It seems like a good idea, putting down an impermeable layer to suppress weeds and then covering it with mulch but it’s not. Really, don’t do it. I’m sure there are occasions and places where it works but more often than not, you end up with weeds anyway AND ugly bits showing through AND crappy bits of plastic/landscape fabric that you have to try and get out of the soil – so just don’t do it. Read more »
String tied around a trunk, girdling it, you can see both ends of the string. The rest is embedded in the tree.
Inadvertent tree girdling is a surprisingly common phenomenon. Something gets tied around a tree and left there. The tree grows but the string tried around it, doesn’t. It seems like the tree would break the string like some superhero breaking chains but no, it just grows around it. Eventually it reaches a place, as in this photo, where the string has been taken into the tree. Death of the part of the tree above the string will follow. Read more »
A confession – I am a crummy compost maker. This is embarrassing to admit because real gardeners make their own compost. Do you know how much time I’d have to spend sorting acceptable compost material from unacceptable if I made compost? Read more »
Used through creative commons from mccun934′s photostream
One 48′ silver maple may transpire as much as 58 gallons of water/hour, and a tomato plant 30 gallons over the course of its lifetime. Add that to the headline in the paper the other day, “40 days without rain!” and you realize that most of us need to proceed directly outside and turn on the hose. Read more »
Powdery mildew on Nandina domestica (Heavenly bamboo)
Powdery mildew is a fungus but a strange and counter-intuitive one; it hates water.
A variety of fungi can cause powdery mildew, some species will attack an array of different plants; others are host-specific. Powdery mildew likes shade and mild temperatures and it dislikes water. Leaf temps above 90°F may kill some powdery mildew. Direct sunlight can slow it down and the spores die in water. Read more »
If you buy a plant this time of year, don’t be surprised if it is rootbound. Okay, never be surprised if a plant is rootbound. Now, in an ideal world, you shouldn’t buy a rootbound plant, or let them sit around your yard so long that they become rootbound, but both things happen. Before buying a plant, slide it out of the pot at the nursery to check just how rootbound it is. At least that way you know you’re getting. Read more »
My husband brings home organic produce and eats it without washing it. I tell him that organic doesn’t mean no pesticides – they just have to be an organic ones – but he persists.
I got on this kick based on a blog post from The Garden Professors, my favorite gardening blog. A recent post addressed rotenone, a plant-derived (organic) pesticide that has been voluntarily taken off the shelves by its manufacturer. It’s particularly harmful in the aquatic environment and may cause Parkinson’s disease. Although it’s technically off the shelves it can still be bought. I found some at Amazon (Bonide Garden Dust), and who knows how many containers are hanging around in people’s garages. Read more »
I was reading about the proper way to plant pots in the March 2012 issue of Gardener’s World, a British magazine, and was dumbfounded to read:
“Ensure water can drain freely away from the roots by adding a good layer of drainage material to the base of the pot. Pieces of broken terracotta…” and on a different page, “add a generous layer of crocks, stones or polystyrene to help water drain away.”
No, no, no. This just leads to a perched water table and less rooting room for the plants. Make sure there are holes in the bottom, put in the dirt, add plants. This isn’t just me talking, this is what the science has shown, and it’s not exactly a new discovery. Read more »