Mum’s the Word-Care Tips

Good morning everyone! Yesterday I shared with you some of the beautiful autumn mums we’ve received this week at the Garden Center. Mums are, without a doubt, one of our most popular fall bloomers. They look equally great in containers on your front porch as in borders in your mixed beds, and come in a rainbow of autumn colors. The garden mum just cannot be beaten for beautiful fall color. And now that you’ve picked up a few mums for your yard, I have a few tips and tricks for keeping your new plants looking in tip-top shape.

Fall planted mums need a little attention to help them make it in the landscape through the winter. Get these fall-blooming perennials in the ground as soon as possible. If using mums as container plants, it’s unlikely they will make it through winter, so enjoy their seasonal color as you would annuals.

Plant mums in full sun, in well-drained soil that is moderately moist. If the soil is too wet or too dry, the mums will suffer. Keeping the soil moist will ensure good root development on the plants as they go into winter, even after the tops have gone dormant. They tolerate part shade, but if it is too shady, the mums will get leggy and have smaller flowers. If your area receives at least half a day of sun, your plants should do fine.

Plant the mums in your flower bed at the same depth that they were growing in their pots and mulch them to help stabilize soil moisture and temperature. Be sure to cut and loosen the outer root system of the plant to maximize root growth before planting. Do not plant chrysanthemum flowers near street lights or night lights: the artificial lighting may wreak havoc with the mums’ cycle.

Do not fertilize your plants until you see new growth next spring. Use a general purpose fertilizer such as 5-10-5 at the rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet. Fertilize once per month through July.

Removing the spent flowers, called deadheading, will keep your plant looking neat and tidy and will help promote more blooms. Once your plant has gone dormant, do not cut back the dead growth. The dried flowers and stems serve as insulation to protect the plant during winter. When you see new growth in spring, cut the dead stems as close to the ground as possible.

Be sure to give your mums plenty of space in the garden. They can grow and multiply rather quickly. An added benefit, in my opinion. By every third spring, divide your mums to rejuvenate them.

With these care tips, you’ll be enjoying glorious fall color from your garden mums for years to come. Enjoy!

Fescue Lawn Care for August

Hello everyone and happy Thursday to you! I’m sure most of you have noticed the slight dip in temperatures we’ve been enjoying these past few days. Looks like we’ve rounded the corner from 90+ degree hot summer days and can look forward to beautiful cooler weather instead. What a welcome relief! Could it be that fall is in the air?

Fall is the perfect time to be in the garden. It’s sunny and warm, yet cool enough to work. And best of all, there’s no bugs! Even though we’re still a few weeks away from the true fall season, there’s plenty we can be doing in the yard right now to get our gardens in top shape for next year. Now is a great time to start tackling lawn care and re-seeding projects. As soon as the night-time lows drop into the 60′s, like they already have, it’s time to get started. But before we talk about seed, we may need to tackle some nasty weed issues.

I don’t know about you, but the weeds have really taken over my lawn this past month. Things were in pretty good shape, and suddenly the weeds have just exploded. That’s because they just thrive in our hot and humid summers. I’ve got crab grass and chickweed as well as Bermuda grass, infiltrating my fescue sod. So if your lawn is anything like mine, you’ll want to tackle those weeds before turning your thoughts towards reseeding.

If your grass is less than 50% weeds, we recommend treating the area with Weed Out with Q by Fertilome. This ready-to-spray treatment kills crabgrass, dandelion, clover, plus 200 other listed weeds. It kills even tough weeds-roots and all.

Fertilome Weed Out with Q spray contains three proven weed killers that target lawn weeds and crabgrass. This product enters the lawn weeds through their leaves and moves throughout the plant to provide control. Recommended for cool season turf-grass such as Kentucky bluegrass, rye-grass, tall fescue, and mixtures of cool season grasses containing fine fescues. Also for warm season turf-grasses such as bermuda, zoysia, and buffalo grass. Application to bermuda grass may cause temporary yellowing or discoloration, but full recovery can be expected.

Note that this product should be used only when daytime temperatures drop below 90 degrees (85 for bermuda grass). And since we’re in the 80′s now, go ahead and give your lawns an application or two of this. Once treated, let your lawn sit about 2 weeks before re-seeding. Be careful not to over-apply which may cause burning to the grass.

If your lawn area is more than 50% weeds, you’ll need to go ahead and apply Round-Up to the entire area. And if you’re like me and have bermuda grass coming up in your fescue lawn, you’ll need to use Round-up on that, as well.

Now that we’ve talked about weeds, it’s time to think re-seeding.  Fall is the best time for re-seeding, and actually should be the only time you re-seed. Planting fescue seed in the fall allows the seed to fully root in and get established before the heat and stress of the summer hit again. Once night time temps dip into the 60′s, like now, you can get started. And you can safely seed until mid November.

For fescue lawns, we recommend Shady Nook lawn seed mixture from Wyatt-Quarles. Shady Nook is locally blended so it is perfect for our Piedmont growing conditions. And it is tested here at NC State to provide a better blend with fewer weed seeds. It is also perfectly suited for full sun into part shade, giving you a better mixture of drought tolerance and wet growing conditions.

We offer Shady Nook in 25 lb. bags, as well as  5 lb. bags for smaller areas.

If you have areas of full shade, we recommend mixing Creeping Red Fescue in with your Shady Nook blend. Creeping Red Fescue is shade tolerant, and it’s dark green color and finely textured blades will mix in perfectly with the rest of your lawn.

I hope these helpful hints will get you on your way to beautiful looking grass in no time. Remember, our helpful experts are on hand 7 days a week to answer all your lawn care and gardening questions. Stop by and pay us a visit! We’re always happy to see you down at Garden Supply!

Caladiums

Hello everyone and happy Thursday to you! Today I am excited to share a really beautiful and easy to grow plant with you all, the caladium.

The caladium originated in the Amazon jungles of South America. It is a summer bulb (tuber) that will thrive in hot temperatures like ours, and it’s gorgeous heart-shaped leaves of red, white, pink, and green will paint your garden in color until the first cold nights. Caladiums offer a fabulous way to insert color and beauty without the use of flowers,  providing continuous interest in the landscape well beyond a limited blooming period.

Caladiums are easy to plant and are wonderful as a ground cover or border, or in pots, hanging baskets and planters on your deck and inside your home. Mix several varieties in your landscaping for a colorful contrast. Look at some of the gorgeous arrangements of caladiums you’ll find down at Garden Supply.

Caladiums can be grown as annuals, or may be over-wintered as tender bulbs. Remember that they are a hot-weather, summer bulb. The bulb will be damaged, causing dwarfed leaves, if the temperatures reach below 60 degrees for a prolonged period of time. Lightly fertilize every six weeks with the fertilizer you normally use (or 6-6-6 slow release fertilizer). In the fall, let the leaves die back, then before the first freeze, dig up the bulbs, leaving the leaves on. Store in mesh or paper bags between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Or better yet, bring your potted caladiums indoors during the cooler months and enjoy their colorful foliage as houseplants. You’ll not be sorry!

Caladiums make a wonderful addition for floral arrangements, too. Cut leaves will keep indoors for 2-3 weeks and are odorless and non-allergenic. Leaves should be soaked for 24 hours before using in arrangements.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope I’ve piqued your interest for adding color and interest in your homes and landscape through the use of bright and unusual foliage.  And join me back here soon for more snippets from the garden.

July Fescue Lawn Care

Hello everyone and happy Monday to you!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready to start a brand new week. We have just experienced a “new beginning” down at Garden Supply with the completion of a new roof in our garden Greenhouse. Not a pleasant job by far in the heat of July, but we are excited to have that task now out of the way.  Look for new items to start filtering into the Greenhouse soon, as our big buying trip is coming up next weekend. And in the meantime, there are still a few deals to be had on remaining pink tagged items.

With this intense Piedmont summer heat, many lawns and gardens are starting to take a beating.  We recommend continued use of Drought Defense to aid in water absorption and retention in planting beds and sodded areas.

Simply attach this easy-to-use nozzle to your garden hose and spray as directed.  You’ll notice a definite “greening” up after a couple of applications.

And for fescue lawn care in July, you can reduce stress on your lawn and enhance a dark green color with a little PH correction. PH refers to the acidity of your soil. Contact your agricultural extension to find out how to take a soil sample and retrieve the results. After determining your PH you can use pelletized lime to correct it.

Hope these tips get your lawns and gardens in tip-top shape in no time.  As always, our experts are standing by with answers to all your questions.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Hot Summer Sale

Hello everyone and happy Saturday!  The temperatures are sure rising these days.  It has been one hot June, and we’ve got some hot summer deals to match down at Garden Supply that you will not want to miss. Stop by the garden center and enjoy 20% savings off all trees, shrubs, and home & garden decor.

And in addition, for this weekend only, we have some extra special deals to throw into the mix. We have added Hydrangeas, (excluding “Limelight” variety), Rhododendrons, and Green-leaf Hypericums, Buy one, Get one free. Those shrubs are great in afternoon shade if you are lucky enough to have some!  Also, ALL perennials, mix and match, are on SALE. Choose 10 Perennials, get 20% off, choose 20 and get 30% off!

Believe or not, this still a great time of year to plant because plants “root in” quicker.  Our only caution is that if you are going out of town for more than 7 days, have a friend come by to water, as everything needs an inch a week.

The upcoming forecast shows some promise of relief from the heat, so come in this weekend while it’s hot and the sales are even hotter! Hope to see you all soon down at Garden Supply!

June Bugs

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday to you! With the solstice yesterday, summer is finally officially here.  It’s time to enjoy all the offerings of this wonderful season, from longer days and vacations, to a slower pace and plenty of fun in the sun. Yes, summer is a wonderful time of year, but along with the onset of this warmer period often comes an unwelcome slew of garden pests. From deer eating your precious flowering plants to mosquitoes driving you crazy, these pests may have you abandoning your yards for the relative peace of the indoors. But don’t let these pests drive you inside.  We have some solutions for handling these pesky critters that will help you beat the bugs and enjoy your yards again.

One of the most prevalent garden pests we have to contend with in our area this month has got to be the Japanese beetle. Japanese beetles were first found in this country in 1916, after being accidentally introduced into New Jersey. Until that time, this insect was known to occur only in Japan where it is not a major pest. Unfortunately, it has flourished in the Eastern United States where it has found vast areas of turf and grassland in which the grubs develop, hundreds of species of plants for the adults to feast on, and no effective natural enemies. It is probably the most devastating pest of the Eastern urban landscape.

Adults emerge from the ground and begin feeding on plants in June. Activity is most intense over a 4 to 6 week period, after which the beetles gradually die off. Individual beetles live about 30 to 45 days. Japanese beetles feed on about 300 species of plants, devouring leaves, flowers, and fruit. They usually feed in groups, starting at the top of a plant and working downward. The beetles are most active on warm, sunny days, and prefer plants that are in direct sunlight. Although a single beetle does not eat much, this group feeding by many beetles results in severe damage.

Here’s a few of the pesky bugs now dining on my Crape Myrtles.  So what can you do when these devouring bugs hit your yard? There are solutions, but in order to attack the problem at hand, one must truly understand the life-cycle of the Japanese beetle.

Although the adult beetle is only present for about 30 days in the month of June, their life-cycle continues underground for most of the year. Egg laying begins soon after the adults emerge from the ground and mate. Females lay their eggs 2-3 inches down in grassy areas, and usually lay a total of 40 to 60 during their life. The developing beetles spend the next 10 months in the soil as white grubs. Grubs feed on the roots of turf-grasses and vegetable seedlings, doing best in good quality turf in home lawns. However, they can survive in almost any soil in which plants can live.

As Japanese beetle grubs chew off grass roots, they reduce the ability of grass to take up enough water to withstand the stresses of hot, dry weather. As a result, large dead patches develop in the grub-infested areas. If the damage is allowed to develop to this stage, it may be too late to save the turf. Early recognition of the problem can prevent this destruction.

In order to fully battle the Japanese beetle, it is best to take a multi-step approach. Put a stop to the egg laying cycle by treating your infected plants and adult insects with Sevin or Sevin Dust, in concentrate or ready-to-use formula. Fertilome Natural Carbaryl is equally effective.  Both treatments are natural and are safe to use on your fruit and vegetable plants. Know that although these beetles can travel and infect an area several miles wide, they tend to lay their eggs in close proximity.  So you can bet that if they are in your yard, they are laying eggs there.

Next stop the grub cycle with an application of Milky Spore Grub Control or Bayer Grub Killer Plus. This will rid your lawn of unsightly brown spots that may be caused by grub damage, and will control Japanese beetle grubs in the soil.  Use it on grass, in gardens, and in mulch beds.  It can be used at anytime.

Another complaint we often hear at the garden center is that deer are eating your tender blooming plants down to the ground.  And although it can be tricky to combat these beautiful yet pesky animals, here is an option for keeping them out of your yard.

I Must Garden is an earth-friendly, people and pet-friendly company out of Chapel Hill that offers a  line of repellents based on essential oils that provide a safe way to protect your plants without the stench of other repellents. Their deer repellent is easy to use, effective all year round, smells pleasant, and is even safe for the deer.  They also offer a full line of rabbit, snake, mole & vole, squirrel, cat & dog, mosquito, flea & tick, and insect repellents. We’ve got them all down at Garden Supply.

We are also proud to carry EcoSmart brand insect killer and repellents. Based on essential oils, EcoSmart offers a line of insecticides that are 100 % safe for use around children and pets.

Hopefully these tips will keep the nasties out of your yard so you can get back out there and relish these beautiful summer evenings.

Enjoy!