Friday, August 18, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - August 18, 2017

As August rolls on, the nursery chores as always never stop.  Weed pulling, potting and replacing of more overwintering structures goes on as well as getting ready for the Christmas season with bow making for the grave blanket business and porch pots!  The cut trees from our southern Ohio grower have been ordered since last January so that they will arrive on time right at Thanksgiving for the Christmas season! 

When the nursery had a plantation of trees to cut in Pennsylvania years ago, every Thanksgiving would be spent cutting, dragging and then baling the cut trees to be loaded onto a flat bed truck to be hauled to Ohio.

Now with a new inventory just being taken, stock is infinitely more accurately represented on our online inventory list.  With more stock becoming ready in the rear growing areas, the inventory will expand and in addition we will receive a semi truck load of freshly dug stock at the end of this month.  In September when the weather cools, gorgeous 6 foot baby Baby Blue Spruce will arrive that are already tagged in the field.  With the azure-blue color and branches to the ground, these trees are a sight to behold and eerily uniform in shape and size as they are from a seed selection that originated in Canada over many years.

Don’t forget to use up all the Dayton dollars through August 31st as after this date the value will be zero.  There’s plenty of selection now to be had!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - August 11, 2017

Last Friday in the late morning, the nursery received just over one-half inch of rain that gave some relief from the dry weather. Some of the nursery stock such as the tree hydrangeas must be watered by hand every few days as the dense canopy of foliage prevents adequate watering of the root system by the overhead irrigation system.  Other stock such as the recently potted perennials must be watered only every 3-4 days as too wet an environment will cause roots to rot and especially so since we added the product haydite to our mix to hold more moisture while giving aeration to the roots as the plants utilize the water contained within the expanded shale.

It’s just about time for Chrysanthemums as there seems to be no heat delay in the flowering as it was in the hot summer of 2016. In fact, during a conversation with Bill Aulenbach who is a member of the Mum Fest committee in Barberton, Bill related that some varieties of Chrysanthemums may not “make size” as the flower buds are forming earlier than normal due to the cool weather.  Flower buds retard growth so that even in a greenhouse full of flowering annuals in February and March the growth regulator called Florel is sprayed on many plants in order to abort flowering so that the plants are able to “make size” for later flowering in the month of May.  The Igloo mums, which are really a Dendranthemum, are another matter in that they normally bloom earlier. 
These exceedingly winter hardy plants are durable because of this fool proof hardiness and their sheer beauty.  Igloo mums offered at the Mum Fest in Barberton are frequently on the “down side” of bloom as the festival is always the last weekend of September.  Whatever the weather, the mum display around Lake Anna is enjoyed by all even though every year is a challenge to achieve a perfect display.  As Bill has stated he can see all the imperfections of the display; however, to the general public made up of the tens of thousands of people who come to the Fest, the mum display is always spectacular!

Que sera sera or C’est la vie!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - August 4, 2017

Now that the dog days of summer have arrived, the typical dryness of August appears.  Some of the heavy rain for many areas earlier in the month of July seemed to miss this area when a one to two inch rainfall would have been helpful.

  With the somewhat warm temperatures (although cooler than last year) the “bugs” are on the march and customers have come in with problems in the landscape concerning azalea lacebug, bagworms, rust disease on serviceberry and bacterial blight on lilacs.  The bagworm and azalea lacebug treatments though are easy with 2 sprays of a product containing the active ingredient acephate with one trade name being Bonide Systemic Insect Spray.  Each of the 2 sprays are applied at a one week interval and will at least temporarily stop the damage.  While the bagworm is difficult to kill in the late stage, the pesticide will stop them from feeding so that to finish them off, an application of BT or Bacillus thuringiensis in early May will spell doom for any new hatchlings.  BT, also known as thuricide is a naturally occurring bacteria that is deadly to the Lepidoptera family and works great for cabbage worms, leaf eating caterpillars and Gypsy moth larva when a strain called Kurstaki is employed.  As far as azalea lacebug, the two acephate containing sprays will kill the adult and nymph stages and the second generation as it hatches from the unaffected eggs.

This Monday will be “exciting” as we will do a physical count to correct our online inventory so that we might more accurately know what is available.  With at least 5 persons starting at 7 a.m., the physical count in the sales area should be finished by 9 a.m. and then entered into the computer by the end of the day.

Truth be told, I would rather pull weeds all day!


Friday, July 28, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - July 28, 2017

The weather has been pleasant with lower humidity and temperatures making it easier to perform chores in the nursery like weeding. How many times a “weeding emergency” has occurred but only to be ”orrected” in hot, humid 90º F weather.  Years ago in early July of 1980 as we constructed a new quonset type greenhouse for raising azaleas, temperatures rose to about 100º F as we worked in the hot sun and even burn up a small drill as it became too hot! Fast forward now to today, three over-wintering structures erected in 1994 must be replaced because of corrosion which has progressed enough to be in danger of collapse during heavy winds or snow loads.

Customers have been using their Dayton Dollars before they expire at the end of August and for the most part have been finding adequate inventory especially as more and more stock becomes available from the rear growing areas.  Curious rabbits have been chewing some grasses that were recently potted in the movable roof structure so that now all perimeter walls and doors must be closed to prevent the grasses from becoming a “rabbit salad.”

About 1200 creeping phlox “plugs” are to arrive in two weeks to be planted and they too are attractive to rabbits and must be corralled to prevent them from disappearing!

This week though is “sticking cuttings week” of evergreen azaleas and various shrubs in order to take advantage of the summer heat to aid in their forming roots by September.  So much to do, so little time!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - July 21, 2017

Last Saturday, the Blueberry Fest seemed quite the hit as evidenced by the full parking lot that remained full for hours as well as finding parking spots for the additional 25-30 vehicles that could not fit into the already full lined spots.  Now the question is how to properly manage the fall festival that is set for the third weekend in September!

The hot, humid weather of July has returned although rainfall has been adequate unlike the dryness of last year.  The potting of plants goes on beginning with the receipt of clematis varieties that will be available next spring.  For some reason, the Queen of Vines sold better than ever this year probably having to do with the popularity of vertical gardening and the fact that clematis are available in a multitude of colors with an ever expanding pallet of new varieties from various breeders.

Next week, local sweet corn from the Seiberling Farms will flood the Owl Barn with the first sugar enhanced, synergistic variety called “Espresso” comes into ripeness.  With refrigeration, these new varieties that are much different from those of yesteryear will remain sweet in the refrigerator for at least 3 days according to Chuck Seiberling although Chuck has stated that some of the customers had told him that they have held the sweet corn for a week after picking!

The nursery has been seasonally slow in these dog days of summer although folks in our garden club have enjoyed spending their Dayton Dollars coupons which spend like cash except on produce items.

At the Columbus trade show called Cultivate, many vendors showed off their new exciting wares for the spring 2018 season and beyond.  The problem is that some of the older varieties must be eliminated to make room for the new but as always the question is which ones!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - July 15, 2017

What a jackpot this week with the receipt of at least one inch of rain after previous heavy rains continued to go north and south of the nursery making it 16 days since the last “good rain”. Chuck at Seiberling Farms was a little anxious as the 60 acres of sweet corn were becoming thirsty so that the aluminum irrigation pipe filled with water from the always running Hudson Run would have to be put in place and then moved from field to field as it was last year in the hot and drought--filled summer of 2016.

Tomorrow is our 7th annual Blueberry Fest that is a treat for little kids and “big kids” alike with activities for small children including crafts, a bouncy house, petting zoo and so much more. For the “big kids”, hayrides, lots of blueberries with foods comprised of a blueberry component and a polka band from Cleveland are just some of the events. Admission and parking are free as well as all the events and to top things off, the weatherman is promising 80º f, sun and lower humidity making it perfect weather for mid-July! See below for details...
The long and sunny days of July get the solar panels at the nursery cranking their excess power to the grid. Most likely by 2020, no net power will be used from the grid creating an even “greener” environment at the nursery.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - July 7, 2017

This past week the heavy rains have been about one mile north and one mile south of the nursery with about no rain at the nursery! The nursery stock has been growing nicely as well as the weeds which makes for constant weed control in the outside sales yard as it is good fodder for weeds because of the everyday irrigation.

Constant repotting is the norm as some shrubs are “shifted up” which means they are transferred to a large pot to grow larger. Mostly all trees that were potted in late March and early April are now available and will be sold this summer, fall and next spring.  Trimming is another matter.  Most varieties of the newly potted hydrangeas have already been trimmed twice and will need at least 2 more trimmings.

Then there is always a “project”.  Three overwintering structures constructed in 1994 must be razed and new ones constructed because of corrosion making the houses weak and in danger of collapsing under the weight of heavy snow.

With next week’s Blueberry Fest there’s even more work to do!  Who said summer is slow compared to spring!