Thus far, the fall of 2017 is following in line with the two previous autumns in the rain department. We keep a daily log of weather here at Rolling Ridge and looking back, we find only one measurable rain event during the month of September and have to go all the way back to August 22nd, the day after the eclipse to find a decent soaking rain. We remember mentioning that it was a good thing that that particular storm didn't happen the day before, would have ruined all the hoopla. Like last fall, continuing dryness can have a lasting impact on especially newly planted trees and shrubs. Click to read more...
QUICK TIPS FOR FALL GARDENING:
FALL LAWN CARE:
Time to feed your cool season lawns, apply winterizer now and again in early-mid December. You can also apply lime and gypsum at this time.
October 15-January 15 is the best time for planting spring blooming bulbs.
Amaryllis, paperwhites, and 'pre-cooled' hyacinth bulbs are avaiable for winter forcing.
Stop by soon while selection is still good!
This summer, that has definitely been the question. The 15 or so inches of rain that hit the area over the course of the month of June has really effected some of our landscape plants now, in August, that it has gotten a bit drier and hotter. We have seen a lot of magnolias and many coniferous (especially) evergreens that appear to be dying due to excessive amounts of rain 6 to 8 weeks ago.
Attracting pollinators, butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to your yard and garden is appealing to many gardeners. To make a positive impact in your home environment, you should plant a diverse assortment of native species and flowering plants. This may also attract some unwanted pests that can do damage to the garden.
We have just survived another crazy March! The month started with a shot of winter, the middle was spring like and now back to winter for the end. At least we never had severe weather! Like last year, we are off to a slow start, and hopefully will have a gradual warm up though April. Wouldn't it be nice to have a long spring, with all the trees, shrubs and flowers having a beautiful blooming season? Like last year, the cooler soil temperatures will give you additional time to complete those early gardening jobs. We are just now having weather that is optimal for planting grass seed.
March is a great time to start working on your lawn! Depending on the type of turf, you may have some early spring lawn care, or you could go play golf! If your lawn is Zoysia or Bermuda most of this article will not apply; this about “cool season” grasses and their early spring care. Kentucky Blue Grass, Rye, and Fescues make up what we refer to as “cool season” grass types and there are hundreds of varieties and types in each category.
The first step is to clean up the winter mess that is on your lawn; old leaves, sticks and twigs, bark, sweetgum balls and acorns. By removing the debris, what you apply to your lawn will actually reach the ground. If your mower is back from the winter tune up with a sharp blade, it is a good idea to mow on a low setting to remove the grass blades that have been damaged during winter. This also gives you a chance to evaluate your turf. Are there small bare spots or large ones? Do I need to seed? Are there weeds? Was crabgrass a problem last year? The answers to these questions will help plot your course of action for this spring. Click to read more...
What a difference a year makes! We seem to be back into our “non-winter, winter!" I’m sure that most of you are not complaining, but your plants may be looking for a little help soon. Our up and down temperatures can dry out the soil and the evergreens fairly quickly. Throw in some heavy winds and colder, but not frozen soil, and you have plants that may show signs of above ground dehydration. If in the next few weeks we don’t have significant rain or snow, a good watering on a 50-degree day would really help!
We almost to the end of the outdoor gardening season, and there are a few things you can do now that will make your spring a little prettier and easier!
Can you get excited about gardening and yard work when the temperature is approaching 100 degrees?! September is here, and even with hot temperatures there are projects to get done!
July was cooler than normal and we are all grateful for that! It was also drier, and finally the TV weather people are acknowledging that fact!
July is here and officially into summer and our gardening focus changes from planting to maintenance. The key to successful gardening is timely maintenance; plants like people need light, oxygen, food and water to grow properly. Like people, plants can be over fed and over watered! In summer, we see more problems on newly planted or potted plants with too much care rather than too little. The young and newly planted have a tendency to wilt in the afternoon especially on hot, windy days.
Though not officially summer, for most of us the summer season starts with Memorial Day! Even though we are in a new season, I am going to bring up an old topic and that’s the lack of rainfall in our area. There have been scattered storms all around, but very little significant rain throughout the St. Louis metro area. We have been behind on rainfall since last July. If you haven’t started watering, start now! A good deep soaking once every 4 to 5 days for garden beds and every 7 to 10 days for lawns.
We are seeing an outbreak of Eastern Tent Caterpillar, often called “bagworms,” because of the large web they spin around the branches of small trees and shrubs. The good news is that they have a short life cycle and will only be around for 3 to 4 weeks. The caterpillars come out of the tent after dark and feed on the new leaves, so left untreated they can damage or destroy young trees and shrubs. We have a number of Organic solutions to this problem.
With winter still in control of our weather, what should I do to my yard and garden right now? That is the question many of you are asking, so here are a few tips and some “Do’s and Don’ts” for this March.
When you have a REAL winter like we are having this year, the spring will be different! Here are some things to look out for:
At this time of year not only do you need to watch out for snow and ice, but using the wrong removal product as well! Using the wrong "ice melt" product can lead to problems for your lawn and gardens. Basic rock salt is hard on both plants and concrete surfaces, especially brand new ones that have not been sealed. Ice melt with magnesium chloride is the safest material to use, and it will not damage concrete. It also works in colder weather. Products with potassium chloride or calcium chloride are the next safest.
Now that December is here, our focus is Christmas and making sure that your trees and greens are the freshest possible! Our Fraser Fir trees are grown in the mountains of North Carolina, the part of the country where they grow best. Depending on size, the trees will take 6 to 10 years to reach maturity. The trees are hand sheared every year to maintain their near perfect shape, the grass is mowed a number of times to allow light to reach the whole tree, and they are fed twice a year to maintain that beautiful blue color.
Now that we are officially into SUMMER I would like to remind you that plants need more than just water now. This year, unlike the past two springs and early summers we have seen more than enough water. Frequent heavy rains leach the nutrition out of the root zone; with cooler temperatures, the plants grow more foliage, leaving us with undernourished plants. Azaleas, hollies, boxwood, roses, summer flowering shrubs, annuals and perennials all would benefit from some additional nutrition now.
DON’T RUSH SPRING, THE SOIL IS STILL COLD!
I know that the calendar says May, but the soil temperature says early April. Soil temperature, not the calendar tells us when it’s time to plant. Yesterday I measured the soil temperature on the hill in front of Rolling Ridge, the 5 foot wide strip surrounded by concrete, and it was only 55 degrees! Then I walked up Marshall Place and took a reading up that street and it was in the high 40’s and low 50’s. These temperatures are fine for early spring crops, but not for summer annuals or vegetables.
What a difference a year makes! Last year we had 80 degree temperatures since the middle of March. Most of the trees were bloomed out, as well as most of the spring flowering shrubs. Pansies that had bloomed all winter and all of our spring blubs were bloomed out. In other words, it was not the best spring for lasting beauty. Spring of 2013 has been the exact opposite; cold temperatures, cloudy dreary days, rain and snow have taken their toll on the early spring gardener, but has it really?
With all of our up and down weather, many of us are itching to get outside and work in the garden. But remember there are at least 6 more weeks of *winter*. We are seeing people doing things that may do more harm if we return to real winter weather. Here is a list of garden jobs that are fine to do in early February regardless of weather:
1. Lime and Gypsum can be applied to lawns and gardens taking advantage of freezing and thawing to help work them into the top layer of soil. If you're not sure about the 'pH' of your soil, a check prior to liming is a good thing.
Winterberry Ilex verticillata
After the summer we had, fall has been surprisingly colorful! Thanks to "Issac," there was a little fall color and the lawns came back pretty well. We have continued to receive timely rains, but don’t be fooled and think that we are out of the woods and that the drought is over. We ended last year (2011) behind on rainfall and that has continued throughout all of 2012. The ground water levels are still low and with fluctuating temperatures, we need to continue to water through early November. Even with normal rainfall for the rest of the year we will end the year behind.
Black Gum 'Wildfire'
Red Twig Dogwood "Cardinal"
Large deciduous shrub for the property border or use as an accent. Grows 6-8' tall and wide. Maintain thru pruning and thinning. Remove older stems entirely as they usually lack the good color. Plant in partial to bright light, avoid shade and full sun. Clusters of small white blooms in spring and bright colorful red stems during the winter
Viburnum Nudum "Winterthur"
This attractive Viburnum has a smaller eventual size, making it a good choice for urban gardens. Maxing out at 6' tall, this shrub blooms in the spring with clusters of small white flowers presented over deep green lustrous foliage. The flowers give way to bluish black berries in late summer that the birds will relish. The unusual bright red foliage in the fall (for a Viburnum) is the topper to end this plants year. Best in partial to full sun, provide good drainage.
1. There's still time to plant grass seed! Even though it's October, you have plenty of time to sow grass seed and have it germinate. You will even need to cut it a couple of times this fall! The temperatures are great for germination, 70's in the day and 50's at night and with your watering, you'll have a great lawn for next spring.
Did you know that September is the best time of year to work on your lawn?? Because we have warm days, cool nights and moderate rainfall, grass seed will germinate and establish strong roots before winter sets in. An established root system is extremely important when the hot summer weather arrives. September is also a perfect time for feeding your lawn. Starter fertilizer will help existing grass spread, and will improve the germination and establishment of your new see. So, stop by on the 9th or anytime this month and let us help you get started!!