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Archives for April 23, 2017

10 Tips for Water-Conscious Garden Design

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, the most comprehensive in North America.

How green does your garden grow? If your yard requires an abundance of water to maintain that brightly colored curb appeal, it might score high in hue but low in landscape sustainability.

It’s true the earth is made up mostly of water, but only 1 percent of the world’s water is actually usable. While California has made a turn for the wetter, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, about 14.1 percent of the contiguous U.S. is still classified as experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, as of the end of February.

Even if you don’t reside in a drought state, incorporating something called xeriscaping into your landscape design is essential for the well-being of our planet by protecting our precious resources. Xeriscaping — a landscape and garden design approach that uses water conservation techniques — reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation systems. It works by incorporating drought-tolerant plants as well as those native to the region.

While I’ve been living an eco-friendly lifestyle for many years, as a California resident, my green thumb techniques have been limited to decks and patios. So, I consulted with gardenista Teryl Ciarlo, who says it doesn’t matter if you have a lawn, a patio or want to start your first mini garden — it’s time to get your hands dirty! Ciarlo is a West Los Angeles landscape designer who believes gardening an hour a day keeps the doctor away. According to Ciarlo:

“Gardening and working with soil reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves mental health and raises endorphin levels.”

Ciarlo shared with me some surprising tips that we can all incorporate this Earth Day and beyond to help save water, save money and improve our health.

10 Tips for Water-Conscious Garden Design

1. Catch Rainwater

April showers certainly bring May flowers, but they can also be used to water your yard and garden, and even wash your car. According to RainBarrelGuide.com, for every inch of rain that falls on a “catchment area” of 1,000 square feet, approximately 600 gallons of rainwater can be collected. That’s a lot of water that would otherwise be wasted, which equates to serious savings for homeowners.

If the thought of ugly, oversize gray barrels in your yards makes your inner designer cringe, fear not. Ciarlo says catchment options range from stylish storage tanks to pretty planters that double as rainwater catchers. Try her favorite, the Rain Wizard Rain Barrel Urn from Good Ideas. This barrel helps you harvest rainwater and even air-conditioner condensation, and the flat back lets you optimize outdoor space.

“Rainwater sliding off a polymer, metal, ceramic or real slate sloping roof into collection barrels is safe for secondary uses like garden irrigation,” says Tim Gentry, vice president of technical services at DaVinci Roofscapes. “Roofs like these do not tend to leach chemicals or pollution into the water.” In fact, their 100 percent recyclable, USA-made, synthetic roofing tiles contain inorganic pigments permanently bound into the polymer tiles that meet California Proposition 65 protocols and certify that the products do not release or discharge toxins into water. Savings, safety and style? That’s what I call smart.

2. Sprinkle Sparingly

If you’re like me, you’ve over-watered everything on more than one occasion. While we all have good hydration intentions, the average American family is devoting a whopping 30 percent of the household water usage to lawn and garden watering. You probably know to turn off the sprinklers when it rains, but you should also water in the early hours of the morning to reduce evaporation.

3. More Gravel, Less Grass

Gravel doesn’t require the water that grass does. Photo: Teryl Designs

By removing portions of your grass and installing gravel or decomposed granite instead, you can save water — while also cooling your home — by surrounding the space with canopy trees for extra shade. According to the Arbor Environmental Alliance, one large tree strategically placed in a yard can replace 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours per day.

Create a gravel sitting area with a farmhouse table and chairs. Add pops of color with upcycled benches, recycled pillows and comfy throws. Ciarlo says gardens shouldn’t just be viewed from the kitchen window but experienced year-round. She believes excellent landscape design incorporates season-less gardens, with plants peaking all year.

“I have a deep affection for being able to provide my clients with the classic ‘California dreaming’ reality, using the indoor and outdoor living spaces as the path,” she says. “Homeowners and their guests always gravitate toward the garden or terrace if you lead the way by making it cozy and inviting.”

4. Use Drought-Tolerant Plants

Contrary to popular belief, succulents aren’t the only plants that are drought-tolerant. Beautiful herbs like rosemary and lavender are not only fragrant and great for cooking or freshening your indoor air, it turns out they’re extremely water-conscious. For fantastic border plants, try Little Ollie shrubs; they’re a clean, compact-growing shrub that requires very little attention or water. My husband’s kind of plant!

5. Add Rain Gutter Catch Basins to Your Rain Gutters

Catch your rainwater with a basin at the bottom of your drain. Photo: Shutterstock

While that may be a tongue twister, redirecting rainwater to a drought-tolerant herb garden or storage tank is, well, savvy. Aesthetics-driven readers, take a breath: There are very discreet underwater storage tanks that hold quite a bit of water without being an eyesore. And, slim fit isn’t just for men’s shirts. Nowadays, you can even find slim, wall-mounted tanks that can run alongside walls and fences, like this one. Just attach a hose and water your yard. Your neighbors will be green with envy.

6. Collect Gray Water from Your Sinks

It’s surprising how much gray water we produce every day without realizing it. By merely saving water that would otherwise go down the drain (i.e., waiting for the faucet to warm up) or used to rinse fruit and vegetables, you can repurpose this to water your potted plants. Even water left over in drinking glasses and water bottles can be collected in a pitcher.

Don’t forget to fix all leaks from hoses or pipes. This is not only vital to prevent mold, but if you have a leak, you’re wasting water. A great way to spot leaks is to check your water meter at the beginning of a two-hour window of no water use. Then, check again at the end of the two hours. If the number has risen, you have a leak.

7. Add Mulch to Trees and Plants

Did you know mulch discourages weed growth, minimizes water runoff and retains moisture? By adding a few inches of compost or mulch around trees and plants, this will slow the evaporation of moisture, allowing your garden plenty of time to take a long sip of water. Mix mulch with all your soil to encourage moisture retention in the entire yard.

8. Install a Drip Irrigation System

Sprinklers are out; drip irrigation systems are in. If you aren’t familiar, you’ll be thrilled to know that drip irrigation systems save 50 percent more water than sprinklers, with little to no water loss from runoff or evaporation. They can be installed anywhere, from large yards to individual planters. A drip irrigation system allows total control over the amount of water supplied to each designated area. They work wonderfully with mulched areas, thoroughly soaking the moisture-retaining mulch sans the runoff.

9. Think About the Needs of Bees

Bees need a place to land. Your garden could be one of them. Photo: Shutterstock

According to Ciarlo, bees pollinate one-third of all food, but we’re seeing fewer of them due to climate change and habitat loss. Bees pollinate a plethora fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, apples and squash (and even almonds!). They require flowering plants and herbs to thrive, and with the popularity of suburban lawns and the destruction of native landscapes, bees are rapidly disappearing.

Good news! You can encourage bee production by planting flowering trees and clover in your yard or in planters on patios. Also, avoid chemically treating plants and flowers since chemicals can negatively affect a bee’s system, human health and the entire ecosystem. Bees like volume in their flowers, so plant plenty of the same type of bloom together. A few good examples are lilacs, lavender, sage, wisteria and verbena — they’re not just practical, but bee-autiful!

10. Plant a Tree — or Three!

According to NASA, upward of 20 percent of Earth’s carbon dioxide (CO2) could remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years, and rising concentrations are already causing the planet to heat up. By just planting a single tree, you can help, given that plants neutralize excess CO2. A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year, while releasing oxygen back into the air. Planting a tree creates beauty, fights global warming and is good for our health, too. (Want to know more? Read “The 3 Plants Every Home Should Have for Clean Air.”)

Trees can also help keep cities cooler by releasing water vapor into the air and breaking up urban hot spots. Shade from trees slows water evaporation, and surprisingly, most new trees only need 15 gallons of water per week, according to Ciarlo. Surround your home with trees and enjoy the numerous benefits while also doing your part to help our beautiful planet. Mother Earth will surely thank you.

I hope this inspires you this Earth Day to take even just one of the above action steps. Last time I checked, there is no planet B.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
What I Learned My First Year of Container Gardening
Gardening Tips: Garden Like a Ninja
Why Rainwater Collection Works and How to Do It Correctly

  • About
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Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home expert, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of The Healthy Home Dream Team and the 30-day online program Change Your Home. Change Your Health. She is the author of the children’s book My Body My House and co-author of Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet, Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes and The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office. Lisa’s TV appearances include “The Rachael Ray Show,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “TODAY,” “The Doctors,” “Fox Friends,” “Chelsea Lately” and “The Suzanne Somers Show.”

Lisa Beres

Article source: http://earth911.com/home-garden/water-conscious-garden-tips/

Perfect Maine Garden: The English Country Garden Meets …

Sunday, May 28, 2017 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Blue Hill Public Library, 5 Parker Point Rd, Blue Hill, Maine

For more information: 207-374-5515; bhpl.net

Brooklin landscape Designer, Julie Wang, will do a presentation at the Blue Hill Public Library on Monday May 8th at 7:00 PM, about creating the perfect Maine garden by combining elements of English country gardens and Japanese landscape design.

An adjunct professor of writing at New York University, Julie Wang founded and ran her own public relations agency, Wang Associates Health Communications, in New York for 20 years. Subsequently, she designed gardens on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Maine, where she also ran a garden store and tea garden, Blue Poppy Garden. Wang currently divides her time between coastal Maine and Benin, West Africa.

This program is free, and open to everyone. For more information call the library at 374-5515.

This post was contributed by a community member. Submit your news →

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/community/perfect-maine-garden-the-english-country-garden-meets-japanese-landscape-design/

Lexington Garden Club to host landscape designer

The Lexington Field Garden Club will host Warren Leach of Tranquil Lake Nurseries at 7 p.m. April 24 at Keilty Hall at St. Brigid Church, 2001 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington.

Leach will describe woody and herbaceous plants with good garden foliage color, architectural structure, multi-season interest, and shape and texture characteristics that can be used in different ways to compliment flowers, provide structure and offer seasonal succession in the mixed border.

For more than 25 years, Leach has been creating landscapes throughout New England as well as making display gardens at Tranquil Lake Nursery. He is co-owner of this specialty nursery that is a prominent grower of daylilies, irises and perennials and woody plants.

Leach is also an award-winning landscape designer, twice receiving the National Landscape Association Regional Certificate of Merit for Residential Landscape Design. Images of his garden design at Brigham Hill Farm in North Grafton are archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. In 2009, the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association presented him the first place award for Residential Design and Installation for his ornamental vegetable garden at Brigham Hill Farm. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society honored Leach in 2010 with a gold medal for his horticultural expertise, landscape design as well as years of forcing plants and creating exceptional displays in the New England Spring Flower Show.

Article source: http://lexington.wickedlocal.com/news/20170417/stronglexington-garden-club-to-host-landscape-designerstrong

Outdoor entertaining focus of OCtech Foundation symposium

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Article source: http://thetandd.com/lifestyles/outdoor-entertaining-focus-of-octech-foundation-symposium/article_95c80c86-202e-5bf8-9bed-4b990f6eaae1.html

Marin garden calendar for the week of April 22, 2017



Marin

Gardening classes: The Mill Valley Public Library offers free seasonal gardening classes most Saturdays and occasionally on Sundays. Call 415-389-4292 or go to millvalleylibrary.org.

Workshops and gardening classes: Armstrong Garden Centers in Novato and San Anselmo offer free classes to gardeners of all skill levels most Saturdays. Call 415-878-0493 (Novato), 415-453-2701 (San Anselmo) or go to armstronggarden.com.

Workshops and seminars: Sloat Garden Center has five Marin County locations that offer gardening workshops and seminars on a weekly basis. Check sloatgardens.com for schedule, locations and cost.

Workshops and seminars: The Marin Master Gardeners present a variety of how-to workshops, seminars and special events throughout Marin County on a weekly basis. Check ucanr.edu/sites/MarinMG for schedule, locations and cost.

Workshops and seminars: Marin Rose Society presents monthly lectures on growing roses and good garden practices. Check marinrose.org for schedule and locations.

Seminars: The Marin Orchid Society presents lectures on raising orchids at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. Call 415-895-0667.

Gardening volunteers: Marin Art Garden Center in Ross seeks volunteers for maintenance, weeding, transplanting and mulching. Call 415-455-5260.

Gardening volunteers: The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks seasonal volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 415-899-8296.

Nursery volunteers: Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays, or 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Marin Headlands Nursery; or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Muir Beach, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 415-561-3077 or go to parksconservancy.org/get-involved/volunteer.

Nursery days: The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 415-663-8590, ext. 114, or email preston@tirn.net to register and for directions. Go to spawnusa.org for more information.

Garden visits: Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 415-473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

Garden volunteers: Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to opengardenproject.org or email contact@opengardenproject.org.

Around the bay

Landscape garden: Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to cornerstonegardens.com.

Olive ranch: McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tours, workshops and special events. Call 707-769-4123 or go to mcevoyranch.com.

Botanical garden: Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to quarryhillbg.org.

— Compiled by Colleen Bidwill

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to calendar@marinij.com or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 2 megabytes and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20170421/FEATURES/170429965

Column: Rethinking the traditional lawn

low-mow-grass-photo-by-douglas-owens-pike

Angie Hong
Angie Hong

When my dad moved to Palm Springs in 1987, the residential landscape there was eerily Midwestern. There were rows of tidy lawns in front of every house, petunias in the gardens, and pots of pansies on front porches. If it weren’t for the palm trees, one could have almost pretended they were in a town in Wisconsin or Ohio.

Of course, neither lawns nor petunias are well suited for the desert, and people in the Palm Springs area eventually realized their landscape aesthetics would have to change. Over the years, when I headed south to visit my dad, I noticed that petunias had given way to desert blooms and many people had replaced their lawns with rock gardens. Landscaping in common areas began to change as well. Cities and homeowners’ associations transitioned to drought- and heat-tolerant xeriscaping and installed high-tech irrigation systems to reduce water usage.

Thirty years later, some people in the Midwest are starting to wonder if traditional lawns make sense anywhere, even here in our temperate climate. According to various estimates, there are about 40 million acres of lawn in the United States, 32 million of which are irrigated. In fact, there are more irrigated acres of lawn than corn!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates Americans use nine billion gallons of water per day irrigating lawns. In addition, lawns use three million tons of fertilizer per year, 30,000 tons of pesticides and 800 million gallons of gasoline.

If we were to go back in time about 75 years, however, yesterday’s lawns looked a lot different than today’s.

Before broadleaf herbicides were invented, it was considered normal (even desirable) to have a lawn full of clover. Most families didn’t waste water on lawns, and if they did water the grass, it was only once or twice during the hottest weeks of the summer.

Today, even here in Minnesota, we are beginning to feel the strain of excessive water use. We see lake levels dropping during extended periods of drought, and cities building expensive new well fields to meet summer water demands.

As we begin to rethink the “traditional” lawn, some people are advocating a return to simpler ways when lawns were lower maintenance. Locally, the Pollinator Friendly Alliance has worked with the University of Minnesota to create a bee-friendly lawn mix that is low-growing and provides nectar for honeybees and native bees. To overseed an existing lawn, scalp the grass to within 1 inch, rough up the soil with a rake, and then seed with a mix of 4 lbs. fine fescue, 7 tablesppoons white Dutch clover, 2 tablesppoons creeping thyme, and 7.5 tablesppoons self-heal per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Water for the first two weeks until the seeds germinate. After that, a bee-friendly lawn will not need water or fertilizer and only occasional mowing to keep it at a height of 3-4 inches.

Low-mow is another option that works for sunny or partially shady lawns. Composed of fescue grasses that only need to be mowed once or twice a year when they go to seed, low-mow lawns don’t need to be watered or fertilized and will naturally block most weeds. Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin (prairienursery.com) is the most popular place to purchase low-mow seed mixes, although low-mow is also sold locally at Gertens and Minnesota Native Landscapes. To establish a low-mow lawn, kill off your existing grass in late August and seed the low-mow mix around Labor Day.

Even if you’re not ready to make a transition to a bee-friendly or low-mow lawn, there are a few simple changes you can make to save yourself time and protect water resources. First, resist the urge to apply fertilizer in the spring. Fertilizer makes the grass grow faster (forcing you to mow more often) and tends to promote blade growth instead of root growth, making the grass less tolerant to drought during the summer. Set your mower blade higher (3-4 inches tall) to encourage deeper roots, and mow less frequently or not at all during dry spells in the summer.

If you want to apply fertilizer, Minnesota Extension recommends one application around Labor Day. Get your soil tested first to ensure you don’t waste money or give your lawn the wrong nutrients (soiltest.cfans.umn.edu). Most Minnesota lawns can survive without irrigation, but if you have an automatic system, install a rain sensor or soil moisture sensor and program your irrigation system to deliver no more than one inch of water per week. On weeks it rains, the lawn might not need to be watered at all. For more tips, download “What to ask for from your lawn care provider” or the “Blue Thumb Year Round Guide to Yard Care” at mnwcd.org/lawn-care.

Interested in learning more about lawn alternatives and water-friendly gardening? Attend a free landscaping workshop in Oakdale (April 18), Hugo (April 27) or Forest Lake (May 2): tinyurl.com/SpringDream2017.

Angie Hong is an educator for East Metro Water, mnwcd.org/emwrep. Contact her at 651-330-8220 ext. 35 or [email protected]

 

Article source: http://stillwatergazette.com/2017/04/23/column-rethinking-the-traditional-lawn/

Water Conserving Landscapes

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Janet Laminack, Denton County Extension Agent-Horticulture

by Janet Laminack, County Extension Agent-Horticulture

In the summer months, our landscapes drink up a lot of our good, clean water. People bristle when this gets mentioned. “Please don’t make me turn my beautiful lawn into gravel,” they are thinking. Many people even tell me, “I don’t like cactus and I’m not going to do zeroscape.”

I’m a horticulturist, so that means I like plants, not gravel. And the term is actually xeriscape, not zeroscape but the point is well taken — we misunderstand what drought tolerant and water conserving landscapes are and we don’t want them besides.

These days, we are getting away from the confusing and scary term xeriscape and moving into terms such as “smartscape” “water smart” and Earth-Kind. These are all approaches to gardening and landscaping, practices that focus on healthy and beautiful lawns and flower beds. Earth-Kind not only seeks to conserve water, but to reduce the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used in landscapes.

Did you know that the recommendation for a water conserving landscape is actually 1/3 lawn area, 1/3 hardscape and 1/3 perennials and shrub beds? Hardscape refers to non-living areas such as sidewalks, decks, patios and yes, fields of gravel if that’s your thing. Other best management practices include adding a 3-6 inch layer of mulch to all your shrubs, trees and flowering plants. Mulch helps insulate the soil, reduces erosion, reduces competition from weeds and slows water loss from soils. If you use an organic material such as wood chips, they break down over time, improving your soil. It’s like a slow release fertilizer!

Plant selection is also important. Picking plants that enjoy our hot summers and can survive on minimal supplemental irrigation is important. Indulging in a few high maintenance favorites is allowed, but don’t water your entire landscape just to give those few plants enough water. Group or zone plants according to water requirement and set your irrigation timer accordingly. You might be surprised at the quantity of beautiful, lush and “non-cactus looking” plants that are drought-tolerant.

There are so many opportunities to get more acquainted with water conserving landscapes. On Saturday, April 22, I will be speaking about water-wise landscapes at the Denton Redbud Festival at 10 am. This free event will also feature vendors, activities and local music. www.kdb.org.

Come shop for plants with the Master Gardeners on April 29. This annual fundraiser is scheduled from 9 am to 2 pm on the grounds of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Denton. Not only is there a great selection of hard-to-find herbs, plants for pollinators and tough perennials, but you can also find pass-along plants from Master Gardeners’ own gardens. And, Master Gardeners are there in abundance to help you make plant selections and answer your landscape questions.

And, if you need even more convincing, come see plants in action at the Denton County Master Gardener Spring Tour on May 13.  You will see five beautiful home gardens and get great ideas on what you can incorporate in your own landscape. This event is the Master Gardener annual fundraiser; tickets are $10 before the tour or admission to a single garden is $5 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free.  For more information call 940.349.2892, email master.gardener@dentoncounty.com or buy tickets online at www.dcmga.com. Please call ahead if you have mobility concerns because not all gardens may be accessible.

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Article source: http://www.crosstimbersgazette.com/2017/04/22/water-conserving-landscapes-2/

Timely gardening tips for spring – Columbia-Greene Media: Weekly …

Posted: Saturday, April 22, 2017 12:15 am

Timely gardening tips for spring

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

registerstar.com

As the snow fades away and the landscape begins to turn green, we are suddenly overwhelmed at all the gardening chores that need to be accomplished.

It seems like we go from winter to summer without enough time to enjoy the spring each year — at least, it has seemed that way the past five years or so.

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Article source: http://www.registerstar.com/columnists/weekly_gardening_tips/article_6c8bade8-26a8-11e7-bdb8-37b063ad60e1.html

5 garden tips for the week starting April 8 – San Gabriel Valley Tribune



Palm lovers take note

Sometimes otherwise well-pampered palms have yellow leaf fronds due to a lack of trace minerals in the soil. Pygmy date palms are particularly susceptible to low levels of magnesium in the soil, a problem common throughout Southern California. This can be easily and inexpensively remedied by scattering Epsom salts around the drip zone (the root zone away from the trunk, toward the tips of the leaves). Epsom salts is magnesium sulfate, and it is available as an inexpensive foot remedy in drug stores.

Water-wise

Our recent rains have been wonderful, but we must still remember to irrigate plants regularly as needed, especially those that produce flowers or fruit. Breezy conditions are every bit as hard on plants as warm weather. It dehydrates them rapidly. Container plants need extra water, too.

Help hummingbirds

Refill hummingbird feeders frequently. It’s nest-building time, and as always, these tiny sweet-eaters need lots of energy. You can sometimes see them gathering spider webs from around windows and under eaves. With a beak full of the almost invisible fluff, they zoom off to make their half-walnut-shell-size, spider-web nursery, which conveniently stretches as the babies grow.

Cutting back

Thin out peach, nectarine and apple fruits within the next couple of weeks to get the largest sizes and best flavor at harvest time. Trees produce fruit to protect and carry seeds for the next generation. We want the edible part around these seeds — the fruit itself — and thinning forces the tree to enclose its remaining seeds in a thicker protective fruit coating, resulting in the larger size and better flavor. Thin by breaking off all but one apple per cluster, and all but one peach or nectarine every 6-8 inches along the stem. You will be amazed at the abundance of flavorful, large fruits at harvest time.

Citrus/avocado reminder

You can still plant new citrus or avocado trees through the end of this month and into early May. Select specimens with vigorous growth and healthy deep-green leaves. It’s tempting to buy OK-looking plants with fruit already on them, but such plants may have been stressed in the container and may take many years to set new fruit again when planted in the garden. Irrigate regularly, but do not feed new transplants for about six weeks.

Article source: http://www.sgvtribune.com/lifestyle/20170407/5-garden-tips-for-the-week-starting-april-8

Home Depot shares tips for gardening

We’re now in the spring season, so you might be thinking about creating your own garden.

Article source: http://www.kens5.com/news/local/home-depot-shares-tips-for-gardening/433496240