Friday, October 7, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - October 7, 2016

For the first week of October the weather by all accounts is perfect! The plentiful sunshine and warm, but not overly hot temperatures makes for a great planting season and simply enjoying the weather. Last week’s rainfall of at least 2 plus inches that fell slowly over a few days time finally put the damper on last summers drought conditions.

Most chrysanthemums are bursting forth now in their full glory although the Cheryl varieties from Yoders is just showing color when normally this series would be in full bloom now.

Planting at the nursery is still in swing with the arrival of Helleborus and peonies from Michigan and geranium plugs (as they are called) to plant into 2 gallon nursery containers to use as stock plants for taking cuttings in order to produce more plants.

Just freshly dug last week from Lake County, Ohio are gorgeous, true blue Baby Blue Colorado Spruce that are eerily uniform. This seed collection has been developed over several years time in Canada and was selected for its intense blue color. In fact, once the trees receive one or two trims to shape them at a very young age they are left on their own to develop beautifully.

No doubt a frost is near but as the legend goes, this good weather is not an Indian Summer as that must wait until after a hard frost.

Happy Fall


Friday, September 23, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - September 30, 2016

Last weekend’s Mum Fest in Barberton was a smash hit especially with cool fall weather and sunny skies. The acceleration of the opening of chrysanthemum flowers is nothing short of amazing with the accompanying cool nights of below 55º F.

Cool nights and ample moisture are now ideal for planting all kinds of trees, shrubs and perennials as root growth will expand significantly until the ground temperature falls below 40º F. Conversely, as light levels and the day length decreases, top growth of these plants slows and eventually ceases and seems to contribute to the acceleration of the plant’s roots as long as the soil temperature is sufficient for growth. The advantage of fall planting is that before a hot, dry summer the result will be an explosion of healthy growth in spring due to the establishment of the plant from this fall planting.
Beginning in October now that the soil has cooled is a perfect time to plant spring blooming flower bulbs such as tulips, narcissus, crocus and hyacinth among others! It’s amazing how soon after planting that roots shoot out of the bulb to anchor in the soil. After 12-13 weeks of chill (40º F or lower) a chemical change inside the bulb will signal it to grow quickly and eventually bloom in spring. Without the chilling of the bulbs only some or none of the potential growth and bloom would occur.

At the nursery, a repair, cleaning and organizing mode is in swing so that all the overwintering houses will be in good shape to house trees, shrubs and perennials during winter.

The apple harvest has been underway and so too the Cider Fest in Norton will be in full swing this weekend at Columbia Woods Park. The Cider Fest was once held in northern part of the city known as Loyal Oak around Knecht’s Cider Mill. The Cider Fest back then in 1990 was begun  with snow flurries! The apple was once maligned as an evil fruit due to its use in the production of hard cider. In fact, President John Adams would “entertain” himself with a drink of hard cider every morning!

Fall, full of festivals, mums, apple picking, cool temperatures, changing colors of trees and enough sunny days is a great time of year to be in Ohio.


Dayton "Dirt" - September 23, 2016

Well another year has passed and despite the weather, a very busy Fall Festival was the case last Saturday.  While mainly for families with children, the adults seemed to enjoy the hayride and polka music as well as the food demonstration in the Owl Barn Market.  Parking for 88 vehicles was very tight for a few hours as the festival goers seemed to stay awhile finding plenty to do.

Hopefully in a few weeks, construction will start on the solar panels that will eliminate charges on one of two electric meters. The clean alternative energy fits with our program begun in 1999 of good environmental stewardship concerning the reduced use of pesticides, herbicides and water recycling.  If all goes as planned, most if not all of the nursery will receive its power from the sun instead of the dirty power produced by coal.  Another program which has proceeded almost too slowly is the one to eliminate insecticides in the greenhouse by replacing them with beneficial mites and insects to manage thrips, whitefly, aphids and harmful spider mites.  More studies and trials are needed before we go “whole hog”.

Tomorrow the mum city, Barberton, will celebrate it’s125th anniversary with the theme “Art in the Park” during the Mum Fest this coming weekend.  A special event called “Tuscany on Tusc” will feature food and wine with a special lighting ceremony of Tuscarawas Ave. in downtown Barberton.  On Saturday morning, tune into our radio show Ready, Set, Grow on 1590 am WAKR to find out more about the festivities during interviews with the Mayor of Barberton and officials putting together the Mum Fest as they have done for the past 25 years.  Mums, music, art, food and lots of fun will be centered around Lake Anna with free parking and free admission!

At the nursery too is mum madness with displays of the oh-so-dependable Igloo Mums created by the Aris Company (formerly Yoder Bros.) In Barberton, Ohio.  Let us not forget either the blessings of the recent much needed rainfall and cooler weather.

Mum is the word!


Friday, September 9, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - September 9, 2016

Finally, with a few cooler nights the chrysanthemums are showing more color. There have been other years too when bloom has been significantly delayed such as the hot, dry year of 1991 that ironically became abnormally cool in early November when temperatures plunged to 12º F! Although some relief from the drought has arrived in rainfall and somewhat cooler temperatures, more rain would be needed to end the dryness deeper into the ground.

With the hot weather, insects have been producing more generations of young which in turn has caused problems with plants. One significant insect is the lacebug which attacks azaleas (deciduous and evergreen) as well as small-leaved rhododendron such as PJM. The adult which appears  to be a small clear-winged fly, can be found on the undersides of the plant’s leave’s. The nymph stage of this insect does the real damage as they pierce the underside of the leaves to extract the plant’s fluids while it turns the leaves to a bronze-like color instead of the usual verdant green. This invasive bug was a problem for the south for years as it was first observed in mobile, Alabama in 1927. About 10 years ago, I first observed an infestation of this insect on some beautiful Azalea Boudoir in Barberton, Ohio.

For heavy infestations, spraying the plants now with an insecticide containing the active ingredient called acephate will kill adults and nymphs with the acephate’s systemic qualities. A follow up spray about 10 days later will finish off the second generation that will hatch from eggs as the eggs are not affected by the acephate. Afterwards, the plants must be sprayed right after bloom in spring and another repeat spray about ten days later to keep them free of the lacebug. One such trade name for acephate is called Bonide Systemic Insect Spray that is a concentrate to be diluted with water at a rate of 1½ fluid ounces of Bonide to 1 gallon of water to be sprayed on the plants to the point of runoff. Other brands of this insecticide might have different dilution rates due to varying amounts of concentration so that with any insecticide it is imperative to follow the directions on the container.  Another plus to using acephate is that it is not a neonicitinoid that will harm beneficial pollinators such as honeybees and bumble bees that might visit blooming plants.

For sure the chrysanthemums will color beautifully but it remains to be seen if Ohio will be painted with colorful changing leaves or if the dryness of this summer will affect the color.

Que sera sera.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - September 1, 2016

Friday is the first day of our fall sale with many items (but not all) marked down 50%.  Almost all perennials, roses, some trees and shrubs are in the sale and those that are not are from this spring’s and summer’s production so that these plants are for next spring’s sales although they can be sold this fall.  As always, the first four days of the sale will only be open to garden club members only and then everyone may take advantage of the sale prices after Labor Day.  Many items are limited so that on Friday , many or most desirable specimens probably will be sold.

How strange it is that even the Igloo mums are barely showing color as these Dendranthemums typically are in peak bloom about a week after Labor Day.  For many varieties of chrysanthemum, it looks as though the bloom period will be two or even three weeks later so that mid September  through October will now be the riot of color these plants will display.  At the nursery, colored signs accurately show color on the Igloo mums with the individual plants tagged according to variety.  Even our large 12" garden mums will be tagged according to color.

The storms last Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday nights have dropped almost two inches of rain that surely does give relief from the drought.  Some more of at least another two inches would be great but this weekend at least looks sunny and not overly hot.

Enjoy the good weather this Labor Day weekend!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - August 26, 2016

Late August is the time that many trees and shrubs have been brought out of the growing area to the sales area that will give the nursery the appearance of a full look that has not been seen since last June. The first of September will bring another flush of trees and shrubs such as arborvitae, pyramidal boxwood and Green Giant Western Red Cedar in a variety of sizes.

Our biggest sale of the year will start Labor Day weekend on Friday, September 2nd and as always garden club members will have the first pick of the sale items including trees, shrubs, roses and perennials. This garden club member sale only will run through Labor Day with the sale open to everyone after Labor Day. To become a garden club member, just fill out the form in person or online to get the sale price the same day even if you’re not currently a member. Please remember to use any of your Dayton Dollars by August 31st as afterwards the value will be zero.  While much will be on the 50% off sale, some items will not be on sale because they just came out of back stock or have been freshly dug. Please look for the 50% off sale signs to indicate which items are on sale as those without the sign will be the price as stated on the tag.

Mums, (including Igloo types) asters, ornamental kale and cabbage will be in good supply although most of the chrysanthemums will not be in full color due to the warm nights which has caused the phenomenon known as heat delay. Compared to last year, the heat has delayed flowering from about 10 days to 2 weeks! Most likely, mid September will be the time for brilliant mum color. Remember too that Chrysanthemum morifolium, known as the garden mum, is a tender perennial and may or may not return again in spring. A more reliable, almost sure-to-return mum is the Dendranthemum or more commonly called the Igloo mum which is much more winter hardy than the garden mums. New colors in the Igloos are available this year so that this color palette keeps growing in the genus.

The approaching month of September will bring sowing of new lawns and lawn renovations as September is the month for it.

Happy planting.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - August 19, 2016

As August rolls on, all garden club members should remember to use up their Dayton dollars they have received as they are no longer valid after August 31st. These dollars can be used to purchase product just like cash as they are our thanks to you for your past purchases earlier this year. This time of year the inventory selection is not as wide as in spring; however, stock on perennials, trees and shrubs is still quite broad as more and more stock comes out of the growing area in back.  This coming week will begin mum time as the plants begin to show color from cooler nights and shorter days. Then too are perennials asters in their mainly hues of pink and blue which are a favorite of friendly honeybees. Chrysanthemums are defiantly a way to enliven any landscape with color especially after a hot dry summer has been rough on annual flowers.

Again, come on in and spend those Dayton dollars before the expire!