This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Wind Damage To Evergreens ~ Pesticide Precautions ~ All Wrapped Up
~ Getting A Handle On Gift Giving ~ Cold Facts On Watering Houseplants ~ Hungry Plants
~ Poinsettias Perfected   ~ Inspiration

Visit Our Website
Previous Issues


the Savvygardener Community
~ Gardening Forums, Blogs, Photos, Events and more...


Feature Articles

~ All About Composting
~ All About Mulch
~ Worm Composting
~ Houseplant Care
~ When to Start
Seeds Indoors
~ Seed Starting Indoors
~ Vegetable Garden Calendar
~ Seed Starting Tomatoes


Shrub Pruning Calendar
~ Pruning Clematis 
~ Gardening in the Shade
~ Summer-Flowering Bulb Care
~ Drought-Tolerant Flowers for KC
~ Preparing for a Soil Test
~ Changing the pH of Your Soil
~ Growing Herbs
~ When to Harvest Vegetables
~ Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
~ Organic Pesticides & Biopesticides
~ Cold Frames & Hot Beds
~ When to Divide Perennials
~ Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
~ Forcing Bulbs Indoors
~ Overseeding A Lawn
~ Pruning Trees
~ Pruning Shrubs
~ Planting Trees
~ Deer Resistant Plants
~ Trees that Survived the Storm
~ Stump Removal Options for the Homeowner
~ More...
Local Sponsors
~ Family Tree Nursery
~ Johnson Farms
~ Missouri Organic
~ Ryan Lawn & Tree
Privacy Pledge



Gardener's Supply Company

~ December 2, 2009 ~

A Good Workout...
I was lucky enough to be outside yesterday - yes, you guessed it, raking leaves. Trying to get the last few remaining off the lawn. I really enjoyed myself even though I was a bit sore this morning when climbing out of bed. Gardening is a great work out! You get to do lots of bending, (with the knees not the back), and raking which certainly gives you a good cardio workout. It is so much better than going to the gym - it must be the scenery.

60 one day 30 the next. I am not talking about age although that is how I feel some days. It is these crazy temperatures. As I was cleaning up some beds yesterday I noticed that underneath some of the leaf mulch there are perennials still stirring. The many plants I have cut back have new growth on them. Now is the time where mulch becomes a huge benefit. If you have not had time to mulch your beds now is the time to get it done. With the fluctuation in temperatures, mulch will help to keep plants from being fooled by Mother Nature. The ground is not yet frozen and with the way the weather has been swinging from warm to cold mulching will help protect your plants throughout winter.

~ Shelly   

Wind Damage To Evergreens...
Anyone else notice the cold, howling wind today? Be warned - cold winter winds can cause injury to evergreens. Needles and leaves of evergreens may become discolored or develop a bleached out appearance, especially on windy sites. Winter burn is caused by the wind blowing over leaf surfaces and drawing water out of the plant, desiccating the plant tissue. Locations in full sun tend to fare worse. To protect plants, be sure soil is evenly moist up until freeze. During a dry fall, you may need to water regularly until the ground actually freezes. You may also want to consider protecting plants by wrapping them in burlap or putting up some sort of barrier to break the wind. Another option is an anti-desiccant spray. These are available from your local nursery or garden center. Anti-desiccant sprays create an invisible film on the leaf surface that reduces the amount of water lost to the wind and sun. If you choose to try an anti-desiccant, be sure to read and follow the product labeling.

Getting A Handle On Gift Giving...
If you're thinking about buying garden tools as gifts for that special gardener make sure you choose them carefully. Getting the basics right can be the difference between a tool that helps the gardener versus one that frustrates.

  • Grips - The right tool starts with a good grip. For starters, it should be pliable and non-slip. A pliable, soft grip will protect your joints and help keep your hand from cramping. A non-slip handle means you don't have to waste energy hanging onto the tool.
  • Handles - Tools with longer handles will make it easier to garden by saving you from bending over or overextending your reach in the garden. A long handle will also give you some leverage and help you in using the tool.
  • Weight - Check the weight of any tool you're going to buy. It should be heavy enough to be durable but not so heavy it is fatiguing to use. A lightweight tool means more energy to garden.
  • Quality - Good tools, well taken care of will last forever. Those tools that get daily use (trowels come to mind) should be made of materials that are both durable and effective. Stainless steel and carbon steel blades are best.


Poinsettias Perfected...
From our friends at University of Missouri Extension here are some good tips to make your poinsettias last longer and retain their color. Consumers should consider several factors when buying a poinsettia plant, said David Trinklein, professor of horticulture. The plant should have bright bracts and healthy foliage that does not look wilted. Its cyathia, the true flower in the center of the bracts, should be tightly clustered and just starting to shed pollen. Once it is brought home these tips will keep it healthy and happy:

  • Place it in a brightly lit location away from cold drafts or hot air registers.
  • Color can be prolonged if the plant is kept at 60 to 72 with high humidity.
  • Don't overwater a poinsettia. Water only when the surface of the growing medium is dry to the touch.
  • If the pot containing the plant is foil-covered, be sure there is a drainage hole in the foil. Empty any water that might drain through the pot and collect in the saucer below.


Pesticide Precautions...
This is a good time to remember that pesticides are dangerous poisons and must be stored properly for the winter months. Store them in a frost-free location away from food and out of the reach of children. If a pesticide is in a paper container, put the whole package in a plastic container and seal it well. Be sure that all bottles and cans are tightly sealed and well labeled.

Store liquid pesticides where temperatures will not fall below 40F. Too low a temperature may result in a breakdown of the chemical. Also, if the liquid should freeze, there is the danger of the glass container breaking and scattering the chemical in the storage area.

Cold Facts On Watering Houseplants...
Before you give your houseplants that next drink you should know that according to Ohio State researchers cold water can destroy the ability of root cells to take in water and nutrients. Water below 50F was found to reduce leaf size, cause leaf drop, and eventually contribute to the death of potted plants. Those requiring frequent watering, such as spathiphyllum and ficus, are especially prone to damage and should not be watered with water below 65F. Other tests show that warmer water (about 90F) actually stimulates growth.


All Wrapped Up...
You've seen tree trunks wrapped up for the winter but do you really know why? The aim of tree wrapping is to keep the trunk from heating unevenly on bright, sunny, winter days. Bark tends to split as it cools rapidly after the winter sun has warmed the south and west sides of the tree. Most Savvygardeners use commercially available tree wraps or put up canvas or burlap screens to shade young fruit trees. But even a plank leaned up against the south side of the trunk will help. Painting trunks with white latex paint is a technique common in orchards to achieve the same purpose. You should consider these protective measures if you have young, tender-barked trees like fruit trees.

Hungry Plants...
If you're looking for a way to get a small child interested in gardening you might consider growing some carnivorous plants indoors this winter. We're talking about Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants, and Sundew. Any and all of these insect eaters will capture the imagination of kids (of all ages). Some hints:

  • Carnivorous plants require a moist, acidic growing medium, high relative humidity, and bright light.
  • Try growing them in a fish aquarium or large terrarium. A piece of Plexiglas placed over the top will help maintain a high relative humidity. Ventilation can be provided by keeping the Plexiglas slightly ajar.
  • Use 2 parts sphagnum peat moss and one part coarse sand as a growing medium. Place one inch of coarse gravel on the bottom before adding the growing medium.
  • Good lighting is essential for carnivorous plants. An east or west facing window that receives at least 1 or 2 hours of direct sun is fine. A fluorescent light fixture containing two 40 watt tubes can be used in poorly lit areas.
  • Day-time temperatures should be 70 to 75F during the summer and 55 to 60F in winter.
  • Water with rain or distilled water. Tap water may be too alkaline or contain too many minerals.
  • There is usually no need to fertilize carnivorous plants. These plants are native to areas with low nutrient levels.


"When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters."

~ B. Cybrill



 1999-2009 Inc. All rights reserved.  If you wish to copy, transmit, or otherwise duplicate any of the material from our website please ask us first.  Thank you.