Keeping Rats Out of Your Compost

compost bins rat control

Introduction

People are embracing the use of compost bins to recycle household waste and use them in the garden. Compost bins facilitate faster decomposition of organic matter through moisture retention and proper aeration to produce organic fertilizer. They are a great way of getting rid of household organic waste and ensuring that your garden is fertile. However, they attract rats that may be hard to eliminate.

Tips to keep rats out of your compost

When using a compost bin, chances of dealing with rats are high. Rats look for food and shelter and a compost bin caters for both needs. Therefore, you can experience a serious rat problem if you are not careful. Below are tips to keep rats out of your compost.

Bury food wastes

Rats are attracted to compost because they are a source of food. Therefore, when adding food waste, you should dig in and deposit the waste inside. Cover the food scraps and add a few inches of leaves or grass clippings to layer on top of the food.

Avoid adding food waste

If rats become a real problem, stop adding food waste in the compost. Instead, set up a vermicomposting food waste bin. Alternatively, you can bury the food wastes in the garden directly.

Use a solid sided bin

Food waste and vegetable peelings should go in closed composts that have solid sides and lids. There are some plastic types that have a rat-proof base. If you go for one that does not have a rat-proof base, place it on a tiny gaped wire mesh. Moreover, the wire mesh should be thick enough to withstand the sharp rodent teeth.

Keep the compost moist

Rats look for shelter and food in your compost. A dry compost is an ideal shelter for rats and inefficient for making organic fertilizer. A moist compost pile results in an unpleasant odor and anaerobic conditions that rats cannot put up with.

Plant mint near your compost

Rats hate the scent of mint. Therefore, if you plant mint close to your compost, it may deter rats. However, this only works if the rat population is not high.

Use Bokashi

Bokashi makes food unappealing to rats. Bokashi ferments food wastes to produce a funny odor that puts off even the hungriest rat. Put the food waste in a bucket and layer it with Bokashi bran. After two weeks, add it to your compost. It will decompose faster and keep rats away.

Conclusion

The rat problem can become uncontrollable. If the above tips fail, consider seeking assistance from a pest control company. For more information about getting rid of your rat problem visit westsidepestcontrol.com.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

The Importance Of Landscaping In Property Management

property maintenance landscaping

Once you have made your big investment in acquiring commercial property, it is crucial that you get a property management company to take care of all your landscape maintenance issues. The site needs to create a good first impression to your visitors by making the environment look professional. Landscaping is an important part of property management mainly since it creates an aesthetically appealing landscape by making everything look vibrant at all times. The different seasons of the year will have various impacts on the landscape and you will need a professional to maintain a good image for your property. The high temperatures in summer will definitely take a toll on the landscape and without proper maintenance you will not have an appealing atmosphere to potential renters and buyers. For winter, fall and spring, you will need frequent services to modify the landscape and maintain its beauty.

Don’t Overlook Landscaping in Property Management

It is wrong as a business owner to overlook the benefits of professional landscaping to your commercial property. A good landscape management plan ensures that you establish a sound routine program that will stipulate the work that needs to be done over time to maintain a good lawn and garden. A good landscaping plan provides you with the opportunity to design and implement an environment that will be modified with time through strategic improvements that will add value to your property.

Moreover, landscape management assures you as the property owner that your investment is protected from pests and diseases. Avoiding such will keep away unwanted expenses or any interruptions to the normal and smooth running of business. A good landscape management plan also protects your land from adverse weather conditions like drought and excess rain which will decrease the aesthetic value of your property. By having a healthy lawn, trees and gardens which are maintained regularly, you will always have good business image.

Landscaping Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Finally, in everything you do as a business owner, you must factor in your financial abilities. The good thing is that, landscaping is not an expensive affair and it will just be a miscellaneous to you. You can receive cost effective services to help your property look inviting and tidy. Curb appeal is important to any commercial property as it gives an image that your business is built on excellence. As they say, first impression is everything as it can make or break your business. Therefore, as a business owner, you should hire a property management company to establish a good landscape management plan for you.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Importance of SEO for a Landscaping Business

landscaper marketing seo

The dream of every business person is growing the company to the maximum possible size and increase its revenues. There are many methods of marketing your business. Some are free while others cost a lot. There are some you can do yourself while others you might need to consult the services of a professional. SEO is something you can do yourself and also hire an agency to help (see more at ww1.canadawestinternetmarketing.com).

Why Consult a Professional

If at any point you are not sure about anything, don’t try it before consulting a professional like Hurricane Web. This will help you avoid making mistakes that many make. The professional has experience in the field and know all the pitfalls. They will help you increase the productivity of the plan. You might think it’s an extra cost, but it’s important if you want to grow your business.

SEO is one of the best way to grow your landscaping business. There are many people who have tried and succeeded in the world of SEO. If you are willing to spend a little money on SEO, you won’t be disappointed. You must be patient before you see the maximum results. The more effort you put, the higher the chance of success.

SEO Strategies

internet marketing for landscapersThere are many strategies you can use. This will greatly be determined by the type of business and the services being offered. There are times when a given strategy might not work. The best thing is to research. If you find that one strategy isn’t working, move on to the next. The amount to be invested in the SEO implementation is less compared to other forms of marketing such as PPC, Yellow Pages or even newspaper advertising. There is a great article about the comparisons between traditional marketing and SEO on this site seo.hurricanewebdesign.com.

The visitors who will be searching for the keywords related to your service will be easier to convert into a client since there is a common interest. Many of the marketing techniques today does not focus on a specific person interested in the landscaping services you have to offer. This means the business will have to spend a lot of money in acquiring a client. The moment you start spending a lot of money on marketing your landscaping and gardening business, that’s when the real financial woes will start kicking in. Why spend a lot of money and later close your business?

Grow Your Business

The landscaping and gardening business is competitive and tough, but with the right marketing and understanding, the process will be very simple. Every small effort you make will pay off. Everyone has a dream of growing, this means you have to work harder every day.

If you have not invested in SEO, you are likely losing clients to your competitors. The one thing that favors SEO as a tool for marketing is the cost. This will enable you have enough money to run and grow your business and compete against larger companies. For a free consultation on SEO for your landscaping business talk to Canada West IM.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Sign Printing Tips for Landscaping Companies

sign printing sample

Landscaping is by definition a very artistic field. People want you to convince them fully that you have an eye for the spectacular before they even let you step on their land. A good landscaping artist tries eye-catching designs in order to attract potential clients or to keep sharp and focused. Landscapers need to market their skill to the public on a continuous basis. Sign printing is one of the most effective advertising strategies for businesses in the art industry. Below is a list of tips a landscaper can use to create successful signs.

1. Dimensions of the Sign Post

The size of the sign determines the size of its content. Choose a specific length, width, and height, according to the elevation of the place you wish to put the sign. People should be able to read a signpost from at least 100 meters without having to squint.

2. The Nature of the Materials Used

The materials used for signs (mostly paint, metal and wood) should be resistant to the elements of nature like water, rust, heat, and cold. Acrylic paints are water-soluble but become resistant to drying. Obtain chemical treatment for inks and other materials you use to ensure durability.

3. Graphic Elements

Choose colors that people identify with when making a design. According to sign manufacturers, every great design or logo carries a variation of green. People identify with green because it shows life and vibrancy. Do not overdo the color aspect.

Considerations in Graphic Elements

(a) Color intensity

Do not mix up colors. Most people shy away from screaming colors. It is important to strike a balance in the hues and saturation of the colors you wish use. Do not over-emphasize on the background such that people get distracted from the important content on the foreground.

(b) Images

Images reach out to people. Use images of local scenes or people, things that the audience can find identifiable. Foreground images should be sharper than the background images. Either the portraits rendered in banners or the signs should be real people and real events. You should not isolate some classes of people by adopting lofty logic.

(c) Text

You should follow graphics and info grams with descriptive text always. Choose fonts that do not cause discomfort to readers. Balance text, adopting simple, polite strokes and fonts that will not intimidate potential clients.

Stick to helpful text like contact numbers, descriptions, location of your business and brief advertising snippets.

4. Choose a Convenient Location in the Property

The best place to put a sign is where people can see it. Examples of such areas include entrances to towns, buildings, halls and straight roads. Similarly, people do not like to have to squint against the sun in order to read what you have on the sign. Make sure that the sign is in a direction away from the sun to make reading easy. Placing the sign near reflective surfaces can also be uncomfortable to the target audience. Situate your signpost in a secure place, far from vandals or animals.

A landscaper expresses his artistic voice in his designs. An artist, steps back from your design, whether it a signpost or a board, looks at it from a distance and then asks himself a number of questions. How does the sign printing look from a distance? Does it communicate the message I intended? Most importantly, if I were a passer-by, would the sign printing catch my eye enough for me to want to linger and read? If your landscaping company needs signs printed visit LinxPrint for more information.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Build your own pond

Building a backyard pond is easier than you think! With a little planning and effort you can create a garden pond in just a weekend. A garden pond for reflecting, filled with koi or waterlilies can be one of the most beautiful areas of your garden.

Start with some careful planning

Choose your area thoughtfully – Avoid putting your pond into that low boggy spot in your yard. Areas like this attract runoff from your own yard as well as your neighbors and that means groundwater and even chemicals may filter into your pond system damaging plants and fish.

If you plan on adding lilies or other aquatic plants, be sure that you place your pond in an area that will receive at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day.

Don’t hide it away in an area no one will see either. Place it close enough to your house so that you can enjoy the view from your deck or window. Keep in mind as well, that being closer to your house means you will be closer to the electricity which you’ll need if you plan on having pumps or filters.

Decide on the shape, size and depth

Depth – If you plan on fish, they will need at least 2 feet of water. If you are in a cold area and experience a long winter freeze, then your pond needs to be deep enough to allow 1 foot of clear water under the ice. In other words, if you think your pond will have 2 feet of frozen ice on it, then dig it 3 feet deep to allow your fish to survive the winter.

Water lilies and other aquatic plants need to have at least 18 inches to thrive, but don’t worry if your pond is deeper as you can set the plant pots on cement blocks or flat stones down under the water. But if all you want is a reflecting pond without aquatic plants or fish, a depth of 1 foot is all the water you will need.

Shape and size – You can purchase preformed pond shells and simply dig out the ground according to their shape, or you can design your own and use a flexible liner which allows you to make the pond as big or small as you wish.

Using a pond liner

If you choose the liner, the easiest method is to lay out your garden hose until you achieve the shape you like, then spray paint around it right on the ground. Then you are ready to start digging! You can use the dirt in other areas, but you will need to save some for backfilling.

When your pond is the size, shape and depth you want, line it first with felt or old carpet underlay. This will protect your liner from sharp rocks and save you from a leaky pond. Choose a good quality, heavy duty liner. They are a little more expensive but will save you the headache of having to dig up plants and rip apart your pond to replace your liner after only a year or two when it gets a puncture.

When laying your liner into the hole, make sure it is pressed up against the sides of the pond as best you can and if you want to be sure there are no air pockets you can fill it partially with water to help press it out. At this point, if you plan on a pump or filter, these need to be placed into the pond with the wiring laying out on the ground up out of the pond, ready for you to connect to whatever power supply you will use.

Use rocks and slabs to create the pond edge

When the liner and pump are in place, put your first layer of rocks on top of the liner along the edge of the pond. Make sure you leave a small space where the pump and filter wires exit the pond in case these ever need to be replaced. Next, fold the liner up behind the rocks you have placed on the edge so that it is sticking up in the air and backfill with dirt. Then you can trim off the excess liner. If you use this method, your pond can be filled right up to the bottom of the first layer of rocks. That way your liner won’t be exposed to the sun and won’t be as likely to degrade.

After this, the finishing rocks, or slabs can be place around. Some pond owners may like to put these rocks firmly in place with cement. You can then backfill with topsoil ready for planting.

After your pond has been filled, you need to wait at least a week or two for the water to stabilize before adding fish which gives any chemicals that may be present in your water time to dissipate.

This will give you a chance to add some water lilies and other aquatic plants as well as add the finishing touches to the landscape surrounding your beautiful new water feature. Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a charming new garden pond!

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Sprinkler Systems

A well planned sprinkler system for your garden will save you water, time, energy and money! Sprinkler systems will deliver the correct amount of water to your lawn and garden whenever you want it and produce a lush lawn and healthy flower and vegetable gardens. No more dragging your hose all over the plants in your yard! When you install your own sprinkler system you can even deliver water to hanging baskets and container plantings too!

Lawn Sprinkler Systems

The roots of your grass are actually very shallow, generally between two and four inches deep. This means that your lawn will dry out quickly in hot weather and before you know it, you begin to see yellow and brown patches as your grass goes dormant. Light watering results in the penetration of water to only one or two inches which means that your lawn roots become even more shallow causing them to be even more susceptible to drying out. As well, the weeds that live in your garden often have deeper root systems and this means that they will continue to grow and thrive in the dryer conditions!

Flower and Vegetable Sprinkler Systems

The beauty of an automated sprinkler system is that you can adjust each sprinkler head for each individual plant or area. The shady moist areas need less water while the hotter dryer areas receive just the amount they need to thrive. Vegetables like cucumbers can get an even and regular amount of water preventing bitterness, while plants like tomatoes or squash that don’t like their leaves to get wet, can be watered from low mounted drippers.

As you investigate sprinkler systems you will find there are many different types available. Some require a lot of digging and professional installation, but there are systems that are much simpler that you can put together yourself in just a day.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Fertilizers

With so many different types of fertilizers available, gardeners are often confused and bewildered as to what they need. There are fertilizing liquids, crystals, powders, spikes and granules as well as a variety of organic fertilizers too. Each type promises to give lush vigorous growth and boasts a list of (sometimes hard to understand!) vital ingredients and nutrients essential to your plant’s health.

Two basic Fertilizer delivery systems

Fertilizers have two basic ways to deliver the nutrients to your lawn or garden. Instant or a slow, controlled release. Instant would be a liquid or quick disolving powder or granule. These are water soluble and reach the roots immediately giving your plants and lawn an immediate boost. The benefit of this is that you can fertilize with this method a week or so before your garden party knowing that it will quickly green up your lawn. The drawback is that the results will fade quickly leaving you to have to fertilize again.

Slow or controlled release fertilizers are usually some type of coated granules or spikes which give up their nutrients more slowly over a period of weeks or even months. This means that you will only fertilize once and your plants have a constant source of nutrients over a much longer growing period. This type is more costly, but if you want a green lawn and well fed veggies and flowers all summer it will save you money since you only need one application.

What do those three numbers on the fertilizer bag mean?

Once you have decided if you want the immediate or slow release type fertilizer, you need to know what specific type each plant needs. Manufacturers are required by law to list the essential plant nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) on their product. For instance, 10-15-10 would mean that product has 10% nitrogen, 15% phosphorus and 10% potassium. Thankfully though, they also list what their fertilizer mixture is for, such as ‘bigger tomatoes” or “extra green leaves”.

A case for Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers include things like bloodmeal, bonemeal, manures, composts and fish emulsions. Many of these are less expensive to purchase if not free! They are often preferred by gardeners as they are less likely to burn the roots of plants and seedlings, they are environmentally friendly and won’t damage the soil and best of all organic fertilizers improve the quality and consistency of the soil itself.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Winter Garden Preparation

Why get your garden winter ready? Winterizing your garden in fall is the way to ensure that come spring you will have less work and more time to enjoy the spring flowers. While plants and lawns do become dormant, they still need some pre-winter care and protection to make sure they are at their best in spring.

Get ready to winterize your garden!

Here are some simple winterizing tips and ideas that you can do this fall to make sure your garden is ready and prepared for the colder weather this winter.

Winter garden clean-up

  • Remove all the dead flowers and prune off any bushes or shrubs so that you won’t be caught in the spring when it may be too late to prune. (see our article on when to prune.)
  • Pull up any weeds, rake up fallen leaves and any other garden debris. Don’t leave piles of raked leaves sitting on your lawn over the winter as this will kill your grass! Except for some types of weeds, you can compost most of these materials.
  • If you have vegetable garden beds, turn the soil over with a gardening fork or spade then cover the dirt with a layer of leaves or grass clippings. This will act as a mulch and besides breaking down over winter to enrich your soil, it will prevent any hardy spring weeds from coming up when the ground warms a little.
  • Plant any spring flowering bulbs now, such as daffodils and tulips. Be sure to plant in clusters as this makes a nice show when they come up rather than a row of “soldiers”.
  • Some of your more tender plants and shrubs may need to be covered for winter if you live in a colder zone. You can cover the base of your plants with leaves or other mulch but if you expect a very cold freeze, try completely covering with burlap or potato sacks.
  • Finally, organize your garden fertilizers and tools. Don’t leave shovels and spades sitting all winter with dirt on them! Clean them off, sharpen them and store them undercover so that they won’t rust. Dispose of any old fertilizers or pesticides and make sure that any powders, crystals or granules are stored properly so that they won’t get damp over the winter.

Now your garden is winter ready!

Just a weekend of winter preparation can make a huge difference for your garden in spring. So before you go inside and shut the door on your garden for the season, make sure to winterize your yard properly.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Organic Gardening

Organic gardening is the best way to ensure that no harmful chemicals or substances have gone into the fruit and vegetables you grow. As well, gardening organically means that you are gardening in a way that is natural and environmentally responsible.

Is it possible to still have delicious, healthy, pest free fruits and vegetables from your garden if you don’t use commercial chemical based fertilizers and pest control products? With organic gardening: Absolutely!

What can I use to fertilize?

Making sure that you have healthy soil is a first step in organic gardening. Always rotate your crops so that the soil will not become depleted in one area of your vegetable garden. Then one of the best ways to build up your soil is to add in compost every year. Making your own organic compost is simple and it’s free! (see our article about composting) Adding well rotted manure to your soil is another great soil builder if you don’t have enough compost or have a really large garden. For more intense fertilizing you can purchase organic fertilizers such as fish fertilizers. These won’t burn your young plants and won’t cause damage as they drain away in the earth.

What about weed control?

Make sure that you put a mulch around your plants and vegetables. A layer of straw or even grass clippings one to two inches deep on the soil around your plants will keep down the growth of weeds, reduce water loss and benefit the soil as the material breaks down over the gardening season.

How can I get rid of harmful insects?

There are so many natural predators in your garden that chemical means are really unnecessary. Organic pest control uses beneficial insects like wasps, ladybugs and green lacewings who love to devour aphids and other harmful garden insects. If aphids are very thick, then you can simply spray them off with plain water, or try mixing a gallon of water and about a half teaspoon each of pure soap and vegetable oil to use as a spray.

Nematodes which are microscopic parasites, will destroy all kinds of soil dwelling grubs and larvae and benefit your lawn and root crops. You can even inject nematodes right into the stems of plants like pumpkins and squash to stop borers.

Where can I find these beneficial insects?

They are probably in your garden already if you know where to look. But we usually don’t have enough of these helpful organic organisms. You can build up your supply by purchasing these handy bugs from garden retailers. They are shipped to you live, along with instructions and you release them into your garden!

A word of caution: Don’t make the mistake my husband did when he thought we were being attacked by tiny alligator-like insects which he found all over our fence one day. After squashing the last of them, he looked them up in a book and discovered they were lady bug larvae and would have eaten thousands of aphids!

Learning ways for gardening organically in order to have a bountiful, safe and environmentally responsible crop can be a lot of fun and will benefit your garden and the environment now as well as for years to come.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Slug Control

Any gardener who awakens to discover their new plants or seedlings have been chewed off at the base by slugs, knows that the annual battle for control of garden slugs has begun for the season. These slimy pests just love to demolish new vegetables, flowers or anything else you value in your garden.

Controlling slugs and snails in your garden is usually a topic of great debate and interest to gardeners. Take heart though as slugs can be controlled through a variety of fairly simple protective measures.

Controlling slugs

First of all, slugs do have some natural enemies. Frogs and toads, centipedes and black ground beetles as well as birds all love to eat slugs. Providing a toad house along with nesting for birds somewhere in your yard is a great way to encourage these welcome slug predators to your garden.

Minimize slug hiding spots

Then try to minimize the places that slugs and snails have to hide during the hot sunny days. Slugs need shade and moisture so they will hide under leaves, mulch, boards, tools or anything at all that will provide some protection for them. Control them by making sure you don’t leave things laying around in the yard.

Protect individual plants from slugs

The only guaranteed protection from slugs and snails is enclosing each flower or vegetable seedling in its own slug protective cover. These special plant protectors can be purchased, or just try making one yourself by placing a plastic half gallon drink container over the top of your plant.

Simply saw off the bottom of the container and make sure the edges are pressed down in the soil so that the slug can’t slide underneath. These should be taken off during hot days so that you don’t cook your seedlings!

Controlling slugs with beer (favorite with husbands)

Dig several shallow dishes or cat food cans into the soil deep enough so that the rim is just a fraction of an inch higher than the surrounding soil. Place them about two feet apart surrounding the area of plants you are trying to protect. Fill up with beer! Any old beer will do, leftover beer with no fizz is fine.

Overnight, slugs will be attracted to the beer and slide into the dish for a drink. They become ‘drunk’ from the beer and drown! The next morning you can fish out the dead slugs and then top it up again in the evening. This is the preferred method for most gardeners as it seems like the most humane (fun, even) way for the slugs to die.

Next best – Control slugs with a physical barrier

Control slugs with a physical barrier such as a trench of salt, egg shells, broken glass or sand. With this method you control slugs by surrounding your garden with a layer of material, one or two inches wide, over which the slug has to pass to reach your vegetables and flowers. Of course they never make it as they become dehydrated on the salt or cut from the sharp shells or glass. This seems like a pretty ghastly way to go compared to the beer method, plus it is more unsightly in the garden. However some gardeners find this their preferred method of slug control.

Chemical products

There are a variety of chemical pastes and pellets available to control slugs. These are generally effective but the drawback is that they are highly attractive to cats, birds and other garden wildlife. You can purchase special containers designed to protect other wildlife and place the bait into these. None of these chemical means are any more effective than the beer or barrier method however, but they can be much more dangerous to use.

Whichever way you choose to control slugs, try to remember that slugs do provide some benefit to your garden. They produce a rich compost-like waste that benefits your soil, even if that waste is a by-product of your own prized flowers and vegetables!

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Pergolas

Pergolas add elegance and style to any garden. A pergola is simply a charming outdoor shade structure designed from either metal or wood featuring a very open plan.

Generally pergolas are freestanding, although they may be attached to your home or other structure. Typical pergola construction uses some type of vertical supports which in turn hold open, horizontal rafters across the top. Pergolas can be adapted to enhance and beautify any garden situation and have a variety of uses.

Why use a Pergola?

  • Create a more intimate enclosure for your patio or deck.
  • Provide dappled shade for exposed outdoor seating areas.
  • Use as support for all kinds of climbing vines and plants.
  • Perfect for hanging flowering baskets from the open flat roof.
  • Provide protection and shade for small outdoor ponds or planting areas.
  • Large pergolas can be covered and used as a carport.

Whatever use you have for a pergola, you will be delighted with the beauty and flair it will add to your seating and garden areas.

Pergolas can easily be constructed in just a weekend with a few simple materials. Make sure you choose rot resistant, treated wood

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Garden Statuary

Garden statuary doesn’t just mean a formal classic garden statue! Decorating your outdoor living area using garden statuary today means using any type of garden embellishment from an antique collectible table to a piece of driftwood to express your own personal style just as you would inside your home.

Whatever springs to mind when you think of garden statues, using outdoor art objects to decorate and embellish your garden is a delightful way to personalize your outdoor living area as well as charm visitors to your yard.

You may choose an eclectic collection of old china plates that can be displayed on a fence, or an old rusted metal child’s toy like a wagon, featured in a special spot. There are no rules for choosing your own personal garden statuary. Whimsical objects of iron, tin, wood and stone are all delightful expressions of your own personal style when you tuck them into secret areas of your garden.

Visitors love to discover

One of my favorite pieces of garden statuary is a hidden mirror that my visitors discover when they enter my grape arbor. Mounted on the side of the arbor, I wait for the surprised exclamation when they disappear into the leaves only to discover their own reflection!

You can search yard sales and flea markets for all kinds of interesting garden decor objects. Even something you might never consider allowing inside your house becomes a fascinating outdoor focal point when you place it into your backyard! Unique stepping stones, gazing globes, armillarys, weather vanes, flags or windchimes, whatever strikes you as a interesting object is the right object when adding garden statuary to your backyard.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Roses: Diseases & Pests

Gardeners aren’t the only ones that love roses. Rose bushes can be the favorite of insects and certain plant diseases too. But with proper maintenance and care, the rose is still one of the easiest and most rewarding flowers to grow.

Rose Pests

There are many insects that love roses. Aphids, white flies, mealy bugs, Japanese beetles, rose borers, to name a few. Don’t be dismayed by this though as they are generally easy to get rid of once you have discovered them.

Many of these rose pests can be controlled with insecticidal soap or even removed by hand or by a jet of water. There are a number of effective products, many of them environmentally friendly, available for rose pests. Some cover a variety of insects while others are specific to a particular type. So although many insects would love to make a meal of your roses, you will find that a weekly inspection and quick treatment of your rose bush will prevent any widespread infestation.

Rose Diseases

Depending on the area in which you live, you may encounter different rose diseases, but there are three main afflictions that are universal to roses everywhere.

  • Black Spot – This looks just like the name. Black spots appear on leaves and stems of the rose bush. The leaves eventually fall off and the whole plant can become denuded. The most effective treatment is an application of dormant oil and lime sulfur before the new growth appears in the spring. All the infected leaves and branches need to be removed along with any laying on the ground in order to prevent re-infection.
  • Powdery Mildew – A powdery light colored fuzz appears on the rose leaves and even new buds. Left untreated, it will spread throughout the entire bush eventually killing the foliage. It can be treated with a commercial spray or you can try making your own by combining three teaspoons of baking soda and two tablespoons of vegetable oil with one gallon of water. Spray the mixture on in the mornings on the top and underside of all the leaves. This won’t remove the damage to infected leaves, but will prevent the spread to new foliage and rose buds.
  • Rust – Again, just like the name, rust colored spots appear mainly on the undersides of the rose leaves. Rust can be treated like black spot with an application of dormant oil and lime sulphur.

Neem oil is a new product that promises to get rid black spot, mildew, rust as well as many rose insects too. It is derived from the Neem tree.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Roses: Care and Pruning

Pruning and caring for roses isn’t tricky or difficult whether you are a seasoned rose gardener or even just a beginner. Roses are one of the easiest and most rewarding flowering shrubs to grow. With proper pruning and some basic rose care, you will be able to produce some spectacular roses that will be the envy of your neighborhood!

Rose Pruning Basics

Roses should be pruned by late winter or very early spring. The new buds will begin to swell early so keep watch and don’t start too late. Make sure that you start with good quality sharp, clean pruners. Most important of all: when pruning roses make sure you have a good pair of gardening gloves and wear a long sleeved shirt!

Cut just above an outward facing bud

All pruning cuts should be made at a 45 degree angle. Make each cut about one quarter to one half inch above an outward facing bud. Cutting above an outward facing bud means that the new growth will be outward, away from the center of the plant which improves air circulation and gives the rose bush an attractive overall shape. If possible, dab on a bit of pruning seal after each cut. If you don’t have that, some gardeners substitute white glue!

Prune back the rose bush until you have anywhere from four to eight healthy looking canes. How tall you leave the bush will depend on the type of rose that you are growing. In general you want to encourage a bowl shape shrub with new growth facing outward.

Make sure you also remove any diseased or blighted leaves from the bush itself and from the ground surrounding it.

Cut right to the live tissue

When you are cutting back, make sure that you prune right to where there is live or green tissue. It should look light colored and healthy, not dark and porous. Dead branches need to be removed completely. Saw them off right to the base of the rose bush. Remove all the thin and spindly growth as well. Generally anything that is thinner than a pencil should be cut out. Take off all the suckers too. Suckers are healthy looking canes than grow from below the grafted section on the main stem of the rose bush.

Fertilizing

Roses will benefit from feeding about three times a year. Feed them in the early spring, right after you prune, then again when the first blooms appear and once more in late summer or early fall. When you first plant your new rose bush add a handful of bonemeal to get the roots off to a good start.

Watering

Roses need regular watering in order to produce the biggest and most beautiful blooms. Make sure that when you water, the moisture reaches down to the bottom of the roots, which is generally about eighteen inches. It is better to give a good watering once a week or so rather than a light sprinkle every other day. Good deep watering will develop a healthy root system resulting in a vigorous healthy rose bush. As well, try to water with a hose or drip system from underneath the leaves as leaving water on the rose leaves themselves can encourage disease.

Location

Finally, make sure that your rose bush gets enough sun. Roses need a minimum of six hours of sunshine each day, but more is even better. Your roses also need space so allow enough distance between plants to provide good air circulation between plants.

When you purchase a new rose bush it will come with specific comments and instructions about proper care and maintenance specific for its type.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Roses: Types of roses

Why are some gardeners afraid to grow roses when they are among the easiest and most delightful type of flower to grow? Roses are unequalled in beauty, fragrance and incredible variety. The rose is the perfect flower for the beginner gardener as well as the favorite of the seasoned expert. Knowing the different characteristics of each type of rose is important so that you don’t end up with a hybrid tea when you really wanted a shrub style! So whether you are new to growing roses or just looking for the latest variety, there is a beautiful rose bush with your name on it!

Hybrid tea roses

Hybrid tea roses are the tall, long-stemmed variety of roses. They are specifically for cutting. In fact this is the type of rose that you find for sale at the florist. There is usually one bloom on each long stem rather than a cluster of flowers. The hybrid tea rose was first introduced in 1867 and today thousands of cultivars or varieties exist. They are not generally the most attractive type of rose bush in your garden as they grow long and leggy. As well, they are a favorite for insects and diseases. If you are looking for a rose bouquet however, this is the type you’ll want to try.

Floribunda Roses

Floribunda roses are a cross between a hybrid tea and polyantha rose. (Polyantha roses are a hardier, low growing, low maintenance, shrub style rose.) Floribunda roses have large, showy blossoms much like the hybrid teas but bloom more freely in clusters of blossoms rather than a single bloom on each stem. Floribundas generally make a more attractive shrub as they are not as prone to becoming so long and gangly. They are generally more disease resistant than the hybrid teas and will grow to two or three feet tall.

Grandiflora Roses

Grandiflora roses are a result of the crossing of hybrid teas with floribundas. These are relatively new roses, introduced in the 1950’s. They have many of the characteristics of the floribunda, including the large showy blossoms in clusters, but grow to be much larger, reaching from anywhere from five feet right up to eight.

Shrub Roses

Shrub roses are perfect for the beginning rose gardener. Shrub roses, especially when compared with traditional varieties, are an excellent choice for many reasons. They are naturally disease-resistant, hardy in colder climates and have a very compact growth habit which means that little pruning is required. Best of all, they look beautiful in your garden and produce attractive roses which bloom from early summer right up until the first frost.

Ground cover Roses

Ground cover roses are exactly that. They are very low growing roses which will either cascade over walls or spread out as a beautiful ground cover. Although they do not grow high, only one or two feet at most, they have a wide spreading habit and will eventually cover up to four or five feet. They are hardy and require virtually no pruning or maintenance, making them perfect for containers or near the edge of a flower bed. Ground cover roses will start blooming in early summer and continue right up to the frosts in the fall.

Miniature Roses

Miniature roses can be really tiny and will make the perfect balcony or container rose. They are very much like a shrub rose but the entire plant will only reach six to eight inches. No pruning is required unless yours needs some simple shaping.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses don’t really climb the way vines do. Climbers are just roses that grow very tall, long canes which require tying up on a support of some sort. They can be trained to grow around a trellis, arbor, or even sideways along a fence. They usually have big showy blossoms and will blossom for several months.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Flower Bulbs: After bloom care

After your spring flower bulbs have bloomed do you leave them in the ground or is it best to dig them up? There is always some debate amongst gardener as to what to do with your flower bulbs after they have bloomed. Here are some tips on after bloom care for your spring flowering bulbs.

What should be done after the flower bulbs have bloomed?

After the blooms from the flower bulbs have faded, “dead-head” them by clipping off the spent blooms so that they won’t go to seed. Some gardeners say this isn’t necessary for daffodils, but your garden will look neater by cutting off each bloom when it is finished.

Don’t touch those leaves!

The main requirement for bulb flowers after they have bloomed is to keep their leaves so that the plant can put its energy back into its bulb for next spring’s blooming. The leaves give an energy charge to the bulb through photosynthesis and for this they need to keep their leaves! This energy or food is stored in the white fleshy part of the bulb for use next spring.

Since each leaf needs to be exposed to the sun, it is important not to bunch, tie, braid or cut the bulb’s leaves during this six to eight week period. The bulb’s leaves can be unsightly but it is vital to your bulb’s health to leave them until they are completely brown and dead at which time they can be trimmed off.

Try planting other annuals or perennials in amongst your bulbs so that these will grow up and hide the yellowing leaves of your bulbs.

Fertilizing

If you feel you want to fertilize your bulbs, this should only be done about six weeks before they bloom. A fast release nitrogen fertilizer is the best thing to feed the bulbs with. Some gardeners like to throw in a handful of bonemeal when they first plant their bulbs as this can help the roots get off to a good start.

Lifting Bulbs

Some gardeners go through the bother of lifting the flower bulbs out of the ground every year, storing them for summer and then replanting again in the fall. For all the bother it really doesn’t improve the bulbs performance at all. As well, leaving your bulbs in the ground will cause most varieties to naturalize, that is, multiply giving you even more bulbs next spring.

Does size matter?

Generally within the same species of bulb, a bigger bulb will produce a bigger flower. However you can’t compare one species of tulip with another as their sizes may differ greatly according to its variety. Once properly planted and cared for, your bulbs can increase in size every season bringing a better display every spring.

Most bulb merchants will stop shipping bulbs when the planting season for them has ended. Gardeners can still order however and the bulbs are shipped as soon as planting time is optimal.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Flower Bulbs: When to plant

Knowing when to plant spring flowering bulbs like tulips and daffodils can be confusing to some gardeners. Here are some handy bulb planting pointers to ensure that your spring bulbs are planted in good time to come up beautifully every year.

When can bulbs be planted?

Spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils should be planted in the fall or early winter in order to bloom in spring as they require a long period of cool temperatures to spark the biochemical process that causes them to flower. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, your bulbs need to be planted in the ground before the ground freezes so that they can have time to develop strong roots.

If you forget to plant the bulbs in the fall, try chilling them in the refrigerator for use indoors as forced bulbs or somehow get them into the ground outside. Because bulbs are so tough and contain a full storehouse of food, your bulbs will try their best to bloom no matter how late it is in the season. Chances are you may still get some results, even if you plant them late.

Growing spring flowering bulbs in warm climates

It’s possible to grow spring-flowering bulbs in climates as warm as Zone 10. However the blooming season in these zones is much earlier than in cooler zones. Growing bulbs in a warmer zone means that you need to pre-chill the bulbs, especially tulips and daffodils.

Pre-chill your flower bulbs

Pre-chill the bulbs for a minimum of six to eight weeks in a refrigerator at a temperature of around 40°F to 45°F (typical refrigerator temperature). They can remain chilling up to 16 weeks if necessary, until it is time to plant. Ideally the bulbs should be put in the ground in December or early January.

Where is the best spot to plant flower bulbs?

Bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocuses will grow in shade as well as a sunny location. For bulbs that continue to thrive and multiply year after year however, they do need four to six hours of sunlight each day. Even if your garden is shady in summer though, there is usually more sun in a spring garden as many of the trees and shrubs haven’t grown their summer leaves back yet.

Be sure to plant bulbs in an area that the soil drains well so that your bulbs aren’t sitting in water which could cause them to rot, but do water newly planted bulbs to help those roots get going.

Share

Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal