Friday, October 25, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - October 25, 2013

With snow flurries and the cold of this past week, we have placed most of the container nursery stock away in the winter storage huts and next week we’ll cover the huts with opaque white polyethylene. Any of the stock can still be sold and successfully planted through November as it is a good month for gardening if not in some ways the best gardening month (except for annual flowers of course). The Red Sunset Maples and Autumn Blaze Maples at the nursery just keep blazing away in shades of red that support the tree’s cultivar names. While the Princeton American Elms are lacking in brilliant fall color, the trees more than make up for this deficit with their fast growth and vase-shape silhouette that is unlike any other native tree. This year will most likely be the last one to view the royal purple color of the White Ash and the clear yellows of the Green Ash trees thanks to the introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer from China that came aboard wood pallets loaded with sewer pipe. Obviously, there seems to be a lack of money and will in the Government and the general public to stamp out these foreign infestations of pests; however, some are beginning to take a toll on food crops such as the marmorated stink bug. A future crisis threatening a wide variety of food crops and/or trees may have to occur before our society “gets it” in the need to allocate resources and the man power to keep out foreign invaders. So much for doom and gloom as it’s sad enough that the days are growing so short. Consider planting a tree this fall that generations in the future might enjoy the shade of its branches, the oxygen it will emit, the carbon dioxide it will store and the runoff water from heavy rain it will absorb. Trees do matter in terms of dollars and in terms of better living. Tom

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - October 18, 2013

Perennial gardens appear “tired” at this time of year and are ready for a fall clean up. Most herbaceous perennials are not fussy about their old stems and foliage being cut back to the crown but there are two genus varieties of note: Delphinium and Chrysanthemums. Delphinium have hollow stems which will retain water damaging the plant’s crown from alternating freezes and thaws. Chrysanthemums are a tender perennial and will benefit if the old dried foliage remains until early spring. The old foliage shades the crown and thus protects it from rapid temperature changes. In the case of Delphinium bending over the dead stems will prevent water from entering as cutting them off would allow. On trimming of trees and shrubs, the Franklinia does not like to be cut back in fall. A few years ago, some young Franklinias were cut back only marginally and the result was the death of the plants in spring while others that were untrimmed opened with healthy new growth in spring! A fall feeding now of trees and shrubs will result in a healthy flush of growth in spring. It is now late enough in the growing season that the plants will not be pushed into growth and early enough that root systems are still active. After 2 years of stress (drought in 2012 and wet soil in 2013) the fall feeding would definitely be of benefit to get trees, shrubs and perennials off to a good start in spring of 2014. November is still a good time to plant trees, shrubs and Holland flower bulbs as the plants will be fully dormant except for the root system. When planting flower bulbs, a little planning will go a long way to extend the bloom season from late March through early June. The trick is to plan and plant now for a spring that is only 5 months away. Tom

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - October 11, 2013

No doubt that the trees should have adequate moisture for a brilliant fall display but maybe a crisp frost is missing to brighten the leaf colors as it seems the fall season is not as bright as usual. Moving our back stock of trees and shrubs into winter storage houses has begun although covering the huts with white polyethylene won’t occur until about the first week of November as covering too early will prevent the plants from hardening off properly for winter. It’s now digging time for most trees and shrubs as the cool nights and falling leaves lessen the transpiration that would damage or kill the plant with a disturbed root system resulting from digging. One small tree that is noted for its fall show is Franklinia altamaha, also known as the Ben Franklin tree. In late September and October, the Franklin’s trees leaves start changing from a medium green to a mahogany color that contrast nicely with the white flowers with their golden yellow stamens and anthers. Franklinia was found on the banks of the Altamaha River in Georgia before 1790 and strangely enough is winter hardy to climatic zone 5. A search in 1790 for Franklinia yielded no results so that this tree has never been found in the wild since 1790. All existing Franklinias originate from the specimens collected in the late eighteenth century and planted in James Bartrum’s garden in Philadelphia. Mr. Bartrum was a friend of Ben Franklin and hence named the newly discovered tree for Ben. Another small to medium tree of note for fall color is the Serviceberry, or Amelanchier. With colors of yellow, red and orange sometimes mixed on the same tree, the serviceberry stands out in the landscape. In Akron, there is a grouping of these trees at the intersection of W. Market St. and Halifax that seems to glow with a mellow orange hue that’s especially beautiful when the sun reflects off the shimmering leaves. The short days are signaling the poinsettias in the greenhouse to just start setting a hint of color on some of the varieties. I’m anxious to see how some of our new Dummen varieties fare as compared to some of the older types. One of Dummen’s new creations about 4 years ago was ‘Ice Crystals’ that is a peculiar mix of pink, magenta and muted pink overtones that colors up so much better then the older variety called ‘Monet’. Don’t forget to take a soil test of your lawn and garden now so you can correct any irregularities before spring. The kits we sell are from Penn State University and are quite complete in the necessary chemical analysis of the soil. So long for now, Tom

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - October 4, 2013

Barberton’s Mum Fest was wildly successful especially since the predicted rain on Sunday held off. The nursery mum sales are just starting to wind down but there is no winding down of the other activities that must be completed before winter sets in. Transplanting of our rooted azalea cuttings from the summer has been completed as well as the repotting of many plants to a larger pot size. Inventory is the big deal for fall as many plants must be kept separate as some are ready to sell now and others won’t be ready until next spring and in some cases until 2015 and beyond! Unrooted annual flower orders with various companies must be completed this week in order to receive shipments in February. One of the newest developments is the proliferation of new petunia colors that are appropriately named Crazytunias. The new rage also is a more tall blue petunia called ‘Heavenly Blue’ by the Suntory Company. This is the last weekend the Owl Barn market will be open for business before it shuts down for winter and will resume with fresh produce sales not until late June. Newly dug trees are to arrive the week of October 15th as they are able to be dug then. No doubt the fall color will be near it’s peak October 14th week and soon the leaf raking chores will follow. Tom