Monday, November 28, 2016

Time to put the roses to bed

The prolonged fall has given us a few extra weeks to enjoy some of the hardier plants in our garden including roses, mums and winter pansies. Now's the time to put your roses to bed, finish cleaning up the perennial beds and water everything well.
To prune your roses, you'll need a good pair of pruners, some garden shears and a lopper. These tools will make it easier to prepare your roses for winter's irratic weather. 
Most seasonal damage to roses, as well as trees, shrubs and perennials, comes from winter's fluctuating temperatures, dry winds and lack of moisture.
You can help reduce winter wind damage by pruning your roses back to about 24". Check your roses for dead and diseased canes and for diseases on leaves such as powdery mildew. 
If you see any diseased branches and leaves, cut them off and dispose of them. While you're at it, rake up any leaves on the ground around your roses.  Don’t let them winter over in the mulch and re-infect your roses next spring. Next, water your roses.  Roses with dry roots will suffer more damage in cold temperatures than roses with well-hydrated roots. 
Last, add 8"  to 10" of mulch around the base of your roses. This mulch will help keep the ground cold and stable during those warm winter days. Mulch will also help retain moisture. Compost, Cedar Mulch and Gorilla Hair mulch are good choices for mulching your roses.
Rose collars help hold the mulch in place through the winter.
While you're at it, finish cleaning up any perennials still standing.
We left these mums to the last minute because we had pollinators  in the garden up until a few days ago. They look scraggly, but provide some forage. Water all of your perennials once you've finished cleaning them up. If you feel like planting something when you're done with clean up, it's not to late to plant some spring bulbs and some garlic.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Flower Bin Holiday Open House

A long-standing Flower Bin tradition continues this weekend as Christmas begins at The Flower Bin Holiday Open House, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 25, 26 and 27. There will live entertainment featuring Harpist Charlotte Rose and Jeffrey Rogers on the Hammered Dulcimer.
Charlotte will be performing Saturday and Sunday November 26 and 27 from 11 am to 1 pm.
Jeffery will perform Saturday and Sunday November 26 and 27 from 1:30 to 3:30.
Santa Claus will pay a special visit on Saturday, November 26th, from 10 am to 3 pm and Sunday November 27th from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. 
Bring your camera for great family shots with Santa. 
Enjoy holiday cookies and apple cider while you shop the best in holiday decorations including:
live and cut Christmas trees, wreaths, garland, ornaments
and featuring stunning Flower Bin grown Poinsettias.
Start a tradition by making the Christmas Open house a “Must Do” to kick off your holiday season.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Watering Trees in Winter

Most of us don't think about watering our trees right now. It's November, most of the leaves have dropped and the trees look as if they've gone dormant, but the fact is there's still a lot of activity going on underground. Tree roots continue to grow throughout the late fall and winter and because of this, they need moisture to survive. Usually we've had some natural moisture by this time of the year, but it continues to be dry so it's important to water your trees now and throughout the fall and winter months, especially if the weather remains dry and windy. Trees should be watered slowly. Slow watering helps ensure the water will penetrate the ground and not run off. A good rule of thumb to remember is your tree needs about 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter.
Measure the tree trunk's diameter about knee high. In this case, the trunk diameter is 3". Based on 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter, this tree needs 30 gallons of water, each time you water. There are several methods you can use to water your trees. Assuming your sprinkler system is shut off by now, you can use a hand sprinkler, a simple lawn sprinkler, a soil needle or even a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. Regardless of how you water, the best place to water is around the drip line of the tree. 
The drip line is the point on the ground where water will drip off the widest-reaching branches.
Lawn sprinklers are available in different patterns including circular, square and rectangle. Pick the sprinkler with the pattern that best suits the area you're watering. Place the sprinkler under the drip line of the tree and let it run for 4 - 5 minutes, then move it, following the drip line of the tree.
4 to 5 minutes is the average time it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket, at low water pressure. You can use this as a gauge to figure out how long you need to let the sprinkler run before you move it. If you need to deliver 30 gallons of water to the tree, move the sprinkler 6 times, letting it run in place for 4 to 5 minutes each time.
If you choose, you can use a soil needle instead of a sprinkler. Work the needle about 8" into the soil, turn on the water on low pressure and let it run. After 4-5 minutes, move the needle about a foot, then push it into the ground. Repeat  this until you've worked around the drip line.
Another technique is to drill ¼" holes in a 5 gallon bucket, set the bucket on the drip line and fill with water. The water will slowly seep out of the bucket and into the ground. If you set 2 or 3 buckets around the dripline, watering will go quickly and effectively.  It is especially important to water trees that are root-limited because they were planted between the sidewalk and the street.
If you can't get to the drip line because of sidewalks or landscape restrictions, you can hand water the area under the tree. Watering during the fall and winter will make a big difference in the long-term health of your trees.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Now's the time to apply tree wrap.


Have you seen trees with dead or damaged areas on the trunk? When the damage occurs on the south or west side of the tree trunk, it is most likely caused by sunscald. It’s not unusual for winter temperatures to reach 60° Fahrenheit in the daytime and then fall below freezing after the sun goes down. When it gets this warm during the day, the low winter sun heats up the tree bark, especially on the south and southwest sides of the tree. The sun’s warming action breaks the tree's dormancy and the cells on that side of the tree wakeup and become active.  When the temperatures fall after sunset, the active cells and tissue die. The damaged area will often shrink and discolor.
Later in the season, the bark may fall off, leaving a long scar. Applying tree wrap now is a quick and simple way to protect the tree from the winter sun.
Tree wrap is a corrugated paper product, sold in 50' and 150' rolls.
Start at the base of the tree and spiral the wrap upward to the first primary branch.
Overlap each turn about 1/3rd.
Once you reach the first set of branches, loop the tree wrap over a strong, sturdy branch and tape it, so it will stay in place. A good rule of thumb is to wrap your trees around Halloween and remove the wrap around Easter. You want to leave the tree wrap off during the growth months of spring and summer, then reapply in late fall.  You should wrap trees for the first six or seven years after you plant them. After that, the bark should be thick enough to reduce the risk of sunscald damage and you shouldn't have to apply tree wrap every year. Once you've got the trunk wrapped, give the tree a good soaking. Trees can handle winter weather better, if you water them now.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Start Amaryllis bulbs for Holiday Color

Amaryllis are classic holiday flowers that display the colors of the season. It takes about 6 weeks for amaryllis to bloom, so if you want blooms for Christmas, you need to start your amaryllis bulbs now. Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow and their blooms last a long time.
Begin by selecting quality bulbs. Look for bulbs that are firm and dry and still have some of their natural papery covering. You’ll find amaryllis bulbs graded as small, medium and large. Generally the larger the bulb size, the more stalks and blooms it will produce.
Once you've chosen the bulbs you want to start, it's time to pick out a container. You can grow amaryllis in ceramic pots, clay pots or plastic pots. Whichever container you select needs to have good drainage. It's also important to know that amaryllis like to be snug in their pot, so select a container that's about an inch or so larger than the bulb and is deep enough for the roots to grow.
Next, add damp potting soil to the bottom third of the pot. Place the bulb in the center of the pot and spread the roots out so the fan out from the center of the bulb. Do the best you can with the roots. You're mainly trying to keep the roots from being bunched together under the bulb.
Fill in around the bulb with more damp potting soil. Leave the top third of the bulb uncovered. Water thoroughly and place the bulb in a warm, well-lit location.
Once the flower stalk begins to appear, you can start feeding your bulb with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. After that, fertilize every two weeks and water frequently enough to keep the soil moist.
You can also grow amaryllis in stones and water, by using a forcing vase. Trim off dried roots to prevent them from decomposing in the water. This will help keep the water cleaner, longer. Add water to the container until it just touches the bottom of the bulb. Place the container in a bright, warm location. In about 6 weeks, your amaryllis should begin to bloom.  For colorful blooms throughout the holidays, plant amaryllis bulbs every three to four weeks, starting now.