Friday, April 24, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' April 24, 2009

Today is Arbor Day so don’t forget to do your part in the "greening of America".

If your ground is of good tilth and drained well many vegetables can be planted this week as long as the garden is workable such as lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet corn, beans, potatoes, radishes, carrots, kohlrabi, collards and so on.

I know we’re all anxious to plant tomato and pepper plants but forget it as it’s still too early no matter what the forecast is like for the next couple of weeks.

Our perennial house opens today, April 24th so that you’ll be able to look around for your old favorites as well as some of the newest perennials on the market.

Two of the most interesting of perennials are the new Heuchera called ‘Plum Royale’ that I spotted at a nursery last fall and a new red coneflower called, of all things, ‘Tomato Soup’! These perennials will be available a little later about the first week of the merry month of May.

A new variety of coneflower from last year that is ready now is ‘Tiki Torch’ that is a bright electric orange.

It seems that Heucheras and Coneflowers have been "bred to death" but other note worthy perennials are the newer pink Lily-of-the-Valley, Yarrow ‘Sunny Seduction’ that is a clear yellow and more Evison Clematis varieties that bloom and bloom and bloom!

We know that some of you are antsy to get into our annual house, but we won’t let you in there until May Day as it’s still too early and were still preparing the house for your viewing.

On another note, some of you have said that you rarely see me. I am somewhere here at the nursery as you may at times hear my voice on one of our two-way radios answering the salesperson’s or customer’s questions. Sometimes I choose to stay in the background because of my lack of sleep and the long hours.

However, be assured that I’m always glad to see all of you even though you might perceive I am not because it’s possible that I’m half asleep!

Happy Planting!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' April 17, 2009

Remember coming up on April 22nd is Earth Day that has been celebrated every year since the first one in 1970.

Arbor Day has been celebrated nationally since the 1880's but was actually founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska. Mr. Morton was originally from Detroit and wanted the treeless prairie in Nebraska to have trees like his native state of Michigan.

Soon tree planting celebrations were common all over the state with the last Friday in April being recognized nationally as Arbor Day.

This year just like last year, I am asking what kind of a tree you’ll plant to commemorate these important dates.

Trees do matter in that they shade us, provide us with lumber and other wood related products, prevent soil erosion from wind and water, take in CO2 and give us oxygen.

Consider planting a tree that later on you, your children and possibly succeeding generations can enjoy the shade under the branches of the great tree.

The old house at the nursery was built in 1870 and I have a photograph of the original owners, the Wertman’s, from about 1890 standing in front of the house with their grandson Fred Harris. In the photograph is about a 10 foot maple tree on the south side of the house. That little maple is now about 80 feet tall and still shades the south side of the house to keep it cool in summer!

Tell us how your going to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day! Click here

Oh, I almost forgot, you’re all invited to come see the thousands of daffodils in bloom at the nursery that we’ve planted over the years. And no, you don’t have to buy anything as I have said before, if your gazing at the flowers and anyone asks you what you’re doing, tell them it’s none of their business!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' April 10, 2009

April 10, 2009

Formerly, I had advised you to treat your azalea, pieris japonica and lepidote (small-leaved) rhododendron such a ‘PJM’ and ‘Aglo’ with imadicloprid about April 15th to prevent damage from lacebugs which turn the leaves a sickly bronze color later in the season and will weaken the plants overtime.

Now, I want you to treat the plants instead about May 30th as that is about when the critters become active.

You see, the April 15th date was so that this slow moving systemic insecticide found in Bayer Rhododendron, Azalea and Camellia Insect & Disease product could enter the plant in time to kill the lacebug. However, there is some evidence that this product is deadly to bees such as bumblebees that pollinate these plants.

The goal is to apply the material late in May in order that there will be none of the material in the plant until bloom drop in late May and early June thus, keeping it out of the system of pollinating bees and yet timely enough to kill lacebug anyway.

Again, it is an ideal time to apply a crabgrass preventer to your lawn and coming very close to the time to apply Espoma’s Organic Weed & Feed that contains corn gluten to suppress weeds.

Another plant line I told you about in my February 7th seminar and in an earlier blog is blueberries. Because of the beautiful flowers from hot pink to white, different plant habits and ultimate growing sizes and spectacular fall color, if you don’t consider planting some blueberries in your garden or landscape you are a fool!

Why pay for the high-priced berries in the store that you don’t even know with what they’ve been sprayed or how they were handled. In fact, during a recent radio repor,t a Cleveland area doctor claimed that in 2007 the FDA performed no inspections on food processing operations in China that export food to the United States!

Blueberries are a member of the rhododendron-azalea family which is right up our alley so that we can help you select and successfully grow these jewels of plants.

Come on in and take a look around. We’re not all set up yet but it’s getting close!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Dayton "Dirt" March 27, 2009

It’s time for you to get off your "you know what" and get to work in the yard and garden.

When it’s above freezing, cut old dead wood out of your roses regardless of the type and spray tea roses, floribundas, and grandiflora types with lime-sulfur as directed.

Lime-sulfur is your first defense against the black spot fungus as the spores of this disease on the plant and surrounding ground are killed when the solution contacts them.

Fertilizing your shade and flowering trees with a garden or lawn fertilizer spread under the tree drip line is ideal to invigorate the tree to keep it healthy and more resistant to insects and disease.

I like Greenview’s Wintergreen Fall Fertilizer with a 10-16-20 analysis than can be safely spread at the rate of 1 pound per 100 ft² so that a 10'x10' area under your tree would receive one pound of the fertilizer applied as evenly as possible.

A good raking of your lawn will help to relieve any snow mold pressure in addition to cleaning up winter’s debris.

While a crabgrass preventer can be applied next month, be sure to use Greenview’s Crabgrass Preventer & Seed Starter if you did some reseeding late last fall or earlier this year. See our March 6th blog.

The time for sure has come to plant peas and onion sets as long as the ground is workable. I know that many old timers like to plant on St. Patrick’s Day but the ground rarely has been ready to plant that early as there is still snow on the ground, or it’s frozen, or it’s too wet in which case I believe the worst thing for a gardener to do is to try to work the garden.

Don’t forget to plant asparagus roots, rhubarb, horseradish, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries bare root before temperatures get too warm.

I better get back to work now.


Dayton "Dirt" April 3, 2009

April showers really do seem to bring May flowers and weeds galore.

It’s time now to start your lawn program in applying a crabgrass preventer and feed. I like the Greenview’s program and so do most customers from almost 20 years of selling this line.

Another program to consider though is the Espoma company’s organic lawn care products that contain corn gluten which proven by experiments will control 60% of weeds in lawns when used the first year and up to 90% of weeds the second successive year of use.

The other advantage of this organic product is that the organic fertilizer is enhanced by inoculating it with various microbes under Espoma trade name of Biotone. The microbes release the nutrients slowly overtime so that they won’t give your grass a lush, quick undesirable spurt of growth making it more susceptible to insects and disease.

The disadvantage to the organic weed & feed by Espoma is that there is only a narrow window of time in which it can be applied for maximum effectiveness. The ideal time to apply this product is between April 15th and May Day.

Another fertilizing chore is your landscape in which Holly tone ( for acid-loving plants) and Plant tone for all other trees, shrubs and perennials can be applied.

I like these products very much as they are low in salts so that they are not likely to burn your valuable plants and just as important, the low salts means that valuable microbes such as mycorrhizae and rhizobacteria among others are not destroyed so that the soil remains healthy and vibrant.

It’s funny because when I think about all the talk about being green and being sustainable environmentally, I think back how we designed our irrigation system at the nursery to collect the runoff water back to our irrigation lake from our irrigation of the plants and rainfall. The water must run through a series of vegetated channels and settling ponds filled with all kinds of naturally occurring water plants that filter the water.

Our system functions like one big rain garden although I didn’t know back then what it was called!

Sometimes, it’s not easy being green!