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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Summer Garden

The Summer Garden

Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Gardening

There is a myth, probably born in heat & nurtured in the longing for shade & leisure, that there “isn’t much to do” in the garden in the heat of summer. There is another, born more respectably of summer’s flat light, that the garden itself is dull.

Alas (in one case) and fortunately (in another) both are myths: the summer garden has much to offer in way of work and beauty. Let’s start with chores. Do them early in the day, promising yourself some time in the shade, with your beverage of choice to follow as a reward for your hard work.


Generally, you have still got to keep weeding, but it’s time to stop feeding. By the end of the month, you don’t want to encourage new sappy growth. Winter is not coming soon, but it is coming. You want all your plants to be aware of this change: allow berries to form, allow growth to harden. In each department specifically:

Trees

Keep well hydrated, but intelligently. When you water a plant that has good drainage, and it has dried out 4 inches below the surface, water it well around the dripline and you will be carrying oxygen to the roots along with water. If drainage is bad, the roots sit in water and the plant drowns.  If you water too briefly, the plant maintains a shallow root system and the need for water is increased.  Trees with shallow roots are also more vulnerable to wind.  So, in sum: ensure good drainage from the beginning, then water infrequently but deeply (at least 8-12" into the ground).

Mid Summer is also a good time to prune several fruit and ornamental trees.  There is a kind of secondary dormancy that sets in during the heat, and difficult trees like Japanese maples can be thinned and shaped without difficulty as long as the temperature is not above 27C.  

Shrubs

In the shrub garden, roses should be pruned for the last time in August to encourage new growth.  After this pruning, you must leave them alone to form hips. Rosehips are nature's way of saying to the plant: winter is coming, enough with the new growth. A rose hardened off in this way will survive much better than one that keeps trying to throw out sappy growth.


Hydrangeas will be performing their yearly colour change. Some people like to nip the top flowers to encourage more shoots from the sides on the “repeat” varieties. On the other hand, the maturation of that flower urges the plant to form strong growth for the coming year.


In general, it is better to leave shrubs alone at this time, the urge to be too tidy can lead to winter death.

However, yew and boxwood hedges should be trimmed now to encourage the formation of dense growth. It is also a good idea to do a good shearing of cedar hedges at this time.

Perennials

In the perennial garden, it is time to divide iris and peonies to share.  They too enter a dormant period in July and August, and it is not difficult to lift them and break off pieces of rhizome or root to create new plants for your friends. Broken roots of poppies will also regenerate surprisingly quickly if planted at one.

It is also a good thing to deadhead or shear back perennials. You will often get a small rebloom in the summer, but don't go crazy, cutting them back to nothing: remember here too that sappy growth is dangerous when the cold comes in fall.  Luckily here in the lower mainland, the real cold doesn't typically arrive until December and January, so these cautions only apply in October or so.

Bulbs

It is the time when many bulbs come on sale at local nurseries. Plants such as daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocus and many more. Try to get to them, and get them planted, as soon as possible. Some bulbs (notoriously snowdrops) really loathe being dried out, and the sooner you can get them in the ground, the better.

Lawn

In drought & heat, reserve water for gardens. Lawns cope with heat by going brown & rebound as soon as rains start. Heaven knows we have a LOT of rain.  Once it starts, you can mow, but leave lawn clippings on surface to nourish the growing grass.

 

On the bright side - Hardy fuchsias are still going strong, hibiscus & buddleia are holding their own, and of course, there are roses, whose wonderful fragrance we can enjoy. It is a long time before autumn will start to turn the colour of the leaves and lay a frigid hand on the garden.  

Having done your self-assigned chores in the morning, you now have a chance to sit on the deck, gaze upon with pleasure and enjoy the fruits of your labour.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Dormant Oil Spray

Protect Your Fruit Trees from Insect Damage & Fungus

Spring is on its way, and now is the last chance to protect your trees by applying dormant oil spray and lime Sulphur BEFORE bud break. Combat disease and pesky insects such as scale, mites, and leafrollers in one easy step by using this spray kit on fruit trees, deciduous shrubs, and ornamentals. Do not spray on evergreens.

If you’re only going to apply one treatment this year to protect your fruit trees and keep your garden clean - this is it! To learn more about this product, continue reading below...

Dormant Oil Spray Kit


What is Dormant Oil Spray?
Dormant oil spray is available in a kit that contains a lime sulphur and horticultural oil that are combined together to kill over-wintering insects (such as scale, mites, and leafrollers) and control disease & fungus. The oil suffocates insects and their eggs nesting in branches. It’s the best preventative measure you can take by cutting off most of the insect population to protect your trees from damage.


When to Apply
Use dormant oil with lime sulphur any time during winter when temperatures are above freezing. Plants need to be dormant - apply before spring buds begin to open.
 
  • Use on fruit and other deciduous trees, shrubs, and ornamentals
  • DO NOT apply to evergreens, beeches, Japanese Maple trees, or Colorado Blue Spruce


How to Use
For proper mixing instructions and safety precautions, always follow the directions according to the package.
  • Once mixed, the easiest method to apply is by using a pressurized sprayer or a specific applicator that attaches to your garden hose.
  • Mix only what you can use, as you cannot save the prepared solution for later use. Always wear protective clothing and goggles when spraying any garden pesticide.
  • ONLY apply when the plant is completely dormant (no signs of growth)
  • Start spraying at the top of the plant until it just starts to bead off the branches, and then work your way down. Spray around the base of your tree or bush. The spray will be more efficient on a day without wind, and dry days are best.

Dormant oil spray is the best protective treatment to help kill over-wintering insects, eggs, and fungal spores from your deciduous trees, shrubs, and ornamentals. This is the most beneficial treatment to apply to your fruit trees, and NOW is the time to do it - before new spring growth starts to appear!

Friday, May 9, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Fruit Trees

I am noticing a huge increase in popularity among gardeners to plant edibles. There is an upswing in popularity among designers to include fruits, herbs and other edibles in the landscape. Parents want their kids to actually see where their food comes from, say a tree or a bush and not a cello wrapped bag from the grocery store. Young couples in apartments want to grow fruit trees and veggies in containers on their balcony or allotment garden. People new to Canada are coming to nurseries asking for new and unusual favorites. I am excited to see this happening.

Planting stuff you can eat is a great way to encourage gardeners. Plants that ‘pay rent’ are a lovely thank you for all of that work we put in to fertilizing, watering and oh my goodness the weeding. Planting edibles…fruit and berries in particular, is not very difficult and like all gardening, put the right fruit in the right place and in some cases with the right partner and you can make even the most mediocre of gardeners into a proud, fruit toting zero mile foodie! Pollination! This is viewed as a deep dark secret by some and is a too often stumbling block to many.

So I’m going to try to simplify this subject and help you to be a successful fruit grower. To get you on the right track, I will clarify a couple of terms. Pollinizer is the tree or shrub that provides the pollen. A pollinator is the bee, fly, wasp, butterfly, bat, hummingbird or other critter that transfers the pollen from one plant to another.

Apple Tree Pollination

Apple Tree Pollination

Apples, it takes two DIFFERENT apple varieties that bloom around the same times to get apples. As long as the blossoms open within about a week of one another and you have pollinators present and hard at work you will get apples. Crabapples in particular have a nice long bloom time and will often cover a wide range of pollination days.

Do you need your apple trees to be in the same yard and right next to one another? No. As long as the apple or crabapple tree are within about 4 city lots of one another you will likely get apples. It used to be a square city block of one another but our pollinators are getting scarce. Certainly the closer the better. There a number of apples known as triploids. These apples are like the greedy stepsisters of the pollination world…all take, take, take and no give. The can be pollinated by another tree but will not pollinate anyone else, so you would need a third variety in the mix if you wanted apples on all of the trees. Why plant a triploid? They are often pretty tasty varieties like: King of Thompkins County, Bramley’s Seedling and Gravenstein.

Cherry Tree Pollination

Cherry Tree Pollination

Cherries, there are a number of varieties like the sour cherries, bush cherries and some sweet cherries that are self- fruitful. There are also a number of varieties that will require a DIFFERENT cherry variety nearby as a pollinizer to produce cherries. It will usually say so on the label. All cherries will benefit from having a DIFFERENT cherry variety nearby and you will often get bigger yields if this is the case. You have 2 different cherries nearby and wonder why you don’t get fruit some years? Watch what happens at bloom time…if it is raining up, down and sideways…the pollinators can’t do their job, they stay home and wait for the rain to stop like sensible bees.

Plum Tree Pollination

Plum Tree Pollination

Plums, we’ll cover European and Japanese varieties. Many European varieties are self fruitful. For those that are not you will need another DIFFERENT European plum as a pollinizer. Most Japanese plums will need another DIFFERENT Japanese plum as a pollinizer. It’s not that the European or Japanese plums are unable to pollinize one another it is simply that the Japanese plums often bloom too early to catch the bloom time of the European plums. It is also better to have the Japanese plums at least in the next yard or two as they bloom at a cooler time of spring and we want to make it a bit easier on our hard working pollinators.

Pear Tree Pollination

Pear Tree Pollination

Pears, there are European varieties and Asian varieties. With pears you will need two DIFFERENT varieties of pears for pollination to occur. Asian varieties tend to bloom earlier and European pears tend to bloom later. There is occasional overlap as with Bartlett European Pear and Twentieth Century Asian pear. Pear blossoms are lower in sugar so not particularly attractive to many pollinators. Believe it or not the common housefly helps to pollinate pears! Do try to keep your pears within 10-20 feet of one another to aid pollination.

Blueberry Pollination

Blueberry Pollination

There are a number of varieties that will produce a few with just one plant but you will be rewarded handsomely if you plant another blueberry close by. I like to have all my berries in one patch. Did you know the bell shaped blossoms will only release their pollen with the specific vibration of a bees wings? For all you music buffs I believe it is the key of C. If you have a tuning fork and you hit it and place it next to a blossom, you can see the pollen release…cool eh?

Haskap / Honey Berry Pollination

Haskap or Honeyberry – You will need two unrelated varieties that bloom at the same time to get fruit. The little yellow flowers are early but seem to be very attractive to our pollinators. I would plant them closer together, say about 3-5 feet.

Seabuckthorn

You will need one female plant and one male plant to produce fruit. No you don’t have to look under the leaves to tell…it’s on the label

Lingonberries

One plant is fine but you will produce more fruit if you get multiples…perhaps it just makes it more attractive to the pollinators.

Small Fruit Pollination

Other Small Fruits

Raspberries, Blackberries, Currants, Figs, strawberries. You are fine with just the one. Though in the case of raspberries and strawberries it won’t be just one for long!

Now get out there and get cracking! The sun is out and the time is just right. Try something new, challenge yourself and plant an edible. If you have questions still, come in and say Hi! Wow me with your awesome knowledge of the difference between and pollinizer and pollinator and I will be thrilled to bits and answer all of your questions. Actually, if you forget and don’t know the difference, I will still answer your questions…but I might sneer a little…inside ;).


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

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