Good Gardening in 2017 

 
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go to Etsy.com then type in TracysTimeWarp 

 

 

SEPTEMBER-Multi-Facetted, its 2018’s beginning as 2017’s is beginning its closing

First eight months of 2017 for plant material and all those who enjoy and or work in the botanical world a hyper-charged roller coaster ride. Though winter was mild leading everyone to think this is going to be a great growing season and in some scenario it was but over-all it was difficult anticipate anything halfway normal in this region where weather wise normal means abnormal. As August closed its doors many trees are dropping large number of leaves, under cared for and even properly cared plantings were showing signs of stress. All are hoping that this month will be a push of the re-set button by Mother Nature making last few weeks of summer and first of fall aesthetically rewarding.    

Green Green Grass of Home-Lawn-healthy well maintained cool season lawns should be recovering, while healthy well maintained warm season lawns will keep good aesthetics, if either type is showing unhealthy appearance, regardless of cause get proper / correct diagnosis is vital, before any action is taken or disaster may become worse mentally and financially-Cool Season Lawn (bluegrass / fescue) seeding-core aerate, spread seed and seed starter fertilizer then top dress with ½-1” compost, sod installation only if soil is prepared prior to laying sod-Warm Season Lawn (zoysia) no fertilizer-All Lawns regardless of type keep watered to insure 1” every 7-10 days, keep mower blade at 3.5-4.0” allowing for maximize amount of chlorophyll (food) to be generated

Landscape Websites that Aren’t Internet-3 Distinctive Types-1). Most damaging-spider mites-damaging to numerous varieties of plant material, webbing located usually between leaf surface and stem, feed on underside of leaf causing discoloration / speckling-control with miticide spray on underside of leaf or washing plant with stream of water can knock spider mites off but may move to nearby plant or return to original 2). Larger scary looking but minimal damage-fall web worms (caterpillars)-on tree branching / forks truly not major damage but if webbing is not destroyed (simply tear apart with stick / broom handle) population can increase (worms stay original tree hatching site or nearby) over time can weaken tree 3). Over-all beneficial-‘normal spiders’ seen on ground covers, in shrubs helpful by catching variety of troublesome bugs   

If Saving Tropicals Houseplants for Migration Indoors-if unhealthy consider not moving, even healthy appearing plants need full inspection for disease / insects if any detected determine specifics and take corrective action prior to bringing indoors, all migrants do not fertilizer, reduce watering, no matter type of plant brighter sunlight indoors is better to make transition less impactful

Get the Dirt on Your Soil by Testing-reduce / eliminate guess work-contains information (nutrient levels, soil chemistry pH…) essential in setting course of action, separate test for lawn, each unique bed spaces i.e. edibles, woodies, perennials (sun / shade), roses…

Rehabbing or Building New Bed Spaces-determine fate of existing plants (donate, kill, place in holding area) rototill designated area, layer on 2” raised bed mix compost, rototill, repeat 1 or 2 more times, adding 4-6” of compost (2 cu. yds. per 100 sq. ft.) creating excellent raised planting area-Plant Installations-ideal time warm soil temperature trigger new root growth, less intense rainfall allowing for absorption into the ground keeping root systems hydrated, above ground growth-dormancy is beginning-Planting Tips-remove flowers any damaged stem, branches, dig hole-3X diameter of root to aid in lateral growth but only 80% as deep to keep crown above surroundings, gently spread roots, back-fill firming soil around roots, water, monitor soil moisture for 2 weeks to prevent dehydration, water if plants appear wilted in morning not during heat of day

Summer’s ‘Tropical’ Bulbs Dimming-shorter days may cause existing foliage browning, smaller new leaves, diminished flower production, but still plenty of enjoyment just a little less pizzazz and size-dormancy-browning, noticeably smaller leaves or lack of flowering-dig, allow drying, store in paper bag-cool dark dry spot

All Plants-Soil Moisture-Water Amount Needed-1” every 7 days-causes roots to grow deeper making all plants healthier and hardier-soaking ground for extended periods of time is best- fills sub surface air pockets reducing collection points for cooler air that could impact feeder root hairs, cleans foliage, needles and stems reducing hibernation sites / points for some problematic insect / mite and fungus / bacteria / disease / virus incubators, etc.

Post Emergent Herbicides Becoming Less Effective WHY?-air temperatures dropping under 70, warm season annual weeds are dying with cooler days, perennial (herbaceous and evergreen) weeds are slowing towards dormancy-Pre-Emergent Herbicide Application Effective Kill-germinating annual cool season weed seeds i.e. annual bluegrass, henbit, chickweed, Persian speedwell… 

Alien Growth Sightings-puffball, mushroom, toad stools grow only on dead plant material i.e. imploding roots, thick thatch, un / improperly composted material worked into soil, spreading un-rotted manures or ‘uncooked’ mulch onto lawn / landscape-whether on ground, lawn or mulched beds do have alarming appearance but really are not harmful to living plant material-However On Tree Bark-can indicate internal problem-if tree is important recommend getting professional diagnosis

Growing Plant Population-several summer annuals (sweet alyssum, portulaca, impatiens) and perennials (purple cone flower, sweet autumn clematis, hollyhocks) can self-seed (produce and drop viable seeds that will germinate next year), others (black eyed Susan, zinnia, columbine, hyacinth bean vine, castor bean) may self-seed or seed collected, stored and planted next year and last but not least perennial plant dividing (asparagus, hosta, ferns, coral bells, Asiatic and day lilies, bergenia, thyme, butterfly weed), options first plant should be healthy, dig entire plant (includes stem, crown and root) split off pieces making sure each has stem, crown and roots or leave plant in ground and dig out ‘pie wedge’ piece with stem, crown root, backfill any hole with soil matching existing type

plant listings in text are used as examples 

AUGUST-each year this mid-summer month never knows what it will inherit from July as calendar page is turned. July 2016 was one of the wettest on record and now 2017 July is one of the driest. Activity level is accelerating even though temperatures and humidity are some of the years highest, options include: cutting back elongated annuals to stimulate thicker growth and more robust flowering for remainder of ’17 growing season, realistic evaluation of over-all landscape plants and design are changes needed, deciding on pruning, shaping, transplanting that could make a difference for this gardening season. Hummingbirds and butterflies will be passing through on their way to warmer climate, squirrels make improvements to nesting creating a mess with dropped twigs, cicadas sing while voles, robins, cardinals, hawks, blue jays, moles, starlings and chipmunks born this year begin to look and act mature. It can be said that August is august as preparation for launching anew while appreciating memories in rear view mirror. Blooming now purple coneflower, abelia, lotus, mimosa, ornamental grass, crape myrtle, butterfly bush, silver lace vine, rose of Sharon, sweet autumn clematis, black-eyed Susan, butterfly weed, hardy hibiscus, water lily, plus annuals and tropicals.

Don’t forget Check with Brightside St. Louis-about annual spring bulb sale, go to brightsidestl.org/

Are You Web Siting? (not internet)-large (multiple inches across) seen in various locations are beneficial spiders that catch many troublesome bugs, not to be confused with small (1” across) damaging spider mite-control hose off with steam of water or apply miticide

Prevent Dehydration-Water-1” every 7 days-all plants lawns, perennials, ground covers, vines, roses, shrubs, trees, edibles, etc. reminder longer time periods, less often drives moisture deeper and can help plant / root system health-ideal time is morning but anytime works exception being evening-could trigger an explosion of disease/virus/ bacteria problems

Pruning-any spring flowering tree or shrub-can reduce next year’s flowering but doesn’t harm overall health, if more than 25% is cut off there is a greater chance of weather related damage

Herbs-morning harvest peak time for aroma and flavor, minimize fertilizer and watering

Purchasing Instant Color-Flats or Potted Plants (keep watered and fertilize)-mums-once blooming begins flowering period is 2-3 weeks, pansy-flowering until frost, deadheading will help aesthetically

Keep Visual Heat Turned On-Annuals, Tropicals, Summer Bulbs-(containerized or in ground) if kept fertilized, watered, can provide 3 more months of great color, revive worn out plants with deadheading and or cutting back 

Feeling Energetic-Adding or Changing a Space-outline area (flags, hose, or landscape paint), remove existing plants (kill, discard or hold in protected location, keep watered), rototill or spade area, weed control for 2 weeks, then purchase 1.5 -2 cu. yds. compost or compost blend mix per each 100 sq. of bed area to create raised planting area (elevating plant crowns above surroundings for better acclimation), how to-spread 2-3" of amendment across bed, blend into existing soil, continue layering / blending until all amendment added, cover area with 1-2" mulch, continue weed control, until new plant installation-September is ideal

Beyond Annuals Eye Catching Summer / Fall Bloomers-toad lily, anemones, asters, sweet autumn clematis, roses, butterfly bush are examples-fertilize using lower (i.e. 5-10-5) nitrogen type

Sharing with Others-(having had great success)-divide spring flowering sun or shade perennial varieties, foliage is likely yellowing make it perfect time to transplant or give away, allowing plenty of time to acclimate to new location   

Stop Guessing-determine source of trouble in this region can be one or all of the following; weeds, bugs, soil, disease, physical, wildlife, bad plant selection and or siting, lack of proper care / maintenance-first correct diagnosis of situation essential, second realize some troubles can take extended periods (maybe years to eradicate complete) of timely and correct treatment / action to eliminate-choosing to make application yourself, allows read / follow label instructions precisely-REMEMBER Professional Help is an e-mail, phone call or garden center visit away

Most Expensive Part in Most Landscapes-Lawns-get soil tested especially for cool season lawns before fall fertilizing begins realize fescue / bluegrass types go dormant in high summer temperatures but turnaround could begin by months end (if lawn was healthy going into summer), as nighttime temperatures cool begin cool season care / maintenance (core aerating / top dressing ½” compost), overseeding, weed control (pre and post emergent as needed), watch for insect, virus, bacteria, fungus damage treat immediately, all sod types can be installed-water daily first 2 weeks for establishment, for any lawn keep mower blade height (3.5-4.5”) longer blades offer shadowing to reduce sunburn damage, properly cared for warm season (zoysia) will look great, near months end fertilize for last time-REMEMBER tree roots can have a huge impact on lawn success, and no lawn in this region will be picture perfect can’t happen!

Two Possible Headaches-Summary-moles-surface tunneling (seeking earthworms-main diet, eat little plant material-do consume any type of insect grubs, centipedes…found while tunneling seeking earthworms) exposes and dries root systems-action flatten tunnels most active areas will pop up within day-control place several traps along active tunnel-realize abandoned can be used by other damaging rodents (voles…) to enter and eat / damage plant root system, additional information there can be several moles within a landscape, better yard more earthworms = more moles, 2 tunnel system with surface for seeking food, lower tunnel (1’ deep) is fast access to sleeping den, general habit eat for few hours then nap, other control options flooding tunnels, using in ground sound vibrators to repel newcomers, digging or stabbing at suspected mole locations…white grubs-(beetle larva)-5 different types in region-annual, May, green June, and Japanese)-damage ranging from root system to foliage and flowers may consume root systems located just below soil surface-description body curled in ‘U’ shape, head brown, three pairs of legs, abdomen shiny / transparent, high concentrations (6+ per sq. ft.) can do severe damage to cool season lawn, if browned areas are easily lifted (root system cut off) and grubs observed apply grub control, in browned will not lift easily then problem is not grubs but could be older, un-properly cared for lawn, disease problem, female dog urine, most damaging adult grub is Japanese beetle (shiny bluish green) spray insecticide directly on bug, use systemic insecticide, or knock off into cup of soapy water to kill-REMEMBER keep an eye out, take action at earliest signs to minimize damage  

Be Careful-Don’t Swing or Swat-yellow jacket / ground hornet (bite / sting both) activity becomes more up close and personal as day length shortens and workers fatten queen for winter hibernation, if high number become apparent look for nest area there will be a steady stream of ‘bees’ flying to / from same location usually under shrubs / vegetation, look closely for entrance / exit holes ½” in ground-REMEMBER very aggressive-consider contacting professional service

Unexpected Growth and or Discoloration on Trees / Shrubs / Roses-galls-lumps on tree branches especially oak, cause small wasps eggs hatching-treatment ineffective, fire blight-brown branch tips on apple family members both ornamental (including pears) or fruiting, rose rosette-maroon canes large number of thorns and or distorted flowering-remove plants immediately disease transmitted by variety of spider mites, fungus / mushroom-growth on dead plant parts (roots, trunks, branches, twigs) or surface of mulch -no treatment, if observed in lawn-lawn needs dethatching if cool season next month, warm season wait until green-up occurs next spring-REMEMBER some infected plants are best removed

 

Wonderful Gifts-All Unique One of a Kind!!! designed and made by Tracy

@ Tracy’s E-Store - Full of Creative Re-Purposed Jewelry-

go to Etsy.com then type in TracysTimeWarp

 

 












Good Gardening--To each and everyone that stops by-I say to you the world of life and gardening is simply wonderfully wild and crazy


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