Leaving the Tag on the Plant

Isn’t buying something new fun? It is in great condition, it is new to us, and it still has the tags on it. Something that is often overlooked when it comes to a new landscape is the tags on the plants. But the plant is new, why not keep the tag on the plant?

Back when I was in school, this question was asked about leaving the tag on the plant. The professor had a great response, “Do you leave your tags on your clothes?” I thought that was a great analogy. The first thing that we do when we wear a new shirt is take the tag off. The same should be done for the plant. Once it is planted in the ground for good, the tag should come off.

Not only does the tag not look good on the plant, it can be harmful to the plant if left on for too long. As the plant grows, the diameter of the branch grows, but the tag stays the same. That will eventually cut into the bark and cut off the flow of nutrients causing damage to the plant. The same idea as leaving stakes on a tree for too long.

I have also heard “but I want to remember what type of plant it is”. I can understand that. However, the tags that have been on plants for quite some time are usually faded and unreadable. So it would be better to write down somewhere what type of plant it is and keep that in a safe place because the tag will not be readable after so long.

It is best to take the tags off of your plants right away. This not only makes the plant look better, it is better for the health of the plant. And do not fear if you find a tag that has been on the plant for a while. If you find an old tag, take it off to stop it from doing an more potential harm to the plant and allow the plant to start healing if it is needed.

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Fruit Plants in the Landscape

Planning a landscape can be a daunting task. Even just replacing a plant or two can be quite the project. There are so many different plants. Most plants will not work in all situations. There are a lot of things to think about. However, one thing that can get overlooked is adding edible plants into your landscape. This post goes beyond just putting a tomato plant in pot on your deck.

There are many edible plants that can go into your landscape. Even plants that you would typically not think of, like blueberry bushes, apple and pear trees, kale, lettuce, grapes, herbs, etc. The sky is the limit on what you would like. The aesthetics would be the question. It is best to make sure that you research what the plant is going to look like and how it is going to grow before deciding if it is aesthetically pleasing or not.

The obvious benefits of a edible plant in your landscape will be the tasty treat once it is ready. But, if you think the plant is ugly, you are more likely to remove the plant before you can enjoy the treat it produces. For example, a blueberry bush provides blueberries in the summer, but it is a nice green bush in the spring and summer, it turns a nice red color in the fall, then through the winter, the exposed stems are a nice red color as well. This bush that provides fruit is also a four seasons plant for your landscape.

The one drawback to planting edible plants in your landscape is that they usually require some maintenance to get them to produce to the fullest. They are typically not a set-and-forget type of a plant. But on the same note, they typically are not so high needs that you cannot do anything else.

Adding edible plants into your landscape can be both aesthetically pleasing as well as very tasty. Edible plants are just something to think about however. They are not the right fit for everyone or every landscape.


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Grub Control and Fertilizer

There are two reasons to need a grub control fertilizer applied to your lawn. The first is protection if you have had a problems with grubs in the past. The second is if there was an active population of grubs in your yard within the previous year.

Much of the fertilizer portion of a grub control fertilizer is the same as a regular summer fertilizer application. If you would like to read more on the fertilizer portion, the previous blog post covers that topic. The difference between regular summer fertilizer and a grub control fertilizer is the grub control insecticide that is on the fertilizer.

This grub control application is just a preventative application. During the mid-summer, beetles are mating and getting ready to lay their eggs for the next generation. Once you have applied and watered in the grub control application, a grub from a recently hatched egg will not be to survive in your lawn. This is how your lawn is protected with this application.

You are ultimately stopping the grubs before they are big enough to cause any damage. Since grubs only lay eggs once per year, once a timely application is completed, you will have all of the protection your lawn needs from grubs until next summer.

A grub control fertilizer should be used if there is a long history of grub problems or if there has been a problems with grubs within the past year. It is best to try to minimize the use of chemicals. Just remember, any time that you do you a pesticide, including a grub control product, allows read and follow the instructions on the label.

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Summer Fertilizer

Things are green and growing. We are in the warm weather. It is summer. After we have prepared our lawns and landscapes in the spring for this time of the year, it is time to feed our lawns again. This time it is with a summer blend of fertilizer.

The summer fertilizer application should have a higher nitrogen content compared to the spring fertilizer application. (The first number on the fertilizer bag is the nitrogen content, #-#-#) This is to promote blade growth for the grass. Roots are not growing as fast, but the top of the plant is. There will be some phosphorus in the fertilizer for root growth, but it is not as much as nitrogen.

As the grass is actively growing, it is important to provide the necessary nitrogen to your lawn. Nitrogen is a necessary part of the photosynthesis process in plants. Photosynthesis is what plants do to turn the nutrients and elements from the soil and the air to make food for themselves, and to make oxygen.

The summer fertilizer that we use has iron in it as well. Iron helps to green up a lawn. Adding iron to a lawn can cause a noticeable green-up if your lawn is lacking iron.

Most fertilizers that are designed for summer use have a slow-release mechanism to them. How this works is that there is a coating over the actual fertilizer that needs water or microbes or the environment to break down the coating to slowly make the fertilizer available. This is how a fertilizer can have an extended or slow release action. This is desirable over the summer so that the fertilizer will continuously feed.

The summer fertilizer plays an important role in caring for your lawn through the entire season. It is the time when we feed our lawns to keep the top growth green and happy.

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Annual vs. Biennial vs. Perennial

We will take a quick look at annual vs biennial vs perennial:

An annual is a plant that will complete its entire life cycle in one year. There are two groups of annual plants, summer annuals and winter annuals. Summer annuals will germinate in the spring, flower, seed and die by the winter. Winter annuals germinate in the fall, over-winter, flower in the spring, seed and die by summer. Both of these groups are annuals and complete their life cycle in one year. Some examples of annuals are marigolds, tomato plants, ragweed, etc.

A biennial is a plant that will complete its entire life cycle in two years. This category is a smaller category of plants. A typical biennial plant will grow a rosette in the first year of it life. Typically the top will die back for the winter, then in the second year it will flower and seed, then die at the end of the second year. Some examples of biennial plants are wild parsnip, common evening primrose, Queen Anne’s Lace, etc.

A perennial is a plant that will complete its entire life cycle in at least three years if not more. Many times it is thought that a perennial plant will live on indefinitely. This is not the case. All plants do have a finite life span. Now there are some that can live for hundreds and even thousands of years like the Giant Sequoias in California. On the other end, a strawberry plant may be able to live up to six years under ideal conditions. Both of these are perennial plants. A perennial will typically flower multiple times in its life. For the vast majority of perennial plants, under healthy conditions, it will flower every year.

The location and climate of the plant can change what category the plant fits into. Certain plants are annuals in one location, and they may be perennials in other locations. The climate can play a key role in deciding what category the plant falls under.

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