Hey you- with the yellow tree!
Do you have a pin oak, a Quercus palustris to be exact? These are stately trees, topping out at nearly 60'. Although Pin Oaks are noble and beautiful trees, with their great triangular shape and graceful descending lower branches, they rarely remain beautiful in our clay-packed area. Now is the time of year when many pin oak (Quercus palustris) trees start to show their true colors. Unfortunately, those colors don't include dark green! Yellow or lime green are typical colors associated with pin oaks in our area. The pin oak performs poorly in most Midwestern soils- this is especially true in areas where the topsoil has been removed, which exposes the clay subsoil.
A typical Kansas soil has a pH higher than the optimum range for pin oaks, which prefer a well-drained soil with a pH from 5.0 to 6.5. When the soil pH reaches levels near 7.5, iron chlorosis, a nutrient deficient symptom develops. Iron chlorosis appears as yellow leaves with green veins. Some leaves may develop angular brown spots with brown curled leaf margins. Iron is essential for production of chlorophyll. Without enough available iron, the tree fails to produce enough chlorophyll to maintain healthy green leaves. Branches and twigs may begin to die after suffering from chlorosis over a period of several years.
The problem is not however with the amount of iron available. Midwestern soils typically have plenty of iron. However, the high soil pH prevents the iron from being used by the plant. There are three methods in which iron chlorosis can be treated due to an alkaline soil situation.
1. Make the soil more acidic: Wow, that sounds fun! Incorporating elemental sulfur or peat moss is NOT an easy task and must be repeated over the entire area many times a year. However, this will slowly help to decrease the soil pH making the iron in the soil more available to the tree.
2. A second way to treat iron chlorosis is by applying a foliar application of iron chelate or iron sulfate. This is approach is temporary since the iron does not move beyond the leaves that have been treated. A rate of 2.5 oz. of iron sulfate in 3 gallons of water is the recommended rate. Iron chelates are water-soluble forms of iron that remain in the solution making them available to the tree. The best conditions or time to make foliar applications are during the evening or in periods of cool weather. This is not effective for large scale areas- can you picture trying to spray two 45’ tall trees?!?
3. Injection. This is the most effective method of treating the problem. The tree immediately takes it up into their vascular system and the problem begins to subside. How permanent is this solution? The pin oak will revert to the chlorotic state once the supply of iron is exhausted, usually 2 or 3 years after implantation.
Price: See information below. Between $100-$250 per tree. $50 for each additional tree on the property.We are happy to assess your tree, explain the process and do the injection. Let us know if you have questions!
Correction to the price: the price of the injection is based on the SIZE of the tree.
More Tree Care Tips:
If your tree is starting to have dead limbs interspersed throughout, call a reliable tree service to get those branches removed. It is likely just normal for that tree. However, if you see it becoming more of an issue every year, your tree could be in decline. It is always recommended that you remove dead limbs when you find them. Don't let them sit there- this can breed necrotic tissue (it can rot!) at the crotch where the limb joins the trunk. Just like on your body, when your tree has an open, festering patch, disease and infection can set in.
Leave cuts open- don't seal them up. Mostly, when your prune out dead branches, your tree will callous over the cut area. The air helps speed the callous process.
Do fertilize. Don't do it after June-Spring is the best time to fertilize. You can use tree spikes (those that you put in the ground around the tree) or granular and water it in. Read package instructions well to get the right amount and the correct application method.
MULCH AROUND YOUR TREE. New trees are especially subject to being nicked by weed eaters/ string trimmers. If you mulch around the dripline of the tree, you keep machinery away from the base of your new investment! Mulch also prevents weeds from cropping up and stealing all the moisture and nurtrients from your tree. See this little drawing? Yep- it does all this.
Remember that the dripline is the end of the tree canopy....Mulch in a circle just that large! Really.
I had the pleasure of speaking with one of our friends from Heritage Tractor John Deere this weekend.
He gave me a lot of great information about buy a string trimmer/ weed wacker. I understand that a lot of our customers are looking for right tools for the job- they may not do every bit of their landscape maintenace themselves, but there are elements that they love! A good tool makes it all the more satisfying and does the job right. I, personally, am in the market for a great (probably Stihl) string trimmer/ edger. But I need it to be able to handle larger brush, as I have a hedge row with lots of tree sprouts! Here are some of his tips:
1. You get what you pay for! If you pay more, you WILL get more. In the first two months that Heritage sold Stihl products, it outsold all FIVE other brands sales in the past year. People love their Stihl products.
2. Know what you will use it for. Condo vs. Home? How much space do you have? How heavy duty will this need to be?
3. Let the experts fit you. If you are a big guy, don't buy a small curved shaft trimmer in hopes of saving money. :( In the opposite, if you are a small woman like me, they will fit you with right strap and make sure you know how to handle your equipment.
4. Battery or electric has its place- and is more expensive because of the great new lithium batteries. If you have a condo and small postage stamp of a lawn, it may be the right fit.
Thanks guys! I can't wait to get started.
Garden reminders for this week:
- Don’t water. Wow. Did you ever think you’d hear me say that? But don’t turn on your sprinkler. No. Not your drip either. Everything needs to dry out for minimum a week. Seriously, we have rain in the forecast Wednesday.
- Don’t cut your bulb greens back (mostly daffodils) unless they are really yellow. They look ugly, but ignore them for right now. I’ve decided that all the daffodils that were planted along my front walk, to form an edge, must be transplanted in Fall. They just aren’t in a place that I can tolerate the yellowing, but not really yellow, foliage. Ugly. Moving them.
- Plant annuals and vegetables now. Plant okra and beans and eggplant and sweet potatoes- all hot weather loving vegetables. Likely your cool season spinach is nearly done- see it going to seed? Pull it out... plant some okra or beans!
- You can still fertilize shrubs, perennials and definitely annuals! For all use a granular, time release. Balanced is fine… for annuals, use a liquid plant fertilizer.
- Prune your knockout shrub roses if they are getting out of control!! It will not take them long to put on a new crop of blooms. If they are 5’ high and rising, cut them back. Thin them out in the middle as well for best results. Take out all thicker, older canes and create some space in the middle of the plant.
If you look around, so many plants are coming into their bloom time!
Make a list, ask a landscaper/ horticulturalist or take a picture and post it on our FB wall if you want to idenify a plant! Many favorite perennials are really at their peak- if you're looking to add color and texture to your landscape and garden, consider some of these plants:
Bearded Iris- they are everywhere and they are so vertical and colorful! Add sopme to your garden. Ask your landscaper to leave room on your master plan for them (if you want to plant them yourself).... I have heirlooms from my husbands granny-so special!
Lilacs-OH MAN. 50 weeks a year, these standard old fashioned shrub/trees are meatballs. But two weeks a year, they are knock-outs, stars of the plant show with a fragrance so sweet! Even better, we can now plant Dwarf Korean Lilacs or Miss Kim Dwarf Lilacs. Both of these grow a max of 5' H x W and have a round leaf, bloom later that traditional lilacs and grow in a mounded shape with little pruning. Score for minimal pruning!
Roses- they are just starting, depending on the variety you have. Most landscape shrubs will take off this week but my ancient rugosa "wild" pink rose has some great blooms right now!
One of my favorite shrubs: Summer Snowflake Viburnum is blooming! Large white blooms held on horizontal branches-- shrub gets LARGE so be forewarned!
Dogwoods- most have passed their peak but many are still holding onto their fabulous, tres chic blooms! So lovely. Enjoy these planted in a protected sunny spot. These love morning sun and afternoon shade.
Here is what is coming into bloom in the next few weeks: ninebark and spirea, poppies, yarrow, salvia.
As always, if you are interested in crazy seasonal color and you want to water-- try annuals!!
Here are a few of my own personal favorite plants this year:
Cimicifuga- Bugbane or Black Cohosh. Finally found this and I love it! Got the ‘atropurpurea’ which means burgundy. Traditional herba use for rheumatism, anti-inflammatory and female reproductive organs (after birth pains, painful menses, menopausal symtoms). I however will be enjoying this woodland beauty- in a partial-sun border with yarrow around it (because my yarrow is sooooo plentiful this year).
Mellow Yellow Spirea- though this will be a giant, eventually, it is a small, golden ray of light right now. It has an Asian look to it, loves sun and even moisture.
Dappled Nishiki Willow. It will get to be a large blocking shrub- 6-8’ H x W. Can be pruned mightily, enjoys wet areas but tolerates drought as well. Can be pruned into a tree form pretty easily- s makes a dwarf tree. Flexible and colorful- bright yellow stems.
Here is a landscape project you can do yourself, if you have the interest and time: transplant/ divid some of your perennials!
How to transplant a perennial!
Choose a perennial that clumps or expands by adding root and shoot matter (think Hostas). Sure you can transplant lavender or daylilies, but most of those varieties don’t spread. Good perennials that spread, clump and generally need transplanting after a few years: monarda (anything in mint family), irises (those korms), cat mint, Echinacea/ rudbekia and other reseeding prairie natives.
Choose your day carefully. Transplants suffer least shock when it is cool and cloudy. Hot days will exhaust a new transplant as will drying out. Transplant before or after the sun is at its zenith.
Pick your transplant spot FIRST and dig a hole large enough for your transplant (make sure it is a generous sized hole!)
Give the base of your perennial a few inches berth- using your spade or hand trowel, cut into the ground a few inches from the base of the plant. (If your plant is 2” across, give the plant at least a couple inches all the way around.) Cut in a wide circle all the way around, loosening the ground around it, as far down as you can go. The bigger the plant, the deeper the roots….
Transfer, gently, your transplant to a pot to move it. Put it into your new hole. Tamp earth around it gently. Mix some top soil or compost into your soil mixture that you put back around your plant.
Make sure all the air holes are out of it. Water it in well. Add some Ferti-Lome Root Stimulator for good measure! One bottle will last a long time.
How to help your perennials right now: don’t expect your sprinklers to water them. Look at rainfall totals and water with a hose or drip irrigation! Prune back all dead leaves, stems, twigs etc. Mulch around them if possible. Use a granular fertilizer- natural and organic IS better to create a stronger plant. Try either compost or Plant Tone from Espoma.
Here is a PDF of information on watering your trees and shrubs (and perennials). Again, don't expect your lawn sprinkler to do all the work for you!
It's that time of year: people run into beautiful trees and plants, make some quick decisions and end up with BUYERS REMORSE.
Don't do this to yourself! Here are some helpful tips when faced with a lovely but mysterious shrub/tree/ perennial at the garden center.
1. Find out all you can about this mysterious beauty that you want to buy and take home and love forever and ever. *What is the botanical name? (Common names for plants are misleading many times) [Pictured above is a Forest Pansy Redbud, Cercis canadiensis]
*What is the mature size for this plant? Please plant accordingly. If this shrub is actually a small tree and will be 8' across, put it in a place that can accomodate it. These tags actually are not lying to you- the garden center may be selling a very small plant now but it will get big.
*How fast will it grow to mature size?
*What is the growing culture for this plant? Does it require sun or shade or something in between? Does it thrive on dry conditions or need wet, moist soil? If you don't figure this out, you WILL kill this plant. "Brown thumb"? More likely, you just didn't read up on your plant.
2. HAVE A PLACE TO PUT THE DANG THING BEFORE YOU BUY IT. Really, if your yard is a "disaster area" in your mind, invest in a landscape design before you invest in some large plants! It's like learning to walk before you learn to roller skate... you really need to work up to buying plants impulsively. Want to know what I do? I only allow myself to buy plants that fit in to the spaces I've designed- that is, I haven't gotten to designing the north side of my house yet. Therefore, I'm not allowed to impulsively buy stuff for that area. I MUST design it first, tying it into the rest of the yard, house and other beds.
(Personal example here) Also-- I have spaces in my border beds. I know that A. I have designed these spaces and they are going to continue being the same design in the future. B. I have limited space left in each area. I may only buy what fits in these empty space. Period. The. End.
If you really want a specific plant, any good designer will listen to this and try to incorporate it. Also, a good designer will tell you when you are CRAZY. "You want this 6-8' wide rhododendron in your front easement that gets no irrigation, you don't ever want to water out there and it's in full sun and has rocky limestone soil? Hmmm. You're delusional. :)" A great designer will then say: "How about we find a great blooming shrub that is that same color and will look excellent out there but be more realistic to the available soil/sun/ water?"
Here is a great client questionnaire we use for landscape and garden design consultations. All of these questions should affect the design of your landscape...
3. Plant with the future in mind. Are you going to be in this house in five years? Do you want shade at a particular place- or do you intend to remove a tree? Is this your retirement house? All of those requirements, all of your plans will affect your design choices and your planting choices. Trees are big investments and much of your landscape design should hinge on the trees that are currently on your property, the trees you want on your property and the effect of those trees.
If you are interested in trees and have identified your needs in your landscape design, come visit the LLI Tree Farm. We have lots of trees (obviously) but we also can offer guidance on tree choice. We are having a seasonal sale on blooming, ornamental crabapple trees. These aren't your grandma's crabapple (my grandma would make crabapple jelly from the tasy sour fruit). Crabapples are a diverse, smaller ornamental tree. They offer an amazing spring bloom (later than pear trees) that is unaffected by winter frosts and come in a variety of small sizes. Crabapples are great because there is a dwarf tree for your courtyard or next to your door, as well as a full size crabapple (20' or so) that offers dark burgundy leaves, fits under power lines and still has the great bloom and the cloud shaped canopy. Here are some of our favorites: Spring Snow Crabapple, Royal Raindrops Crabapple, Lollipop Crabapple. This, my friends, is a Royal Raindrops crabapple if full force!
It's spring at the Tree Farm!
What's blooming now?
The forsythia, the pear and plum trees and the royal star magnolia (as well as the Tulip tree magnolias too!). But how does your landscape look? If it's looking a bit bare, but you can't make it out to the tree farm, never fear! Did you know we sell bulk mulch, bulk soil and compost, bulk rock, gravel and sand? And guess what- we have an online store! You can buy it at night, from the comfort of your own couch. While we still have to schedule the delivery within our existing orders, we are happy to work to deliver it whenever you need it. Take a look here!
We are having a crabapple tree sale running through the month of April. This Saturday, April 13, we are having a radio remote from the Tree Farm to show them off! Come visit us and take a look at all of our blooming trees. Our crabapple sale is 20% off of a crabapple tree- also, kids get a FREE baby tree!
Crabapples are a great blooming ornamental tree for our area. While pears bloom early, then come redbuds, the next great wave of pink/purple/coral blooms are our crabapples! The best new varieties like Royal Raindrops are 20' at maturity and have a nice "Asian"-type shape to them. They do well underneath power lines. They are bred to withstand fireblight and other diseases of fruiting trees. Also, they were bred to be ornamentals- no messy falling fruit. They have little bronze, hard fruit (called vestigial berries) that stay on the tree.
Another personal favorite of mine is the Lollipop crabapple: white blooming, neat and tidy. It keeps a smaller ball on top- it's great for courtyards or small front lawns. I love the white bloom and the Victorian-type feel of it. I've seen it listed at both 10' and 15' at max height. I think the 10-12' range is probably most appropriate!
Lawn and Garden presentation:
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Kansas City Flower, Lawn and Garden show. My old buddies at Family Tree Nursery sponsored a Garden Chat stage. I chose to talk about Thematic Gardens- that is Japanese, xeric, meadow, butterfly, etc. gardens.
--However, it's mostly a good primer on what makes a landscape design GOOD/ effective or powerful! It's also a call to homeowner to "get real" with themselves: what they can and will actually be able to do themselves.
--Also, I hope people will understand that there are landscape elements best left to the professionals. We, Lawrence Landscape, fix so many homeowner installed mistakes. Don't be one of them! Leave the hardscape, patios, paths to the experts. Also, get an expert opinion on your drainage- if you install a landscape and the drainage isn't correct, you can lose it all! Irrigation? Well, ask an expert!
Open the powerpoint presentation to take a look at some of the pictures and ideas I had to share!
Lawrence Landscape is sponsoring a seminar on Green Roofs.
The presenter is from Roof Top Sedums, out of Iowa, and has a lot of information on the benefits of greening up your roof. They promote sedums as a green roof alternative- a natural choice given their ability to stand up to extreme heat and the fact that they need very little growing medium to take off! It is a tray system and it's exciting because it has the capability to be installed on exisiting flat roofs.
Please contact us if you have any questions! The presentation is at the Center for Design Research, right off of Bob Billings parkway (west of Crestline Road). March 14, 9-11 am. Free!
This is a test of the settings on this blog!
End of the Winter Blahs! (3-2-13)
-Sharpen and clean your tools. Using wire brush and steel wool, clean the rust off any of your spades, shovels, etc. Remember to wash off the soil after every single use!!
- Spread compost or organically rich material (Chicken/ cow manure, great topsoil) on your vegetable beds. Yes, it should have been put on last season. BUT it will still help your garden soil!
- Establish where you will mulch and add soil this spring. Measure out the length and width of the beds (multiply this = it is the area of the bed). Then take that square footage (length x width) and multiply it by the DEPTH of soil or mulch you want to add. 3” of mulch is NOT multiplying by 3—it is ¼ of 1 foot. So you multiply by .25 for the cubic feet. Then divide by 27 for cubic yards. This cubic yards is how much you purchase. Got it?? Same process for both soil and mulch.
Think about adding Early Spring Ephemerals to your gardens:
Early spring ephmerals are those harbingers of spring that assure us that the season is, in fact, changing. Ephemeral means they don’t stay around long- they bloom and usually just keep moving on. They give us hope and inspire us to garden or landscape, yet again. Even in the face of uncertain odds, bad weather and certain drought, these little plants give us hope!!
The crocuses will start to peek out, with their strappy, grass-like leaves. Expect this in about a week- really! The galanthus or snow drop pictured above left is likely to poke its little head up IN the snow (thus the name).
Already my daffodils have greened up and are pushing up. This is a prime time to fertilize- I use a bulb-specific fertilizer that is all natural not chemical. Try Bulb-Tone by Espoma; works great for garlic and all tubers as well (hello potatoes!). I follow instructions per the square footage for the correct amount.
It’s important to remember that ephemerals are not enough to make a landscape or garden interesting. They are a design element and a gardener’s pleasure because they are perfectly timed to make us smile and sigh and keep going. They are not shrubs or trees. They aren’t permanent (I mean they are perennial) but their foliage yellows and must remain to give nutrients back to the plant for next year. Interplant them with great ground cover like lamium or pachysandra. Use them at the base of trees. Leave their foliage on for 6 weeks if you want to see them next year. Either using a professional designer or when you are DIY, remember the bulbs. You will be rewarded!
Trees and shrubs that offer great early spring POW:
All of the trees and shrubs I mention below are available at the Lawrence Landscape Tree Farm. Go here for more info on our tree farm!
Redbud, Whitebud- 20’ H x 25’ W.
Forsythia- 5’-7’ H x W. Can require LOTS of pruning to keep tidy. So plant it away from your house- its vibrant color will inspire you on early, grey spring days!
Blooming Quince- 4-6’ H X W. Amazing coral red color and thorny shape, very Asian. Great border shrub (on the alley, property line, etc).
Star Magnollia shrub- 4-6’ H xW. Early spring bloomer will astound you with its glorious, southern, frilly white blooms. It blooms before it leafs out and has a nice shrubby/ small tree stature. Under used! Old fashioned.
Tips: don’t try to shake or beat the snow off of your trees or shrubs. You may do way more damage. If you have a small tree (like my blue arrow junipers that are 5’ tall, conical), I can gently shake them. You don’t want to uproot smaller shrubs or knick, break larger ones. The snow won’t really damage a healthy tree!
Does this snow mean we are out of the drought? Sadly, no. The ratio is variable so it’s hard to nail it down. But 10” of powdery snow equals about 1” of rain. If the snow is wetter is can be a 1:4 or 5 ratio. However, if the ground is very solid and the snow is iced over, most of the water will run off and not be absorbed. I don’t think this is an issue in our case, due to the warm winter and soft ground. But we probably only will get a couple inches (maybe 3?) out of this snow.
Landscape Design in Winter... planning for spring!
Winter is a great time to plan out your garden. While things are bare, you can really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. This is the time of year that gardeners begin to plan and buy seeds. Now, I hope you have worked on your landscape designs as well. If not, I will touch on that more after this sample design: I give you a simple nativizing Butterfly garden bed.
One of the great things about a butterfly garden is that it can attract beautiful butterflies (duh) but is also low maintenance and can be as small or large as you want! It gets curious kids very interested, doesn't require fancy soil amendments and is generally an easy care job. It features annuals that can be grown from seed and re-seed themselves, perennials that (if not native exactly) will become very comfortable in your KS garden and a few shrubs for structure and year-round interest.
-Low Maintenance (no fancy pruning required)
-Xeric or simple water requirements (would like regular water until established, please!)
-Butterfly gardens need a place for butterflies to get water. This could be a rock that holdswater but some sources say that a shallow bowl, filled with moist soil worksbetter for the insects.
-They also need protection from wind, so place the whole bedin a protected place (or plant butterfly bush around one edge to form a windblock).
Shrubs to ground the bed:
Buddleia, ‘Black Knight’ (wonderful dark purple butterflybush- 5-6’H) (from plant)
Rhus typhina (Sumac), ‘Tigers Eye’ (from plant)
Perennial Flowers from plant:
Achillea (Yarrow), ‘Paprika’ (plant)
Coreopsis gradniflora, ‘Zegreb’, ‘Early Sunrise’ (plant)
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (seed or plant)
Lavendula, ‘Hidcote’ (plant)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) (plant) food source
Monarda (Bee Balm), ‘Raspberry Wine’ (plant)
Sedum, ‘Vera Jameson’ (plant)
Bronze Fennel (direct sow) - food source
Echinacea purpurea, ‘Magnus’ (direct sow or plant)
Larkspur (direct sow) - nectar
Liatris (Gayfeather) (plant, from seed) – nectar
Did you know that winter is a great time to get a design begun for your home landscape?
I really enjoy working on designs at this time of year because it's a slower, more mellow time of year. This gives me a chance to really learn about my client and work on a more complex or themed garden. I can complete a site analysis and client interview, especially efficient when the landscape is in dormancy. We can evaluate what's working and what isn't. We can also play with fun ideas- perhaps you've always wanted a Japanese garden or a xeric garden is a necessity in your life. During the slow time, designers are free to spend more time thinking and playing!
That being said, it's a good time to begin to think about what elements you will do-it-yourself and what elements are best left to the professionals! As a professional, I recommend consulting your favorite local landscape company and designer to get the best idea. I believe that small scale mulching and clean up of a few perennials and roses is a good thing for a homeowner (who enjoys it) to do. As well, maybe you have enough time and energy to work on adding some river rock to your downspout area. However, do you have drainage problems? Questions about your irrigation system's efficiency? Have a large scale lawn renovation in mind? Want to add stone edging? All of these are very important to the beauty and health of you landscape. These are the jobs that we end up re-doing for homeowners most often! So save yourself some money and invest in a complete landscape master plan/ design. This will give you an idea of where to start your own DIY work (if you want to do any yourself