Deal With Dandelions

Soil Type:

Dandelions need sun and light soil to grow well, however they will grow in any type of soil partially recently disturbed soil. So, having deserted the herb garden you will find them everywhere and how they relish it.

How they spread:

After they flower, they produce a seed head that blows on the wind or even a slight breeze. It has been estimated that a seed will travel up to a hundred miles. How they worked that one out, I have no idea. What I do know is that last autumn we had sand on our cars here in Oxford that had blown over from North Africa, so anything is possible. Dandelions are a master of endurance and you may be dismayed of never getting rid of them. However, they are ways of controlling them.

Iron Resolve

Getting rid of Dandelions must be treated as warfare with its goal: total annihilation of the plant. You must approach the task with a harshness and iron will, ferociously obliterating the Dandelion in your garden

How To Control Dandelions:

If they are in your lawn, you may think to your self: I will mow them to death. However, what happens is the dandelion just grow shorter. Keeps it head down, in other words. It was Darwin himself who first noticed this. So mowing is a no goer.

If you are into spraying chemicals, “Roundup” is the best. However, do be aware that “Roundup” will kill any thing that it touches and that includes Oak trees. So when you use it make sure that they is no wind at all.

Pouring boiling water will kill dandelions. You must make sure that you have enough boiling water to soak the plant, root and all. You should see results of this within four hours. The leaves will start to go brown.

Make a mixture of Isopropyl alcohol, that is rubbing alcohol, which can be bought at your local pharmacies. Mix two tablespoons of alcohol with two pints of water: put it in a spray bottle and spray until the Dandelion is dripping wet. The best time of the day to do this is midday on a hot afternoon. The plant will show signs of withering within two hours.

I use a mixture of vinegar and water. The mixture is: two pints of vinegar with a dash of liquid soap and two tablespoons of lemon juice. I put this in a hand help spray bottle and spray dandelions when ever I see them. The plant will die, never to return. However, others will spring up else where in the garden.

Dandelion are very easy to dig out.

The main way of controlling Dandelions is to never let the flowers turn into seed heads.

It Is Not All Bad:

Like every plant, Dandelion does have many uses, none of which I have tried.

Apart from using the leaves in salad one of the more useful ones in my view is extracting rubber from the plant to make tires for motor cars. Yes, you read it right:

Dandelions contain rubber, however before you rush out to your garden you may want to know that British plants do not contain enough to make it worth while. It is the Dandelion grown in Russian that contain the rubber.The milky sap is found in the root of the plant.

Cobblestones

Cobblestones have been around for two centuries and give off that English street feeling. Maybe in those days it might not have been as beautiful but today it’s seen as an elegant paving technique. You will notice that a cobblestone is not often symmetrical and is found in different sizes and finishes.

Random Roma Cobbles is a beautiful style for the person who likes asymmetrical consistency. These paving stones are laid in rows and have the perfect homely feel. One could say that these are put together in the form of a puzzle to cover up the ground.

Canterbury Cobbles are reminiscent of the era where streets were used to convey horse drawn carriages. The thick paving stones give the surface being paved a good amount of height without overdoing it. This paving stone is often found in symmetrical shapes but the soft edges have a gentle appearance. The sandy colour gives your garden a vintage appearance.

Cornwall Cobbles are a dull grey that seem to go perfectly with a rainy and cloudy day. These paving stones can often be cut into different sizes to match your preferences.

Bastille Cobbles have the same appearance as the stones used in the fifteenth century. The idea of a fortress goes hand in hand with this stone. The finished appearance gives the impression of a sporting ground for jousting.

Porto Cobbles are symmetrical paving stones that are often placed in rounded patterns. In the previous centuries the ports of most countries were made with stone that was difficult to slide on. With that concept in mind, garden designers use it for their aesthetics and practicality.

Piazza Cobbles are, nowadays, used for central yard features similar to the way they were used in the olden days. This paving stone has a high quality finish that makes a person feel as if they were in a market place of the courtyard of a castle.

Oxford Cobbles are reminiscent of the eighteenth century. They are often polished to be a darker colour that makes the ground seem like the lesser important feature. When these are placed in the modern home they give the surrounding garden more definition.

Snow and Landscaping

Snow acts as a natural insulator, so your landscaping will survive under snow all season, it’s when we come to shovel it that it may cause a problem or two. If everything is under a foot of snow, do you know where your driveway starts and ends? What about your walkway?

The most important and obvious thing is to keep your shovel on hard ground. Seems easy, but it is a lot harder than you may think. Where that landscaping starts is lost in a sea of white. This is why it is a good idea to use driveway reflectors to mark the boundaries of your hard surfaces. This way, you’ll know when to stop shoveling and hopefully you won’t have gone into any trees or shrubs that are hidden.

If there is a lot of snow it’s a good idea to shake it off of trees and shrubs that you can see, just so that the branches aren’t burdened with the extra weight. The roots will thank you for the added protection, but the branches, especially if they are on the small side will not.

Don’t pile the snow that you have shoveled onto your landscaping if you can help it. This just adds more weight. Instead try to pile it on the side of the driveway or walkway with no landscaping, or put it on the lawn itself. Remember to keep it away from public sidewalks and the road or you may end up with a fine.

If you are using a snowblower, be careful where you shoot the snow. Again, avoid trees and landscaping and the public walkways around your property. People don’t want to be blasted with snow from a snowblower and trees don’t either!

Lastly, be careful where you salt. Remember that during a thaw and in the spring the water will carry the salt residue with it and you don’t want that ending up on your plants or trees. You don’t want them damaged so limit the salt to areas away from landscaping if you can.

DIY Stump Grinding

Take proper safety precautions

Stump grinding can prove to be dangerous and harmful if you avoid taking necessary security measures. As per the expert suggestions,

  • You must wear sturdy boots, full-length trousers, goggles and gloves.
  • It is utmost important that you avoid taking your body too close to the grinding blades.
  • Moreover, it will prove to be safe if you trim down the grass around the stump before you start the grinding.
  • It is also necessary to remove small rocks, twigs and landscaping elements that are near the stumps before you start the work.

Cut down the bigger stumps

Before you start grinding the stump abruptly, you should note that it is not an appropriate way to grind a giant trunk. Utilise the services of the professionals for tree removal to trim down the branches of the tree and remove the trunk from the base. Using a chainsaw is crucial at this point. As experts suggest, you should lower down the stump as much as you can until it comes on a level with the ground. It does not only make the process smoother but also helps in minimising the risk of accidents.

The right technique of stump grinding

It is necessary to follow the instruction manual of your grinder minutely before starting the equipment. Experts instruct to grind the stump with the help of the following steps,

  • Place the wheel of your grinder on the stump and start it.
  • You are required to move the cutter sidewise so that the blade can cut through the stump evenly.
  • Once the first layer is removed, start grinding the next layer following the same technique.
  • You need to repeat the removal of the layers until you the entire stump is ground.

It is not the end of the process as you need to carry out a thorough inspection. You are required to make sure that the stump is entirely cut through, and now it is at least ten centimetres below the ground surface.

Getting Green Space Spring Ready

First things first, you should sharpen your tools. This means shovels, pruning shears, lawnmower blades and anything else you can sharpen. Getting them work ready will save you time when you actually want to get to work in the garden. Rubbing mineral spirits on wooden tool handles will reduce splitting which may just save you from the dreaded splinter.

Get that soil ready before you start to plant. That is, you’ll want to clean up any leaves or debris that has settled there over the winter, but you also want to rake it and get some air into it. This is a great time to add compost for extra nutrients, mix it in well and you’ll be good to go once planting season is here.

If you have a new garden, if you want to re-do your garden or if you’re starting from scratch the best thing to do is draw up a plan. What do you want your garden to look like when you’re done? Do you want big items like trees in there or will it be an annual bed? Most will go with a combination of the two so they have something pretty to look at all year round, evergreens keep their colour all year, some perennials bloom in the fall after the annuals have been pulled, etc.

It may be intimidating to go into a nursery because you may get waylaid looking at all the beautiful plants and end up with nothing that you went in for. Best to arm yourself with a list. Take along your garden plan to remind yourself what will go where and once you see all the plants together you can make your final choices. Remember to keep tall things to the back so you can still see the short things and don’t crowd the garden, everything will grow bigger year after year.

What to Avoid When Landscaping

Overcrowding. Things need room to grow. This means that you have to take note of the planting instructions that come with plants (annuals and perennials alike) so that you aren’t choking them once they start to bloom. An overcrowded garden isn’t a pleasant garden to look at or work in. Properly space all the plants. It’s okay to have spaces in the spring when plants are small, they will grow and look wonderful come summer.

Don’t have your garden bloom all at once. Sure, it’ll look nice for a month or so, but then what? Choose things that bloom at different times of the year so that you always have something making that landscaping beautiful. Mixing evergreens with annuals for example will give you a great looking space no matter the season.

Bad curb appeal. Even if no one else can see it, you can and don’t you want your green space to look nice? Take the time to plant things properly and plan the garden out so that you have optimal enjoyment of your space throughout the year. If you need to tweak the plans mid-planting that’s okay too.

Don’t use too many ornamental touches. Nature is beautiful without it getting clogged up with a million decorative gnomes. Less is more and if you love everything you own you can switch them up throughout the season to have a different look all the time. Don’t spoil the view or take away from your hard work with gaudy accents.

Don’t crowd your garden with too much colour. Choose two colours and go with that. You can always change your mind with annuals the next year and go with two different colours. This makes it all look ‘meant to be’ and uncluttered.

Cost Of Landscape Lighting

The main problem with hardware store lights, are the alligator clips that make the electrical connection. These are bad ideas, because they always fail after a year or two. The problem is that they allow moisture to corrode the alligator teeth, and eventually corrode the cable. In this situation I would cut out the alligator clips strip the cable and make waterproof connections using silicone filled wire caps. This is the only reliable way to connect outdoor lighting.

But still there is the problem with the cheap fixtures themselves. Hardware store lights are the low end of the lighting manufactures lines. They are built cheaply and sold at a low price. That is why there are so many houses using them. The cost to install landscape lighting like this is usually $100 a light. These lights come with a 1 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year.

In comparison to high quality solid fixtures which would cost about $200 a light installed correctly. These lights come with a 5 year warranty on the fixture and no warranty on the bulb but it will last about 1 year. The fixture will last more like 15 years.

One step better is Kichler potted LED lights which cost 300.00 a light installed but come with a 15 year warranty on the light fixture and the bulb inside. They are expected to last about 30 years.

So the least expensive landscape lighting system to install is the most expensive to maintain over time, and the most expensive to install is the least expensive to maintain over time. This study doesn’t put a dollar amount on the headaches and times that your landscape lighting was not working correctly and waiting for service. Halogen Light bulbs go out randomly, not all at once. But, the costs listed were assuming that all halogen bulbs were changed 1 time per year. LED bulbs were changed 1 time every 5 years and the Kichler light never had to be changed.

The study also shows that LED bulbs cost more to install but save a lot of money in service. LED bulbs are guaranteed to last 5 years in comparison to halogen bulbs 1 year, and LED bulbs use 4 to 5 times less electricity tan halogen bulbs do. I switched my house from halogen to LED and went from using 466 watts to 66 watts, saving about $12 dollars a month on my electric bill.

Tips for Spring Foraging

  • Identify the plant correctly. Always be 100% sure of the plant’s identification before you harvest and consume. Many plants have poisonous look-alikes so it is imperative you can ID with certainty. Pay attention to the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out”. There are a number of great plant ID books on the market that cover most geographical areas. You may also find foraging classes in your area which can be a fun way to learn about local plants.
  • Practice sustainable harvesting for any plants you harvest. Never take more than you need and be sure to leave enough for the plants to survive and prosper. Keep in mind that unless you are eradicating an invasive species, foraging should never negatively impact the survival of the plant population. Take time to learn what plants are invasive in your area and also what plants are endangered and should never be harvested.
  • Forage in areas you know are clean and have not been treated with chemicals. Be wary of foraging along roadsides and under power lines.
  • Harvest underground storage organs; bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, etc. with additional consideration as harvesting can kill the plant. Early spring and late fall are the best times to harvest underground storage organs as the plant’s energy is conserved below ground. In late spring and summer, the plant will redirect energy to above ground growth and production of flowers and seed. A few examples of bountiful roots to forage in spring are chicory, dandelion, and burdock.
  • Seek out leafy greens as they are the stars of spring foraging. This fresh food is available long before our gardens start producing. In most areas, there are quite a few leafy greens to choose from. Dandelion, chickweed, lamb’s quarter, garlic mustard, and violet are all commonly foraged greens. Do some research to find which greens are best eaten raw and which taste best steamed or sautéed.

Algae Control for Ponds

Maintain the Ecosystem by Adding Floating Plants

To achieve a fine balance naturally, cover at least half of the water surface with floating plants like water lettuce, azolla, water hyacinth or duckweed. Apart from these, you can even add lotus or lilies. These plants multiply quickly and work as shade for the life beneath. The submerged plant like hornwort keeps the water cool and blocks excessive sunlight and keeps the algal growth at a bare minimum. Adding plants is a necessity because they compete with algae for dissolved nutrients.

Love Fishes? Do NOT cram them in one pond

Who doesn’t love to see fish roaming around in crystal clear water? But, ensure that you do not add them in excess in one pond. More fishes would mean more waste (through excreta and food) which would result in the fast algae bloom.

Keep Debris at Bay

For algae control, regularly clean the water surface with a pond vacuum, net or with AquaClear Pellets. Because when these dead leaves, debris, and sludge break down, they result in the growth of algae.

Tips For Tree Care And Cutting

They provide us with shade in the harsh summer heat, and offer us flowers, fruits, and an amazing surrounding to hang swings.

However, odds are you most likely don’t put too much effort into how to appropriately watch over your trees. A large portion of us don’t consider it by any means until the point when an especially strong hurricane or storm blows one down, expels, or falls on our homes or vehicles.

Knowing how to tend to your plants is vital and it can enable you to avoid these calamities. A tree, just like any other living life form, has a number of requirements to develop and keep up the balance of its own system. A few things that you do with your plants could be hazardous, and neglecting the necessities of your plants can have negative outcomes.

There are a couple of the essential steps for tree care that you need to take to guarantee that your yard remains in a healthy condition, and it will help in keeping away diseases from happening. This begins with planting them in the right zones.

Every plant species is unique, and it’s crucial for you to know its special needs before planting. You will require enough area to help the extent of its root system, so know these things ahead of time and plan appropriately.

Placing mulch around your tree is an awesome approach to keep your tree in incredible condition. It not just keeps lawnmowers from getting excessively close, which could be damaging to the roots, yet it stops weed development, and the soil around from being excessively tramped down.

By getting plants and shrubs pruned consistently to guarantee that growth and illness don’t occur. A tree cutting services provider will allow you to decide the best schedule for the job. Ensure that, when you prune your plants, likewise, you abstain from cutting any primary branches. Novices have a tendency of cutting branches inappropriately, and this could result in occurrence of various issues later.

As said already, being aware of your plants’ requirements is presumably the most imperative thing you can do to improve its situation. Care will vary depending on different types of species, and this incorporates the best time for pruning.