Monthly Archives: May 2015

IT’S A DRY HEAT

Dogwood Drought_Stress1921Spring semi-drought continues

Contributed by Lynn Hutchinski

You would think we wouldn’t have to worry about watering now after all that snow we slogged through this past winter. However, you’d better get out your watering hoses and sprinklers. After a record-breaking108-plus inches of snow, our precipitation totals for the past 2 ½ months are less than half of our normal rainfall – only about 5 inches for March, April and half of May. The last truly measurable amount of rain was on April 20th (1/2 inch), and before that, March 26th (1/2 inch). Our plants are panting for moisture.

With so much snowfall, what happened to the water? Well, usually 10 inches of snow would give us 1 inch of water, but when the weather is bitterly cold for prolonged periods (remember hunkering down for most of February? Even the governor told us to hunker down!), the snow is lighter and has much less water content when melted. Our 108 inches of snow only gave us about 5 inches of water instead of the 11 inches we should have had.

And if April showers bring May flowers, we shouldn’t have had any this year given the lack of rainfall. As the weather forecasters like to say, we’re in a dry pattern which looks to continue for probably the rest of the month and possibly into June.

We recommend deep watering to get moisture down into the top 18” of soil where the majority of water-absorbing roots are found.  The ideal method is the slow-soak method – put your hose at the base of the plant and turn on a low trickle from your hose for 1 hour per plant.  Keep track with a kitchen timer so you don’t forget and leave the hose running.  If you are fortunate enough to have a sprinkler system, use it!  An adequate amount of water would be 1-2” of water every 4-7 days, as we continue to have little or no rainfall.

So get out those hoses and turn on those sprinkler systems, and plan for weekly watering. Our plants are a valuable investment and provide shade, decrease noise pollution, and cleanse the air, as well as giving us a relaxing alternative to the urban environment.

Deepwater tree - hose

Mulch…it’s a texture thing…

Contributed by Brian McGinn

The answer to whetheleaf mold pixr or not to mulch your garden beds is simply…YES! Adding a layer of mulch to your garden does many things: enhances soil nutrition by adding nutrients as it decomposes (reducing the need for fertilizers), reduces the amount of water that evaporates from your soil (reducing the need to water), acts as an insulating layer on top of soil (which keeps soil warmer in winter andcooler in summer) and also keeps weeds down; and the weeds that do grow are much easier to pull (less tedious work! and less need for herbicides).

But few of us think about these scientific reasons for mulching.  In practice, we like the “finished” look that it gives our garden beds. You may like a particular color of mulch – brown, red, black.  For others, it is a “texture” thing.  We are just used to seeing bark mulch with its chunks and particles as a foil for the drama of the plants.  At CD & Co., we recommend natural pine bark mulches that have not been color enhanced or artificially dyed.  But more and more we are turning to leaf mulch.  It means altering your aesthetic vision of a “well mulched bed”.

If you are in the woods and push away an area of leaves, underneath you’ll discover a layer of a crumbly brown material with a very pleasant and earthy scent…this is nature’s leaf mold.  Leaf Mold or Leaf Mulch is a naturally occurring product made from partially composted leaves that have been shredded.  Shredding the leaves in the fall allows them to compost more quickly due to increased surface area for fungi to do their work.  The result is mulch that has a rich brown color with a texture very different than bark mulch. It is more finely textured and uniform than bark mulch.

I remember my first garden experience working with leaf mold.  The garden had benefitted from a yearly layer and the beds were bursting with amazingly vigorous plants that needed no extra fertilizer and required limited weeding.  Aesthetically, it may look different but it’s well worth the benefits to your garden!

We have great local suppliers of quality leaf mold.  Let us amp up your garden for a new look.