Archive for February, 2011
Monday, February 28th, 2011
Recent studies report that about 90% of homeowners do recognize the value of a well maintained lawn and landscape, both aesthetically and as a great investment but they also saw the value environmentally as well as for improved physical and mental health.
Environmentally, trees, shrubs and turf are the best dust mops on earth absorbing an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released into the air each year and they absorb gaseous pollutants converting them back into oxygen – one tree can remove 26 lbs of carbon dioxide and release 13 lbs of oxygen each year enough for a family of four.
A 625 square foot area of lawn can provide enough oxygen for one person for an entire day – on a block of 8 average homes, the front lawns alone can have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning – proper landscaping can also reduce those air conditioning costs by as much as 50%!
Of course, gardening itself can be a great waist shrinker and weight reducer, helping you to burn a few calories and give you a nice workout. In a medical survey, 47% of all doctors actually use some type of gardening, not for the weight reducer, but as a way to help maintain their own sanity. Hey, gardening can be relaxing, mind clearing, and in the end, very rewarding.
And, your lawn and landscape is a great investment – a well maintained landscape can improve the value of your property by as mush as 15%, and have a cost recovery value of 100-200% at selling time. A good looking lawn and landscape is one of the best ways to entice a potential buyer when you’re trying to sell your home.
So go ahead and do yourself, the environment, and the value of your home a favor – get out and make one of the smartest investments around. Good landscaping – it’ll make a world of difference. Remember, if you need help, we’re here for you. From the do –it – yourselfer, to those wanting professional design and installation, we’ve got you covered. Visit us at the Cincinnati Home and Garden Show this week (booth 1421) or visit our website to learn more www.natorp.com.
Monday, February 28th, 2011
Garden Questions of the Week
“I have several dead spots in my lawn. How do I go about fixing them?” -Although late summer / early fall seeding is best, we can’t wait for then! So you’ll need to dormant or spring seed (do it now or in a few weeks). Be sure to rake out all the dead debris from the areas, then seed those areas with your grass seed (chose a seed mix or blend that matches or is compatible to your existing lawn). Be sure to throw some seed into the surrounding grass as well. Then put down either a starter fertilizer, or if a pre emergent herbicide is needed, be sure to use that is specially formulated for newly seeded lawns. All other pre emergent herbicides will stop grass seed from growing. Be sure to water the seed / new grass as needed thru the spring season and into the summer as well. By the way, for the turf type tall fescue lawns, we now have the NEW TLC Fescue Blend, with Titan Limited, Titan Rx and Rendition Rx – all rhizoming tall fescues! (Put your lawn in our hands! Call Natorp’s Landscape Maintenance 398-4769 – it may be less expensive than you think!)
“I see my spring bulbs starting to pop up. When is the best time to feed spring bulbs?” -There have always been different opinions on this, but here is ours – the best time to feed with bulb food is just as they are coming up (early spring), the second being in the fall, and last being after they finish flowering.
“When is the best time to cut back my Japanese yews and Boxwood?” Do your pruning before they leaf out in the spring, and don’t be too anxious to do it while its really cold. After they put out the first flush of new growth, and that ‘hardens off’, then feel free to come back with a light second pruning by hand to even-up and longer branches as needed.
“Can you tell me your golden rule of pruning flowering plants again? I always get that confused.” Sure! As a general rule of thumb, for the interest of the flower, prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after they finish flowering (yes, there are exceptions to the rule, including fruit trees, etc). If the plants flower in the summer (after June 1), prune in the spring. If you are not concerned about the flowers on spring flowering plants, they can be pruned early spring before they leaf out.
Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Problems in the Garden
Buggy Joe Boggs (OSU Extension) is still in hibernation, but will be waking up very shortly. In the meantime, we’ve got a great suggestion for you. Get out side and go on a bagworm hunt! Bagworms are evergreen eating machines, and in many cases go unrecognized as in small numbers they appear to be cones hanging from the plant. But as needles begin to disappear, and more and more of these cone shaped bags begin to appear, then you realize that something isn’t right.
Bagworms over winter cone-like brown bags (1 -1 ½ inches long) – or should I say the female and her eggs over winter in the bags. If the bag is empty, that was the male who pupated into a winged adult last summer, mated with the females and eventually died.
If the bag is solid, there is a female inside, and usually 500 or more tiny bagworm eggs. Yep, 500 or more eggs are in each of the bags containing the females. And when they hatch out in late may / early June, they either stay on the evergreen or get into the air and fly to new sources of food.
So, by scouting your landscape now, and hand picking the bagworms, squashing them as you pick and then throwing them away, you are physically eliminating them before they have a chance to hatch. Now, chances are you won’t find all the bags, or there may be bagworm bags too high for you to reach. Just wait until early June, and begin monitoring the plants. When you see the baby bagworm moving on the plant, a spray with Bt or Spinosad (Capt. Jacks Deadbug Brew) will take care of them. And the great thing about these controls, they’re all natural, all organic! So get out and hunt down all the dreaded bagworms in your landscape today, and get ‘em before they get started.
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
From Garden to Kitchen with Rita Heikenfeld
Well, Yardboy, it’s certainly good to be back with you after that long, cold winter. I have to say, though, that I enjoyed “nesting in” during those wonderful, snowy days. We’ve burned more wood than ever this year and are looking forward to spring. As a matter of fact, I’m already making my “potions” for chapped lips and hands. These are great for days when you’re outside getting the gardens started.
You can double or triple the recipe. Experiment with the amount of beeswax. A little less and your balm will be softer; a little more and it will be firm.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon petroleum jelly
1 generous tablespoon beeswax
Heat until melted. Pour into container.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
Instead of all beeswax, use 1 teaspoon cocoa butter and 2 teaspoons beeswax
Add a few drops of favorite essential oil
Stir in contents of 1 vitamin E capsule, anywhere from 400-1000 IU.
The hand cream penetrates the skin. The petroleum jelly puts a protective moisture barrier on it. A little goes a long way.
1 cup inexpensive hand cream (I like generic unscented)
3-4 tablespoons petroleum jelly
Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
Add a few drops of favorite essential oil.
-Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP / Herbalist www.abouteating.com
OBKB – That’s it for this week! Be sure to visit our Landscape Booth at the 2011 Cincinnati Home and Garden Show (1421). I’ll be there on Sunday, March 6, 12-3, broadcasting on 55KRC with my good friend Gary Sullivan. Stop by and say hello! Now, do yourself a favor. Go out and have the best week or your life. See ya. RW, the Yardboy. [Listen to Natorp’s own Ron Wilson every Saturday 6-9am ‘In the Garden’ on 55KRC The Talk Station and XM158), and from 10-noon on 610 WTVN (Columbus). Catch his gardening tips on Local 12 News Saturday and Monday mornings.]