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Use our blog as a resource of information pertaining to landscaping, hardscaping, and other topics pertinent to the care and aesthetics of your property.

Showing 11-20 of 61 articles.

Corn Gluten

Corn Gluten

How many times have you said “learn from your mistakes.” Well, that is exactly what Nick Christians, a research at Iowa State University did. His mistake was spilling corn gluten meal (CGM) while working in the research fields. He was using the CGM as an ingredient in fertilizer. He noticed that in the spot where he spilled the CGM, no seed would germinate. Aha! He learned from his mistake that CGM is not only a great source of nitrogen for plants but may also work as a pre-emergent weed seed control!

Corn gluten meal is a fine powder that is a byproduct of the corn milling process. Traditionally it had always been used as a supplement in hog feed. There is a natural protein in CGM that is a good nutrient for lawns and gardens and also an effective at suppressing new weed growth. Although we cannot refer to CGM as Organic because it is not made from organically grown corn, it is non-toxic and safe.

How does corn gluten meal work? The Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (N-P-K) ratio of corn gluten is 10-1-0, or 10% nitrogen by weight. The reason why it is a natural weed suppressant when applied at 20 pounds per 1000 square feet is because as soon as the seed germinates, the tender root is dried out. Combined, these qualities make CGM an ideal weed and feed product.

Does corn gluten meal hurt my plants? When applied at the recommend rate of 20lbs/1000 square feet, CGM only works by inhibiting root formation at the time of germination, it does not harm ...

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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Will he see his shadow or will he not?  That is the question!

Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2nd, each year in the United States and Canada.  For a nice welcomed break during the winter, on this day the groundhog awakens from his nap and goes outside to see if he can see his shadow.  It is believed my many that if the groundhog sees his shadow that there will then be six more weeks of winter. If this is so,  he then retrieves back into his den and goes back to sleep.  If he is not able to see his shadow, the groundhog remains outside to play and people celebrate believing that spring is just around the corner.

As the Germans settled in the hills of Pennsylvania, they brought this tradition with them.  The tradition was based on Candlemas, which is the day that is the midpoint between winter and spring.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has been chosen as the site for the annual Groundhog day event.  Thousands of people come to the town of Punsxutawney on Groundhog Day for this day of celebration.

Although already a well known day, Groundhog Day received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney and portrayed Roger Rininger as the groundhog.

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Salt Burn

Salt Burn

Road runoff contains dissolved salts that not only injure plants directly but also can change the structure of the soil, causing it to become compacted. This condition restricts the nutrients, water,and oxygen available to the plants, putting them under stress. Shoot tips and young leaves usually receive the most damage. One of the salt-damage-bigsymptoms of salt damage is dried, burnt leaf edges.
 
How do I fix it? Where runoff is unavoidable, flush the area around the plants in early spring by applying 2 inches of water over a two- to three-hour period, repeating three days later. This will leach much of the salt from the soil. If salt spray from the road surface is a problem, use water to rinse the foliage and branches of any affected plants when salt spray is heavy and again in early spring.
 
How do I prevent it?  Salt burn has a simple solution.  Don’t pile snow containing salt around plants or trees or put it where runoff might reach plant roots.  Ask road-maintenance workers if they can direct salty runoff away from your property.  When selecting species for a new roadside planting, minimize the potential for salt damage by planting salt-tolerant selections.  Install a low wall or hedge of salt-tolerant evergreens, which can deflect salt spray away from sensitive plants nearby.
 

Here is a few salt-tolerant plants that are hardy to our area.

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Don't Leave "That Kind" of Footprint

Don't Leave

Before I started working with Beautiful Blooms, I had never really paid attention to frost, I just knew that my lavender plants would get fussy after a harsh winter. During the beginning of spring, we typically start an hour later than we would during the summer. The crews come in on time, load up their trucks, and are eager to head out to fulfill their tasks for the day. One morning, after our daily “morning meeting”, Loriena gave a little lecture on frost. She explained to the crew why it’s important to stay off our client’s grass until the sun has come up and melted the frost. She explained how frost can form and how to avoid damaging lawns and other plant material. Continue Reading…


Post to blog article on website: The temperature can be perfect for frost, she explained, but if it’s overcast and windy, frost either won’t occur or it will be light. But this doesn’t mean the grass cannot freeze, or form ice. It is important to keep off grass that has a heavy frost, especially when the height is kept short.
Here’s the easiest way I can describe why it’s best to keep off frozen lawns. When you walk on frost or frozen grass, you can literally break the grass blades. It is no different than if you dropped a full glass of water on a hard floor. The glass breaks and all the contents leak out. In the case of turf we break the cell membranes which causes internal damage to the plant. This typically results in...

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What does it take for insects to overwinter?

What does it take for insects to overwinter?

Does a warmer winter mean more pests to manage during spring and summer?  Actually, there are a few other factors to consider before concluding this theory.

  1. Insects that overwinter below ground (Japanese beetle grubs) might not be affected by a mild winter because soil temperatures tend to be more constant. If the frost layer is deep, the survival rate may be lower.  If the frost line is shallow, there may be more survivors.
     
  2. Temperature is the key to all insect development. Have you seen a slow moving fly a few weeks ago, on a warm winter day? The higher winter temperatures “wake up” and activate the insects such as the common house fly, or woolly bear (caterpillar). They are using up stored fats they depend on to survive until the spring. Without access to food, these active insects could starve to death before food becomes available.
     
  3. Most insects adapt to cold winters by slowly preparing in the fall and staying dormant until the spring. Therefore, large temperature swings can be detrimental to insects… (There was at least one day this winter, from what I remember, where the temperature dropped a total of 50 degrees within just two days!).  We could expect some insect mortality due to cold intolerance when regularly fluctuating from 0-50 degrees.
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Disease During Drought

Disease During Drought

Plant disease-causing fungi are usually inhibited during periods of drought. Most fungi require water to infect and develop. Although drought factors tend to reduce the risk of disease, there are some disease situations that are enhanced.Leaf spotting fungi in the Helminthosporium complex are more severe when the potassium levels are low. The lack of soil moisture due to droughts can affect the availability of these nutrients although there may be adequate levels in the soil. During dew periods and other sporadic moisture periods, nutrient deficient plants can become infected and disease can develop. These leaf-spotting disease fungi can reduce hay quality.
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Working Through Winter

Working Through Winter

!!! We continue to work through the winter with Corrective and Dormant !!!

Pruning deciduous plants while there are no leaves on the plant allows us to see the complete framework of the plant and do a thorough job of pruning. We will work through the winter season to do this work. The cost for pruning a shrub or ornamental tree is far less than the cost of replacing an overgrown tree or shrub in the future–pruning is a necessary task in the maintenance of an ornamental landscape and should be done every 1-5 years depending on the plant species. Corrective pruning or rejuvenation pruning is just that–it is to correct mismanaged plants or to reinvigorate them by removing a substantial amount of growth. This drastic measure may be needed initially, but not as an ongoing part of a sustainable landscape management program. Contact us for a full property review (free)– Be aware of anything that needs attention!

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Fall & Winter Perennial Care

Fall & Winter Perennial Care

 

Many perennials are better left standing over the winter than cutting them down. There are several reasons for this. In addition to many of the perennials having attractive foliage and/or seed heads, they offer food resources for birds. Many birds find the seeds of perennials particularly tasty. The stems of perennials also offer a place for some birds to hide during the winter. With some marginally hardy perennials, leaving the stems up for the winter aids in overwintering. The foliage helps to insulate the crowns. Mums seem to benefit a great deal from this practice. Another reason to leave stems stand is that if the perennial is a late riser in the spring, the stems will help to mark the spot and prevent any accidental digging in the area that might harm the underground portions of the plant.

Cutting back perennials in the fall may be something you would want to do especially if you were bothered by foliage diseases. Removing the old foliage would be a positive in this case as it helps to reduce the amount of innoculum present to re-infest next year’s foliage. Removing foliage can also be one of pure aesthetics. Some gardeners like to see standing perennials in the winter and others don’t. When perennials are cut down, do so after they have gone dormant. This is usually after the plants have experienced several hard frosts. Cut the plants down to within 2-3 inches of the crown. Cutting too close can result in winter injury on some perennials due ...
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Fall Tips and Planning

Fall Tips and Planning

Things to do to prepare your plantings for winter–

*  If you have a young tree, protect the trunk with a plastic sleeve or wire guard.  This will protect against deer rubbing their antlers on the trunks and shredding the bark.  
*  Plants that may be favored by deer should be wrapped with a deer net.  The most common are Yews, certain Viburnum, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, young Magnolia trees/shrubs, young Burning Bush, to name a few.
*  Anti-desiccant spray–this is a liquid spray applied to evergreens to help them preserve moisture and protect them from winter wind burn.  
*  Mulching–apply mulch at the base of first year roses and perennials.  Often, you can rake mulch from the surrounding area–new mulch is not necessarily needed.  This helps to moderate soil temperature fluctuations–especially when there is little/no snow on the ground.  
*  Repellent–we are fans of Bobbex.  This is an effective way at deterring deer, rabbits, and voles.  Reapply about every 6 weeks–take advantage of periods of “thaw” to do the reapplication.
*  Deep root fertilization–this can be done a number of ways.  We recommend applying Milorganite (also deters deer) around the base of plants in the fall (now), drenching the soil with compost tea, or having fertilizer and bio-stimulants injected into the soil.  All of these...




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watering Instructions

watering Instructions

CongratulationsYou have just made a significant investment to your yard, and to your life, by installing new plant material. To ensure that investment is productive and successful, you need to nurture it, just like any other investment, making sure you do all you can to help it pay-off.  So, now what?

Watering – not enough or too much – is the most important step in establishing new plants. Beautiful Blooms will always “water-in” all the plant material they install for you. However, once we leave the property, you become responsible for seeing that adequate moisture is supplied. Knowing when and how much to water – and conversely, when not to water – can be tricky, so we offer these guidelines.

Perennials: It is recommended that you water 3 times-a-week, for the first 3 weeks whether is rains or not. After 3 weeks, water once-a-week, unless there is at least ½ inch of rainfall during that week. If natural rainfall is not sufficient, then supplemental, regular watering is needed. Remember that plants dry out faster in windy, unprotected areas, as well as on slopes.  Also, pay close attention to plants placed under a roof overhang; they will need slightly more water since the soil in that area tends to be drier as it does not receive any rain.

Small shrubs: You should use a hose at a slow trickle for 10-20 minutes per shrub to thoroughly saturate the root zone. You will want to keep the water at the ...

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