Gardening

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Conserving water in your garden

Don’t Drown Your Plants, Nurture Them with Micro/Drip Irrigation

Conserving water for generations to come

(ARA) – Now that spring is here, garden centers across the country are once again bustling with activity. There are house plants, fruit trees and vegetables as far as the eye can see, and they all look great. So how do you keep them looking that way once you get them home? 

“The secret is in the way you water them,” says Susan Thayer, who is an expert in landscape irrigation. Thayer owns and operates the Southern Citrus Nursery in Dundee, Fla., as well as Mister Landscaper, a company that specializes in low-volume landscape irrigation. 
 

Whether you're spending time in the pool, grilling on the barbeque, or just lounging on your deck, you want your house looking its best.

Beautify Your Home for the Summer


(ARA) – Summer is here and with the warm weather comes endless hours spent outdoors enjoying the sun. Whether you’re spending time in the pool, grilling on the barbeque, or just lounging on your deck, you want your house looking its best. That’s why now’s the perfect time to spruce up your home’s exterior and impress your neighbors. 

There are many do-it-yourself projects that can have a dramatic effect on the beauty of your home. A little gardening close to the house can provide color and life to your outdoor space. Planting some flowers, shrubs or trees in the right areas can make a world of difference. 

Other ways to beautify your home include cleaning your windows and screens, which will improve exterior appearance and allow more light into the home. Refinishing your deck can bring back a warm, natural wood look, while also protecting it from the sun’s UV rays and heavy summer foot traffic. You can even restore your home’s vinyl siding and shutters to their original color and shine!
 
 

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. 
 

Lawn care tips

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.
 
 

Cool way to propagate plants in your garden.

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. 
 

Weed control in your garden.

Weed Control Facts, Winning the Battle of the Weeds

Keeping your landscape plantings, flower beds, and nursery crops free of weeds is a battle, but if you approach it with a strategic plan, you will prevail. In order to develop a plan, you first must understand how weeds work, and what kind of weeds you are dealing with. 

Basically weeds grow either from seed, or they reproduce from their roots. As the roots grow outward from the parent plant new plants sprout up from the lateral roots, creating more parent plants and the process continues and the weeds thrive. Weeds that tend to reproduce from the root are usually more difficult to control. 

Weed controls facts?  Weeds are plants, and they function just like the desirable plants in your yard. They need water, sunlight, and nutrition to survive. Of these three key survival needs, the easiest one for a gardener to eliminate is sunlight. Through proper mulching you can eliminate the sunlight.
 

Take care of the big things in your garden.

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. 
 

Keep your driveway looking as good as it should

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

 

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. 

1. Clean Driveway: Sweep off dust, dirt and loose stones. Remove grass and weeds from edges and cracks. Scrub oil and grease spots with soap and a stiff wire brush. Rinse and let dry. 

2. Repair Minor Damage: Remove loose debris, fill surface voids to just above the pavement surface, tap down and allow patches to cure. Cracks and holes (up to 1/2" wide) should be filled with Henry Crack Filler and Henry 304 Patching Mix should be used for areas with significant damage (1/2” to 2" wide). 

3. Resurface and Seal: The weather must generally be warmer than 50 degrees and dry for two straight days. Starting in the morning, mist the driveway and sweep away excess water. Apply Henry 532 with a squeegee only -- not a brush or roller -- and push excess gel into cracks and holes. Wait 48 hours minimum before driving on coating. 
Read all the products instructions, call (800) 598-7663 or visit www.Henry.com for driveway resurfacing ideas, how-to guides and information on quality products.