Late Fall Fertilizer

Yes, it’s getting chilly out there and YES It is time to apply your final application of fertilizer to your lawn!  If you think it’s too cold to fertilize your lawn….think again.

Fall Fertilizer

Here are the many benefits to a late fall, early winter fertilizer:

  1. The grass plants will have better color going into the winter months
  2. And, the grass plants will green up earlier in the spring
  3. The grass plant foliage will be much denser going into the winter
  4. The grass plants roots will grow deeper and denser
  5. and the grass plants energy reserve will be increased going into the winter.

So break out the spreader and break open a bag of fertilizer and spread away!

 

Plants That Help You Garden

One of the great things about gardening is that in some way your garden can take care of itself. Now, that’s not endorsing abandoning garden chores completely, but there are a few things that you can do to make your work a little easier. One of these things is to select plants for your garden that will help control insect pests.

Certain plants contain properties that either invite beneficial insects or repel harmful insects. Beneficial insects prey on pests that cause damage in the garden. Ladybugs and praying mantis are good examples of beneficial bugs.

Using plants for pest control not only cuts down on your workload, but it also reduces the amount of insecticides that you use in your garden. And fewer insecticides means more good bugs, which in turn means help in controlling bad bugs.

Remember that what works in one garden may not work in another. Every garden is different with its own microclimate, soil type, and pest control issues. It is important to experiment to find out what works best for your situation. With this thought in mind, it also helps to choose plants that are native to your area. This way beneficial insects will already know what to look for.

Artemisia: This plant produces a strong antiseptic, although not unpleasant aroma that repels most insects. Planted in drifts it can also deter small animals. One popular variety is ‘Powis Castle.’ Probably best not to plant in vegetable gardens because it produces a botanical poison.

basil1-1Basil: The oils in basil are said to repel thrips, flies and mosquitoes. Plant basil alongside any tomato plants for larger, tastier tomatoes.

Bee Balm: This plant attracts bees to the garden. It is another plant that you can grow with your tomatoes.

Borage: This plant is a real workhorse in the garden. It repels tomato hornworms and cabbage worms and attracts beneficial bees and wasps. Borage also adds trace elements to the soil. This is an annual, but readily come back each year from seed.

Catnip: This plant repels just about everything, except for cats of course! Use it to keep 300_78968away flea beetles, aphids, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, ants, and weevils. Use sachets of dried catnip to deter ants from invading your kitchen. A favorite variety of catnip is ‘Six Hills Giant’ because of its proliferation of sky blue blooms.

Chives: are great herbs. Not only do they have great flavor, but their grassy foliage and round heads also add so much interest to any garden. You can plant chives to repel Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies. It has been said that chives will help prevent scab when planted among apple trees.

Chrysanthemums: When you do use an insecticide, use one made from chrysanthemums called pyrethrum. This all-natural pesticide can help control things like roaches, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, and ants. In the garden white flowering chrysanthemums are said to drive away Japanese beetles.

Garlic: A lot can be said about garlic. It’s really great stuff. In addition to its great taste and health benefits, garlic planted near roses repels aphids. It also deters codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails, and carrot root fly.

Marigolds: The marigold is probably the most well known plant for repelling insects. French marigolds repel whiteflies and kill bad nematodes. Mexican marigolds are said to images-140offend a host of destructive insects and wild rabbits as well. If you choose marigolds for your garden they must be scented to work as a repellent. And while this plant drives away many bad bugs, it also attracts spider mites and snails.

Nasturtiums: Plant nasturtiums with your tomatoes and cucumbers as a way to fight off wooly aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. The flowers, especially the yellow blooming varieties, act as a trap for aphids.

So, let some of these plants make your garden more interesting and share the work of pest control and of attracting pollinators to your garden.

Holiday Wreaths

When it comes Holiday Wreaths there are many different variations that make beautiful, festive decorations.  Depending upon what look you are searching for, just a few supplies are necessary to make a homemade, one of a kind wreath.

Traditional Greens Wreath:

Supplies:

  • Fresh or artificial greens (for example, pine tree branches)
  •  Holly Clippings: These will add a splash of color into your wreath.
  •  Wire coat hanger or a pre-made wreath frame.  If you chose to use a wire coat hanger, unbend it from its original shape into a circular shape. The hook can then be used to hang up your wreath when it is completed.
  •  Paddle wire (also called floral wire)
  •  Pine cones

First coil your floral wire around a section of the wreath frame. Next take 5-6 greens and bundle them together. Then take your floral wire that is attached to the wreath frame, and wrap it around the bundles tightly. Repeat this all around the wreath frame until it is completely covered with branches. Make sure to cover the stems when adding each bundle. Once you’ve completed your circle with branches, twist the excess wire around the wreath, trim it, and then tuck it under.

When adding the pinecones, wrap the wire around the base of the cone and make sure to leave at least 6 inches on each side. Then place the pinecones where u desire and secure them on by winding the wire around the wreath until it’s on tight. You’ve now completed your wreath!

Pinecone Wreath:

This wreath is a simpler wreath to make and has a unique flare to it.

Supplies:

  • Pinecones (You will need about 50 pinecones of different size)
  •  Paint (Color of your choice or if you chose you can leave them their natural color).
  •  Hot glue
  •  Grapevine base

All that has to be done to make this wreath is a bit of gluing! First take your pinecones and use the hot glue to glue them to the grapevine base. Then allow them to dry once they are arranged how you would like them. You can then brush them with paint of your choice or spray paint. Adding a touch of glitter will add a pretty twinkle!

 

 

Force Bulbs Indoors for an Early Taste of Spring!

Who says you have to wait until spring for the colorful beauty of bulbs? Forcing bulbs to bloom indoors is a fun and easy way to brighten up your home’s interior over the colder months ahead.

Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses can all be brought into bloom earlier than normal. Since time spans from planting to blooming will differ from bulb to bulb, it’s important not to mix varieties in the same container. Also, only top-quality, good- sized bulbs should be used.

 

Planting

In a plastic or clay pot, plant your bulbs in a mixture of three parts garden loam, two parts peat moss and one part sand, leaving about 1’ of space at the top of the pot. The pointed ends of the bulbs should remain exposed. As a rule of thumb, sex tulips, sex daffodils, three hyacinths or 15 crocuses will fit a 6’ pot.  Water the bulbs immediately after planting, and be sure that the soil stays moist afterward.

Cold Treatment

Once planted, your bulbs will need to be kept in a cool (35 to 48 degrees F), dark location for a minimum of 12 weeks (an unheated cellar works well). Remember to keep soil moist, since developing roots can dry out and die quickly.

Forcing

As soon as the shoots reach 3’ or 4’ in height, move your pots into bright, indirect light for three or four days. Then, move the pots into direct sunlight until the flowers bloom, at which point they should be moved back to indirect light. You can extend blooming periods by keeping the roots moist and moving the pots to a cool spot at night.

 

For a continuous supply of flowers, try plating your bulbs at weekly intervals, bringing just a few pots at a time out of cold treatment. Enjoy!

The “Must-do’s” of Fall

       It’s about that time where all those beautiful leaves are resting on your lawn. Should you leave them there? No! It is important that leaves are raked up from your lawn in order to keep it healthy. If you do not, it is possible that mold can grow under those leaves, similar to snow mold. This mold will suffocate and damage your turf. Sure signs of mold are white or grey spots growing throughout your lawn. In addition, thick layers of leaves can also prohibit the growth of your lawn by suffocating it and depriving it of the necessary sunlight needed for growth.

       How else should you prepare your lawn for the current and upcoming weather you ask? Try taking some of these tips:

  • Wondering what to do with those leaves after raking them from your lawn? Consider working them into your garden soil or adding them to your compost pile!
  •  If rainfall is scarce, remember that your lawn will benefit from extra watering this fall. 1″ to 1 1⁄2 ” per week will be very helpful.
  • It’s a good idea to add a layer of mulch to your landscape plantings after the first hard freeze. This will help to keep the soil temperature more consistent through winter for extended root growth.

    Lawn Mold

  • Keep that mower handy! Mowing should continue until your grass has stopped growing for the season.
  • If you have a water garden, you can keep leaves out of it this fall by covering it with netting.

 

Just by following these few steps your lawn will be sure to thank you with another year of green, lush grass!

Brace Yourself (and Your Trees) for Winter Weather

No trees are immune to storm damage, and winter storms can be especially severe. Whether it’s heavy snow or ice storms, the trees on your property have to contend with some pretty rough conditions over the winter season.

If you’re concerned that your valuable trees may be at risk, it’s a good idea to have them evaluated to determine what, if any, preventative measures should be taken. Protective steps may include:

Preventative Pruning: Previously damaged or weak limbs, and branches with too little space between them, can be selectively pruned to minimize the risk of tree failure under heavy snow loads.

Cabling: This reinforces weak limbs and V-shaped forks. Heavy bolts in one or more locations on limbs, with cables running between the limbs, add strength to the tree to help it avoid sudden breakage.

Bracing: This is used to give direct support and reduce twisting strain on a tree. A metal rod is inserted where the trunk splits into two or more limbs, and cables are placed above it.

All too often, the trees most damaged during winter storms are the focal point of a property. If you’ve never considered storm protection for your trees, you may want to think again. It will probably cost more to repair or replace storm-damaged trees than it would to take preventative measures right now.

Is Your Landscape a Little Too “Endeering?”

Here’s how you can fight back against destructive deer 

Increased deer populations, along with the expansion of suburban areas, means more deer are wandering into our neighborhoods. Not only are deer a definite road hazard, but they can do a lot of damage to landscapes too.

Deer tend to shy away from people, but they will browse through your landscape in search of a meal if their natural woodland food sources become scarce or depleted. Plus, they can damage your trees by rubbing their antlers against the bark.

Deterrents to Try

One approach to discouraging deer is to use plants they don’t like in your landscape (paper birch, common boxwood, American holly, daffodil and English lavender are a few examples). The problem with this approach is that deer will feed on just about any plant if they’re hungry enough.

A more effective approach is to add deer repellents to existing plants. Commercial repellents can easily be found at your local garden or home

Damage from antlers

goods store, or you might consider making your own repellent using simple bar soap. Soap bars hung in trees at about 6’ height have been proven effective, and they last longer if you leave them wrapped. Simply hang them with wire about 3’ to 4’ apart. It doesn’t matter what kind of soap you use, since deer just don’t like the smell.

Barriers can also be constructed to prevent contact with plants. Deer netting can be wrapped around smaller plantings, or it can be combined with wooden stakes to form a fence around larger specimens. If deer activity is especially heavy on your property, you might even consider having a deer-proof fence installed. These are generally made using woven wire and should be at least 8’ tall to prevent deer from jumping over them.

 

As beautiful as deer may be, having them hang around your landscape just isn’t good. Taking steps to keep them away will be worth the effort! But remember, it is their home too, do not take violent steps to get rid of deer!

A Great Start for New Grass

Whether you’ve had your lawn overseeded, or have opted for a more extensive lawn renovation, proper care after planting is critical to giving your grass the best chances for success. Your newly seeded lawn will benefit from the following this fall:

  • Enough water to keep the top inch of soil moist at all times. Light watering once a day is recommended. Once seedlings appear, you’ll need to keep watering, but not as often (once or twice a week should do the trick).
  • Limited foot traffic. Try to avoid walking on newly seeded areas until the new grass has been established.
  • A balanced starter fertilizer should be applied up to six weeks after the seeding.
  • Mowing at a normal height (removing no more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time) once the new grass is 4” tall.

With a little tender loving care, you’ll be enjoying your beautiful new turf in no time!

“Is Dinner Ready Yet?”

You Can’t Blame your Lawn, Trees and Shrubs for Asking!

It’s hard to overstate how important it is to fertilize your lawn, trees and shrubs, especially during the fall. Most of the plants in your landscape will soon be shifting into dormancy, with top growth slowing down or stopping altogether. Underground, however, they’ll still be very active.

In order to prepare for new growth in the spring, your lawn, trees and shrubs must build new roots and fatten them up with nutrients. You can improve this process by making sure they get a heavy dose of fertilizer in the fall. The stronger and healthier the roots become as a result of proper fall fertilization, the better growth you can expect next year.

Some of the benefits you can expect from fall lawn fertilization include:

  • Grass blades that stay greener and roots that grow later into the season.
  • Better recovery from the stresses of summer heat and drought.
  • Increased ability to hold water, which helps grass plants withstand the drying and browning effects of winter winds.
  • Improves resistance to some cool-weather fungus diseases due to better overall plant health.
  • Thicker green-up in the spring.

By having your trees and shrubs fertilized this fall, you can expect:

  • Improved flowering.
  • Stronger resistance to insects and disease.
  • Better winter color in evergreens.
  • Healthier, denser foliage.
  • An increase in root mass and root branching.

Remember, fall fertilization of your lawn, trees and shrubs will have a direct effect on the performance of your plants throughout next year’s growing season. It’s an essential part of protecting and improving your valuable landscape investment.

Try These Bulbs for a Color Explosion!

Tulips

Thinking about planting bulbs, but not sure what kind you want? Any of these choices will enhance your garden with breathtaking beauty and radiance next season. Mix them up for an unforgettable flower display!

Tulip: Looks great when mixed with annuals or perennials.

Ranunculus: Peony-like blooms are 3” o 5” across.

Ipheion

Daffodil: Great for cut flowers. Deer resistant.

Iris: Comes in purple, blue, mauve brown, orange, yellow and white.

Ipheion: Easy to grow, with small, light-blue blooms.

Anemone: Single or double blooms with contracting center color. 

Ixia: Tall flowers that look best in groups of 25 or more.