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Growing Mums

 

Growing Mums can be a bit tricky. Mums are a great fall flower and will add color to your garden well into the season. Here are some tips to grow mums.

Soil preparation. Mums need well-drained soil.  If your yard gets saturated quickly grow mums in raised beds with friable soil for good root growth.

If the soil is too dense, add compost and prepare to a depth of 8-12 inches for best performance (about 1 inch deeper than they were in the nursery pot). Mums’ roots are shallow, and they don’t like competition. Plant mums, being careful with the roots as you spread them.

Fertilizer. Plants set out in spring should get a 5-10-10 fertilizer once or twice a month until cooler weather sets in. Don’t fertilize plants set out in fall as annuals, but plants you hope to overwinter should get high-phosphorus fertilizer to stimulate root growth.

Location. Mums need sunlight to thrive. Plants that don’t get enough sunlight will be tall and leggy and produce fewer, smaller flowers.

Watering.   Give mums about an inch of water per week. Avoid soaking the foliage, which encourages disease.

Overwintering. Prepare mums for winter after the first hard frost. Mulch up to 4 inches with straw or shredded hardwood. Pinch off dead blooms to clean up the plant, but leave branches intact. Mums have a better chance of surviving if you wait to prune old stems until spring. As soon as the weather warms, get rid of the mulch to allow new shoots to pop up.

Pests. You may notice aphids, leafhoppers, or spider mites, but they are not likely to harm the plant.

The Hampton Classic Horse Show

 

This year’s Hampton Classic horse show will take place on August 23rd through the 30th.  As one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States, and a premier destination for horse people, the Classic is a much-anticipated stop on the summer tour. Now well into its third successful decade, The Hampton Classic Horse Show is in a class all its own, both in the minds of spectators and horse people alike.  We at Organically Green are proud to be a sponsor for this event.

 the Hampton classic horse show

 

 

These Bugs are Tree Killers

There are many insects that attack hardwood trees which ultimately cause death or devalue a tree in the urban landscape and rural forest to the point where they need to be cut.  These are the five most common and destructive tree killers.

#1 – Gypsy Moth:

The moth was introduced into the United States in 1862 and is responsible for the death of millions of trees.

The insect lays visible buff-colored egg masses as leaves emerge in the spring. These masses hatch into hungry larvae that quickly defoliate hardwoods.

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#2 – Emerald Ash Borer:

The Emerald ash borer (EAB)  is blamed for killing millions of ash trees annually and forcing quarantines on firewood and tree nursery stock in several states.

The EAB larvae feed on the cambial bark. These S-shaped feeding galleries will kill limbs and can ultimately girdle the tree.

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#3 – Longhorn Beetles/ Borers:

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB)  was first found in Brooklyn, New York in 1996 but has now been reported in 14 states and threatening more.

The adult insects lays eggs in an opening in the bark. The larvae then bore large galleries deep into the wood. They eventually weaken the tree to the point that the tree falls apart and dies.

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#4 – Elm Bark Beetle:

This pest is dangerous for the company it keeps. The native elm bark beetle carries Dutch elm disease (DED) a contagious fungus that can destroy trees. While no North American tree is immune to DED, American elm trees are especially susceptible.

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#5 – Tent Caterpillars:

The favorite food of tent caterpillars is wild cherry but oaks, maples and many other shade and forest trees are attacked. The tent caterpillar can strip extensive stands of trees of all leaves. The attacked tree’s growth is effected.

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This summer, there’s a new contender for “Most Dangerous Tick Bourne Illness.”

 

tick-alert

Winter is gone and spring is finally here. The flowers are popping up and you and your loved ones are back in the great outdoors. But, before you pop on a bathing suit and start running through the sprinkler, there’s a dangerous new tick borne disease that you need to be made aware of.

The Powassan virus, (named for the region in Canada where it was first identified,) is a rare, but extremely serious tick borne illness that has now been found to be present in our area. Currently, it doesn’t have a treatment or a cure.

Dr. Daniel Cameron, President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society recently spoke about the disease. He said that if bitten by an infected tick you can get the virus within a matter of minutes, and while the symptoms are similar to Lyme disease, they are more severe.

“The doctor just has to support you during the acute illness and hope that you survive,” Dr. Daniel Cameron explained. “You can get seizures, high fevers, stiff neck. It comes on so suddenly that it’s the kind of thing people go to the emergency room for.”

Powassan now joins other, more common tick borne illnesses already present in our area, including Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Lyme Disease. (For more information about these diseases, their signs, symptoms and treatments, please visit the CDC’s website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/TickborneDiseases.pdf

Monthly spraying regimens are the best way to help protect your family stay safe this summer.  Additionally, wearing pants and long sleeves outside, avoiding bushy and wooded areas, checking for ticks, and wearing bug spray are measures you can take to remain safe.

Preventing Late Frost From Damaging Your Plants

flowerfroze

This winter has been particularly brutal and seemingly never ending, but as it gets warmer in spring there is still risk for another cold snap that can undo all your hard early planting work. With the warm weather allowing plants to bud earlier this year, follow these tips to keep your plants flourishing even when winter just won’t die.

First bring any potted plants inside, they are the most vulnerable to frost.

Water loses heat slower than air, keeping a bucket of warm water or watering your plants the day before a freeze can help keep them from being damaged by frost.

If you notice that your plants are losing water from their leaves following a freeze, apply water to thaw the soil. The frozen ground will make water unavailable to your plants and could dry them out.

When anticipating a freeze, cover your plants overnight with burlap or a bed sheet to act as an insulation against the frost.  To prevent your already budding plants or crops from getting damaged by the tarp, place a coffee can, tomato cage or jar over the plant itself.

Be sure to remove the burlap from your plants in the morning, however, as oxygen and sunlight are essential to their survival.

To assess the damages following the freeze, examine the inside of various buds several days later. If the inside is a dark brown or black, it is likely that your plant has been damaged.

If there is no discoloration, you might just be the first on the block this year with a vibrant flower garden and fresh vegetables.

Chemicals aren’t the only way to control ticks.

 

control ticks

 

 

It’s cold out now, but spring is right around the corner! When the weather warms up, and the sun comes out, so do pests like ticks. For most people, tick control means an outdoor chemical treatment plan. While pesticides can be an effective tick-control mechanism, what many don’t realize is that landscape design itself can also help control ticks by creating a tick-safe zone around your house and play areas.

Ticks that transmit Lyme disease thrive in humid wooded areas. They die quickly in sunny and dry environments and a well designed, tick-safe landscape layout will take advantage of this fact to keep you, and your family safe.

Here are some simple landscaping techniques that you can use to help reduce tick populations.

 

•        Remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edges of lawns.

•        Place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration to recreational areas.

•        Mow the lawn and clear brush and leaf litter frequently.

•        Keep the ground under bird feeders clean.

•        Stack wood neatly and in dry areas.

•        Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.

 

If you’d like Organically Green to handle the job for you, give us a call today!