How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees?

Japanese Red Maple TreesMost Japanese Maple seeds ripen within the fall. Watch the tree and watch for the seeds to show brown. The seeds square measure able to be harvested once they square measure brown and may be simply faraway from the tree.

The seeds are attached to a wing, it’s best to break the wing off before storing or planting the seeds. Japanese Maple seeds have a very hard outer coating as do many ornamental plants. Under natural conditions the seeds would have to be on the ground for almost two years before they would germinate. All that happens the first winter is the moisture softens the hard outer shell, and the second winter germination is beginning to take place.

In order for all of this to happen in the proper sequence so the seedlings actually sprout at a time of the year when freezing temperatures or hot summer sun doesn’t kill them, takes a tremendous amount of luck.

You can improve the odds by controlling some of these conditions, and shorten the cycle. Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready for them. You don’t want to plant your seeds out in the spring until the danger of frost has past, here in the north May 15th is a safe bet.

If May 15th is your target date you should count backwards on the calendar 100 days. That will take you to about February 5th if my math is correct. On or about the 100th day prior to your target planting date, take the seeds and place them in a Styrofoam cup or other container that will withstand some hot water. Draw warm to hot water from your kitchen faucet and pour it over the seeds. Most of the seeds will float, just leave them in the water overnight as the water cools down. 24 hours later most of the seeds will have settled to the bottom of the cup.

Drain off the water. Place the seeds in a plastic bag with a mixture of sand and peat or other suitable growing mix. Even light potting soil will work. The peat or soil should be moist, but not soaking wet. Poke some holes in the bag so there is some air circulation, and place the bag in your refrigerator for a period of 100 days.

After 100 days you can plant the seeds outside. If you have timed it correctly, you should be at or close to your target planting date.

To plant the seeds just sow them on top of a bed of well drained topsoil or
sterilized potting soil, and cover with approximately 3/8” of soil. Water them thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out completely before watering thoroughly again. If you water them frequently, not only do you stand a chance of the seeds rotting from being too wet, but you will also keep them cool, which will slow down the germination process.

Once they start to germinate provide about 50% shade to keep the sun from burning them. Snow fence suspended about 30” above the bed will provide about 50% shade. Japanese Maples will tolerate some shade so it isn’t too important to transplant them too quickly.

Depending on how close together they are, you might be able to leave them in the same bed for one or two growing seasons. Don’t transplant until they are completely dormant.

Make The Best Compost for Your Garden

Compost for Your GardenWell-finished compost will be used at any time, in any season and in any quantity. there’s no such factor as an excessive amount of compost!

Begin to relish the numerous advantages of compost by creating by removal it into the highest 4 of vegetable and flower beds within the spring. this may establish an honest humus level and mineral balance in your soil, and supply the nutrients that your plants want. In mid-season, combine compost with soil as a aspect dressing on vegetable rows or around flower plants.

In established plantings of perennials, where you want to condition the soil and increase fertility without uprooting the plants, work compost liberally into the top 4 inches of soil. Even deep-rooted perennials will perk up! The compost, which contains natural antibiotics, will also help ward off plant diseases.

You can top-dress an established lawn with up to 1/2 inch of compost, or use it as a potting soil for houseplants, or as a rich supplement to your seed-starting medium.

Some nutrients in compost are water soluble, so you can make “compost tea” for seedlings, houseplants and other delicate plants.

Here are some simple steps to the perfect compost:

Location, Location, Location

Place your composter or compost pile in a location that is preferably shady and out-of-the-way but still convenient to your kitchen and garden.

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Assemble Ingredients

The secret to great compost is a balance of green matter (i.e., fresh organic matter high in nitrogen, such as grass clippings and vegetable wastes) and brown matter (i.e., dry organic matter high in carbon, such as fallen leaves, straw, etc.). Your compost material also needs air and water.

Chop Ingredients Before Adding

In a “cooking” compost mixture, billions of microorganisms chew up organic matter, converting it to dark, rich humus. The smaller the pieces, the faster this process takes place.

Mix and “Cook”

Turn your composter (or pile) daily to provide the air necessary to “cook” the compost.

Add Water

As with all living things, bacteria need moisture to thrive. Add water, if needed, to keep the pile moist but not soggy.

These things do not belong in a compost pile:

  • Bones, meats, dairy products, or any products that contain animal fats.
  • Dog or cat waste.
  • Invasive plants (such as ivy and morning glory vines), poisonous plants (including poison oak and poison ivy), or invasive weeds. Check with your County Extension Office for recommendations.
  • Plants that are diseased, insect-infested or treated with pesticides or herbicides.
  • Any non-organic materials such as plastics or synthetic fibers.

 

Plant Vegetables Indoors, why not?

Vegetables IndoorsDeciding once to plant vegetables varies in keeping with the kind of vegetable you’re attending to grow. With the exception of cold-weather plants, you wish to make certain to not sow seeds till once the last frost for your region. you’ll go away with golf stroke them within the ground every two week, however any sooner and you may in all probability ruin the seeds. Planting at the proper time is such a very important think about a decent garden that several home gardeners plant vegetables indoors is an appealing solution.

I recommend that you plant vegetables indoors to achieve reliable sprouting. Starting them inside eliminates most of the guess work that is involved with outdoor sowing. For home gardens, space is not an issue. The typical home garden is around 50 sq. ft. which means you typically have less than 100 plants growing at one time.

Be sure to plant vegetables indoors when the temperature is consistently above 70 degrees as a rule of thumb. This is the ideal temperature range for most seeds to germinate. A windowsill in the winter time is a good choice in most homes, since the sun will provide some additional heat.

For outdoor planting, be sure to consult the planting suggestions on the back of the seed packets for each type of plant. Also be sure to pay attention to spacing requirements for each type of plant. You want to sow your seeds with adequate spacing.

Most seed packets will show a map displaying the different planting zones for each region of the country. These typically account for the last frost of the season. You can use this as a starting date for when to plant your vegetables outside, however you would be wise to consult your local weather forecast for the month you are planning to plant your vegetables in case the weather is going to unusually cold this season.

To be honest, planting vegetables indoors is better for home gardeners assuming you have the space for it. It isn’t hard to find the space for seed starting since you can start 72 plants in a space smaller than 2ft. x 2ft. I strongly suggest that everyone plant vegetables indoors. It saves a lot frustration early in the growing season.

I like the fact that outdoor temperatures can’t delay getting my garden started early for a longer growing season. The last thing any gardener wants is to get a late start on the growing season. I am sure you feel the same way. Get started on the right foot and plant vegetables indoors.

Why Dimming Bulbs Dont Always Dim to Zero Percent

Dimming is a functionality that is highly valued by individuals who are interested in custom lighting systems. Setting up smooth dimming features can be a daunting task, because there are several factors to take into consideration. Fixture-to-dimmer compatibility, electrical configurations and personal dimming preferences are just some issues that individuals must conquer when installing light dimmers.

With focus on personal dimming preferences, some people want to be able to dim their bulbs down to zero percent. But this feature isn’t always available, leaving some people scratching their heads.

Reaching Zero

Most bulbs don’t have a problem with dimming down to 60 or 40 percent. Issues start to surface when dimming down to single digit levels and ultimately zero percent. Incandescent and halogen bulbs can easily dim down smoothly to one percent with minimal effort and no noticeable flickering or buzzing. On the other hand, dimmable LEDs are prone to displaying inconsistencies in output whendimming at extremely low levels- usually 10 percent or lower. Dimming lights is a complicated process, because it requires the ballast or driver (depending on the type of fixture) to control the amperage and the voltage in a precise manner.

Most standard dimmers are designed to handle high electric loads that are commonly associated with traditional luminaries. Because of this, some dimmers have a difficult time “reading” or picking up low electrical loads, such as loads from an energy efficient LED bulb. When attempting to dim down to zero percent, the bulb may drop out or turn off, as it hits the lower range of the available settings. This happens because the setting of the dimming switch’s lowest voltage is lower, compared to the bulb’s voltage requirements during operation. As a result, dimming is limited to a minimal setting (for example, 15 percent); and attempting to dim down to a value lower than that setting would cause the light to turn off prematurely.

Failing to meet a dimmer’s minimum load may result in the following:

  • Reduced dimming capabilities (range)
  • Flashing
  • Glowing (also known as ghosting)
  • Flickering
  • Inconsistent dimming features

Adhering to a dimmer’s minimum load is crucial to preventing drop outs at low settings. If one is unable to meet to such prerequisites,using a compatible dimmer that can operate at low electrical loads is another effective solution to this issue. Alternatively, some circumvent the problem by pushing an additional electrical load to meet the requirements of the dimmer.

Dimming Factors to Consider

Choosing a working dimmer requires addressing numerous factors during the buying process. Below are some tips on purchasing lighting products that can meet one’s dimming needs:

  • Dimming levels: Before heading to the store, it is important to know the amount of dimming you need for the location. For example, a commercial lobby may only need dimming down to 20 percent, while a bedroom would require dimming down to zero percent.
  • Bulb preferences: Not all lighting technologies handle dimming functions the same way. Furthermore, some dimmers only work with traditional luminaries and do not perform consistently (or lack compatibility) when paired with newer bulbs, like LEDs. Individuals should carefully note that all incandescent and halogen bulbs support dimming, but not all LEDs are dimmable.
  • Check the load: Overloading or underloading a dimmer almost always leads to inconsistent performance and shortened lifespans. Be sure to check the suggested load requirements of the dimmer.
  • Dimming technologies/methods:There are several dimming options available in the market today (forward phase control, trailing edge, DC dimming and etc.). Each type has its own set of advantages and limitations. In most cases, addressing the factors above will lead you to a specific type of dimming method that can handle your preferences.

Most of the information you need, while purchasing the correct bulb and dimmer, can be found on the label of the units. Also, don’t forget to test the products inside the store before committing to the purchase.

Butterfly Garden, How to Create It?

People who like to garden additionally tend to relish looking at butterflies flitting regarding. After all, butterflies square measure even as pretty to appear at because the flowers that they visit. Gardeners will stimulate even additional butterflies to go to their gardens by making gardens specifically for butterflies.

It’s quite easy to create a butterfly garden. You may even find that you already grow some flowers that attract butterflies. With just a little effort you can create a beautiful haven for these lovely winged creatures, and the butterflies will appreciate your efforts.

If you’re starting from scratch and will be creating a new planting bed for your butterfly garden, you’ll first want to learn how to properly create a planting bed for your plants. You can find information on preparing raised planting beds.

When deciding where to locate your butterfly garden, choose a spot that is not isolated from other plants. Butterflies will be more likely to find your garden if there are other flowers nearby to lead them to your butterfly garden. But if your butterfly garden is the only patch of flowers in a vast sea of grass, butterflies won’t have much reason to be in the area. If you have a border of flowering shrubs and other butterfly-enticing plants are scattered around your yard, the butterflies are much more likely to spend time in your garden.

The butterfly garden should include a variety of plants that attract butterflies, and those plants should be in a variety of colors and heights. Consider planting azaleas, rhododendrons and lilacs for height. Fragrant ‘James McFarland’ lilacs seem to be especially attractive to butterflies. Weigela, with its flowers like dainty trumpets, is another good shrub for attracting butterflies.

No butterfly garden should be without Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Not only will the bright orange blossoms attract many butterflies, but the plant will also provide food for caterpillars. Without the caterpillars there would be no butterflies. Dill and parsley also provide food for butterfly caterpillars. If you’re lucky, you may even have Monarch butterflies laying their eggs on the milkweed and you can watch the entire life cycle, from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

Many other commonly grown flowers will attract butterflies, including hollyhocks, purple coneflowers (Echinacea), Black-eyed Susans (rudbeckia), cosmos, huechera, zinnias, beebalm and cleome. Buddleia, also known as butterfly bush, is a must in any butterfly garden. If you have room for this large plant, Mexican sunflower (tithonia) will attract many butterflies and hummingbirds with its sunny orange blooms.

Plan your butterfly garden so there are blooms all season long. The rhododendrons, azaleas and lilacs will provide a spring snack for butterflies, followed by summer-blooming plants such as the buddleia and asclepias. In the fall, butterflies will sip nectar from asters and ‘Autumn Joy” sedum.

In addition to providing food for butterflies, your butterfly garden should also provide a resting place along with shelter from the wind and cold. Include flat rocks in your garden where the butterflies can sun themselves. It’s even better if the rocks have shallow depressions where water will puddle and provide a place for butterflies to gather for a drink.

A small log pile will provide shelter from the weather for butterflies. You can also purchase butterfly shelters that look rather like tall, narrow birdhouses with several slots for entrances. These may attract butterflies, but in my experience wasps tend to move in, discouraging any butterflies from entering.

One final thing that every butterfly garden should include is a comfortable bench placed where you can sit and admire the beautiful butterflies. After all, you’ve created this garden not only for the butterflies but also for your own enjoyment.

Tree Pruning

There are two styles of winter agriculture. the primary technique sometimes starts in Gregorian calendar month because the agriculture catalogs begin to arrive within the mail. this kind of agriculture is as straightforward as sitting in your favorite chair, browsing the catalogs, and either dreaming regarding what you are going to try to to this spring, or really drawing styles for the gardens you plan to figure on.

The second type of winter gardening is to actually get out in the yard and do a little work. Of course if it’s bitter cold, you’d be better off waiting for a good day. Winter is a good time to do some pruning if the temperatures are around 30 degrees or so. I don’t recommend pruning if it’s considerably below freezing because the wood is brittle and will shatter when you make a cut.

One of the advantages of pruning during the winter is that you can see much better what needs to be cut out and what should stay. At least that’s true with deciduous plants. The other advantage is that the plants are dormant, and won’t mind you doing a little work on them.

Ornamental trees should be pruned to remove competing branches. Weeping Cherries, Flowering Dogwoods, Flowering Crabapples etc. have a tendency to send branches in many different directions. It is your job to decide how you want the plant to look, and then start pruning to achieve that look.

But first stick your head inside the tree and see what you can eliminate from there. This is like looking under the hood, and when you do you’ll see a lot of small branches that have been starved of sunlight, that certainly don’t add anything to the plant, they are just there, and should be cut out.

Any branch that is growing toward the center of the tree where it will get little sunlight should be cut out. Where there are two branches that are crossing, one of them should be eliminated. Once you get the inside of the plant cleaned up, you can start shaping the outside.

Shaping the outside is actually quite easy. Just picture how you want the plant to look, and picture imaginary lines of the finished outline of the plant. Cut off anything that is outside of these imaginary lines. It is also important to cut the tips of branches that have not yet reached these imaginary lines in order to force the plant to fill out.

For the most part plants have two kinds of growth. Terminal branches and lateral branches. Each branch has one terminal bud at the very end, and many lateral branches along the sides. The terminal buds grow in an outward direction away from the plant. Left uncut they just keep growing in the same direction, and the plant grows tall and very thin. That’s why the trees in the woods are so thin and not very attractive.

When you cut a branch on a plant, the plant sets new buds just below where you cut. When you remove the terminal bud, the plant will set multiple buds. This is how you make a plant nice and full. Don’t be afraid to trim your plants, they will be much nicer because of it. The more you trim them, the fuller they become.

Lots of people have a real problem with this. They just can’t bring themselves to prune. Especially when it comes to plants like Japanese Red Maples. It kills them to even think about pruning a plant like this. Just do it! You’ll have a beautiful plant because of it.

Look at the plant objectively. If you see a branch that looks like it’s growing too far in the wrong direction, cut it. If you make a mistake it will grow back. Not pruning is the only mistake you can make. I hope this helps and doesn’t get you in trouble with your significant other. Many a family feud has started over pruning.

How to Care a Lawn

A beautiful Lawn doesn’t come back while not some effort. Relying upon what kind of soil you’ve got, the number of effort can vary. Let’s say once raising trees and shrubs, sandy or a gravel base soil is nice. Landscape plants like well drained flyblown. A field on the opposite hand is completely different. Lawn grasses grow perpetually throughout the season, and want AN ample provide of each nutrients and water.

The most basic of lawn care tips includes regular watering and fertilization is required to keep a lawn beautiful. If you’re lucky enough to have a lawn that was originally planted in good rich topsoil, you won’t have to work near as hard as somebody like me, who has a lawn that is planted in sandy gravel. The soil at our house has little nutritional value, nor does it have the ability to retain any amount of moisture. By mid May my lawn starts drying out. It is very difficult for us to keep our lawn looking nice.

Lawns are one area where a little clay in the soil is a good thing. Of course standing water is not good, but having soil that has the ability to retain some moisture is helpful. If you happen to be installing a new lawn, here’s a news flash from my lawn care tips that will make all the difference in the world:  Add lots of organic matter before you install your new lawn if you have sand or gravel type soil.  The easiest way to do this is to find some good rich topsoil and spread that over your existing soil.

Because most lawn grasses grow so vigorously, they need additional amounts of nutrients added in order to stay looking nice. Just use one of the four step programs offered by the fertilizer companies. Most of these programs also include weed control along with the fertilizer. Here in the north we basically have two concerns with weeds in our lawns.

Crabgrass can be a problem, and I do consider it a weed. In order to control crabgrass you must use a pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent the crabgrass seeds from germinating. In order for this herbicide to be effective you must apply it early in the spring while the soil temperature is still below 45° F.

Broadleaf weeds such as Dandelions are another problem, although fairly easy to control with a broadleaf weed control. Most broadleaf herbicides are mixed in with the fertilizers, and must be applied when the grass and weeds are damp. The wet foliage will cause the herbicide to stick to the weed, giving the herbicide time to be absorbed by the weed. Once absorbed the herbicide translocates through the weed plant and kills it completely.

These types of herbicides are considered “selective” since they seem to know the difference between a grass plant and a weed. That’s why they only kill the broadleaf weeds and not the grass itself. However, many people have different kinds of thick bladed grass in their lawn such as quack grass.  Quack grass is on the ugly side, and can really detract from a lawn. The problem is, it is still in the grass family, and “selective” herbicides leave it alone because it is a card carry member of the grass family.

So what’s a person to do?

In order to get rid of these thick bladed grasses you must use a “non-selective” herbicide, and “non-selective” herbicides don’t care who they kill. Well, at least that’s true in the plant kingdom. When you use a “non-selective” herbicide you must understand that everything that you spray is going to die, but it really is the only effective way to rid your lawn of undesirable thick bladed grasses. This type of treatment is effective if you have isolated areas that contain wide bladed grasses. You’ll have to spray all the grass in the area, then reseed with good quality grass seed.

My herbicide of choice for this type of spraying is RoundUp®. It is believed that RoundUp® does not have any residual effect, which means that it does not linger in the soil. That means that the new grass seed or the young grass plants will not be affected by the herbicide. Being a non-selective herbicide you must be careful when spraying, making sure that the spray does not drift onto other plants or lawn areas that you do not want to kill.

To keep the spray from drifting adjust the nozzle so that the spray pattern is narrow with larger spray droplets. You do not want a fine atomized spray if there is danger of spray drift. It also helps to keep the pressure in the sprayer as low as possible. Pump the sprayer a minimum number of times, to keep the pressure low. You just want enough pressure to deliver the spray, but not atomize it to the point that it can be easily carried by the wind.

Buy a sprayer just for herbicides and mark it as such. You never want to spray plants with a sprayer that has been used for herbicides.

Once you have sprayed the area you want to kill, wait three days before doing anything else. After a period of three days the grasses that you sprayed may not look any different, but if they have been properly sprayed, they will die. It takes three days for the herbicide to trans locate throughout the entire plant, then the plants will die. So even though the weeds and grass plants look fine, you can start digging and chopping and not worry about them growing back. If you start digging and chopping before the three day period you will interrupt the herbicide, and the weeds and grass you were trying to kill may come back.

If you happen to be installing a new lawn, make sure you spray all the weeds and thick bladed grasses before you start. Once you have the lawn installed, you sure don’t want to go through all the trouble of killing areas of your lawn and reseeding. If you make sure that all of these undesirables have been killed before you start, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

When selecting grass seed, you should always use a blend that is recommend for your area. Here in the north a popular blend contains fine bladed perennial rye grass, fescue, and blue grass. Keep in mind that it takes blue grass seeds 28 days to germinate, while most perennial rye grasses germinate in 5 or 6 days, so you never want to plant a lawn that is 100% Kentucky blue grass. Before the blue grass seeds have a chance to germinate, every kind of weed imaginable will already be actively growing in your lawn.

With a blend, the faster germinating grasses come up quick, and act as a nurse crop for the slower germinating seeds. Having a blend also gives you some protection in case some new pest comes along that attacks certain types of grasses.

People often ask if they have to have their lawn hydro-seeded in order for it to be nice. The answer is no. Hydro-seed is not some kind of magic formula. It is nothing more than a fancy way to apply grass seed. A hyrdo-seeder is just a machine that mixes water, grass seed, fertilizer and mulch into a slurry that is sprayed onto your lawn. The ingredients are exactly the same that you would use if you seed by hand, with the exception of the mulch.

And contrary to popular belief, hydro mulch is no better than good old fashioned straw. In my opinion straw is a much, much better mulch. The primary advantage to hydro-seed is that the grass seed is thoroughly soaked before it is applied, which assures germination. That’s a huge advantage if your seeding along a freeway where it is not practical to wet the seed after it has been applied. At your house, it really doesn’t mean much. Hand seeding works just fine.

With either method, you still have to water just as much once the seeding is done. Many people are lead to believe that hydro-seed doesn’t have to be watered as much as hand seed. This is a huge misconception. If you fail to water hydro-seed once it is applied, it will still germinate and little tiny grass plants will appear. But just a few hours without water on a hot day, and those little tiny grass plants will wither and die. This is a big problem because once the seed has germinated, it is spent. All the water in the world will not make that spent seed produce another grass plant.

Hydro seed has its benefits, but for the residential lawn it’s not all that important. Why do I claim that straw is a better mulch than hydro-mulch? Think about how the hydro-mulch is applied. It is mixed with the seed, fertilizer and water as a slurry, and sprayed on the lawn. The mulch has not been applied over top of the seed which is how mulch is supposed to be applied, it is all mixed together. Some of the seeds are under the mulch, and some of the seeds are on top of the mulch. Mulch can’t do much good when the seeds are resting up on top of it. They might as well be sun bathing!

Now think about the process of hand seeding. The seed is spread on the soil, then you should take a push broom and drag it backwards over top of the seeded area. This applies a very thin layer of soil over most of the seeds. Then you spread the straw over top of the soil. The pieces of straw are scattered in all directions, with many of them crisscrossing each other.

Remember the movie, “Honey I shrunk the Kids”? The part where they are walking through the lawn and the blades of grass are huge compared to them?  This is what it’s like to be a grass seed under a mulch of straw. Those little tiny grass seeds are lost under the straw, and that’s exactly what you want to protect them from the intense rays of the sun.

 As the sun works its way across the sky the grass seeds actually receive filtered sunlight. Enough sun to warm the seeds so they grow, but also enough shade to protect the tender young grass plants. As the grass plants grow, they also raise the mulch with them to a degree, providing additional shade for the seeds that haven’t germinated yet. The shade that straw mulch provides also helps to retain the moisture around the seeds.  Grass seeds will never get this kind of protection from hydro mulch.

Another trait of hydro-seed is that as the slurry dries, it becomes a blanket over the lawn. In the event of a heavy rainfall, running water tends to get under this blanket and carry it away, leaving big areas with no seed at all.  They make a glue that you can actually add to the hydro seed mix, but my experience has shown that the glue will hold the hydro seed in place a little longer, but when it does wash out much larger areas wash because they are glued together.

With hand seeding, each seed is independent, and they fall between the nicks and crannies of the soil. In the event of heavy rain, the running water must be severe enough to wash the soil away before the seeds can be moved. I’ve installed hundreds of lawns using both techniques, for the difference in cost I’ll take the hand seeded lawn any day.

Grow Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses became extraordinarily widespread within the past 10 years close to, and if you purchase them at a garden center they’re reasonably expensive. Learning a way to grow them yourself is truly quite straightforward. they will be full-grown from seed, however I won’t faux to be associate skilled at that for many reasons. One, I don’t understand something regarding growing them from seed, and two, I even have no want to propagate them from seed as a result of seedlings need an excessive amount of care.

The easiest and most effective way to propagate them is through simple division. Of course you will need at least one parent plant of each variety that you would like to grow. If you shop around you might be able to find some 4” inch pots at a fair price.

One of each variety is good for a start. I find that the best time of the year to divide them is in the spring, just before the new growth emerges. If you buy the stock plants in the early spring, you might be able to divide them right away. If you buy them at any other time of the year, just plant them in your garden or other suitable location, knowing that you are going to dig them up in a few months, or a year or so.

When spring arrives you can divide them at any time as long as they are not well into putting on new growth. The earlier the better. To divide them simply dig up the root mass and start dividing it into pieces. The divisions do not have to be to be very large. It’ difficult to describe, but as long as you have some roots, the new plant is likely to grow.

If you have small young plants you can probably just tear the root mass apart with your hands, but if the root mass is very big then you are going to need some tools. You might need some heavy duty tools!

Last spring I divided several grass plants that had been in my landscape for a few years. When I dug out the root mass it was much larger and more dense than I expected. Using a very good digging spade and some real elbow power I was able to chop the root mass into quarters, and I replanted the quarters back into my landscape. That still left many clumps that I wanted to divide into very small plants that I could pot up in 2 quart containers.

The root mass was too dense to tear apart with my hands, so I literally got a hammer and a 4” wide mason’s chisel and chiseled off pieces.  It worked and I now have a couple of hundred beautiful little grass plants in 2 quart containers.

Since then I have talked with a friend of mine who works for a large wholesale grower, and he told me that you never want to let an ornamental grass plant get that big if you intend to divide it. He said they plant small divisions in the field in the spring, and dig them up the following spring and divide them again. He assured me that if you get them just 12 months later, they can be easily torn apart by hand.

That sounds like a lot more fun than what I went through!

Planting a Broccoli

Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, broccoli is big for its edible, immature flower heads. one amongst the foremost wholesome vegetables, broccoli contains high levels of antioxidants.

About This Plant

Broccoli prefers cool temperatures. In many regions it can be grown as both a spring and fall crop. Choose varieties touted for their abundant side shoots to extend the harvest; once the central head is harvested, these side shoots will continue to produce small heads for weeks.

Site Selection

Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.

Planting Instructions

Start spring transplants indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date, or buy nursery transplants three weeks before the last spring frost date. Where the weather is warm, select a variety that is bolt resistant. Set out hardened off transplants two weeks before the last spring frost. Space plants 18 inches apart. Protect transplants from hard frosts with newspapers, plastic cones, paper bags, or baskets. Provide a windbreak to reduce transplant shock and moisture loss. For fall crops, direct seed the broccoli in the garden 85 to 100 days before the average first fall frost date.

Care

Mulch plants to help keep soil moist, and water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Contact your local County Extension office for controls of common broccoli pests such as flea beetles, cabbageworms, and cabbage loopers.

Harvesting

Harvest for peak quality when the buds of the head are firm and tight. If buds start to separate and the yellow petals inside start to show, harvest immediately.

Summer Gardening

Don’t be afraid to trim those flowering shrubs and trees that require it. Failure to prune is perhaps the largest farming mistake someone will build. I spent twenty years landscaping homes and businesses, and that i watched individuals build the investment in my services, then they didn’t prune once the plants required it, and before you recognize it their landscape appearance terrible.

If you make a mistake pruning, don’t worry about it. It’s like a bad haircut, it will grow out. Of course use common sense and read the previous articles that I’ve written on pruning.

Along with summer time comes high humidity. High humidity can cause a lot of problems with the plants in your garden and around your house. One of the simple things you can do is don’t water just before dark. Make sure your plants are nice and dry when you tuck them in for the night and you can cut down of the chance fungus being a problem.

One of the more common fungi that I get asked about a lot is powdery mildew. This appears as a white film on the leaves of ornamental plants. Dogwoods and Purple Sandcherry are often the victim of powdery mildew. Powdery mildew isn’t extremely harmful to the plants, it’s just that the foliage is damaged, and little growing takes place once it sets in. Your local garden center will have a general fungicide you can spray if you’d like to try and control it. Usually once the plant defoliates in the fall the plant is back to normal.

If you have Perennial Rye Grass in your lawn, and you probably do if you’re in the north, you must be careful not to leave your grass wet at night. There is a fungus known as Pythium Blight that appears in very humid conditions. This fungus attacks and kills perennial rye grasses. Here in the north most of our lawns are a blend of fescues, perennial ryes, and Kentucky Blue Grass.

If you have problems with pythium blight you will lose the perennial rye grass in large areas of your lawn, and even though the other grasses will still be there and fill in, your lawn will have areas that are much darker green than the rest of the lawn because you will then have concentrations of Kentucky Blue grass.

You can see this fungus in the early morning. It looks like white cotton candy laying on top of your lawn. It usually appears along walks and driveways where the soil is the wet if you have been watering.  To prevent pythium blight, water as early in the day as possible.

Another nasty little blight that likes summer time is Fire Blight. Fire Blight attacks ornamentals, especially Apple trees, Crabapple trees, Cotoneasters, and Pyracantha. You know you have Fire Blight when a branch on one of your plants dies and turns almost red. The leaves usually hang on but turn reddish brown. The damage usually starts out near the end of the branch and works its way toward the main stem of the plant. There is little you can do except prune out the affected branch, cutting it as far back as possible.

Fire Blight is very contagious to plants so you should burn the branches you prune out. You should also dip or wash your pruning shears in rubbing alcohol after each cut to keep from spreading this deadly fungus.

Unfortunately, I’ve got one more summer time culprit to warn you about. It’s a handy little fungus that grows in mulch. Actually there are all kinds of fungi that tend to grow in mulches, and most of them are really disgusting looking. But this little gem is unique in the fact that as it grows it tends to swell. Then somehow it manages to explode, and it will spatter your house with tiny brown specks. The experts have appropriately named this one “Shotgun Fungus”. Isn’t that a cute name?

These tiny little brown specks will fly as high as eight feet into the air, and once they stick to your house or windows, they stick like glue. I know that right now there are people hollering across the house at their spouse, “Hey, remember those brown specks all over the house? I know what they are. It’s from the mulch!” Tell me I’m wrong, but I know I’m not.

A lot of people are victims of this nasty little fungus, but they don’t know it. All they know is that there are tiny brown specks on the house that look like paint. So far they have blamed everything from spiders to aliens.

There’s not a lot you can do to prevent this fungus. I have found that if you keep the mulch loose so air can circulate it is less likely to grow fungi. Don’t just keep adding layer after layer to the mulch around your house. You should skip at least every other year and just loosen the mulch you already have down. If you loosen it and then rake it flat it will look like you’ve just mulched.  Mulch is great, just don’t let it get packed down hard.  Loosen it up at least once a year.

Planting Flower Bulbs

There is nothing quite as welcome as those stunning spring flowers that appear to emerge out of thin air to welcome the arrival of spring. Bulb sort flowers square measure really extraordinary plants, as a result of they pay most of their days resting quietly below the surface of the soil. Then right schedule, up they are available, filled with bloom and vigor, then virtually as quick as they came, they go. aside from the inexperienced leafed a part of the plant that tends to linger longer than we’d like them to.

Despite their short bloom time and unattractive foliage after the blooms are gone, they are still a wonderful addition to any landscape. But how should you care for them? First let’s talk about how to use them in your landscape. Flowers of all kinds are best when planted in groupings. Many people buy 25 or 50 bulbs and just go around the yard planting helter skelter. That’s fine if that’s what you want, but when planted that way they tend to blend in with the landscape and really don’t show up well at all. When you plant them in large groups they are a breathtaking showpiece.

In the early spring start thinking about where you would like to create a bed for flower bulbs. Prepare the bed by raising it with good rich topsoil, and if at all possible add some well composted cow manure. Do this in the spring while you are in the gardening mood, you may not be in the fall. Over the summer fill the bed with annual flowers to keep the weeds down, and to pretty up your yard for the summer. Come fall all you have to do is pull out the annuals and plant your bulbs to the depth recommended on the package.

If you think you could have a problem with squirrels digging up the bulbs and eating them, you can also wrap the bulbs in steel wool, leaving just the tip of the bulb exposed so it can grow out of the little wire cage you’ve created. Or you can just plant the bulbs and then cover the bed with chicken wire or plastic fencing until the bulbs start to grow in the spring.

When the bulbs come up in the spring and start blooming, you should clip off the blooms as they start to wither. This keeps the bulb from producing seeds, which requires a lot of energy, and you want the bulb to use all of its available energy to store food in preparation of the bulb’s resting period. Once the bulbs are completely done blooming you don’t want to cut off the tops until they are withered and die back. The million dollar question is how to treat the tops until that happens.

Many people bend them over and slip a rubber band over them, or in the case of bulbs like Daffodils tie them with one of the long leaves. This seems to work because it is a very common practice among many experienced gardeners. However, Mike is about to rain on the parade.

I strongly disagree with this theory because back about 6th grade we learned about photosynthesis in science class. To recap what we learned, and without going into the boring details, photosynthesis is the process of the plant using the sun’s rays to make food for itself. The rays from the sun are absorbed by the foliage and the food making process begins. In the case of a flower bulb this food is transported to the bulb beneath the ground and stored for later use.

So basically the leaves of the plant are like little solar panels. Their job is to absorb the rays from the sun to begin the process known as photosynthesis. If we fold them over and handcuff them with their hands behind their back, they are not going to be able to do their job. It’s like throwing a tarpaulin over 80% of a solar panel.

In order for the leaves to absorb the rays from the sun, the surface of the foliage has to be exposed to the sun. On top of that, when you bend the foliage over, you are restricting the flow of nutrients to the bulb. The veins in the leaves and the stem are a lot like our blood vessels. If you restrict them the flow stops.

You decide. I’ve presented my case. Bending them over seems to work, but I’ve spent a lot of money on my bulbs. I want them running at full speed. What I do is clip the blooms off once they are spent, and just leave the tops alone until they are yellow and wilted. If they are still not wilted when it’s time to plant my annual flowers, I just plant the annuals in between the bulbs. As the bulbs die back the annuals tend to grow and conceal them. If one shows through I clip it off. It seems to work well for me.

Gardenia Plants, How to care It?

Gardenia is one in every of the outstanding plants inside and among the foremost cute in bloom.

The maintenance, watering, potting size and may facilitate improve flowering.

Prerequisite to know :

The singularities of the Gardenia.

Name: Gardenia

Family: Rubiaceae

Type: House plant, shrub

Height: 2m and 0.5 to 1 m in buildings

Soil: soil

Exposure: Bright

Foliage: Evergreen

Flowering: May to October

Planting and potting Gardenia:

The agronomy of gardenia is not always straightforward and some preservation is essential to boost growth and blooming gardenia, it originates with the planting and potting.

Gardenia indoor care instructions:

Many people dont understand why posterior to obtain a beutifull gardenia plant full of blooms, buds and life the plant drops its flowers and at the end loses it buds amid weeks, we can detect – quickly that opens to lose its buds and starts to die.

The answer for the gardenia indoors depends in the stipulations we are growing the plant

The growing of the Gardenia indoors is the most universal because our climate does not accept outdoor horticulture in the winter.

  • It’s considered to plant your gardenia in a good potting soil for houseplants.
  • Opt for a bright place without straight sunlight.

Gardenia outdoors:

Planting Gardenia in the outdoors is only at hand if we are in the summer and mild but in the winter is not posible because it’s not persistent to frost.

  • Set a location sheltered from the wind, slightly sunny however not too exposed, admirably partial shade.
  • Mix the soil of your garden potting soil, land of heather and dried leaves or river sand.
  • Gardenia needs a well-drained soil.

Potting Gardenia:

If you grow your potted gardenia, potting every two-three years is essential. The plant needs space to grow and too little pot would act on its growth.

  • Wait till the plant is big .
  • Potting gardenia is willingly carried out in late winter or early spring.
  • Is found in some specialized stores and garden centers of special potting.

Multiplication gardenia:

  • The Best way to multiply a gardenia is the way of cuttings nevertheless this technique is not always easy to fulfill.
  • The Cuttings takes place in early spring.
  • We can fulfill the technique of the cuttings of about eight-ten cm.
  • We ought to remove the lower leaves to keep only the top pair.
  • We ought to soak the cutting in rooting hormone.
  • Plant The cuttings in a particular soil or in a mixture of peat and river sand.
  • Place Your light cuttings with no direct sunlight and with a high moisture content (you can envelop the cuttings with a transparent plastic to increase the humidity level).

-Keep The slightly damp substrate.

-Repot Seedlings when the cuttings have formed attractive leaves.

Watering of the gardenia:

-For the gardenia the best watering is to water with the rain water or with mineral bottled water.

-We must also constant moisture.

-Flowering, do not wet the foliage considering it discolors the flowers and causes spots on the flowers.

-We must a good level of humidity.

To do again the natural moisture conditions when we plant the cuttings, we can place it on a bed of clay pebbles or gravel that you always leave moistened with water.

Over evaporation of water, you do again the natural conditions of life of the plants in the tropics.

Gardenia watering is preferable in the spring or in the summer:

It’s indispensable to water regularly without flooding the plant, wait Wait until the soil surface is dry between 2 irrigations. For the gardenia we ought an environment with air moist to develop, we must regularly to spray water on the leaves and stop as soon as the plant is in full bloom.

Gardenia Watering in the fall and winter:

Reduce watering. Wait till the substrate is dry before watering again.

Pruning and conservation gardenia:

-After flowering, prune your shrub slightly to maintain its superb compact design while reducing the crown of 1/3.

-Remove faded flowers when they arise, this stimulates the emergence of new flowers.

-Strengthen the plant for having a spectacular flowering heather bring a unique fertilizer.

Disease and microbes that perturb the gardenia:

Grown houseplant, the gardenia is subject to most sickness and pest insects or mites that modify this type of plant.

-The main pests are aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.

-We prerequisite to fight against mealybugs, aphids, spider mites.

Note that if the leaves of the gardenia turn yellow, it’s apparently linked to chlorosis considering the water has a lot of limestone.

If the flowers fall before opening, this is probably a lack of moisture. sprinkle soft water on the leaves and unopened flowers .

Outside, it prerequisites a very moist climate and for this reason no freezing winter.