"Don't wear perfume in the garden--unless you want to be pollinated by bees."
Don't be afraid to give your flowers a little haircut during the summer to help make them more bushy and to help stimulate more
flowers for the fall. Petunias, marigolds, geraniums, and most flowers benefit from a light summer pruning. After trimming your
flowers be sure to give them a little extra fertilizer to make them flower again quickly. Fertilize them with Blooming and Rooting
Fertilizer. This fertilizer contains all the right ingredients to make most flowers bloom again very fast. This fertilizer also helps many
"hard-to-bloom" flowers such as Martha Washington geraniums, gerbera daisies, petunias, and hanging basket flowers, to produce
Except for the heavy pruning of fruit trees and roses, you can also trim nearly all ornamental shrubs and trees anytime during the
year. Hedges benefit from several light prunings during the summer. Any deciduous tree or shrub that needs shaping can be pruned
lightly during the summer. You can prune entire branches on pine trees but do not just prune the tips of pine trees and most spruce
trees during the summer. Prune the tips of pines and spruce in May.
Don't give up fertilizing your vegetable and flower gardens during the heat of the summer. They need regular fertilization to
grow and bloom properly. Fertilize every six to eight weeks with J&L 16-16-8 Multipurpose Fertilizer. This provides a long lasting
fertilizer. Stop fertilizing roses and other perennial flowers mid-August but continue fertilizing your vegetables and annual flowers
If your flowers need a little extra boost to make them bloom a little better for a special occasion, fertilize them with
Fertilome Blooming and Rooting Plant Food. Fertilize your flowers at least two or three weeks before that special occasion. This
fertilizer is fast-acting but needs to be re-applied at least a couple of times before that special occasion.
Fertilizer Tip: Do not ever
fertilize flowers during the heat of the day or if the plants are wilting. Fertilizer can burn, or evenkill, wilting plants. Always water your
plants an hour or two before fertilizing them.
You shouldhave been spraying your peach, nectarine, apricot, almond, and plum trees for the peach tree borer starting about the Fourth of July. Spray them every
three to four weeks through September. You only need to spray the lower trunk and soil to control this borer, you do not need to spray
the leaves or fruit. Use Bonide Borer Spray. Another pest of the peach and walnut trees that you need to spray this time of year is
called the Walnut Husk Fly. This little fly lays eggs just inside the fruit's skin. A little worm hatches and eats the flesh making the fruit
less desirable. Spray your trees with Malathion, or Eight about August 1 and again August 15 to control this pest.
If you are going on vacation and don't trust the teenager next door to give your plants the attention they need, you may want to
follow a few simple procedures to help your plants tough it out on their own:
Plan ahead. Don't plant sensitive plants that are going to need extra TLC when you won't be around to deliver it. Try to be
back home before that bumper tomato and zucchini crop ripens.
Mulch garden beds up to 3 inches thick to help conserve moisture and keep the soil cool. Pull mulch back a few inches from
the base of your plants so you don't invite rot and disease.
Wrap unglazed terra-cotta pots in aluminum foil to keep moisture from evaporating through porous surfaces. Plastic containers
do not need this attention.
Create a tropical micro-climate by placing bricks in your bathtub, filling the tub with water to just below the top of the bricks,
and setting your indoor houseplants on top of the bricks.
Relocate outdoor container plants to a spot where they will receive afternoon shade and shelter from drying winds. Group
your pots together in clusters to help increase humidity.
Install soaker hoses hooked up to a timer.
Trim flowers and shrubs lightly just before you leave. The plants will have fewer leaves to support while you are gone, and
the plants will have some fresh new growth, and flowers, when you return home
Many trees and shrubs may have leaves with brown tips or edges this summer. Japanese maples are some of the hardest hit
plants this summer. They like the sun but they do not like the heat or the hot winds. This browning is commonly called "summer leaf
scorch" or "sunburn". Leaf scorch is a problem this summer because many varieties of plants could not tolerate the extreme heat, or
the dry winds, we had a few weeks ago. They did not like the hot weather we had during the last week of May either. I'm sure we are
still going to have hot and dry weather for the next month, so you will need to give your plants some TLC for the next month or two.
Many plants (especially newly planted shrubs) cannot absorb water fast enough to supply enough for the leaves during the heat,
so, the leaf margins turn brouwn. The best way to prevent and cure leaf scorch is to soak your plants, with a slow trickle of water,
every two or three weeks during the heat (newly planted shrubs should be soaked once or twice a week for the first summer.) You may
need to soak your plants for several hours at a time because the water needs to soak as deeply into the soil as possible. You can check
how deep the water penetrates by digging about 6" to 9" in the soil. The soil should be moist at this depth or you didn't soak your
plants long enough
Don't drown your plants. Water normally and just soak older plants deeply once or twice a month, and new plants once or twice
a week, during the summer and fall. Once the snow starts to fall, Mother Nature usually takes care of them the rest of the winter.
However, if you remember last winter, we did not get much snow. Many plants are still suffering the effects of last winter's dryness.
Look at the older pine trees throughout the area. Many of these trees did not get enough water last fall and winter. Be sure you water
your plants deeply this fall to prevent further problems.
Leaf scorch doesn't usually kill plants (except for newly planted ones). It just makes them look terrible for a while. The damaged
leaves will not recover and some plants may not produce any new leaves until next year, but the older plants should be fine. Leaf
scorch may affect one side of the plant and not affect the other side. Leaf scorch may also affect one plant but not bother another
identical plant just two or three feet away.
Most spiders in your yard are beneficial. They trap and kill many insects that would otherwise love to cause problems for your
flowers, shrubs and trees. Spiders make a natural insect trap and as long as they stay outside it is to your benefit to leave them alone.
Spiders may actually kill more insects than you can kill by spraying.
However, once a spider decides to invade your home it becomes a nuisance pest. Most nuisance pests are very hard to control--such as boxelder bugs, flies, ants, and millipedes. Spiders are no different; they are hard to control. The best control for these nuisance
pests is persistence. Chemical insecticides will kill all insects that come in contact with the spray. However, there is usually not a very
long residual effect to control nuisance pests. If you can prevent these nuisance pests from entering your house, their control will be
much simpler. Make sure your screens are in good condition. Caulk around doors and windows. Spray the outside foundation of your
house with a pesticide regularly in the fall, when spiders and other insects are looking for warmth and protection from the weather.
Once spiders enter your house, control is a little harder. Regular applications of an insecticide inside your house may help to
control some pests. Vacuuming the unwanted pests is also a safe way to eliminate them. Perhaps one of the best ways to control
spiders inside your house is to use spider traps.
Most spiders inside your home are not dangerous, they are just a nuisance. Two spiders are dangerous. The black widow spider
and the "aggressive house spider" (hobo spider) are two spiders that can cause serious injury. The Hobo Spider Elimination Kit (a
spider Trap) traps and kills all different kinds of spiders; not just the bad ones. This kit contains five pre-baited cards that attracts and
kills all types of spiders. You can put spider traps in several different areas of your house to catch spiders; it is an excellent way to
control the unwanted spiders inside your home.
Spidermites are a very troublesome pest to marigolds, roses, junipers, alberta spruce, and many other plants. Spidermites are not
an insect; they belong to the spider family so many insecticides do not control them effectively. Spidermites are so tiny that they
cannot be seen with the naked eye. The best way to test for spidermites is to place a white piece of paper under the leaves of the
affected plant. Shake the plant vigorously and watch the dust that falls on the paper. If any of the dust particles start to move, your
plants have spidermites.
Controlling spidermites is a major problem for most homeowners. Mite damage is costly and controlling them is difficult, time
consuming, and expensive. Spidermites feed on plant tissue by sucking the sap out of the leaves and destroying the chlorophyll. The
damage first appears as stipples. As feeding continues the leaves turn silver or yellow. If left uncontrolled, dense webbing will appear
and the plant will defoliate and die. Even light infestations may adversely affect the appearance of both the foliage and the blossoms.
Spidermites thrive in hot climates: they are flourishing this summer! The female can lay up to a hundred eggs in her 30 day life
span. One female, in one month, through successive generations, can generate a population of millions. Spidermites do not always die
in the winter. In cold weather, spidermites can survive under leaves and in other sheltered places. When warm conditions return,
female spidermites resume eating plants and reproducing new spidermites.
Spidermites are a stubborn pest. They are difficult to detect, very adaptable, and they are known to develop resistance to
chemical controls quickly. Some pesticides that give adequate control may burn or kill leaves on some plants during hot weather,
which makes control even more difficult. Other products leave a residue that makes them unavailable for use on edible plants.
The most difficult part is that spidermites feed on the underside of leaves. Good control is difficult unless the spray comes in
direct contact with the mites, on the underside of the leaf. A high pressure sprayer, (hose sprayer) is more likely to make the leaves
move enough for the chemical to come in contact with the mite than an aerosol container, or a small trigger sprayer.
We have several excellant spidermite sprays available. Some are for vegetables and some are for flowers and trees. Be sure to stop
by to pick up the spidermite spray that best suites your plant's needs.
Do you ever get a Mystery Squash? Maybe a big, round, dark-green squash with yellow spots scattered over the entire surface?
Squash plants cross very easily. The fruit may resemble the mother plant (the plant the cross is growing on) or it may resemble
the father plant (the plant where the pollen came from) or it may be something totally different. As long as both parents are edible you
can eat the fruit without any problem although it may have an unusual taste because of the genetics involved. If, however, one of the
parents could have been a gourd do not eat the fruit, because some gourds can make people sick.
Composting is an excellent way to make your own organic materials from your gardens. However, many gardeners experience a
few problems with their compost piles. Composting is pretty simple once you learn how. We have a composting handout available so
stop by to pick one up.
What can be composted
Leaves, cornstalks, straw, hay, grass clippings, chipped wood, wood ash (wet), weeds, manure, fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, and most organic products in the yard.
What cannot be composted
Charcoal and coal ash, large quantities of pet manure, treated lumber, large branches, diseased plants, mature weeds (with seeds), weeds that spread through runners (morning glory, quack grass, bermuda grass), meat, bones, dairy products, salad dressing, cooking oil, peanut butter, grease, and other animal products.
- Problem Strong odor
Solution Turn the compost pile more frequently.
- Problem Too wet
Solution Add dry grass or straw. Turn compost more frequently.
- Problem Not composting but wet.
Solution Add Compost Maker, grass clippings, and
nitrogen. Turn compost more frequently.
- Problem Not composting and dry.
Solution Add more water and Compost Maker
- Problem Ammonia Smell
Solution Add dry leaves, straw or sawdust. Turn compost more frequently.
Trees give so much: blossoms in the spring, fruit in the summer, color in the fall, and shade all year.
Trees reduce pollution and are effective smog and dust fighters.
We breathe 35 pounds of oxygen each day. Much of this oxygen comes from trees and other green plants.
Trees serve as homes for birds, insects and other wildlife. Many trees attract a variety of birds and insects that prey on each
other, helping to balance our ecosystem.
Trees are natural air conditioners. The evaporation from a single tree can produce a cooling effect equal to a ten-room size air
conditioner operating twenty hours a day.
Tree roots hold soil in place to prevent erosion from water and wind.
Trees give us a constant supply of products: paper, syrup, adhesives, mulches; to name a few.
About 99% of the water taken up by tree roots evaporates from the leaves through transpiration. A mature tree can lose hundreds
of gallons of moisture each day.
An ideal soil for tree roots is 1/4 water, 1/4 air, and 1/2 soil and other solids.
Browning, wilting, or scorched leaves after very hot or cold weather are usually caused by the lack of available water in the root
We are always hearing about new or innovative ways to try to keep deer out of the yards. One gardener told us about a system he has used with some success.
He said a relatively simple and inexpensive solution to the deer problem is to erect two 3-foot-high fences around the garden. Make each fence by tying at least three strings to stakes bordering the gardens. Space the fences three feet apart. Apparently, deer are reluctant to jump over a low fence if another fence is visible just on the other side.
Have you noticed a pretty orange groundcover that is covering many fields? This pretty ground cover is called Dodder. It is
actually a parasitic plant that attaches itself to a host plant and then sheds its roots. It lives off the energy provided by the host plant.
The only way to control this weed is to physically remove it, along with the parts of the hose plants it has attached itself to. Its not so
pretty after all!
Plants Don't Waste Water - People Do. How Much Should You Water?
This is a very hard question to answer. In fact, there are many different answers, and many of these different answers are
correct, even though they may seem contradicting. Try asking ten gardeners this same question. You might get fifteen different
Most gardening problems can be attributed to one single factor - WATER - Too Much or Too Little? How much is enough and
when is it too much? That is the million dollar question.
Too much water is just as bad for plants as not enough. Plants that are watered too often do not establish strong, healthy roots.
When a problem comes along, the weakly rooted plants are going to die before the strongly rooted plants. Plants that are always kept wet
cannot absorb enough oxygen from the soil, so the roots start to rot and die. The symptoms of over-watering are very similar to those
caused by the lack of water--The plant wilts and dies. The reason the over-watered plant wilts is that many of the roots have died
and the remaining roots cannot absorb water from the soil fast enough to support the leaves and flowers. A simple test to check for
'over-or-under' water is to watch a wilted plant. If you water a wilted plant and it recovers within a short period of time the plant
needed more water. If the wilted plant does not recover it is probably dying from too much water.
Many gardeners give up on their roses in the summer, believing they produce quality flowers only in the spring. Rose blossoms do tend to be smaller in the summer and the colors not quite as vivid because the summer heat forces the blooms to open before blossom size and color pigment have completely developed. But given the proper care, combined with a few simple pruning techniques, roses will re-bloom every six weeks until the first frost.
There are two ways to prune roses during the growing season, and both will encourage new blooms to set. Most roses have leaflets (with three to seven leaves) every couple of inches along the stems. In order to produce blooms you need to prune at least to the second five-leafed leaflet. (Pruning just above will eliminate nasty dead stems called coat hangers.)
If you also want to prune for size control, you can go as far down as two leaflets above the previous cut. Pruning beyond the previous cut tells the rose you don't want it to bloom. Remember that hybrid tea and grandiflora rose stems tend to grow at least 18 inches after each pruning before blooming, so if you prune only the minimum amount you will have a very tall (and possibly leggy) rose by the end of summer.
Because roses are constantly growing, they are in constant need of food. It's important to feed roses every 6-8 weeks with a quality rose food. Continue feeding through September, and you will have quality rose blooms into fall. So don't give up on your roses. With a little help, they will provide loads of blooms for you all season long.
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Whether they reside in cold zones or in temperate regions, gardeners are incorporating more and more succulents into their gardens and homes. Why are succulents such a growing trend? Succulents can be grown indoors or out, can take full sun to partial shade, are drought tolerant and require little maintenance. Their diverse foliage, in terms of color and texture, provide endless possibilities for incorporation into the garden or when grown in containers. Add to this their beautiful and unusual blooms in a wide array of colors and you have a sure-fire recipe for successful gardening!
Succulents flourish in arid climates by storing moisture in their leaves, stems or roots. This ability provides them with their drought-tolerance, allowing them to access water when it is most needed. Succulents that store water in their leaves have plump, fleshy foliage; these leaves can be many different shapes including lance-shaped, paddle, rosette or teardrop. Foliage color can be green, blue-gray, silver or variegated. Succulents that store moisture in their stems tend to have enlarged branches and stems and those that store moisture in their roots have bulbous roots that can be seen at the base of the plant, above the soil line.
There is much confusion about differentiating cacti and succulents. How do you know which is which? What are the defining features of each? Because of their ability to store water, all cacti are succulents. But, all succulents are not cacti. Here are a few ways to identify them:
- Cacti only grow in the Western Hemisphere; most succulents come from Mexico, South Africa and Madagascar
- Succulents have from 0 to 2 spines, while cacti can have 100 or more
- Many succulents have a white, milky sap
Since most succulents come from warm, dry, frost-free regions, many will not tolerate prolonged wet conditions. There are a few, though, that will thrive in colder, rainier climates such as certain types of Lewisia (those native to the Pacific Northwest), Sempervivum (from europe) and many Sedums. The one common requirement for all succulents is fast-draining soil. A lot of water combined with clay soil is a sure death sentence.
Many succulents will thrive in full sun but there are also many varieties that appreciate, or even require, some shade. There are low-growing succulents suitable for use between stepping stones and others that grow large enough (some to 10' or more) to provide a striking focal-point in the garden. If in doubt, be sure to ask us which are preferable for your area; it is safe to say that there is a succulent for (almost) any situation.
In mild winter areas, mass plantings of succulents provide a good alternative to more thirsty lawns or flower beds. Succulents can also be attractively paired with drought-tolerant perennials; the succulents will provide great texture with their wide variety of leaf colors and shapes, while the perennials will provide a longer season of flowers. Many succulents make great groundcovers. Just be sure that the area you plant them in will receive no foot traffic; their fleshy leaves and delicate stems are easily crushed and broken.
Succulents require little maintenance; occasional removal of spent flower stems and older leaves is usually all that is needed. If grown in the garden, one light feeding at the beginning of the growing season should be enough. Larger and later-blooming kinds, as well as those grown in containers, may benefit from additional fertilizing.
Propagating succulents is easy. When taking cuttings from stem-forming types, just let the cut ends form a callus, then stick them right in a well-drained soil. They will root and take off right away. Some types of succulents (agave, aloe, sempervivum) form offsets around the parent plant. These offsets can be removed and replanted.
Succulents are a diverse group of plants that will help you add unique form, texture and foliage color to your garden without much care of maintenance--what a deal!
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Are you planning on putting a stone path in your lawn or garden? If so, you've got a great opportunity for some great garden design. Don't just plunk those stones atop your sod! There are many low-growing perennial plants that are just great between stones in a path, and will add more personality to your garden than mere grass.
To help you select the best ground cover, consider:
- The amount of sunlight reaching your path (full sun, partial shade, full shade), because different plants thrive under different conditions.
- The amount of traffic the plants will need to endure. Light traffic means the plants will be stepped on once or twice a week. Moderate traffic is once a day. And heavy traffic is similar to walking on your lawn several times a day.
- The type of soil (poor or rich) and moisture conditions (wet or dry).
- Appearance: plant height, texture and color. If the path is heavily traveled, or people will be running on it, keep the plant height low, or use a plant that bends easily (you don't want people tripping over the plants).
Improve the growing conditions when you carve out the soil for your new stone path. It's difficult to grow anything in a trampled area. The soil gets so compacted that roots cannot deliver water and nutrients to the plant. Add good drainage as well as a layer of topsoil at least 1 in. deep around the stones so your ground cover can thrive.
Finally, help your new ground cover prosper with a weekly soaking (the plants need to stay moist) and a weekly hand weeding. And if you'd like to keep the plants short between the stones, consider plants that tolerate mowing, such as thyme and ajuga.
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Even if you don't particularly like them, you've got to admit that ants are fascinating creatures. They've certainly stood the test of time: they have been around for a mere 110-130 million years and have colonized almost every landmass on earth. They employ the concept of division of labor, they communicate amongst themselves and they have demonstrated an ability to solve many a complex problem. Like people, they sometimes perform good deeds and sometimes...not so much.
One not-so-good thing they do (from a human perspective, that is) is make life really easy for aphids, mealybugs and scale. Those little guys are the ones that suck the life juices out of our most prized possessions--our plants! Even though this is really irritating, the complex relationship between ants and these three villains is still pretty amazing.
Here's how it goes: aphids, mealybugs and scale just love to feed on the juices of plants. As they are voraciously feeding on the plants, they are also secreting a sugary, sticky liquid called honeydew. Ants love honeydew. Even though a large amount of honeydew is being secreted as these insects feed, it is not fast enough for the hungry ants. They begin to "milk" the insects for more, by stroking them with their antennae.
In the meantime, to protect their precious honeydew, the ants are also busily warding off predatory (to their honeydew-makers) insects such as lady bugs and lacewings. Many times, the ants will take aphid "slaves." When migrating to a new area, they take aphids with them to ensure a continued supply of honeydew. Some ants go above and beyond, storing the aphid eggs in their nests over the winter, then carrying the newly-hatched aphids back to a plant for them to feed on in the spring.
So, next time you wonder why there are ants on your plant and if they are eating the plant, our advice is this: look for the root cause of the problem. Chances are, where there are ants on plants, you will see a sticky residue and one of their BFF's--aphids, mealybugs or scale. The good news is: we can help you solve the problem and restore your plant back to health! Just visit us for a solution!
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What You'll Need:
- 4 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (1 cup dry)
- 2 cups chopped parsley (2 bunches)
- 1 cup chopped green onions (1 1/2 bunches)
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (1 pkg)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Mix all the above ingredients together and let sit at least 4 hours (but it's better if it sits for 12 hours).