October 10, 2007
Fruit Growin' and Leaf Blowin'...
We harvested our one and only cantaloupe
(photo). I have decided that I am not a
"grow to eat"
kind of gardener. I was excited to see the fruit setting on the
plants and was thrilled when we picked and tasted our first
tomato, but once the critters living
in the yard took over I sort of lost interest. I must be a fair-weather
fruit and vegetable gardener. When
things are going great I'm all for it but once things start
going downhill I'm likely to throw in the towel. It looks like
prettying things up is my forte so I guess I am better off
sticking to that. From now on, Kevin and the kids are
responsible for the fruit and
We are really
getting a taste of fall weather this week. The high today is
going to be in the high 60's and tomorrow's
high will be in the low 60's. This is the good life. There is
nothing better than throwing on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt
to head outside to rake up some leaves. Speaking of raking...
Kevin my dear husband recently purchased a gas-powered
leaf blower and vacuum. I love it. Leave it to me to be so
excited about something as crazy as a leaf blower. What a time
saver. It blows the leaves into a nice pile and then it sucks
and mulches them right up
(photo). I know, it sounds trivial but
anything that makes my job easier is a good thing. And yes, I
owned one previously but it was electric and I didn't like the
way the cord got wrapped around everything. So picky!
Don't Dig Too Deep...
Planting a tree this fall? Great idea!
Just make sure you do it right. The planting depth of a new tree
is extremely important and often done improperly. Trees that are
planted too deep may not grow as fast or be as healthy as those
Here's what to do. Dig a hole twice as wide
and slightly shallower than the root ball. Roughen the sides and
bottom of the hole with a pick or shovel so that roots can
penetrate the soil. The root collar (where the trunk and roots
meet) should be at least even with, and as much as an inch and a
half higher than, the final grade.
We are often asked how and when to
"put the garden to bed." The term
"putting the garden to bed" means preparing the garden for winter
and the weather will dictate
when that date is. Our first frost is normally in mid-October
(any time now). How "hard" that first frost is will help
you decide whether or not it is time to cut back all perennials
and rid the garden of all annuals. We
always like to squeeze as much time as possible out of
the fall garden knowing that once that
hard frost hits winter is well on its way. We'll
keep you posted on the weather and when that first hard frost is
Why Isn't My Red Maple Red?
Why do some red maple trees have yellow fall foliage instead
of brilliant red? Although fall color will vary with different
environmental conditions, in many cases the yellow foliage of
these red maples is simply due to the genetics of the individual
tree. Unnamed red maple trees grown from seed are not always
brilliant red. They have highly variable fall color. If you want
a red maple with red foliage in the fall, choose named,
vegetatively propagated red maple cultivars such as Red Sunset,
Magnificent Magenta or Autumn Flame. October Glory has
outstanding foliage color but is late in acclimating for winter
and can be damaged by early cold snaps. However, even these
"good" cultivars will vary in the level of "redness" from year to
year. A number of things can reduce the intensity of color
including extreme heat or drought during the summer and cloudy
days and warm nights in the fall.
What are those round bumpy lesions that
are appearing on some local oak trees? Very possibly Oak Galls.
A number of tiny non-stinging wasps, mites and flies
are the culprits behind abnormal
growths that develop on the leaves
of twigs of oak trees. These galls can include growths
that are round, spiny, flattened, elongated or star-shaped.
these gall insects do not cause significant damage to their hosts
though some of the leaf galls can cause deformity to make a tree
unsightly. Also, severe infestations of twig galls can cause
twig dieback or, in rare cases, death. However, just because a
twig is covered with galls does not mean that it is dead. Twigs
that otherwise look like a solid mass of galls may still leaf out
in the spring. More details and a photo are
Moving The Mums...
Your potted mums can be transplanted into the garden for many
years of enjoyment. For best results, transplant them into
well-drained soil as winter injury is most common when mums are
planted in poorly-drained soils. Potted mums are often grown in
a mix that is very high in organic matter. If these are planted
in very heavy clay soil without first amending it, the difference
between the two soil situations often prevents good root
establishment and increases the chance of winter kill.
leaves have turned brown, cut back the tops and apply a loose
airy mulch several inches thick allowing light to get to the
small basal shoots during the winter. The purpose of this mulch
is to provide wind protection and keep the soil shaded and frozen
so that frost heaving is minimized. This protective mulch may be
removed or pulled away from the crown by early to mid-April after
danger of severe cold is past.
Hackberry Psyllids In Homes...
Sometimes called jumping plant lice, these small dark-colored
insects resemble cicadas in miniature form. They are about 1/8-
to 1/5-inch long and small enough to enter homes through ordinary
screens. These insects overwinter in buildings or in bark
crevices on trees. After mating in the spring, the females
deposit eggs on newly emerging hackberry leaves. Nymphs hatch
from the eggs and start feeding on the underside of the leaves.
insects are specific to hackberry trees, only homes near a
hackberry tree are affected. If hackberry psyllids become a
nuisance inside, use a vacuum cleaner to suck them up. Be sure
to discard the bag immediately after vacuuming so they don't
escape and re-infest the home.
If It's Growing We're Mowing...
When do Savvygardeners stop mowing their lawns? When the
grass stops growing of course. As long as it continues to grow
keep bluegrass cut to 2 inches and tall fescue to 2½ inches.
forget to keep the leaves from piling up and smothering the grass
"Nature does not
complete things. She is chaotic. Man must finish, and he does so
by making a garden and building a wall."