Common Indoor Plant Problems

May 12, 2018 at 9:50 am ·

Common Indoor Plant Problems

There are a number of indoor plant problems that can plague your garden. Bugs, fungus, and mold are the most common issues that develop in an indoor garden. These indoor plant problems often go unnoticed because of today’s efficient hydroponic setups. It is not necessary to hand-water and inspect your plants as much if you have the right timers and pumps. Checking your crops periodically for the following indoor plant problems will help prevent a major infestation in your garden.

Why they occur

Growing conditions for indoor gardens are quite different than those found outside. Outdoor crops must face a variety of weather conditions, from gusting wind to extreme heat. The challenging environment makes outdoor plants stronger as they go through the various seasons. Indoor plants do not get the benefit of these environmental stressors, which makes them more vulnerable to damage. Compounding the problem is the controlled, warm environment of most indoor gardens, which is perfect for fungi and bugs.

Inspect the leaves

indoor-plant-common-problems-leavesCheck your plants’ leaves first as this is the most obvious place to find indoor plant problems. Dirt or other debris on the surface of the leaves can interfere with the plant’s ability to receive sunlight for photosynthesis. If you are able to remove individual plants from your indoor garden, it is best to wash off any dirt or dust in the sink. Use a slow stream, so you do not blast the plant’s leaves with water. A watering can with a sprinkler-type faucet also works well for cleaning off your plant’s leaves, especially if you cannot easily take the plants out of your indoor garden setup. Make sure to wash the underside of the leaves as well, since many insects lay their eggs there.

Insects

If you have seen signs of bugs or damage on your plants, you need to figure out what type of insects you are dealing with. Different insects require different types of removal or insecticide. Removal by hand and a thorough cleansing will be safer for your plants than using chemical-based pesticides, but this is very time-consuming and may not keep insects from returning if you have a major infestation. After picking or scraping off the insects by hand, rinse the underside of the leaves with a moderately forceful stream of water to remove any eggs. Scrape off any eggs that remain on the leaves, if you can see them. Some insects lay eggs that are too small to see with the naked eye. You can use a magnifying glass to

Soil infestations

The soil itself may be the source of your indoor plant problems. Some types of infestations work their way up from the soil into the plant’s roots. Flushing out the soil is the only way to get rid of these infestations without transplanting the entire plant. Thoroughly drench the soil with water and let it seep out the bottom. If your plant needs nutrition, this is a good time to add a bit of diluted liquid fertilizer.

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Deer Resistant Landscape Trees

May 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm ·

Deer Resistant Landscape Trees

Deer resistant landscape trees many not seem like an important investment, but if you live in an area with a heavy deer population, you’ve seen the damage that a hungry deer can do. Just like any other danger to a tree’s survival, deer can eat on the bark and leaves of a tree making it unsustainable for growth. Fortunately, there are deer resistant landscape trees that will allow you to have a vibrant and thriving yard design. These five deer resistant tree suggestions will keep your lawn looking its best all year round.

#1 Blue Nest Spruce

The Blue Nest Spruce is a slow growing, dwarf size evergreen that has blue and green foliage. If you have a rock garden that facilitates your landscape design, a Blue Nest Spruce will thrive in those surroundings. Due to its magnificent color and hearty design, the Blue Nest Spruce will add an eye-popping element to your landscape. This dwarf variety hosts an attractive globe of richly colored needles and requires minimal watering, fertilizing, and pruning. Due to its versatility, It is also a fantastic addition to a shrub borders. The Blue Nest Spruce enjoys a sunny habitat with well-drained soil. The Blue Nest Spruce is an excellent tree for adding depth, color and texture to your landscape design. Best of all, it is known for being completely deer resistant.

#2 The Gingko Tree

This ageless wonder makes for the perfect deer resistant addition to a landscape design. The Gingko tree can have a lifespan up to several hundred years, so it is known for its superb structure and stability. The foliage on the Gingko tree turns bright yellow in autumn making it a showpiece for the yard. In addition, the Gingko tree produces fruit that is an orange color when it is ripe. In addition, this tree can grow to be quite tall, so pruning could be a necessity depending on your yard’s needs. The Gingko is indigenous to China, Japan, and Korea, where it first found its place in the mountain regions. Today the tree is often planted in suburbs, populous cities, and highly trafficked areas due to its resistance to urban emissions and wildlife.

#3 The Mimosa Tree

The Mimosa tree, known for its silk features, is known for its dramatic ornamental features. Of all the deer resistant landscape options, the Mimosa tree could be the most lovely. The gorgeous scented fluffy flowers and dramatic fern-like foliage make this one a real eye pleaser. Due to the fragrant characteristics of this tree, it is attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. Typically, the Mimosa tree grows to about twenty feet in height thus making it a wonderful complementary asset for a landscaped yard. Mimosa trees grow very quickly but don’t have an extremely long life span. Interestingly, each leaf is made up of many smaller tiny leafs that are covered in little white fuzzy hairs. That is why the tree is known for its silk like appearance. Due to its deer resistant nature, it makes for a superb addition to a thriving landscape design.

#4 The Sassafras Tree

Versatility and widespread appeal make the Sassafras tree a perfect fit for any landscaped garden area. If you want a yard design that looks quite natural and ethereal, the Sassafras will incorporate into the scheme quite appropriately. The Sassafras tree can be found in a wide range of regions and climate zones within the United States including Maine and Texas. A unique characteristic of this deciduous tree is that it has leaves that are shaped like a fluffy glove. Its yellow flowers bloom in the spring and omit a lovely fragrance. The foliage of the Sassafras tree are a soft green color and and turn vibrant colors during the fall. Deer resistant landscape trees might not be appealing to deer, but their beauty and attractive fragrance makes the Sassafras a people’s favorite.

#5 The Red Maple Tree

If you are in need of a taller landscape tree for the corner of your yard, the deer resistant Red Maple tree is a likely alternative. This lovely deciduous tree can grow up to forty feet in height. Due to the variegated light and dark green leaf combination, the Red Maple tree adds drama and color to a landscaped yard. In early spring, red flowers encompass the branches of the tree making room for the fresh leaves that are preparing to form. Additionally, the leaves of the Red Maple turn a beautiful red color during the fall season. Due to the Red Maple’s quick growth, sap can be used to make syrup but its flavor is not as tasty as that from other maple varieties. The attractive red colors and deer resistant qualities make it a beautiful addition to a landscaped yard.

Deer resistant landscape trees are critical to the maintenance and design of a well-planned yard.  Chewed pieces of bark, damaged leaves, and broken branches are not an eye-appealing feature of an outdoor yard design. These tree varieties can help you have a landscape that is a true neighborhood showpiece. And if you wish to have your unwanted trees removed and new ones planted the way it should match perfectly with your landscape, call for tree removal services near you. They can assist you and even give you great deals and tips on keeping a 5-star yard.

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Foliage with Fragrance

April 15, 2018 at 1:21 pm ·

Foliage with Fragrance

Plants with fragrant leaves will add a lot to your garden scene. Ornamentals that have a rich perfume such as stocks, narcissus, carnations and comparable subjects, are of course, well-known. Creating the same kind of an environment but with foliage plants will prove an interesting gardening adventure.

scented-foliagesOne of the most delightful fragrances in the plant kingdom emanates from the leaves of the diosma, often called coleonema by nurserymen. This ornamental is more familiarly known as “breath of heaven” which is an apt description. Two varieties are available: Alba, which produces white toned flowers and Purpurea which develops blooms of a purple-pink tinge. The plant has somewhat the appearance of a heath and demands a spot out in the sun. Rubbing the leaves together causes the fragrance to be more pronounced.

For a clean fragrance that will remind you of the great outdoors, choose Libocedrus decurrens. This is a California native and as such is sure to succeed in your garden. It has what is known as a “woodsy” smell; it is like bringing the mountains to your garden. This incense cedar is well adapted for the average landscape, being neither too large nor too small . At maturity, the tree should approximate a height of from 40 to 50 feet.

Libocedrus decurrens is somewhat on the formal side and this characteristic should be kept in mind relative to its surroundings. The tree has a stately shape and is well proportioned. The foliage is dense, the tree being quite full in the center. It assumes a pyramidal type of growth. The aromatic smell should aid in wiping out gasoline fumes that may blow into your garden from the street.

foliages-with-scentA somewhat taller tree is eucalyptus citriodora, so named because of its lemon-like scent. This specimen grows to around 70 feet high and gets there rather rapidly. One distinguishing mark of the eucalyptus citriodora is its white trunk that, because of the smoothness of the surface, appears to be polished. The leaves which are slender in shape have the exact pungency of a lemon.

Myrtus communis, the myrtle of Roman times and well known throughout the pages of history, is one of Southern California’s most popular hedge plants; and deservedly so. The foliage is shiny in appearance and highly aromatic in fragrance, the small white flowers give way in early spring to blackberries.

fragrant-foliages

For hedge purposes you have a choice of two excellent myrtles: The common type is the large-growing specimen, going from four to eight feet. Variety compacta, which in late years has become increasingly more popular, ranges from three to six feet. Both varieties are hardy down to 15 degrees temperature and tolerate a great deal of pruning. This allows shaping the plants as wished. These myrtles also perform well as specimen plants. They require very little care.

Salvia officinalis, the green sage of the culinary arts, is as important in the kitchen, as an herb, as it is in the garden as an ornamental. Housewives who take their cooking, or seasoning, seriously are well acquainted with the magic powers of the leaves of a sage plant. It is a perennial and will continue on in your garden for many years. The blooms which appear in racemes are purple, blue and white.

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Pruning Trees for a Healthy and Beautiful Garden

March 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm ·

Pruning Trees for a Healthy and Beautiful Garden

We prune trees for their health and for our aesthetic pleasure. While major tree pruning is a dangerous job best left to professionals, pruning small trees is a job that can be handled by any gardener. Any job that can be managed with large secateurs or a pruning saw and does not require the use of a tall ladder or climbing equipment is suitable for the amateur.

Late winter and very early spring is the best time to prune trees. This is just before their growth period begins. All the tree’s stored energy is available to heal the wound made by pruning. If you prune later in the year, it is harder for the tree to recover. Of course, if a branch is damaged, it can be pruned in any season, the clean cut from a pruning saw will heal better than the splintered ends left by wind damage or an accident. Quick healing is desirable because open wood is an invitation to infestation and infection.

Pruning is desirable for the tree’s health. Cut out dead wood and diseased branches. Also, remove any branches that rub against each other. Constant rubbing will wear the bark away, leaving a raw spot that is vulnerable to infection and to insects. If two branches are crossed, cut out one of them before they begin rubbing against each other. When you have accomplished this, you will have a far healthier tree.

Pruning can also increase the gardener’s comfort in the garden and the pleasure he finds there. Any tree branch that crosses a path and constantly annoys walkers should be removed. If a tree casts heavy shade and you want to grow flowers beneath it, you can increase available sunlight dramatically by removing the lower limbs.

A tree can also be pruned to make it more beautiful. You can remove a misshapen growth that resulted from earlier damage (or someone else’s inept pruning). You can thin out the branches to make the tree appear more graceful. You can remove some top growth to encourage blossoms and fruit on the lower branches. Follow the natural growth pattern to enhance the tree’s shape, and see how beautiful it can be!

Where to cut the branch? Never, never cut half-way down the limb. The branch will die back to its base anyway, and the dying wood will invite pests and disease. Always cut at the base of the branch. If you look closely, you will see a bulge at the spot where a twig meets a branch, or a branch meets the trunk of the tree. This is called the branch collar. Cut just outside the branch collar, and the wound will heal very quickly.

Twigs and small branches can be removed with secateurs. Larger branches require the use of a pruning saw. Don’t try to use a carpenter’s saw for this job. The large, deeply-cut teeth of a pruning sew are especially designed to cut cleanly through green wood. If you are pruning a large branch, start by cutting from upward on the bottom of the branch, just past the branch collar. Then cut down from the top until the branch is sawn through. If you don’t make the bottom cut first, the weight of the falling branch is likely to tear a large strip of bark from the tree, leaving a wound that is difficult for the tree to heal.

Gardeners were once advised to paint or otherwise seal the stump. This isn’t really necessary if you’ve cut just beyond the branch collar. The tree can heal an incision at that spot very quickly, and paint will only delay healing.

So go ahead and cut out any dead or diseased wood. Cut out crossed and rubbing branches. Cut out unsightly growth. Arrange a junk removal service if you can’t handle it, then walk away. Remember, you can always prune more branches later, but you can’t replace the ones you cut by mistake!

Prune properly, and enjoy the healthy trees in your beautiful garden!

Sources:

North Star Tree Service of Lawrenceville, GA
The Horticultural Channel
WikiHow

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How to Organize a Plant Swap

February 22, 2018 at 9:10 am ·

How to Organize a Plant Swap

One of the best parts of gardening is being able to share what you know and grow with other gardeners or people you meet. Tips and tricks you have used in your own garden just might be the information another gardener needs to get their trouble plant flourishing, and a plant you noticed in a neighbors garden might be ready to divide and shared.

plant-swap-planThese are all good reasons to organize a plant swap among your friends or in your own neighborhood. At a plant swap you can share information on the plants that you have had success with or those plants that do not do well in the area with newbie gardeners. A swap takes place among gardeners who have divided up plants in their garden that have become to big for the space they are growing in or need to be transplanted.

Here is a guide to organizing your own plant swap where you can share tips and tricks to growing your favorite plants and swap extra plants and seeds from your garden.

Gather Gardening Pals

The first thing you are going to need in order to have a successful plant swap are other gardeners to swap with. Talk to your gardening pals in the neighborhood, you know, the folks that you stop and talk to on walks through the neighborhood to admire their garden. Next, talk to the gardeners in your neighborhood that you haven’t yet met but noticed that they have some plants that need dividing. Finally, stop at your local public places to see about posting flyers for a plant swap, depending on the size of the swap you want to have.

When to Swap

Deciding when to host a plant swap is not hard, the growth of your plants and when they are ready to divide pretty much dictate the schedule. The best time of year to host plant swaps are going to be in the spring and again in the fall. Spring bloomers should be divided and swapped in the fall and summer bloomers divided and swapped in the spring.

What to Swap

what-plant-to-swapPopular plants to swap include those that can always be used in the garden to create borders, fill shade and add color. Perennial favorites like Hostas, Purple Coneflowers, Asters, and Lilies are always wanted by gardeners. Other plants to include in the swap are any new varieties you have introduced to your own garden that have performed well.

Besides plants that you divide in your garden you can swap any leftover seedlings you grew for your own garden and seeds that you have collected. Make sure you include any information about planting and care that you have for all of the plants that you swap.

How to Swap

There are several ways to go about swapping your plants. You can swap using a lottery system or let members exchange among themselves. I prefer a lottery system because that way every member gets an equal chance at bringing home some of their favorites. Make sure that all gardeners involved are comfortable with whatever swap method is used before you begin.

Things to Remember

Remind all gardeners involved that the plants they bring to swap should be healthy and disease free, no one wants to introduce an unhealthy plant into their otherwise disease free garden. Include details about your plant to potential gardeners, like if you have used chemical fertilizers or if all gardening was done organically. And finally, have fun and take the time to glean as many tips and tricks from other gardeners to use in your own garden.

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Compost Magic

February 8, 2018 at 9:14 am ·

Compost Magic

Growing a greener garden is part science, part art, and part chance. There isn’t much you can do about the element of chance – the weather might be ideal one year and disastrous the next. Then there are those people who just seem to have a knack for producing the prettiest blooms and heartiest plants. But even if you weren’t blessed with a proverbial green thumb, you can have a healthier garden if you understand some of the science behind growing things.

With all the interest in green, environmentally friendly methods, composting is a great way to utilize kitchen and lawn waste to produce the perfect soil additive without chemical fertilizers. Producing your own compost just makes sense because the ingredients are free and you’ll be making the most of materials that would otherwise go down your garbage disposal or worse, become part of the mountain of trash at a landfill.

There are several different styles of compost structures, from free-standing piles that can be manually turned over, to pre-fabricated rotating bins. The size of your compost pile will depend on the size of your yard and on the amount of waste material your lawn and kitchen produce. Compost piles should not exceed around six feet in height because if the pile is too high, decomposition will not occur at the deeper layers. Also, if a compost heap is too tall or massive, it will be difficult to turn over.

compost-methodTurning over your compost is a method of mixing the layers which will be at different stages of decomposition. This is accomplished with a simple pitchfork or shovel. Pitchforks are the best tool for composting since they are not as heavy or cumbersome as shovels. Garden rakes are typically not durable enough for the job, since decomposing compost becomes quite weighty.

In order for decomposition to occur, your compost pile must include both green and brown material. Green matter refers to any fresh waste material such as green leaves, grass clippings, fresh wood chips, and vegetable, fruit or other organic scraps. Brown matter includes dead branches, dried wood chips, dried pine cones and needles, and even shredded paper scraps. A word of caution: do not add meat, fat or oil to your compost pile since this will attract vermin as well as create quite a stench!

If your compost pile includes this combination of materials and is at least a foot or more in depth, with time, the magic of decomposition will turn what would otherwise be trash into a rich soil additive. You can tell that decomposition is occurring by reaching your hand deep into the pile. If the center of the heap feels much hotter than the surface, that means the magic of decomposition has begun. In fact, the center of your compost heap should be nearly too hot to touch.

You might notice a variety of insects in and around your compost pile. Actually, at the hot center of the heap, instead of earthworms and beetles, tiny microorganisms will be doing the real work of breaking down material.

When your compost begins to resemble rich coffee grounds, it is ready to be used as a soil additive. Good compost can help turn overly alkaline soil into healthy balanced soil by adding a mildly acidic element. You can test the pH level of your soil with a simple tester device, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of around 6 or 7 ideal. The crumbly texture of compost can turn clumpy, clay soils into workable garden dirt. Using compost also helps conserve water usage in the garden because mulch compost placed around plants holds water and inhibits evaporation. Even without rainfall, mulch will draw and hold moisture from the morning dew, releasing it throughout the day to thirsty plants.

If you have a garden, your plants are sure to reward your composting efforts with brighter blooms and tastier treats.

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A Mini Greenhouse is Ideal for Small Gardens

January 18, 2018 at 11:14 pm ·

A Mini Greenhouse is Ideal for Small Gardens

If you have a small garden space, a full-sized greenhouse may be out of the question. However, if you do much gardening, a well-made mini greenhouse is a purchase you will never regret. Ideal for use on patios, decks, balconies, courtyards and small yards, mini green houses offer the same benefits and many of the same features as their full-sized cousins, yet take up very little space, typically around six square feet!

Main Use of a mini greenhouse

A greenhouse can be used to start seedlings before the recommended frost date for your area. When the weather warms up, your healthy, robust plants can then be transplanted into the garden. This allows you to start harvesting your crops much earlier than gardeners who wait to direct-seed. There’s a much wider selection of seeds available than plants, so you can grow things that your friends won’t have, which makes sharing your produce with them a lot more fun!

A good selection of herbs, and nearly all varieties of lettuce can be grown successfully in a mini greenhouse all year long, as can greens such as Swiss chard, kale, and spinach. Think how great it would be to serve your guests a salad of just-picked greens in the middle of winter!

greenhouse-plantsYou can use your greenhouse to protect tender perennial plants from frost, ice and snow. Transplant them into containers and they’ll live happily in your mini greenhouse until spring, and then they can be moved back outdoors.

Consider giving your houseplants a welcome change of scenery by putting them outside in your miniature greenhouse for the summer months. The greenhouse can also provide a humid micro-climate for tropical plants.

Mini greenhouses will make the most of the heat available from the sun, while protecting your plants from wind, rain, destructive insects and other garden pests like rabbits and deer.

Some minis are designed to mount to a wall, garage or shed rather than be a free-standing unit in the garden. This ensures that they won’t get knocked over by rambunctious pets or kids, or blown over by a strong wind. There are also kits which allow you to build a small greenhouse in no time, with complete instructions provided by the manufacturer. They range from one- to three-shelf designs, and are relatively inexpensive.

What size do you really need?

Even if you have the space for a full-sized greenhouse, it may still make sense to go with a mini greenhouse instead. If your main use will be to germinate seeds, grow a few plants and provide winter protection for less hardy specimens, a smaller greenhouse will suit you just fine. But if you plan to grow a lot of flowers or vegetables all year long, then a full-size, insulated greenhouse would probably be worth the investment. However, don’t forget that full-size greenhouses have different heating, lighting and cooling requirements than miniature ones, which makes them much more costly to maintain and use.

Greenhouse-gardening offers many practical advantages and money-saving benefits for gardeners, and if all you have the space or money for is a miniature one, this is still much better than not having a greenhouse at all! A mini greenhouse may well prove to be your best gardening expenditure, and will certainly bring you years of enjoyment.

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