water (unlike your grandmother’s red geraniums). Sterile sand, perlite, or a commercial starting mix is satisfactory. Don’t place the new cuttings in direct sun or use bottom heat for the first 24 hours, after which bottom heat of 68-76 degrees helps speed root formation. Keep moist but not wet. The smaller-leaved, short-stemmed varieties such as ‘Apple,’ ‘Coconut,’ etc. are best propagated by seed in a sterile medium.
Indoors in pots with a soiless mix and good drainage, give pelargoniums all the sunlight you can, regular watering, and relative coolness. Daytime temperatures of 65-70 degrees with an evening drop of about 10 degrees are ideal. They will also need good air circulation. Water early in the morning when the top of the soil feels dry. During the growing season, fertilize at half-strength every other watering; the rest of the year, fertilize at the same dosage once every eight waterings. A teaspoon of Epsom salts added to the fertilizer solution every fourth watering will give your plants the extra magnesium they need. When ready to transplant out, be sure to harden off first and cut the bottom half inch of roots and soil off to encourage new root growth. Pelargoniums prefer a slightly acid soil, pH of 6.0 to 6.5, and soil that is well drained. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 15-15-15; switching to 10-15-10 when plants show signs of budding. Pinch growing tips until desired shape is achieved.
Outdoor pelargoniums do not usually have many pests. Indoors, they are subject to mealybugs, whitefly, aphids, and, sometimes spider mites. Strong sprays of water will dislodge the insects; follow up with insecticidal soap every few days until pests are gone. To prevent diseases, provide your plants good ventilation, careful watering (avoid watering the leaves as much as possible), sterile pots and potting soil, and prompt removal of dead leaves.
|QT: Inexpensive killer of snails & slugs: Beer placed in shallow pans with the top edges flush with the ground.|
|QT: To water individual plants or plants in containers, rather than a hose end sprayer nozzle, the better tool is a watering can, or a hose-end watering wand. A watering wand has a water breaker with many tiny holes to release water in a soft shower rather than a high-pressure stream.|
|Tip: Mimic the special colors of the sunset and sunrise. Use colorful plants accordingly.|
Your Lawn is
thing to plant, yet it becomes the most expensive in the garden to
One thing to consider when putting in a lawn is that "some grasses" can be large producers of (hay fever-the itchy eyes, runny nose and other allergy miseries ) allergenic pollen. ...
In the southern
U.S. "warm-season" grasses are
generally grown. These
types of lawn grasses grow actively from mid-April to mid-October. As
their name implies, they like the warm weather. Bermuda grass is an
a warm-season type of grass.
There are thousands of species of grass, yet only about 50 of those are suitable for use in home lawns. When seeding a lawn, it is important to choose the species, or mix of species that will grow best in that particular location and climate tolerance. Kentucky bluegrass is best used in full sun areas. This grass color is beautiful and it thrives in the sun, but does poorly in shade areas, it also germinates quite slowly. Perennial Ryegrass creates beautiful lawns, also it's quick germination makes lawn establishment quickly. Tall Fescue (Tall Fescue is often confused with Crabgrass, as fescue shares a lot of Crabgrass traits) isn't a grass species that normally recommended for home use primarily a bunch type grass, so it tends to grow in clumps. This grass also does poorly in cold climates. Fine Fescue is an excellent species for shady backyards due to it's shade tolerance, although it does not do well in poorly drained soils. Bentgrass is generally not used for home lawns because of it's maintenance requirements, mainly it is usually used on golf coarse putting greens. Also, it is a crawler that overtakes walks and driveways, so constant care is necessary. Ornamental grass has only one purpose, to be pretty, Ornamental grass is used in landscape design the way one uses flowers, shrubs and trees. This is not a grass to be mowed, and is not meant to be uniform.
Most grasses in
the United States are not native, most of them came from Europe and are
now hybrid grasses.
An excellent source of information pertaining to lawn grasses in your particular seasonal zone is Landscape-America's web site.
Seeding Tip: Once the ground temperature warms to about 52 degrees, seeds will grow. Good seed-to-soil contact will get the seeds germinating.
|Tip: Make sure to keep in mind the mature size of young trees and shrubs you plant. Otherwise it will be easy to plant them too close together.|
|Tip: Plant shrubs and individual ornamental grasses in groups of odd numbers. Planting odd numbers of these plants will balance out the visual aspects of your flower garden.|
|HANGING FLOWER BASKET|
Your first step in planning the material for an all-season, mixed perennial border is selecting the right plants, mass, color, line and dependability. Line is the silhouette or outline of a plant, mass is its shape, and dependability means, their beauty, but with a minimum of problems. Many books and free catalogues are useful for ideas.
Tip: Planting large groups of contrasting flowers next to each other can create a spectacular effect.
Preparing the soil is extremely important to perennials. Many annuals can grow and flower in poorly prepared soil, but very few perennials survive beyond one year, if the soil is not properly prepared. Perennials should be mulched during the winter months to protect them from the heaving that results from repeated freezing, heaving and thawing of the soil.
Borders situated in front of a suitable background such as a fence, shrubbery, or a building are the most appealing. In some cases, tall flowers such as hollyhocks serve a dual purpose as flowers in the border and as background plants. Annual or perennial flowers of medium height may serve as background plants for a short border planting.
After you have selected your plants, set them out in a pattern that is appealing to you. Stand back occasionally seeing how they appear. After you have moved them around, finding yourself satisfied, then begin the task of planting them in the soil. If necessary, leave them there a day or so, until you are ready.
The most attractive flower borders are those which are located in front of a suitable background such as a fence, shrubbery, or a building. In some cases, tall flowers such as hollyhocks or sunflower may serve a dual purpose as flowers in the border and as background plants. Annual or perennial flowers of medium height may serve as background plants for a short border planting.
Place your plants in groups, so as to form color and texture, as well as mass. On average 6 plants create an ideal mass. Masses of color and texture should blend into a refreshing pattern of color harmony, each complementing each other. Consider the size of the plants when spacing. You want each to stand out, no clumps. Normally a the minimum space your (Mass) plants at least 24 inches from the next grouping apart, or more, you do not want them running together.
Strategically place your plants, first by location, second by period of bloom, then by height and width, and finally, by color. Obviously, consider the location, as the amount of shade and available sun are very important, as well as vicinity to water.
As you are experimenting with your grouping, consider that flowers are easy to move, change, or take out altogether. Avoid being conservative. Flowers are fast growers and can be transplanted at almost anytime to help create the effect you desire.
Annual flowers live only one growing season, during which they grow, flower, and produce seed, thereby completing their life cycle. Annuals must be set out or seeded every year since they only last one season.
Most perennial plants are "herbaceous", which means that the tops of the plants -- its leaves, stems, and flowers will die back to the ground each fall with the first frost or freeze. The roots persist through the winter and every spring, new plant tops arise. A plant that lives through the winter is said to be hardy.
The obvious advantages to perennials being that they do not have to be set out, like annuals, every year. Although some perennials, do have be replaced every few years. Another advantage is that with careful planning, a perennial flower bed will change colors, as one type of plant finishes and another variety begins to bloom. Also, since perennials have a limited blooming period of about 2 to 3 weeks, frequent removal of old blooms is not necessary to keep them blooming. However, they do require pruning and maintenance to keep them attractive. Their relatively short bloom period is a disadvantage, but by combining them with annuals, a continuous color show is provided. Consider that you will have to transplant them in about 3 years, due to their growth.
A light program of fertilizing provides for a continuous supply of nutrients to produce healthy plants. Use 5-10-5 fertilizer. Place fertilizer in small circles around each plant in March. Repeat twice at 6 week intervals. This will feed the plants through the summer, apply another treatment of fertilizer to late-blooming plants in late summer.
Always water the bed after applying fertilizer. This will wash the fertilizer off the foliage and prevent burn. It will also make fertilizer available to the plants immediately.
In the fall, after the foliage of perennials has died down, remove dead leaves, stems, and spent flowers. These materials often harbor insects and disease causing organisms. Apply winter mulch after the soil temperature has dropped.
|Visual QT: A well cared for and attention grabbing yard usually incorporates the use of flowers for color. Some people use flowering bushes or shrubs with varied foliage. Other people use containers of flowers on their steps or along a walk way. Other people will choose hanging flower baskets to bring color to the front of their home|
House plants can be classified according
to their light needs, such as Low, Medium and high, light requirements
When selecting house plants, it is best to first check the foliage. You are looking for plants that appear to be insect and disease free. Check the undersides of the foliage and the axils of leaves for signs of insects or disease. Select plants that look sturdy, clean, well potted, shapely, and well-covered with leaves.
Choose plants with healthy foliage. Avoid plants which have yellow or chlorotic leaves, brown leaf margins, wilted or water soaked foliage, spots or blotches and spindly growth. In addition, avoid leaves with mechanical damage, and those which have been treated with "leaf shines" which add an unnatural polish to the leaves. Plants which have new flowers and leaf buds along with young growth are usually of superior quality.Light, is likely the most essential factor for house plant growth, be extra careful where you plant your indoor plant, taking the time to read the plants specifics. many specifics are available on the web, which will provide you with that necessary information. The next comes water. House plant roots are usually in the bottom two-thirds of the pot, so do not water until the bottom two-thirds starts to dry out slightly. You can't tell this by looking. You have to feel the soil. For a 6-inch pot, stick your index finger about 2 inches into the soil (approximately to the second joint of your finger). If the soil feels damp, don't water. Keep repeating the test until the soil is barely moist at the 2-inch depth. For smaller pots, 1 inch into the soil is the proper depth to measure. temperature: foliage house plants grow best between 70o and 80o F. during the day and from 60o to 68o F. at night. Most flowering house plants prefer the same daytime range but grow best at nighttime temperatures from 55o to 60o F., humidity, ventilation, fertilization, and soil are chief factors affecting plant growth, and any one of these factors in incorrect proportions will prevent proper plant growth indoors.
House plants, specifically flowering varieties, are sensitive to drafts or heat from registers. Forced air dries the plants rapidly, overtaxes their limited root systems, and may cause damage or plant loss. House plants are sensitive to natural or blended gas. Some plants refuse to flower, while others drop flower buds and foliage when exposed to gases. Blended gases are more toxic to house plants than natural gases. Also take into consideration that these heating factors will effect the water content in your house plants. Watering your indoor plants in-house is just as critical as outside.
When the time comes for repotting due to root-bound plants, it should be done without delay. The pot selected for re-potting should be no more than 2 inches larger in diameter than the pot the plant is currently growing in; should have at least one drainage hole; may be either clay, ceramic or plastic, and must be clean. Wash soluble salts from clay pots with water and a scrub brush and wash all pots in a solution of 1 part liquid bleach to 9 parts water.
|General defoliation||• Sudden
change in temperature
• Transplanting shock
• Sudden change in light intensity
• Lack of light
|Browning of leaf tips||•
• Exposure to cold drafts
• Insect attack
• Excess fertilizer
|Loss of normal foliage color||•
• Lack of fertilizer
• Insect attack
• Improper light
• Burning from direct sunlight
|Nutrient Tip: Leave the grass clippings to decompose on the lawn. Annually, this will provide nutrients equivalent to one or two fertilizer applications|
Different grass types
height range that it is best suited with, if you
will cut the grass at that height the grass will be look better, be
more healthy, and more importantly last through the season
from lack of water. The depth of the root system is in direct
correlation to the height you mow at. So, the higher you mow the deeper
the roots, the more water the grass can get and the less you have to
The other type of grass is Warm Season grasses: Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede. These grasses will tolerate very low cutting. Golf courses use a lot of Bermuda, and Zoysia and they routinely cut it as low as .5" A typical home lawn will look nice at 1" providing you have a smooth grade.
Proper mowing practices are critical to the appearance of your lawn. If you follow these general guidelines, you can increase the health, appearance and life of your lawn:
- Make sure your mower blade is sharp. A lawn mowed with a dull blade appears gray shortly after mowing. The tips of grass blades also will turn brown within 48 hours.
- The Rule of One-Third says cut the lawn often enough to remove no more that 1/3 of the grass blade. This helps avoid scalping, which puts the grass under stress, and reduces its vigor.
mower blades = Clean cut lawn
Sodding in spring or early summer while grasses are growing rapidly allows rapid rooting. This provides warm season grasses adequate time to develop an extensive root system before cold weather arrives. It also enhances the turfs ability to resist injury in the winter. Also, planting during May and June coincides with the time when the chances of rainfall are greatest thus reducing dependence on irrigation. Sodding bermuda anytime there are three to four weeks of good growing weather remaining is generally successful.
QT: Lawns are much easier to mow if they aren't broken up with a few flowers here and a few flowers there.
Quick Tip: Cut a flower when
it is about half
open; it will continue to open in the arrangement. The petal color
should show on the bud before cutting. Pick roses and tulips just as
they are opening
|Tips about the Benefits From Coffee Grinds?
Roasted coffee is fairly acidic, it appears that almost all of the acid is water soluble and is extracted during brewing. Used grounds have essentially neutral pH, although the coffee beverage produced is rather acidic.
It is thought that the best way to be sure is to take your used coffee grounds on Acid loving plants, such as Azaleas is to use a home soil test kit and see what the pH is. That way you know from your own coffee and water samples exactly what the pH is. If it registers a high pH like around 5.0, then you know you will have to dilute them till they reach a less acidic level.
Based on the soil test recommendations, choose a fertilizer with the appropriate amounts of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash for your lawn. If a soil test indicates high levels of phosphorus and potassium availability, then a fertilizer supplying only nitrogen is necessary. Fertilizer analysis is described using three numbers (i.e., 12-4-8 or 46-0-0) indicating, respectively, the percent by weight of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P205), and potash (K20). For example, a 12-4-8 fertilizer would contain 12% nitrogen, 4% phosphate, and 8% potash by weight.
Mature lawns generally require more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium; therefore, ratios of 41-2 or 4-1-3 are commonly recommended. The nitrogen content in turf maintenance fertilizers is derived from either a quickly available or slowly available source. Quickly available sources are water soluble and can be readily utilized by the plant. They include ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium sulfate, and calcium nitrate. Slowly available sources contain water insoluble nitrogen (WIN) from urea formaldehyde (UF), UF based products (methylene ureas), sulfur coated urea, natural organic (bone meal, fish meal, dried blood, and animal manure), and activated sewage sludge. Slowly available nitrogen sources release nitrogen over extended periods of time and are applied less frequently and at somewhat higher rates than the quickly available nitrogen sources. It is less susceptible to leaching and is preferred on sandy soil types which tend to leach.
Warm-season Grasses. Warm season grasses, including bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and centipedegrass, perform best when fertilized between April 1 and August 15 in Virginia. Centipedegrass and mature zoysiagrass perform best at 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per year.
Cool-season Grasses. The best time to fertilize cool-season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue is mid- August through November. Excessive spring application of nitrogen to cool season grasses leads to excessive leaf growth at the expense of stored food reserves and root growth, increasing injury to lawns.
It is important to apply all fertilizers uniformly. This will eliminate streaks of different shades of green turf in the lawn caused by uneven application.
Drop-type or rotary fertilizer
spreaders are most
spreaders usually give better distribution where sharp turns
because they tend to cover a broader swath and fan the
fertilizer out at
the edges of the swath.
Indoor/Outdoor Fountain Tip: You get
what you pay for. Typically the usual fountain you buy at a discount
store will start out as a relatively quiet pump, but will
usually won't take long to become irritatingly loud. You will
also have problems with splash and splatter finding its way onto
other issues involving fountains that became clogged, covered with a
buildup of residue, or required frequent cleaning. Do yourself a favor
and buy from a dealer, who has first hand knowledge of them, and he
will point you in the direction that fits your needs and be long
|DECIDUOUS FRUIT TREES
Chestnuts, Fig, Grape, Loquat, Nectqrine, Peach, Pecan, Persimmon,
|To some who like beautiful
colors the whole summer long, plant a
hedge of yellow
pink spirea, and golden-leafed privet.
Hedges can be used to guide traffic, to delineate, to screen an undesirable view. The number of plants necessary is figured on the basis of the size the shrubs attain when they mature, remember that you do not need the biggest, most shapely, and most expensive.
Deciduous hedges generally provide screening only during the growing season. However some types, if pruned severely over a period of time, will form a dense tangle of twigs which provide a fair winter screen.
Evergreens, both broad and narrow leaf types, are effective year-round hedges since they remain beautiful even in winter.
Correct pruning of hedges during establishment is critical if you wish to have a functional and attractive hedge. Immediately after planting, cut back deciduous hedges to 6 to 8 inches above the soil line. This is done to develop branching, density, near the base of the hedge. While a variety of hedge shapes or forms are possible, it is necessary to have the base wider than the top. This allows the lower portion of the hedge to receive adequate light for the hedge to remain healthy. Proper cutting of the hedge can help develop the desired form and density.
Each time the hedge branches grows 12 inches, cut back the new growth 6 inches. Continue with this pruning until the hedge reaches the height you want. This will be a slow process and can take many years. If you live in an area with heavy snow, consider that evergreen hedges can cause snow to accumulate on the driveways or paths, as well as they can receive severe structural damage, especially if you have a heavy snow and then a big freeze. Also, heed caution, when attempting to plant a hedge on a hill, for they are at the mercy of hillside creep, as the hill slowly moves downward, it will warp your hedge. Excessive watering on the hill can also speed up the process. You want your hedge to have very strong and healthy deep roots.
Humus is made up of humic substances composed of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen. These include humic acids, fulvic acids, and humins in the soil that have fully broken down and is thus stable. Some Nitrogen may be present but not in any significant quantity. It Is used in organic gardening or just to improve the soil for flower gardens, humus or compost is composted of leaves, organic kitchen scraps, except "NO MEAT WASTE". These are added to a composter which should be placed in a sunny location, and water added from time to time. Humus appears at the bottom of the composter, it is black in color and is your organic gold for your gardens yield.
Your composter, which is constantly processing (cooking) and producing this composted 'Humus" matter. Adding raked up leaves and sometimes small twigs to keep the composted matter aerated. Adding a little nitrogen from time to time is also beneficial, as nitrogen is a key ingredient to the composting process. You can purchase it at your local nursery.
Humus is important because it retains moisture in the soil, loosens the soil permitting better aeration and drainage, and encourages the increase of soil organisms which help make nutrients available to plants. It adds body to light soil and loosens heavy, sticky soils. Humus also has a high exchange capacity, which means it acts as a veritable storehouse for plant nutrients, something that can be especially important when working with sandy soils."
Nearly every garden has room for a compost bin hidden by shrubbery or even a compost pile hidden somewhere in the yard. If you are using a pile, it can reach a height of 4 or 5 feet, but keep the top flat or indented so that it catches rainwater and stays moist enough to continue breaking down. If the season is dry, you should wet the pile occasionally with the hose. The steam escaping from your compost pile is an indication that it is "cooking" working.
One can speed up the process of composting by turning your
compost pile, or tumbling your compost bin. When the compost is loose
and crumbly and the materials that went into it have lost their
identity, then the compost is ready to go in your soil.
2 ounces of Listerine to 1
gallon of water to extend
the life of cut flowers, including
(you can also simply put in a teaspoon of sugar in the water, for a single vase)
Lady beetles are beneficial insects, predators of the insect world. Their larva are insatiable as they grow into adult beetles. They love to feed on a common landscape pest, the aphid. The larva looks nothing like the adult beetle, it has an alligator like appearance, and lacks wings. A single lady beetle will eat about 5000 aphids during it’s lifetime. They kill far more pest insects than the more widely known ‘praying’ mantid. There are over 350 species of lady beetles in North America.
Both the lady beetle larva and adult cause no harm to humans or pets. They do not bite or sting, cause structural problems to our homes, infest food and clothing, or carry diseases. Lady beetles have no natural enemies which is due to a liquid substance they emit from their bodies that smells bad, which in turn makes them taste bad to any other insect, bird, or animal. Try picking one up and see if you can smell the odor it secretes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released Asian lady beetles a few times from 1978 to 1981 in an attempt to introduce them to the eastern United States.
They were intended to be a biological control for aphids, scale insects and the hemlock wooly adelgid.
Mostly the Asian species is the one which becomes a nuisance every fall when they look for places to hibernate. Normally they live in trees and shrubs, but as winter approaches they fly above the trees in search of sheltered places to over winter together. Homes and buildings that are surrounded by trees and woods have more problems with large masses of beetles than those in more urban areas. The beetles are attracted to light colored buildings and even more to bright light and that is why they tend to congregate on the sunny side of structures. To attract each other to an ideal site they secrete a chemical known as "aggregating pheromone". The pheromone is like a chemical map leading them in and building up their numbers.
Once the group forms the beetles begin to look for shelter and that is why they enter buildings. They will go to any side of a building now, not only the sunny side. They can be found in the cracks of foundations, under roof shingles, around window and door frames, in wood piles, under siding or soffits, in attics or light fixtures, fan vents and other safe places. As winter ends the beetles slowly emerge on warm days and congregate once again to mate, then fly off to trees and shrubs to lays eggs and resume feeding. This mating period is usually interrupted at night when temperatures drop. After a week or two most of the beetles have emerged, mated and moved back to the trees and shrubs.
LAWN WEED CONTROL
Weeds detract from the beauty of lawns due to the contrast in color and texture between the desired grass plants and the weeds. In addition, weeds compete with the desired grass plants for available water and nutrients, usually resulting in thinning of desirable plant cover.
Weedy grasses and broadleaf weeds are further divided into groups according to the plants' length of life. Perennial weeds have a life of more than two years, though new seeds may be produced every year. Biennial weeds have a life of two years, generally storing up food reserves in the leaves and roots the first year and producing seed in the second year. The biennial weeds often are grouped with perennial weeds since control is similar. Annual weeds germinate from seed, grow, flower, and produce seed in less than one year. Summer annuals germinate in the spring and mature in the fall, whereas winter annuals germinate in fall or late winter and mature in late spring.
Effective control of weeds in turf is based on correct identification. Many books and charts are available to help in identifying common lawn weeds. Grassy weeds, like crabgrass, can quickly overtake bare spots and make turf establishment difficult. While there are several pre-emergence (before the weeds appear) herbicides on the market that prevent grabgrass germination, these chemicals can also severely damage or kill the germinating turfgrass.
A totally weed-free lawn is rarely attainable, even with herbicides. It is better to maintain a healthy lawn and tolerate a few weeds rather than to make many applications of herbicides in an attempt to eliminate all weeds. Indiscriminate use of herbicides can cause problems for trees and other landscape plants, it is also expensive in terms of money and your time.
Post emergent herbicides (either Granular or liquid) can control existing broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, clover, thistle and bindweed. Post emergent herbicides do not prevent weed seeds from germinating and reinvesting a lawn
For effective control, do not apply if rain is expected within 24 hours of application. For best results, do not mow the turf or water for at least 24 hours following application of either granular or liquid products, otherwise you are simply wasting your money and time as the product will simply end up in the soil and not on the weed. Also, the warmer the day the better, ideally over 60 degrees. If you are using a Granular herbicides, You want to apply the product while the turf has dew on it, (preferably in the morning, application of granular products to dry turf generally controls few weeds) so it will adhere to the grass. Weeds must be actively growing when the herbicides are applied. Applications should take place in the spring from mid-April through early June, and fall applications in September and October.
Do not apply either if rain is expected within 24 hours of application. For best results, do not mow the turf or water for at least 24 hours following application of either granular or liquid products.
There are numerous good liquid and granular herbicides available, simply follow the directions closely and you will have few weed to deal with.
One good way to prevent weeds from popping up in your garden it to install weed mat when the bed is first prepared for planting. Weed mat is sold at most garden centers, in gardening catalogs, and on the internet. Simply spread the mat over your flower bed or garden, tack it down (the tacks usually come with the matting), and cover with mulch, wood chips, or rock. When you want to plant a flower, shrub, or vegetable plant, simply remove covering from an area and cut a hole in the mat. This is easiest when planting potted plants and shrubs. It can be a pain to plant seeds in a garden/bed with weed matting. Another negative of weed mat is that it can be very expensive.
Preventing weed growth. Only one pre-emergence chemical is available for use by homeowners in "landscape beds ". Trifluralin (e.g., Preen) is a granular product that may be applied to beds, including a wide array of annuals, once soil is firmly settled around the plants. Thoroughly water in the granules immediately after applying. Failing this, most of the chemical will vaporize and weed control will not be achieved. Weed control from the product is fairly short-lived, approximately 6 weeks. Trifluralin is particularly useful in annual plantings that will cover bare soil within a six week period, eliminating the need for reapplication. If the customer wishes to use mulch with this product, it is preferable to apply the mulch over the herbicide layer.
Non selective weed control. Glyphosate (e.g., Roundup, Kleeraway) is the best-known chemical for non selective weed control. It is the safest, and most effective product for perennial weed control because it is translocated, which means it moves into the plant and down to roots. Do not allow the glyphosate solution to drip onto ornamentals.
Products containing Triclopyr (Ortho Brush-B-Gone) are more effective than Roundup on woody perennials and vines like poison ivy; however they must be used even more cautiously near ornamentals as a spot treatments only. Other non-selective products are available that are excellent for controlling annual weeds. Products containing diquat or glufosinate-ammonium (Finale) are useful for spot weed control along beds and patios. An advantage to these products is that they kill weeds more quickly than glyphosate, but are less effective on perennials. With the exception of triclopyr, the above-mentioned non-selective products may be used for site preparation. After weeds are thoroughly killed there is no concern with soil residual from those products.
Total vegetation control. A few soil sterilants are available that kill all vegetation present and prevent re-growth for relatively long periods of time (e.g., sodium chlorate). These products are very hazardous to ornamentals and are intended for use under fences, gravel paths or similar situations. They should not be used where roots of trees grow into the treated area.
Typically, it is best to pull your garden into rows if you wish to plant vegetables. Although mulch and weed mat can be used, a good potato or garden rake is most effective in controlling weeds in your vegetable garden. All you have to do is rake the weeds down once a week. For the sides of the rows, use an up and down stroke with the rake. This not only pulls up the weeds, but areates the soil, promoting healthier plants. You can also use selective herbicides that will kill weeds, but not your vegetable plants. Make sure to always read the labels to see how long you have to wait to harvest vegetables after application.
|In the 17th century and earlier, when plants were widely used as medicine, getting a name wrong could have fairly serious consequences. For this and other reasons, a Swedish botanist named Carl Linné (Carolus Linnaeus) invented a comprehensive scheme for naming all living creatures, at the same time grouping them according to natural relationships. This system, which is still in use, is called binomial|
|Cut Flower Tip: Make greenery last longer, cut fresh greenery in the early morning or evening while it is moist and immediately submerge greenery in water after cutting. If you are not using greens (fresh picked or bought) immediately, smash the end of each branch with a hammer and return to water until needed: this keeps the veins open to absorb water.|
Source: Purdue University
Easter Lily (Very dangerous for Cats)
Dumbcane (Aroid Family)
Yellow, White Sweetclover
Green False Hellebore
Poinsettia, Christmas Plant
Star of Bethlehem
When you are in the planning
of your landscaping, make sure you're
providing something of interest in each of the four seasons. Your
landscaping begins with a well
researched plant and tree selection plan. Your goal is to have lawns,
flowering trees ( such as japanese maple, which will provide for shade
in the summer and beautiful colors in the fall) and/or shrubs
throughout spring and summer, fall foliage in autumn and
good structure in winter. Consider using different accessories,
arbors, bird feeders, ornaments, yard benches and chairs, artificial or
fountains (normally in the back yard). Vases as well as plants that can
help add to the landscaping, complementing each other. They create a
contrast against the natural elements of a garden such as shrubs and
trees. This applies to both the front and rear landscaping of your home.
Before planting, arrange plants while still in nursery pots to map out an interesting arrangement. You are looking for a natural and eye pleasing feel. Consider parings, using a blue spruce and red cedar. Planting your japanese maple and other fall peaking plants get a boost when planted against evergreens. Utilizing pigmy type trees at the back of your yard helps to establish vistas.
Site your plants with bright fall colors where they will get direct sun, at least part of the day. Placing colorful plants in the shade will cause them to appear washed out.
In your back yard you want to create a calm and serene look, This is obtained by using green as your primary foliage. You want the greens and added dashed colors to creep on to your walks and borders. A manicured look is not conducive to a relaxed atmosphere, as well as it keeps maintenance to a minimum. Plant your annuals and perennials in borders at the front and (against your home) back of your home, great backdrop.. Do not plant any bush or tree up against your home, that will later become a nuisance due to it size and darkening effect. Keep trees and large bushes, a respectable distance from your home.
The genus lavendula comes in many different shapes, sizes, and degrees of hardiness. Lavender thrives in full sun and well-drained soils with a pH of 7.0 to 7.3. The hardiest varieties have no trouble surviving in zone 4 while many of the tender species will not withstand a frost.
There are hundreds of lavender varieties around the world with perhaps 50 regularly found in commerce. They vary in many ways. Colors range from deep purple to blue, pink and white. They can be as small as 12 inches high to as large as 3 feet in diameter. The earliest ones bloom in late May in our region while the latest don’t show their flowers until the second week of July. Leaves can be quite green or almost silver.
The major reason for all of this variation is that lavender hybridizes very easily. If you want a true copy of an existing plant, you’ll need one that has been propagated by a cutting. With lavender grown from seed, there is a very real chance that you will get a plant that is close to, but not the same as, the parent plant. This may not matter a great deal if you are only planting one or two lavenders in your garden; however, if you are putting in a hedge and want all of your plants to have the same color and be in bloom at the same time, it may make a great deal of difference.
The hardiest lavenders are the L. angustifolia family, sometimes called English lavender. These plants have small smooth leaves; they usually grow 18 to 24 inches high and 15 to 20 inches in diameter. There are several hundred angustifolia varieties available commercially including the old standbys Hidcote and Munstead. These plants tend to bloom in June on 6 to 8 inch stems; some, including Madeline Marie, Rebecca Kay, and Two Amys, have excellent second blooms from late August until frost. They survive our winters very nicely.
A second group of hardy lavenders are the L. X intermedia varieties which are also called lavindins. These hybrids tend to be larger than the angustifolas with some, Grappenhall and Dutch, for example, averaging two feet high and three feet in diameter.The intermedias are somewhat less winter hardy than the angustifolias.
Many different plants carry the common name "lily" in their descriptions, such as "lily-of-the-valley" and "day lily." The true lily is in the genus Lilium, and has many separate species such as the elegant regal lily, Lilium regale. True lilies have bulbs with a basal plate that roots emerge from, and the bulbs are fragile and easily bruised.
True lilies don't ever quite go dormant. They must be packed
protective material like sawdust or peat moss for handling and
shipping. Plant them as soon after buying as possible. Do not unpack
them and leave them to dry out in open air. If they must be stored,
place them in the packing materials in the vegetable compartment of a
refrigerator, never allowing them to freeze. Once a lily bulb dries
out, or freezes, it will not grow properly.
Planting lilies successfully isn't difficult. The one key point is to settle them in well-drained spots in the garden, in soil thoroughly amended with compost. Lily bulbs are vulnerable to rotting in wet spots, so choose a place with perfect drainage. (If a hole full of water drains out at the rate of about 1/2-1 inch an hour, that's good.) If the drainage is poor and the area you have in mind for lilies stays soggy day after day, plant the lilies in large containers, allowing at least 2 gallons of soil for each lily.
Dig at least 12 inches down, loosening the soil. Plant lily bulbs 6 to 10 inches deep, depending on the size of the bulb, putting loose fertile soil above the bulb as well as below it. In the spring, when shoots appear, apply a balanced fertilizer such as a 5-10-10. Mark the planting location careful, because lily shoots emerge late in the spring and it's easy to forget the planting spot. It's dismaying to plunge a shovel into an apparently empty spot and come up with half a destroyed lily bulb.
Lilies will bloom from early June through August. The earliest to open are the Asiatics, brightly colorful and intriguing, from about 1 foot to 4 feet in height. Asiatic lilies lack fragrance but have great garden presence in a full range of sunset colors. They grow beautifully in containers, and would develop for June bloom if planted in containers now.
In July and August, Trumpet, Aurelian, and Oriental hybrids produce great showy flowers. These plants grow from 2 to 8 feet, or even taller depending on the variety. They shine in many different colors (primarily rose, pink, yellow, cream, and whites). Fragrance makes these later lilies stand out from nearly all other garden flowers: they accompany their beauty with sublime perfume.
One of the most popular Orientals is 'Casablanca,' a pure white with petal quality like slubbed silk shantung, and a deep penetrating scent. Another striking group of Oriental lilies includes 'Imperial Gold Strain' and 'Imperial Silver Strain.' The Imperials have distinct freckled spots on pure white petals and a spicy fragrance.
Plant between February and about the end of March. With care these plants will settle in and return yearly, growing into larger clumps as they become perennial garden residents. These glorious flowers repay their small initial investment with wonderful returns to the gardeners.
|Paperbark maple, Acer griseum, is one of my favorite trees. This slow-growing tree offers a cinnamon colored, peeling bark on the trunk and branches. It is a slow grower, but certainly worth the wait. It likes part shade to full sun and reaches about 20-25'. It's not fussy about soil, but don't place it in a really dry location. Well drained soils are best. This is a great selection for a specimen tree or focal point in the garden where the tree bark and color will be visited on a more personal level.|
MULCHMulch retains moisture, and can reduce water use by as much as 50 percent, retards weeds, provides (organic mulches break down to add organic matter to the soil) nutrients, controls erosion and insulates the soil protecting plants from extreme temperature changes and used decoratively, can showcase your garden plants.
Mulch is any material placed over soil in the garden
Mulching basics 101:
The most common Organic mulches in the United States are cedar, hardwood bark and pine and cypress. Hardwood and pine mulches will break down and release nutrients into your soil. Cypress and cedar mulches break down extremely slow. so, the benefits are primarily for decorative use, holding moisture, controlling erosion and retarding weed growth. Pine bark mulch holds up the longest and is best for your plants and soil.
Most common are shredded bark and bark chunks. Bark mulches resist compaction, will not blow away, are very attractive, and are readily available. Some shredded barks, such as cypress, decompose slowly. Bark chunks (also called nuggets or decorative bark) decompose most slowly but do tend to wash away.
Mulch that has not been aged can be toxic to plants due to the formation of organic acids during the decomposition process, and, if placed too close to tender stems, will harm or kill plants. Aged product will do a lot to ensure that your valuable plants will not be harmed.
Sawdust is low in nitrogen, so it robs nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. Therefore, more nitrogen fertilizer may be needed. It is useful in acidifying the soil around rhododendrons and other acid-loving plants.
Straw makes a great winter mulch for the vegetable garden. It is inexpensive, suppresses weeds, conserves moisture, and insulates well. Although it is not very attractive, usually containing crop seeds, and is extremely flammable. It is important to purchase "straw" rather than "hay," as hay contains many weed seeds. Mulch 6 to 8 inches deep.
Inorganic mulches, often of stone or plastics, tend to stay in place, do not rob the soil of nitrogen, and do not harbor weed seeds. However, they have numerous disadvantages when used in the garden. Stone mulches can migrate down into the soil in time, making future digging difficult. Light-colored stones can reflect heat onto plants, scorching sensitive plants. Stones also tend to work free of beds and can be thrown by lawn mowers, potentially causing injury. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage, however, is that these mulches do not contribute organic matter to your soil.
Another option is the synthetic rubber mulches (shredded tires/ metal removed) now available. they last 4 times longer than wood mulches and they will not rot or compact. They do not attract ants termites and other insects. These products come in colors that match all of the organic mulches. They are 4-5 times heavier than wood mulches and inhibit growth of molds and fungi, therefore, reducing "most" allergy risk.
For maximum effectiveness with only a thin mulch layer, look for fine textured mulches such as twice shredded bark, compost, or cocoa hulls. For an airy mulch, try thicker layers of coarse-textured mulches such as straw or bark chunks.
|Tip: If you want to plant flowers under a tree, make sure the flowers are going to fourish in the shade.|
|PURCHASING SOIL IN BULK
|When does a gardener buy bulk
soil? When no other options exist. Lets say you just moved, it is
already early spring,
and the only good garden spot on your property is rock hard clay or
gravel. In this case it makes sense to order a few
dump truck loads of good soil.
Expensive? Not really. Depending on your location, the average price for top quality soil should not exceed $30-$35 a cubic yard, with an average price of about $15 to $22 a cubic yard. If you have a 50 x 20 foot garden, the cost to cover this area with 9 inches of soil would be roughly $550 at $20 a yard. No rototilling and you can start planting right away!
So how do you know where to buy and what to buy? You would be best to use a soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 (good for most plants, but you should have an idea of what you want to plant and the optimal pH) with lots of organic matter. The best way to locate a good source is other gardeners and nurseries in your community. Good soil producers are usually well known in any given community, so you are best to start by asking the people who know best - fellow gardeners and professionals.
I would personally recommend talking to at least 5 nurseries and 4 or 5 gardeners before deciding on who to buy from. If 7 out 10 recommend one particular supplier, it is probably a good bet the soil will be good.
Select Your Mix: Once you have sourced out a good supplier. It is just a matter of deciding exactly how you want your soil mixed. Yes mixed. Most soil suppliers can mix sand, peat or other components into your soil at specified percentages. Check with your supplier to find out what options they offer and the costs. Do make sure you buy screened soil, which has roots, rocks, and other naturally occurring debris removed.
Delivery: After deciding on the mix and settled on a price (make sure delivery cost are included), it is time to arrange a delivery date. This is critical! Check your local weather forecast and try to arrange delivery when weather is expected to be good and it has not been raining for at least a few days prior. Why? Chances are your garden will be in the backyard and if the delivery truck must cross your lawn, you do not want the ground wet or moist - a fully loaded dump truck is very heavy and may leave deep tracks in your yard (expect some compression even in dry weather). If you can avoid travel over your lawn - even better. You will also want to distribute your soil as soon as you can in dry weather. A pile of topsoil left for even a few days will begin to compact under its own weight. If it rains, you will need to have tarps on hand as well - if the weather looks bad on delivery day, it may not hurt to buy a few cheap tarps to cover up.
Word of Caution: Two important things to be aware of, power lines near the dump zone and under ground drainage or sewage pipes. Keep in mind that the dump truck will have to raise its box completely to empty the load of soil. Be sure to select a dumping area where power lines are not a hazard. If the dump truck must cross your property, you will want to avoid travel over buried sewage or drainage lines - soil compression could crush these (it is not likely - just possible).
If any of the above are a serious concern, ask your supplier if they have smaller delivery trucks. You may pay more for the extra delivery trips, but you reduce the chance of damage to your property or equipment. Alternately, Soil can be dumped on a driveway and hauled over with a garden tractor or wheel barrow - this is heavy work and may not be an option if you are building a large garden.
Now is the time to get shovels, hoes and pruners sharpened to a fine edge. While your are at it, buy a second mower blade so you'll have a new, sharp blade on the mower while the second is being sharpened. Turf mowed with a dull blade injures the grass and opens the door to disease and costly corrective action
Knowing when to start seeds
indoors takes some backward thinking. Find out the average date of the
last frost in your area and the number of weeks before that date you
should start a particular seed (the number of weeks varies and is
listed on the seed package). Then count backwards on the calendar from
the average last frost date. Most seeds should be started six to eight
weeks before the last frost date. Some seeds can be started a few weeks
before it, while others may need a lead-time of 12 to 14 weeks.
Information on the seed packet is your best guide in knowing when to
sow. As a general rule, sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the
last frost date. Some smaller-seeded annuals -- such as petunias,
snapdragons, and begonias -- need more time to reach transplant size.
Time indoor plantings so that your seedlings do not outgrow their
containers before it is time to plant them out in the garden. Seedlings
kept indoors too long will be weak; they will grow slowly and bloom
For successful seed starting, it is vital to start with healthy seed. Buy packets of fresh seed from a catalog or your local garden center. Look for the phrase, "Packed for . . …" somewhere on the packet; for best results the date should be the current year. Packets from mail order catalogs may not be dated. Be sure to write the year of the purchase on these packets for future reference. Easy seeds for beginners include marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, coleus, nasturtiums and cosmos.
Buy a commercial seed starting mix, or make your own with equal parts of vermiculite, milled sphagnum moss, and perlite. Put the mix in a plastic bucket or basin, add a bit of warm water and stir. Keep adding water until the mix is evenly moist. Squeeze a handful lightly-only a few drops of water should ooze out. If the mix is too wet, add more dry mix.
Containers for seed starting should be 2 ½ - 3 inches tall. Use commercial seed starting containers or recycled household items like milk cartons, yogurt cups, or aluminum pans. Whatever you choose be sure to punch holes in the bottom for drainage.
To plant your seeds, fill your containers to the top with the moist mix. Tap on a hard service to settle it a bit. Scatter small seeds evenly over the surface. If the seed should be covered (according to the seed packet), gently press seeds into the mix and scatter a little mix over the seed. Use the flat of your fingertips to lightly press the mix down and level it. For larger seeds use a pencil eraser to push the seed down to the desired depth. Many seedlings look alike, so be sure to label. Frozen dessert sticks are ideal.
Watering: Keep the moisture level moist during germination, as well as after germination and during the growing phase. Never soak your seeds or seedlings. Seeds that are kept too wet or too dry may fail to grow.
Temperature: The recommended soil temperature range for most seeds started indoors is 75 degrees F to 90 degrees F. If room temperature is about 70 degrees F, you may need to place containers in a warm spot, such as near a kitchen stove, heat vent, or on top of the refrigerator. A seedling heat mat is ideal. Seedling heat mats are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from garden centers or catalogs. After germination, slightly cooler temperatures will slow down growth and result in stockier plants. Seedlings kept too warm will grow too fast and get weak and leggy.
Light: Light levels are critical. Most seed do not need light to germinate, but as soon as they sprout, they need to be in a south facing window. Most seedlings need 12-14 hours of direct light.
As seedlings develop their first set of true leaves (after the initial seed leaves), the containers will become crowded and you will need to thin them. Keep the largest healthiest plants and pull out the unwanted plants or cut off their stems at soil level, leaving at least an inch of space between the remaining seedlings.
Since soilless mixes may contain no nutrients start feeding seedlings with half strength liquid fertilizer. You may need to transplant your seedlings into larger pots if they start to get crowded and it is still too early to plant them outdoors. At least one week before planting in the garden, place the plants outdoors for an hour or two each day in a protected spot to "harden/acclimate" the plants. Gradually increase the time that they spend outdoors, but be sure to protect the plants from too much wind and hot sun. Check the moisture level of the plants at least once daily to make sure they do not dry out too quickly while adjusting to the outdoors. Finally, try to transplant the new plants to the garden on a cloudy day to minimize transplant shock.Vegetable seeds do well being started indoors. You can do head lettuce as well as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, canteloupe, squash, watermelon, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower & pumpkin. Anything that has a long growing season does well with a jump start by seeding it indoors first. You need to have an indoor temperature of 60 to 75 degrees for most seeds to germinate.germination test. A germination test is a simple gardening technique that involves nothing more than the seeds, some absorbent paper towels, a spray bottle, water, a zip lock bag and a warm spot.
Gardeners to find themselves with half-used and undated packets of favorite flower and vegetable varieties. How to know if these seeds are still viable when they are planted in the garden?
Viability is the seed’s capability to grow and develop. One way to test a seed’s viability, and thus to avoid wasting time and garden space (if the seeds prove to be no good), is to run a germination test. A germination test is a simple gardening technique that involves nothing more than the seeds, some absorbent paper towels, a spray bottle, water, a zip lock bag and a warm spot.
To begin testing for germination, spread a paper towel on a water proof surface and wet down with warm water, using a spray bottle or some similar spraying device. Don’t make the towel too wet. If water beads up around your fingertip when you press on the towel, it is too wet.
As few as ten seeds are usually sufficient to accurately test for germination, although you can use more if you have them. Evenly space the seeds on the paper towel keeping them about two inches from the edges. Carefully roll or fold them up in the towel so they are encased in a long, narrow strip of wet paper and slip the whole thing into the zip lock bag. Seal the bag and mark it carefully, especially if more than one kind of seed or variety is being tested at the same time.
Place the bag in a warm spot. The most rapid seed germination occurs when temperatures remain consistently between 70 and 80 degrees. Suitable places for seed germination in the average home include the top of a hot-water heater or refrigerator, near a wood stove or on a high shelf near a hot-air vent. Make sure the paper towel inside the plastic bag remains damp during the entire testing period, moistening it if it shows signs of drying out.
Make the first germination check after two or three days. Keep checking at regular intervals to note the rate of seed germination. Most viable seeds will germinate within two to three weeks, and some will sprout much sooner. For example, seeds of the cabbage family will often sprout in two days while carrot seeds can take up to three weeks. It has also been my observation that the seeds of cold weather plants like broccoli and cauliflower will sprout earlier than the seeds of more heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers if seed-tested in March or April.
The test is completed when the majority of the seeds have germinated and several days have passed since the last sprouting. A germination rate of 7% or more indicates that the seeds are viable and can be planted normally in the garden.
Any number below that should throw up a caution flag. This doesn’t mean that the seeds cannot be planted, only that they need to be given some extra considerations.
For one thing, these seeds should be given high priority for planting in this year’s garden as they will only be less viable next year. Some experts say that seeds lose 30% of their viability each year. Another way these seeds can still be used successfully is to over plant them. Using this technique, more seeds are planted in a given space increasing the germination rate significantly.
Seeds with germination rates of 3% or lower should probably be discarded. Not only will the germination rate be low, but even the seeds that do manage to sprout will probably be less vigorous and more prone to pests and diseases.
In deciding whether to use older seeds, it is also a good idea to know the various longevity rates of different seeds. For example, seeds of the cabbage family, cucumber, eggplant, spinach, squash and watermelon can be used up to five years from packaging, while corn is best used within one or two years. Seeds of larkspur, Sweet William, and aster are relatively short-lived, too, and not usually viable after two years. Marigold seeds can last for three years, and zinnia and nasturtium seeds for up to seven years.
|PRE-SPRING TUNE UP
|SUDDEN OAK DEATH (SOD)
|Sudden Oak Death is a tree and
plant disease which mostly affects Oaks. It began to appear in
California and in Europe in 1995. SOD has spread through 16 counties in
California, even infecting redwood trees. SOD was first discovered in
Oregon in 2001. Oregon recently reported the good news that the disease
has been contained on 88 acres of land. Currently there are around 39
states affected by this disease. Its origins are not known. SOD is made
up of three parts: the first is a fungus pathogen called Phytophthora
ramorum; it destroys the vascular system of the tree. The second part
is actually three beetles: two different types of Oak ambrosia beetles
and one Oak bark beetle. They weaken the health of the tree. And the
third is another fungus called Hypoxylon thouarsianum; this decays the
It can spread from mud on peoples' shoes, bike tires, cars, and forest animals. Even from irrigation water from infected streams. The most common way it is spread though, is through rain splashes from other infected trees.
Why should we worry about SOD here in Maryland? Some of the nurseries from California that are importing plants to Maryland may have been infected by SOD. There are over 60 different species of plants that are affected by SOD. Maryland has many possible hosts, including Douglas fir, oak, western starflower, rhododendron, lilac, mountain laurel, camellia, and viburnum. Because Maryland has so many hosts for this disease, SOD could kill thousands of our trees and plants, devastating our forests, and changing the landscape. However, only plants bought and planted within the last two years could be hosts.
For trees, symptoms of bleeding or oozing can occur on the outer bark-usually on the lower 6 feet of the trunk. Cankers in the inner bark could occur as well, surrounded by a black line. For other plants, there could be leaf spots, leaf drop, tip dieback and stem lesions. These are symptoms of many other diseases, so unless you have bought and planted one of the host plants within the last two years, it is unlikely that your plant has SOD.
What treatments are there for SOD? One way is to use chemicals on trees and plants, which is helping slow down the disease; California uses this method. Oregon's method is to cut and burn around the perimeter where plants and trees are affected, stopping the disease from spreading elsewhere. Since, (in Maryland) very few infected plants have been reported, Maryland is using prevention as a control. To prevent the disease from spreading throughout the country, all nursery plants known to harbor the disease in California and Oregon are inspected before being shipped to other states. Some nurseries have been quarantined. Any plants that are found infected will be destroyed.
| Much like the river birch,
this tree is also native and seen along creek banks. This tree is a
large shade tree, adapting well to wet soils as well as well drained
soils. It too has a peeling bark, white and gray in color, making a
very interesting addition to your winter landscape. Its heavy branching
structure makes it an exciting tree in the yard.
The sycamore will reach to 100' if kept healthy. However, this particular tree does have some issues. It readily gets a disease called anthracnose. This will cause early defoliation of the tree as early as August. The best defense against this disease it to keep the leaves and twigs that fall to the ground cleaned up. This will reduce the likelihood of re-infestation. Anthracnose typically does not kill the sycamore, but with yearly attacks of this disease, will cause the tree to become weak, and other insects, disease or cultural damage like drought may take this tree out. It is a relatively fast growing tree, and may be a selection for quick shade.
(In your Garden)
Gardening, perhaps could be considered one of the safest hobbies one could pursue. After all just how risky is potting a plant, tossing some compost with a pitchfork or even pruning the berry bushes be? It sure isn't skydiving or hang gliding by any means. So we're almost perfectly safe aren't we?WRONG!
is a bacteria that may enter the body through a puncture wound or
scratch. Just the type wounds we receive every day while working garden
or eventually will. It's the tetanus bacteria and it thrives only in
the absence of oxygen. Tetanus bacteria are found everywhere in the
environment - - the soil, street dust, and in animal intestines and
feces - natural immunity to the disease is rare.
Any puncture wound, especially one that is deep, can be infected with tetanus. Animal scratches and bites, animal feces and saliva and the soil are all potential breeding grounds for tetanus. Infection can develop in wounds in which the flesh is torn or burned or wounds or as trivial as thorns or splinters.
Since adults 50 years or older account for 70 percent of tetanus infections, mature people should make certain they have received boosters within the last 10 years. If they don't know whether they were immunized as children, the primary series of shots should be completed.
Some individuals may be protected for life against tetanus after a properly administered primary series of vaccinations, but in most people antitoxin levels fall with time. This is the purpose of the buster shot every 10 years. "We are now recommending an adult immunization visit at age 50 years" says Roland W. Sutter, M.D. medical epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "when people can check their records to see if they are actually up-to-date with vaccinations, particularly for Td." he continues, "Quite a number of older persons haven't received the primary series. If they haven't been immunized, this visit serves as an opportunity to initiate the series."
In some individuals, antibody levels may fall too low to provide protection before 10 years have passed. That's why people who sustain a deep or contaminated wound should receive a booster does if it has been more than five years since last dose.
Immunization is especially recommended for:
The most frequent symptom is stiff jaw, caused by spasm of the muscle that closes the mouth, accounting for the disease's familiar name "lockjaw." Muscle stiffness all over the body may follow. An infected person may also have other symptoms: difficulty swallowing, restlessness and irritability, stiff neck, arms or legs, fever, headache, and sore throat. As the disease progresses, the victim may develop a fixed smile and raised eyebrows due to facial muscle spasms.
These are serious symptoms and require immediate medical attention. So if you are about to start your yard work make sure you are current on your immunization schedule. Please consult with your family doctor right away in the event of an injury. If you want to get up to date visit the Adult Immunization Clinic for your booster.
When opening a new garden bed, dig it to about eight inches, removing clods and stones as you go. Add no more than 1-1/4 inches of organic matter (compost and/or aged barnyard manure) plus any other fertilizers or supplements that the soil analysis recommends, and dig in evenly.
Early spring is a great time for transplanting trees and shrubs, but you must do so before they come out of dormancy. Transplanting is a shock experience for the plant if it is not in dormant. Remember that young healthy plants transplant the easiest
Dormancy starts in the fall as soon as you experience a good hard freeze, and your plants remain dormant until the weather warms up in the spring. This is when one should so any transplant, while the plants are asleep. You can transplant in the spring up until the plants leaf out. When the buds are green and swollen you are usually safe to still transplant, but once the leaf develops, you should wait until fall.Shrubs can be dug up and transplanted bare root, but, keep them out of the ground for as short a time as possible, making sure to keep the roots damp while out of the ground. Make sure there are no air pockets around the roots when you replant them. When possible, it is always better to dig a ball of earth with the plants when you transplant them.
When transplanting, Don’t be afraid of cutting a few roots, this is called root pruning, and when the roots are severed, the plant then develops lateral roots to make up for what is lost. These lateral roots are more fibrous in nature, and have more ability to pick up water and nutrients.
Occasionally when a tree transplant is not taking, some have been known to take a stick and hit the side of the trunk, though not bashing it and destroying the bark, you are just attempting to stimulate it, this apparently helps to get the sap moving.
Myth #1 Before planting a tree, prune living branches so the crown size is in balance with the root ball.
Myth #2 Planting trees deep encourages strong, deep roots.
Myth #3 Always stake trees after planting.
Myth #4 Thick mulch layer is good for trees.
Myth #5 Trees continuously grow forming wood from bud break to leaf drop.
Myth #6 Ants contribute to tree decay.
Myth #7 Tree wounds can heal.
Myth #8 Topping is good for trees.
Myth #9 Wounds & pruning cuts should be have tree wound paint applied to aid healing.
Myth #10 Make pruning cuts flush with remaining branch or trunk.
Truth: Flush cuts destroy the tree cells that seal off the wound from the healthy part of the tree. Pruning cuts should be made on the outside of the branch collar. The branch collar is identified by a raised ring of bark that is formed when trunk and branch bark meet and push up slightly.
|A cultivar is simply an artificially contrived species not found naturally in nature. The voluminous varieties of roses we now encounter are good examples, as are lilies and daisies.|
You will have to check out the area you are attempting to grow your vegetable garden in, so you time and effort is not wasted.. Some areas simply are not conducive to some vegetable types. pick up an inexpensive book at your local nursery, it will provide you with a wealth of information.
You don’t need a large area to have a vegetable garden, but you do need Sun, since vegetables need a good 6 or more hours of sun light each day. Vegetables require regular watering. Without regular water, vegetables will not fill out and grow normally. The Soil is the final consideration and it is essential. Vegetables need a soil rich in organic matter. Soil is important to the growth of all plants, but more so with vegetables, because even taste is affected by the quality of the soil. Also, remove rocks in your garden. The vegetables will grown in odd shapes or be dwarf, it they come in contact with them.
It will be to your benefit to work in a good fertilizer or use your own compost. Sowing into routine soil will usually not have the necessary minerals to create hearty delicious vegetables. A healthy vegetable garden can provide an abundance of nutritious, delicious food, and can also be wonderfully decorative and ornamental addition to your yard.
Furrow Planting: You will use a hoe to create a straight furrow in the soil, placing a couple of seeds every couple of inches along the furrow and then use the hoe to re-cover the furrow with soil. Plants are easier to weed and to thin out when they're in a straight line.
Random Sowing: With leafy vegetables like lettuce, you can simply sprinkle the seeds over the soil and then sprinkle enough soil over the seeds to cover them up. Water careful with you watering, it is best to water with a sprayer or small watering can, as too much moisture will flush them out of the bed.
Seed Strips: These are small tiny seeds of certain vegetables like radishes and carrots on paper seed strips. You simply stretch the tape out, lay it in the furrow and cover it up. Much faster than dealing with the tiny seeds. No need to worry about the seed strip as it will decompose as the seeds sprout.
Transplants, Starts, Seedlings These are vegetables started from seed indoors, separated into small containers and then brought outside for planting in the garden. They're most commonly used in colder climates with shorter growing seasons, and they're planted by removing them from their containers, setting them in a small hole and covering their footballs with soil.
Do read the directions on your seed packages.
In some certain fast-growing vegetables, such as like lettuce, radishes and broccoli, you can possibly get two or more crops out of the same part of your vegetable garden. Once your first crop has matured, remove the debris after harvesting and then re-plant in the same area.
Assuming your garden gets enough sun, then you only need to do is make sure your vegetables get about an inch of water every week. Your yield depends on your soil, water and sunlight and your weeding.
Very few events in gardening are as rewarding as your own crop.
No real vegetable garden is complete without lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, corn, onions, zucchini and so, the list goes on.
Easy garden fruits to improve your
gardening and create
great harvest results, in addition to your vegetables..
|Invasive Plants: This term sounds threatening, and it can be. Such trees, shrubs, and vines tend to spread quickly by roots, seeds, shoots, or all three. Left unchecked, they can literally take over an area, choking out other desirable plantings. Honeysuckle, Norway maple trees (because of prolific seed distribution), and many ivies are problematic, invasive plants.|
Floating Row Covers in your vegetable garden.
Floating row covers are made of a breathable white cloth that lets light and water through (not just plain clear plastic) and they literally "float" over the plants as the wind and air move them about. You can get them at most garden supply catalogs or nurseries.
They shield plants from frost and pests while letting in sunlight, water and air Soft polypropylene fibers are less abrasive to tender plants than polyester covers. They last about 20 weeks. They also aid in germination and protect from insects.
Cut to fit over your plants by using pvc pipe that is bent over the plants to form "hoops", or use wooden stakes set into the ground at spaced intervals. Basically you can use anything you want, just as long as it keeps the material up and off the plants. Remove the cover when daytime temps are consistently above 80° F (27° C).
Lawns are best watered by sprinklers. The deeper the wetting, the deeper the roots will grow. Deep-rooted grass plants are much healthier and better able to withstand drought stress. Grass should be watered when the soil begins to dry out, but before it actually begins to wilt. Grass should be irrigated when it begins to be less resilient and springy and does not bounce back up after being walked on.
Ideal Overhead sprinklers for Lawns:
Rotary, Pulse, whirling-head sprinklers.
Irrigation schedules should be kept flexible and associated with identification of lawn wilting. Choose a sprinkler that best fits your lawn size and shape. The amount of water a sprinkler applies should be determined to accurately water lawns
Watering Flower beds:
Trickle or drip irrigation systems allow slow water penetration into the root zone with minimum surface wetting.
Spraying. Newly planted plants will benefit by occasionally spraying the foliage during the day, and by shading.
|WORKING WITH THE WEATHER IN YOUR GARDEN
|There's no such thing, of
course, as a "normal" season, but excess moisture may account for some
of the problems you're seeing.
Plants wilt when they don't get enough water. This can happen if the soil is too dry for too long, or it can happen when something interferes with the plant's ability to absorb and transport water. When most plants become waterlogged, their roots can no longer function properly, and even though the plant may be standing in water, it dies of thirst.
Roots may also be damaged by fungal or bacterial infections, which tend to flourish with high humidity. Some diseases actually clog the tubes that transport water from the roots to the rest of the plant. Fungal diseases also spread more easily when splashed from soil to plant by water, or when disease spores move along wet surfaces.
The same types of disease organisms are often responsible for spotted or discolored foliage. It's not just flowers and vegetables that are vulnerable, either – turf, shrubs, and even trees can suffer from the effects of too much water. Weeds, of course, invariably thrive on the extra moisture, and actually add to the gardener's problems by interfering with air circulation.
Make certain that your planting sites have good drainage. This usually involves not just the layout of your garden, but the condition of the soil. Soil containing lots of organic matter drains better under wet conditions, and retains water during drought.
If you have problem landscape areas that simply will not drain, consider planting water-loving or at least water-tolerant plants – many native varieties do well under these conditions. If you are growing vegetables or cut flowers, consider using raised beds. Second, make sure your plants have adequate sunshine and air circulation, both of which help plants dry out more quickly.
Move plants away from walls and other plants that may block light or air movement. Keep weed growth down. Along the same lines, keep lawns mowed to the correct height, to prevent the growth of fungal diseases. Above all, remember that given the past few years, a little extra rainfall is preferable to not enough.
|Hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges
tsugae (Annand)) is a serious exotic insect pest of Canadian hemlock
(Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana). It has no
natural enemies within this country. Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) was
introduced here about 40 years ago from its native country, Japan,
where it is not considered a pest. The adelgid is found in the Eastern
United States from North Carolina to Southern New England. It feeds by
sucking sap from the branches. If controls are not applied to pest
infested trees most will die in 3 - 4 years. The insect hitches a ride
on birds, animals, humans and the wind to spread out to new host trees.
Working as a landscape contractor on Long Island, N.Y. I watched
hundreds of hemlock trees, most used for privacy hedges, succumb to the
slow death associated with this pest.
Identification- Look for small white cottony puffs at the base of the hemlock needles, particularly on the younger growth. They prefer maturing trees on stressful sites, and often attack lower branches first. The pest is named for the "woolly' appearance it has due to the fluffy wax coating covering its body for most of its life. I have received numerous phone calls from people who mistakenly think the white cottony balls are some type of fungal disease. They often spray chemical fungicides (disease control) which will not control this or any insect. Please read pesticide labels before you apply them. If you cannot identify the pest, do not spray, call our helpline number provided at the end of this article for help.
Life cycle- Adult adelgids lay eggs in March and April. There are two generations per year. In Maryland, eggs are present from mid-April to mid-June. Newly hatched young are called crawlers because they move around the plant as they look for a place to feed. This stage does not last long, crawlers mature quickly into nymphs which remain stationary attaching themselves to twigs to feed. Nymphs develop their wax overcoat slowly as they mature into the final adult stage. The adults survive the winter to lay the next generation's eggs the following spring and the cycle continues.
Control- The secret to effective control is coverage. Sprays must be applied so that the entire tree is thoroughly soaked, you should see the spray dripping off the trees. Both the upper and lower sides of the needles and twigs must be covered. Do not spray between mid-April to mid-June because the eggs have not all hatched until after that.
Non-chemical controls are harmless to humans, pets, wildlife and beneficial insects like ladybird beetles, these products are not poisons. Horticultural oil and insecticidial soap are both non-chemical and will control HWA if thorough coverage is achieved. Use horticultural oil as a dormant spray from November through early March. This will kill the adults before they have a chance to lay eggs. The oil kills by encapsulating the insect and suffocating it, you can now understand why thorough spray coverage is required.
Immature adelgids should be controlled after they have all hatched in mid-June. Horticultural oil when used at half rate is called summer oil, if used during humid weather conditions it will burn foliage. Insecticidial soap is a better choice for summer sprays because there is less chance to burn foliage. Soap kills by desiccation (drying), it draws out the insect's body fluids. Again the insect needs to be immersed in soap to be effective. Both of these control products have no residual effect and will only kill what they contact when applied properly. A ladybird beetle landing on a tree that was sprayed with oil or soap in the morning would not be harmed later in the day when the spray is dry.
There are chemical controls available. Unfortunately these are professional products that require a license to apply and are unavailable to homeowners. If you cannot reach the top of your infested trees with your spray equipment or consistently get poor control consider contacting a professional for the job. The best insecticide for controlling HWA is Imidacloprid, sold as 'Merit'. Merit is a systemic insecticide, which means it is absorbed by the tree and then moves internally to other parts of the tree. It has a very long residual effect providing season long control. Merit can be applied using either of three methods, foliar spray, injection, or as a soil drench.
For most situations I prefer soil drenching because it is less expensive than injection and more effective than sprays. This is why, Merit is absorbed slowly and then moves up from the point where it was applied. Drenching tree roots with Merit will ensure the entire tree is protected from bottom to top. Soil drenches should be applied underneath the ends of the branches (drip line) and then watered in to move the product down to the root zone (about 8 - 12").
It takes 30 - 60 days (more for tall trees) for Merit to reach all parts of the tree. Soil drenches should be applied in April for season long protection. Foliar sprays of Merit are applied in mid-June after all eggs have hatched. Spray coverage is not as critical as with oil and soap because the product will be absorbed. Re-application of Merit is usually not required that season.
The use of Merit is thought to stimulate high populations of another insect pest of hemlock, the spruce spider mite. It is thought that Merit triggers a reproductive hormone in the mite or possibly kills a predator of the mite which sometimes feeds by sucking plant juices if prey are absent, researchers are currently investigating these theories. If Merit is applied monitor trees for mite damage.
Future controls may include nature itself. A three-year biological control study has just ended which tested a natural predator of HWA. This beneficial insect is a coccinellid beetle, another native of Japan. Results were promising and now other predators of HWA are being evaluated. It has also been found that hemlock trees planted in shade with north or northeast exposure and protection from high winds are more resistant to attack. Before you install any plant find out what environment it prefers. Plants out of place are stressed and attract pests. Finally do not fertilize trees infested with Hemlock woolly adelgid because that further compounds the pest problem by increasing the amount of soft new tissue available to feed on.
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