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Archives for September 11, 2017

Don’t forget about your fruit plants this fall

Fruits like muscadines and other berries reach the end of their harvest season by early fall, but this is not the time to forget about these plants.  There are a few things you’ll want to do through the fall to get it ready for next year.

To produce fruit, keep watering the plant or vine until they go dormant for winter.  If there are any fruits or berries left on the plant, pick them off.  Leaving dried or poor-quality fruit on the plant can encourage disease for next year.  Once the plants shed their foliage, rake and dispose of the leaves to further prevent future diseases.

After clearing the fruit and leaves, be sure not to prune your plant yet.  Some fruit and berry plants like muscadine and fig need pruning in the late winter.  Others, such as blackberries and blueberries should be pruned in the summer.  So, most will not get pruned in the fall.

So look after your plants through the fall, and they’ll be set up for a successful season next year.


Have a gardening question?  Use the form below to ask the folks at Bennett Nurseries.  We may feature this in an upcoming Garden Tips segment!

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Former hospital in Arnaudville is focal point of college project

As Hurricane Irma continues to wreak havoc in the Sunshine State, manatees in Martin County, Florida found the silver lining.  

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Want to share your peonies? Now is the time to divide – Tribune

Peonies are among the most-loved garden flowers. Their lovely fragrance, huge flowers and short-lived bloom time make them treasured plants in many gardens. But, while their blousy blooms appear in early summer, you may be surprised to learn that fall is the best time to be thinking about this precious plant. This is because fall is the best time to plant peonies. It’s also the best time to divide existing plants.

Peonies are fully hardy down to about -50 degrees F, and they are long-lived perennials, sometimes blooming happily for generations. But in order for them to live such long, colorful lives, peonies have to be growing in the right conditions. Peonies are tough plants, but they’ll be more vigorous and produce more blooms if they’re sited properly.

If you want to grow this beautiful, flowering plant, pick a sunny location that’s well drained. Don’t choose a low-lying site that stays water-logged at any time of the year or you’ll risk your peony plant developing root rot.

You should also choose a site with good air circulation. Peonies have a penchant for developing powdery mildew, a fungal disease that leaves the foliage looking as if it were covered in fine, white talcum powder. Though powdery mildew is largely an aesthetic issue, sites with good air circulation reduce the plant’s chances of developing this disease.

If you’re interested in adding a few peony plants to your garden, head to your local garden center. Many of them have potted peonies available, but you may have to ask for the plants because often they’re tucked away in a back greenhouse as soon as they go out of bloom. You can also purchase peony roots from many online sources, including Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery ( and Spring Hill Nursery (

Once a good planting site has been selected, dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the plant’s root mass but no deeper. If peonies are planted too deeply, they will not flower. Work a few shovels full of finished compost into the backfill and use this amended soil to build a hill in the bottom of the planting hole. Spread the peony roots over the hill so the crest of the roots sits just an inch below the soil line. The growth nodes on the roots (called “eyes”) should not be any more than 1 to 2 inches beneath the soil after the hole is filled. Once the plant is in place, backfill the hole with the remaining soil and water the plant in well.

Newly planted peonies may take a few years to bloom, but patient gardeners will be rewarded with decades of bloom. Be sure to stake the plants early in the season, before the buds develop, to keep the plant upright. If the flower stems topple over, the blooms will be spoiled.

If you have existing peonies and you’d like to divide or move them, autumn is the ideal time. Unlike many other perennials, peonies don’t often need to be divided, but if they’re outgrowing their space or you want to share some with a loved one, now is the time to do it.

To divide peonies, use a digging spade or fork to gently lift out the entire plant, making sure you dig a wide enough area to keep from chopping into the roots. Once the plant is out of the hole, use a knife or sharp shovel to cut a portion of the roots away from the mother plant.

Make sure each root clump has at least three or four shoots growing from it. Replant the mother plant as described above and pot up the division to pass on to a friend, or replant it elsewhere in the garden immediately.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is

Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601.

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Sustainable landscaping on the Eastern Shore

WYE MILLS — Three experts in native plant landscape design will share ways to create a landscape that is both ecologically friendly and low maintenance on Saturday, Sept. 23.

The event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center, Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

At the end of the day, there will be an optional field walk at a nearby private property (limited to 30 people). Cost for the program is $25.

For additional information or questions, contact Sabine Harvey at or 410-778-1661. To register, go to

Barbara Ellis, author of “Chesapeake Gardening Landscaping,” will talk about principles for building diversity in the garden and creating a Bay-Friendly garden and landscape.

Sylvan Kaufman, author of “Invasive Plants,” will identify the invasive plants that are common on the Eastern Shore, and then provide some alternative plant selections. Kaufman will focus on those plant species that are well suited for Maryland’s bees, butterflies, and birds.

Christina Pax, lead designer at the Native Landscape Design Center at Adkins Arboretum, will show attendees how to design low maintenance options for pollinator gardens and controlling rainwater.

This program is organized by the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Program.

It is sponsored by the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center.

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