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Rain Drowned Lawns - January 1st, 2019

I guess a Happy New Year is in order as I prepare my first blog of 2019.  I pray the very best possible New Year for each of you as we go forward into 2019.  There is so much turmoil in the Country and in the world that its hard at times not to get discouraged.  It seems the media feeds off and overblows the bad things that occur and rarely reports the good.

I believe that within ever adversity there is an equal benefit.  Sometimes, we have to look hard to find the benefit.  Since bad news sells, I think the press blows up the bad and negates the good.

But, enough about politics.  This is supposed to be about horticulture, lawns and such.

One of the big questions today is how much damage all the rain over the past few months done to our lawns and gardens.  I think you will see when Spring arrives that it has done an enormous amount of damage to lawns.

The ground is completely saturated and cannot absorb any more water.  The rain now is either running off the lawn or standing on the lawn.  Where it is standing for any length of time the grass is drowning.  In my own case, my guess is that I have lost between 50 to 75 per cent of my lawn.  In addition to loosing the grass most if not all of the nutrients have been lost.

I said above that within every adversity the is an equal benefit.  One benefit of all the rain is that most of the insects in the soil have been drowned.  My guess is you will not have a major problem with grubs and Japanese beetles this year, although some will probably survive.

Shrubs, trees and beds I don’t think have sustained a lot of damage so far.  We still have winter in front of us, so that could change.

What do we do about the lawn damage.  I think for now its wait and see just how bad the damage is when Spring arrives and lawns start to green up.  It may not be as bad as I think.  We can hope that we don’t continue to get large amounts of rain on a weekly basis.

If I was using a lawn care service I would want them to come out about mid-March and look at the lawn with me and see what they think.  Ask their suggestions for my lawn and then go from there.

I will be keeping up with the situation and offering more advice as Spring arrives.

 
The Ways Of Nature August 29th, 2018

THE WAYS OF NATURE

I guess it’s only natural having been involved in some form of agriculture most of my life but I find the ways of nature fascinating.  I grew up on a tobacco farm, I sold fertilizer and agricultural chemicals for 11 years owned a fertilizer blending plant and farm supply store, landscaped for 15 years and owned a retail nursery and garden center for almost thirty years.  All of this and I am only 39 years old. Believe that and I have some Arizona beach front property for sale.

After all of that I still find the ways of Mother Nature interesting.  I see things in nature daily that raise questions in my mind.  I have a sun coleus in a large pot at the end of my driveway slightly shaded on one side and in bright sun on the other.  The shaded side is very dark in color, the side in sun is light and faded in color.  Did you know the sun will fade a plant just like it will fade a piece of clothing hung out on a clothes line to dry. I can turn that plant around and in a weeks time, the colors will reverse.

That beautiful purple Japanese maple planted as an understory will retain its color almost all summer.  Planted out in full sun, by early summer it will be a dirty looking orange color.  Put some shade over it and it will turn back to the pretty purple it is supposed to be.

As many of you may know some of the blue hydrangeas can be changed to pink or vice versa.  Low ph and the bloom is blue, add lime and raise the ph and the bloom is pink.  Not all hydrangeas change color.  With the way hydrangeas are bred today most of the colors are firm.  Even many of the pinks and blues are firm today.

Why do some plants do much better when planted and then transplanted, while others do much better when seeded directly where they are intended to be grown. Tobacco, tomatoes, peppers, to name a few do much better when transplanted.  Farmers have tried for years to direct seed them but have never had much success.  Corn, beans, melons, seem to prefer direct seeding.  With some crops it doesn’t seem to matter.

Shrubs and trees do strange things also.  A red delicious apple is a freak of nature.  An orchid grower in Oregon some years back noticed the apples on a limb of a tree in his orchard were different. He took some cuttings and grafted them and over time they have come to be what we now know as a red delicious.  By the way, most fruit trees have to be grafted on special rootstock. Plant the seed and the fruit you get will be nothing like what you see in the orchard.

Pink, red and various varieties of dogwood are freaks of nature.  Plant a seed off a pink dogwood and you get a white native dogwood.  All of the colored dogwoods and improved whites are grown by taking cuttings and grafting them to white rootstock.  When you see a dogwood with pink and white on the same tree, usually if you look you can find where a sprout came out below the graft and was allowed to grow.

This is just a few examples of Mother Nature and her tricks.  If you look around you will see examples of things nature does that are hard to explain.

 

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Plant of the Week - Green Mountain Boxwood

Green Mountain Boxwood 

Green Mountain Boxwood

Vigorous growing boxwood when young. Dense upright form with bright green leaves that retain their color through winter. Natural cone shaped form if left unsheared, excellent hedge. Evergreen.

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