Gardening

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The front garden is not the only thing that effects street appeal.

Brilliant Driveways -- An Easy Do-It-Yourself Project

Eliminating Driveway Blemishes Improves Property Value and Curb Appeal

(ARA) - Every homeowner wants a beautiful, maintenance-free blacktop driveway, but most asphalt driveways suffer from pavement discolorations like skid marks and oil stains, or damage like rock salt pits, scrapes, gouges and cracks. 

A small crack can easily overtake entire driveway slabs and petroleum stains may give the impression of run-down property. Simple do-it-yourself maintenance can repair damage, improve property appearance and eliminate the costly and often inconvenient process of hiring and managing a contractor. 

Professional grade driveway resurfacing products are now available for homeowners at home centers like Home Depot and hardware stores nationwide. These professional grade products are easy to apply, can improve driveway traction and make virtually any driveway look brand new.

To restore the rich black color of an asphalt driveway in one easy coat, homeowners need to select a premium driveway resurfacing product rather than a driveway sealer. The best known product in this class is the Henry 532 Driveway Resurfacer, a no-stir black gel that is applied with a squeegee and has a six-year stay-black warranty. 

Be sure to follow all included instructions on any resurfacing product, and select products that have the application steps printed on the package. Follow these basic steps for a perfect driveway resurfacing job. 
 

Looking after your lawn

Lawn Secrets from the Mow Master

(ARA) - Whether there’s midseason drought or a family vacation, keep your lawn green and healthy this summer with advice from John Deere’s “Mow Master” Bill Klutho. 

Q: When my town enforced water restrictions during last year’s drought, my lawn suffered. Besides moving to a rainforest, what can I do?
-- Wishing for Water

A: Dehydration can be a common problem, even if there isn’t a drought. Signs such as curling grass blades, a bluish-green color and footprinting (when you can see your footprints in the grass) mean your grass is thirsty. Most lawns need about an inch of water per week, wetting the soil about six inches deep. To measure watering time, put a mark one inch from the bottom of several plastic containers and spread them around the lawn. Clock the time it takes to reach the one-inch mark and water for that length of time in the future. And water in the morning so your lawn isn’t left wet overnight.

When dealing with drought, John Deere recommends following any water restrictions in your area and considering these tips:

* During short droughts, if the grass is still growing, mow on the high side and water infrequently, but deeply, to encourage a strong, deep root system. Watering just a little bit invites weeds to grow.

* Water thoroughly but efficiently, wasting no water on runoff. If the ground is dry and slow to absorb, turn off the water when runoff occurs, wait 30 minutes or more for the surface to dry, then water again. Continue the cycle until you reach saturation levels. 

* During severe drought, let your lawn go dormant. Your lawn can actually survive a few months without water and will recover quickly once rain returns. And if water shortages are common in your area, consider planting another breed of turf that is more drought-hardy than your current lawn.
 

Trees are a big part of your garden, they need specific care.

Tree Pruning Tips 

There are two kinds of winter gardening. The first method usually starts in January as the gardening catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. This type of gardening is as easy and sitting in your favorite chair, browsing the catalogs, and either dreaming about what you're going to do this spring, or actually drawing designs for the gardens you intend to work on. 

The second type of winter gardening is to actually get out in the yard and do a little work. Of course if it's bitter cold, you'd be better off waiting for a good day. Winter is a good time to do some pruning if the temperatures are around 30 degrees or so. I don't recommend pruning if it's considerably below freezing because the wood is brittle and will shatter when you make a cut. 

One of the advantages of pruning during the winter is that you can see much better what needs to be cut out and what should stay. At least that's true with deciduous plants. The other advantage is that the plants are dormant, and won't mind you doing a little work on them. 

Ornamental trees should pruned to remove competing branches. Weeping Cherries, Flowering Dogwoods, Flowering Crabapples etc. have a tendency to send branches in many different directions. It is your job to decide how you want the plant to look, and then start pruning to achieve that look. 
 
 

Rooting Cutting Secrets

The Secret of Rooting Cuttings

 

The secret of rooting cuttings can be summed up in two words.

 “Timing and technique”. 

When you do your cuttings is every bit as important as how you do them. So if you do the right thing, at the right time of the year, your efforts are sure to bring success. Through this article you will learn both. 

"Rooting Hardwood Cuttings of Deciduous Plants" 

Hardwood cuttings are much more durable than softwood cuttings which is why hardwoods are the best technique for the home gardener. A deciduous plant is a plant that loses it’s leaves during the winter. All plants go dormant during the winter, but evergreens keep their foliage. Many people don’t consider Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and and Mountain Laurel evergreens, but they are. They are known as broad leaf evergreens. Any plant that completely loses it’s leaves is a deciduous plant. 

There are three different techniques for rooting cuttings of deciduous plants. Two methods for hardwood cuttings, and one for softwood cuttings.   In this article we are only going to discuss rooting cuttings using the hardwood methods.  If you are interested in softwood cuttings, you'll find a very informative article at http://www.freeplants.com

Of the two hardwood techniques is one better than the other? It depends on exactly what you are rooting, what the soil conditions are at your house, and what Mother Nature has up her sleeve for the coming winter. I have experienced both success and failure using each method. Only experimentation will determine what works best for you. Try some cuttings using each method.