Garden Tips

Gardening article with artwork

Why to Prune Roses infographic

Why to Prune Roses

Why to Prune Roses

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How, when, and why to prune roses

 

5 reasons to prune trees and hedges infographic

The 5 Reasons to Prune your Trees and Shrubs

The 5 Reasons to Prune your Trees and Shrubs

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In the forest, trees and shrubs grow naturally and wildly. Some grow into majestic trees, or an occasional beautiful shrub, though many will succumb to nature and only the fittest will survive. There is a time and a place for natural plantings, left to grow on their own. But as much as we love the beauty of nature, when it comes to the limited space in our urban landscape, we cannot let trees become structurally unsound, a fire hazard, or grow over the roof of our house. Most homeowners usually want to enjoy flowers and fruit to their maximum benefit while maintaining an orderly, cleaner, safe landscape.

We can have safer, healthier, and more aesthetically pleasing landscape by pruning properly. Understanding why we prune and the goal is the first step in proper pruning. The most important concept to understand is that the plant has a certain amount of energy it extrudes for growth… If you cut a plant in one place, it will direct its energy to grow another place. Keeping this in mind and understanding the 5 basics of why we prune which are highlighted in the drawing will help direct you on your way to minimize time invested in pruning and a more aesthetically pleasing landscape.

 

Asian Citrus Psyllid citrus insect diagram

Asian Citrus Psyllid

Asian Citrus Psyllid

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The Grim Reaper of Citrus Trees

If you love Citrus trees beware, this Halloween the grim reaper will not be wearing a black robe and carrying a scythe… And it may be providing more of a trick than a treat! The Grim Reaper of citrus trees is a tiny, flying, sap-sucking insect the size of a grain of rice. The Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) can cause damage on its own, but also may infect our trees with a fatal bacterium that causes Citrus Greening disease, technically known as Huanglongbing disease (HLB). This disease has devastated the Florida citrus industry and has now been found in Southern California. While not harmful to humans, the disease kills citrus trees, and has no cure.

Monitoring citrus for the presence of the ACP and symptoms of HLB is key for controlling this fatal disease. Much like aphids, the psyllids feed on new, developing leaves. Check new growths on your trees for psyllid activity, especially during Spring and Fall. Look for evidence of the ACP in new growth by checking for:

  • Adult psyllids feeding, head down and rear end in the air (at a 45-degree angle)
  • Twisted and or notched leaves in new growth
  • Sticky honeydew with black sooty mold
  • Nymphs (baby insects) that produce waxy, white tubules
  • Tiny, almond shaped, yellow eggs (You may need Inspector Clouseau’s magnifying glass)

Once a tree is infected with HLB, it will die. Diseased trees need to be removed promptly in order to protect other citrus trees on the property, in neighbors’ yards, and throughout the community from getting infected. If you think you have spotted the pest or disease, call the free statewide pest hotline at 800-491-1899.

You can help protect your own trees by controlling ants that directly interfere with biological control of ACP. Ants farm the psyllid for honeydew. Ants feed honeydew to their offspring and protect the psyllids from natures beneficial predators and parasites. There are some “fruit safe” chemicals and home remedies that can help protect and to kill ACP insects before they infect the tree. However, we need to be very careful not to use these when the trees are flowering, because they can kill honeybees and beneficial insects. These methods, if used, need to be done on a very short and consistent time frame- so I would usually suggest going this route only if trees were found in your neighborhood with the disease.
Always purchase your trees from a trusted source. At Garden View Nursery, all our citrus trees are grown and kept safe in quarantine zones in screen houses inspected by the Department of Agriculture.

 

Benefits of Deep Watering infographic Garden Tip

Deep Water Your Tree for Deep Roots

Deep Water Your Tree for Deep Roots

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Simply stated, encouraging deep root growth is universally accepted as good horticultural technique. Deep roots stabilize our trees and shrubs and the deeper roots can tap water from deeper in the soil where moisture is retained for longer periods of time.  One of the biggest obstacles to developing deep roots is the habit of daily or too frequent watering, where the roots are not encouraged to grow downward for water, partially because they have sufficient moisture they need near the surface and over saturated soil below.

Shallow rooted trees and shrubs may survive normal conditions but when it gets hot out, the surface is the first place to dry out. Even though there is water deeper in the ground, it is not tapped, because their active roots are only on the surface. Shallow daily watering can lead to:

  1. Shallow roots that do not provide stability
  2. More frequent & wasted watering, because the tree is relying only on the surface roots for sustaining moisture
  3. Roots growing under paving looking for oxygen
  4. Unhealthy trees & shrubs that are much more susceptible to disease & insect infestations
  5. Daily watering encourages weed growth by providing the continuous moisture needed to germinate weeds that would not happen if the soil dried slightly

More importantly, we can kill or reduce the health of our plants and trees by continued saturation of the soil. Plant roots require oxygen for growth and respiration. Devoid of oxygen, plants can literally drown- the roots die and the plant is left to rely only on what surface roots that are still alive if any. The key is to water deeply and infrequently enough that the roots grow downward for the water. Be careful though, if the plants are allowed to dry out too much, the minute root hairs (feeder roots) may die, setting back the process. It is important to understand that it is a process. You cannot just cut back on how often you water; you must slowly train the roots to grow down. Water less and less frequently while increasing the amount of water as the plant matures and/or develops deeper roots. Several short watering periods spaced out across the morning are more efficient in most cases than a single long watering. For instance, instead of utilizing one 12-minute watering period, change to a 3-4–minute watering period with three separate start times cycling shortly after the other.

Encouraging deep root growth is a balancing act that is complicated by many factors, including but not limited to, new landscaping, soil types, existing roots from trees and shrubs, plant types, plant groupings, prior watering techniques, sprinkler systems, shade, sun, slopes, drainage systems, changes in the weather, and numerous other factors. Water penetration also depends on the soil. Sandy soil absorbs water much more quickly than clay soil, and loamy soil falls in the middle. It is thus important to check your soil for absorption.

The benefits of deep watering can also be seen in our lawns in ground covers. The same rules apply and the amount of water savings can be enormous. If you want to learn more, check out our sister article: “Lawns Can Survive On Twice a Week Watering

 

Inside Out Pruning vs Flush Pruning

5 reasons to do “Inside out Pruning”

5 reasons to do “Inside out Pruning”

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Bringing out your hedge trimmer can be an easy, fast way to turn your plants from shabby to shapely. After a few effortless swings, the job is largely done. But we’ve all seen that stiff, unnatural, exterior of dense, tightly packed leaves with dead dry interior as a result. At Garden View, our maintenance teams use trimmers to efficiently remove plant material – but instead of solely relying on hedge trimmers, our team has perfected the strategy of utilizing what we’ve coined as, “The Inside-Out Method.”

Start by reaching inside the plant and, using a hand pruner, snip a small branch with leaves on it back to a lateral branch. Repeat the same process every 6 to 9 inches balanced throughout the shrub to create small openings in the dense exterior so that light can reach into the interior. New growth will start to sprout from inside the plant. Depending on the shrub and your needs, you may want to do this as often as every third pruning.

Here are our Top 5 benefits of Inside-Out pruning:

  1. properly pruned hedgeLess work – Plants that have been inside-out pruned will require less maintenance. Flush-trimming forces the plant to devote energy to producing new growth predominantly on the exterior of the plant instead of throughout the whole plant. This makes more work for you!
  2. Healthier plants – Constant flush pruning cuts off growth before new healthy leaves and stems have a chance to mature and photosynthesize (produce plant energy). Plants need new growth to be healthy, produce chlorophyll, and to grow out of disease and other issues. Inside out pruning allows for new growth from inside the plant.
  3. More natural look -In most cases, constant flush pruning makes plants look unnatural while subjecting the plant to possible over pruning resulting in exposing the dry, brown and dead-looking interior. Inside out pruned plants will produce new growth on the interior of the plant and won’t appear as sheared.
  4. Less disease & insect problems – The dense exterior of sheared plants has minimal airflow at the center of the plant, making it a safe haven for pests, fungi, and disease.
  5. More Flowers – Constant flush pruning cuts off most flower buds that appear on new growth before you, beneficial insects and hummingbirds can enjoy the flowers.

 

Voids and Masses in the Landscape proper design

Voids and Masses

Voids and Masses

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In our last article, we discussed “Form Following Function”, which means that the intended function of a landscape is paramount to the design. In this lesson, we want to explore the next step of making the functional yard spatially pleasing with a well-thought-out flow. With our function determined, let’s start thinking about how to integrate the creative elements of the yard!

First, we should start by scouting our most important vantage points and ask ourselves questions about what we want our view from those locations to achieve.  What do we want to put emphasis and/or focus on? How do we want to prioritize what to focus on? Do we need to add something of interest to be our point of focus? This focus could be a functional element (like the pergola in our illustration), or a piece of art, a fountain, or even a nice tree. From there we can consider how to enhance the natural beauty of the view we are creating.

Next, with our view laid out, we should think of how a painter would sketch the view of the yard as if it were a painting. The artist’s canvas leads the eye on a journey through the painting to a point of interest, and then continues the journey out of the picture.  In a Landscape canvas, we can adopt all the beauties of this principal to form the desired visual journey from your vantage point.  Utilizing clever mixtures of voids and masses is a great tool for the landscape artist to achieve this. Voids are anything that leads the eye low to the ground and does not block other landscape elements.  A few examples of these voids are low growing ground cover, a pool, or an interesting hardscape. Masses, as the name implies, are larger items or large groups of items such as larger shrubs, a boulder, or a proud tree. The optimization of voids and masses can provide wonderful surprises, and even make the yard seem larger by leading your mind and eye on fascinating divergent paths that flow through a complex space, as opposed to a straight line. The possibilities and power of voids and masses are endless.

The mission is to work your medium into a story, the unfolding of which we control. The harmonization and blending of these artistic elements can have endless impacts on the subliminal aura of your yard in totality. In the world of nature, a world in which we all belong, anyone can create a masterpiece. In our next article we will continue to explore how achieve this using the tools of lines to further guide the viewer’s focus.