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Do Fr Sa   TMax 31°F 30°F 31°F TMin 16°F 15°F 19°F © 2018
Plant of the Month: Citronella Geranium

"Mosquito Plant"

Smells Wonderful

Keeps Mosquitoes away!

Mosquito Plant

Bloom Color: Lavendar Flowers
Exposure:      Full Sun
Height:          Up to 2 Feet
Care:              Water adequately; needs nitrogen;
does not tolerate frost.

Too Much Water - May 20th, 2018


Can gardens and lawns have too much water?  The answer to that question is absolutely.  That brings up the question, how do you tell when you need to water or if you have to much water.  The answer to that question is not easy.

I think I can safely say that over the last few days we have had too much water.  If the weather forecast is reasonably accurate we may continue to have too much for the near future. Is this going to cause problems for our lawns and gardens? I think I can safely say it is going to cause quite a few problems.

I think we will see lots of disease problems in lawns.  It will be worse in well maintained lawns and newly seeded lawns.  Well maintained lawns have thick stands of grass thus keeping sunlight and air from going to the bottom of the plants.  These thick stands don’t dry out all day.  This makes for the perfect environment for the development of lawn grass diseases.  Diseases, such as brown patch and red thread can spread rapidly over the lawn.

You can apply a fungicide which will control the disease if applied in time.  Be aware, the control only lasts about 10 days and is relatively expensive.  If the weather stays cloudy and damp the disease will return.  The only sure cure is sunny and breezy days.

My personal recommendation is cut often.  When the grass reaches four inches cut off an inch.  In this kind of weather this may mean mowing every other day. My other recommendation is leave the problem alone and let nature take its toll.  Some grass may come back, some patches may be dead, and in some cases, the entire lawn may be dead. At this point you just do whatever is necessary to restore the lawn. This sounds drastic, but I believe it is the least expensive and least trouble of any solution to the problem.

In the garden new seeded crops may rot in the ground, from the wet soil, before they have time to germinate.  In that case all you can do is reseed when the ground is dry. You will see disease problems on tomatoes, peppers, and vine crops. You can try a fungicide, but the best solution is to hope for sunny weather with a good breeze.  Hold off on watering the garden.  I would not think tomatoes, for example, would need to be watered for several weeks, if at all.

Back to know when to water.  This is a difficult question to answer. If you have not had rain for several weeks you may need to water. Generally, most people overwater quicker that they under water.  When a tomato for example flops on a hot day it is simply protecting itself from the heat it does not mean it is dry.  As soon as the sun goes down it comes right back up.

In really dry weather your lawn needs about an inch of water per week.  Apply this all at one time over an hour or so of watering. Remember, they are selling irrigation not trying to produce a lawn.

It all boils down to trial and error and a loss cause called common sense.

April 18th, 2018 - Fooling Mother Nature


Can you really fool Mother Nature?  Maybe, sometimes.

Let's look at some tricks we can use to at least get around Mother Nature.  Azaleas bloom generally in the Spring.  There are, however, many varieties of azaleas and each one of them blooms at a slightly different time.  They really don’t bloom by the time of year in reality they bloom by length of day and night.  Some varieties bloom as early as late March while others don’t bloom until early June.  Going one step further, bloom time may be two weeks different from one year to the next depending on the weather.  A bright sunny spring and they bloom early, a cloudy overcast spring, such as this year, may delay blooming by as much as a couple of weeks.

A prime example of how important light can be to bloom time happened in my own yard.  Being a professional and knowing everything about plants, I wanted a late blooming azalea in front of the background shrubs in front of the house.  I planted 10 later blooming plants that I thought would look great in front of the house.  However, I didn’t consult Mother Nature.  I didn’t take into consideration that my house did not face due North.  The sun actually came up facing the front corner of my house and crossed my house in a catty-cornered path setting in the afternoon on the lower back corner of the house.  This caused the shade to be different on each plant and caused each plant to bloom about three days later than the one beside it.  By the time the last one bloomed the first ones had faded and dropped bloom. So much for knowing everything.

I looked at my pink dogwood in front of the house this morning.  It should be in full bloom by now instead it has not even started to crack bloom.  It will probably be another week at least before it blooms. Just too much cloudy weather.  It needs some sun.

Now I fooled Mother Nature with some azaleas on the side of my house.  I wanted some azaleas on the west end of my house and even though it was in full sun I thought I could make them work.  I couldn't.  For two years I tried and they refused.  Pure hot sun, they grew little and bloomed less.  I planted a row of dogwood out about 10 feet from the azaleas which shaded them from the hot sun and the azaleas took off.  They began to grow and thanked me for the shade by blooming profusely.  Now they were happy.

I have used azaleas as an example but many other plants would have followed the same pattern.

Another way Mother Nature can be fooled is with artificial light.  Most plants that bloom in the spring start to set next year's bloom within about four to six weeks after they finish blooming.  That's why you want to prune spring bloomers as soon as they finish blooming.  Wait too long and you cut off next year's bloom.  This can also work in your favor.

You find azaleas, for example, in florist shops, in full bloom almost any time of year.  They are the same plants we grow outside.  They have been grown in greenhouses where the light could be controlled.  Usually this is done by rolling out black plastic over the plants giving them just the right amount of light to bring them into bloom.  If the plant needs more light to bloom the grower uses artificial light to lengthen the amount of light they receive.

Plants are being grown in artificial environments using all artificial light.  Grown in all water, using no soil.  Patterns that you see in many plants today are computer designed and then the plant is bred to grow and bloom in that pattern.  I wish I knew how to do this.

Maybe fooling Mother Nature is the wrong term.  I'm really not certain she can be fooled.  Maybe the right term is growing in cooperation with Mother Nature.


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Plant of the Week - Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Tree

Japanese Maple

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Tree

  (Acer palmatum dissectum 'Crimson Queen')

·         "Crimson Queen" Japanese maple trees can be grown in zones 5-8.

·         They reach a height of 8'-10' and spread of 10'-12'.

·         This dwarf will grace any lawn with its pleasing weeping habit and dissected leaf type.

·         The dark red summer leaves of these trees mature to a crimson color for fall foliage.


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