Grass Got the Summertime Blues?

You’ve been watering your grass all summer long and it may look bleached out.

Make it look like spring again with Ironite!  This granular iron product is simple to apply to your lawn and will make your lawn or plants turn green – not overnight but almost.ironite-fertilizer-mineral-supplement-canada-reviews-broadcast-spreader-settings

You might ask, why not just use some fertilizer?  DON’T!!!  Applying fertilizer to your lawn at this time of the year can burn your grass and can easily stripe your yard.

The Importance of Iron

Plants need iron and cannot properly create chlorophyll without it. This results in poor growth because chlorophyll plays an important role in photosynthesis.  Chlorophyll also gives plants their green color, and the primary symptom of iron deficiency are leaves that are yellow between their veins.

ironite-lawn-fertilizer-hi-yield-iron-plus-grassHow to Apply

A 10 pound bag covers 5000 sq feet and is easily applied with a spreader.

HINT:

Combine a granular ant killer with the Ironite into your spreader and get a 2 for 1 punch.

The Best Small Trees for Your Yard

chastetreeChaste Tree

One of our favorite trees!  Who wouldn’t want a tree that has blue flowers throughout the summer?  This fast growing tree is known as a “Texas Superstar” for how well it performs and the Texas Department of Transportation uses them in landscape designs on highways throughout the state.  It is deer resistant, prefers full sun, is drought tolerant and likes well draining soil.  If you trim off the spent seed pods you will be rewarded with another bloom cycle in late summer to early Fall.

 

Crape Myrtlestuscarora1-400_grande

These summer blooming trees come in 4 main colors – white, pink, red and purple.  There are many different varieties available from trees that mature at a height of 10’ to those that reach 25’.  They bloom best when planted in full sun and can be planted as a stand alone specimen plant or in groupings.  For something different try planting 2 or 3 small plants of different colors in the same hole – it will look like 1 tree that has different color blooms.  You see them lining driveways and is another staple tree used by DOT.

 

japmapJapanese Maple

If you have a shady spot, consider planting a Japanese Maple.  Whether you choose an upright variety or a graceful weeper they add an array of fall color to your garden.  These are slower growing trees who require well-draining soil and will tolerate morning sun but like afternoon shade in our Texas summers.

 

Teddy Bear or Little Gem Magnoliateddybear

Enjoy the fragrant white flowers of the stately Southern Magnolia but on a much smaller tree.  Both are shorter varieties with the Teddy Bear being more compact of the 2.  Grows best in full sun, but is a slower growing tree.  Part of its appeal is that it is evergreen and does not drop its leaves in the Fall.

 

PinkRoseofSharonTree_400_1-01_grandeRose of Sharon

Many new hybrid varieties have been introduced within the past few years bringing about renewed interest in this old favorite.  They bloom in a variety of colors; white, pink, red, purple, throughout the summer months.  They will reach 10’ – 12’ tall and prefer full sun to partial sun for best performance.

 

 

Tulip Treetulipmagnolia

These pink to burgundy colored flowering trees bloom early in the spring.  They are a multi-trunk tree that is a slower growing tree but will eventually reach 15’ – 20’ tall and 15’ wide.  They are also called Saucer Magnolias and are actually a Magnolia but most people call them Tulip Tree due to the tulip shape of the bloom.

Top 5 Shrubs to Use for Screening Purposes

  1. Elaeagnus – terrible name, great plant!  The silver-green leaf color gives you great contrast in your landscape.  Highly drought tolerant once established and can
    elaeagnus

    Elaeagnus

    handle almost any soil conditions.  They grow quickly to a 8’x8’ and taller and thrive in full sun or part sun.  They are DEER RESISTANT too!!

  2. Southern Wax Myrtle – Olive-green aromatic foliage makes this plant stand out along with the bluish berries
    wax myrtle (2)

    Wax Myrtle

    produced by the female plants. The standard size will reach 15 feet tall while the dwarf species reaches 6-8 feet tall.  It is drought tolerant once established and grows well in both moist and dry soil conditions.  n full sun or part shade.  They are DEER RESISTANT too!!

  3. Pineapple Guava – Beautiful, exotic red and white flowers bloom on this large shrub in the spring, followed by guava fruit in the fall. The leaves are light green,
    pineapple guava

    Pineapple Guava

    leathery with soft gray undersides.  It will grow to about 15’ – 20’ tall in full sun or partial sun.  Deer do not seem to bother these plants.

  4. Nellie R Stevens Holly – Very attractive holly with dark green, leathery foliage. Dense branching
    nellie r stevens

    ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ Holly

    makes it an excellent hedge screen.  It produces large, bright orange-red berries in late Fall.  Fast growing tree/shrub reaching heights of 15’- 25’.  Grows well in sun or partial sun in both dry and moist soil conditions.

  5. Leyland Cypress – A fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree – up to 3’ of growth per year. Has a natural Christmas tree shape but
    leyland-cypress-5

    Leyland Cypress

    can be grown close together and trimmed as hedges.  Prefers full sun for best performance.  This tree can reach 50+ feet if left untrimmed.

The Benefits of Bird Baths

Do you enjoy watching birds in your yard?

cardinalinabirdbath.jpg

Here’s something you might not know.  You can attract other species of birds that won’t visit your feeder for seeds but will come for a steady source of water.

Install a bird bath and maintain it properly and you will see a marked increase in the species of birds visiting your yard.  Here’s some tips on birdbaths that will help you attract the most birds.

  1. Most birdbaths are too deep. Birds don’t like more than 2” of water.  If your bird bath is too deep, add flat stones to help turn it into a shallower bird bath.
  2. Place the birdbath where you will be able to watch the birds. Also, keep in mind that it needs to be cleaned, so make sure it is easily accessible for this task.
  3. Birds need cover close to the bird bath – but not too close to hide predators. They need to be able to fly to safety quickly if threatened.
  4. Place a wooden branch close to the birdbath, but not over the bath. This branch will be used to perch on when coming and going and for preening after their bath.
  5. Birds enjoy cool water, so it is important that the birdbath is in the shade. The sun can quickly warm the shallow water too much to attract birds in the warmer months.
  6. Keep your birdbath clean. More birds will frequent a clean birdbath that a dirty, algae filled one.  If you rinse it out with the hose every other day it will help prevent algae buildup.  Use a brush or scrubber sponge to give it a good cleaning once a week.

Combine a birdbath with feeders and you will see an increase in the number and species of birds.  Add a birdbath, maintain it well and enjoy the antics of your feathered friends.

How to Rid yourself of Snails!

We all know the joy of plants can come at a price, whether it be a plant disease, fungus, or pest. We love growing and caring for our vegetables, shrubs and indoor houseplants, but one snail can ruin a plant in a very short span of time. If you’re not sure if you have a snail problem, or how to fix it, you’re in the right place.snAil

With snails, most of the damage happens at night, when they emerge to feed. They prefer clipping tender, young shoots, but may chew irregular holes through leaves and flowers or feed on soft fruits and the bark of young plants. As they move around, snails leave a slimy trail that dries to a silvery film by morning.

Control of snails is a major problem in all habitats. There are many things that can be done to reduce the potential of a problem occurring. Eliminate (as much as you can), items that are sitting on the ground (as they are possible resting places for these slimy pests) such as boards, boxes, stones, debris, weeds, plants in pots that have runners on the ground or any other items that provide shelter. Reducing hiding places decreases snail survival.121.png

A few options are available to kill the snails. You can treat for snails organically with Diatomaceous Earth or you can also rid yourself of snails chemically. Using a dust or solution that contains spinosad + iron phosphate can lure snails from their hiding spots. Bonide Slug & Bug bugandslugKiller contains both of these chemicals AND prevents those disgusting slime trails! Just spread the pellets around your garden, landscape, or in your indoor plants and start to enjoy your greenery again!

“Which fertilizer should I use for annuals?”

We hear this question daily.  All plants – annuals, shrubs, perennials and trees need proper nutrients to grow, stay healthy and look good.  But there are so many fertilizer choices it is easy to be discouraged and end up choosing the easy route – a slow-release fertilizer.  Apply it once and be done with fertilizing for the season.fertilized vs unfertilized plants

Sounds easy, right?  While great for many plants (shrubs) it is not the best for your annuals and hanging baskets.  They need more than a slow-release fertilizer can give them.  They are best fed with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Water soluble fertilizers are fertilizers that can be dissolved in water and makes it is easy to control the precise amount of nutrients available to your plants.  Soluble fertilizers usually have N-P-K numbers listed on their label.  bloom plusThe N is for nitrogen, the P is for phosphorus and the K is for potassium or potash.

Of the 16 (12 of which are contained in water soluble fertilizers) known elements necessary for plant life, N-P-K, are the three that are of the most importance and always listed on water soluble fertilizers, in that order.

  • Nitrogen is the most important of the nutrients and is essential to the production of chlorophyll and is responsible for leaf growth, as well as, overall size of the plant.
  • Phosphorus is necessary for photosynthesis and provides for energy transfer within the plant and is associated with the fruiting or flowering stages of growth.
  • Potassium, or potash, increases chlorophyll levels, helps plants make better use of light and air and increases growth by cell division.

all purposeThe ultimate goal of fertilizing is to supply your plant with the right amount of liquid feednutrients.  Applying a water soluble fertilizer to the annuals and perennials both in the ground and in containers every 7 to 14 days can make a remarkable difference.

Ultimately, your plants will only be as great as the care they receive, and while understanding the best fertilizer for the job may take a little bit of work, the rewards of healthier, longer-lasting plants is the pay off.

How to get rid of WEEDS!

Weeds – We all hate them, but we all have them.  I am going to share with you an easy way to kill weeds in your flower beds – it will work using either an organic or a chemical weed spray.   If done correctly there will be no more crawling around in your bed pulling weeds, no more aching backs or ruined manicures.

What you will need:  Your weed killer of choice mixed up in a sprayer, a large piece of cardboard and a helper.  You will be spraying weeds in your flower bed, but don’t panic…..done correctly it will not harm your plants or shrubs – and here’s why.

The Secret:  The poison is absorbed through the foliage of the weed – it travels down through the plant into the roots and kills it from the root up.  Think of the spray as a bullet.  If a bullet hits you – you die.  If the bullet zings past you – you are unharmed.  This works on the same principle.

The Fun Part:  So step into your flower bed and use the cardboard as a barrier between you and your “good” plants.  You can spray all around your bed by shielding your shrubs with the cardboard – this is where the helper comes into play.  They can maneuver the cardboard around your plants while you spray the weeds.  It doesn’t take very long to accomplish spraying even large beds.

This method is very effective on both nut grass and Bermuda grass along with other weeds.  Over a period of time the number of weeds that reappear will decrease.  If you combine spraying with broadcasting a pre-emergent weed killer throughout your flower bed quarterly you will eventually be almost weed free.

Tips and Hints: 

  • When mixing your poison add a spreader sticker to your sprayer. This helps the poison stick to the weed and not drip off onto the ground so more poison is absorbed into the weed and it is killed faster.
  • Choose a non-windy time to spray to help prevent overspray from floating through the air to good plants.
  • If you do happen to spray a good plant by accident wash it off with the water hose. The plant could be cosmetically damaged but the root ball of the plant will not be effected.
  • Do not weed eat prior to spraying since the foliage is what absorbs the poison.