Monthly Archives: February 2018

Spring Pruning Guidance by The Tree Care Industry Association

Three Cuts Diagram
Three Cuts Diagram

When performed incorrectly, tree work is extremely dangerous and can be lethal. In the wake of an increasing number of reported incidents involving tree trimming, the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) would like to remind arborists to use the proper tools and techniques, and for any untrained person attempting tree work to instead hire a qualified tree care professional.

“Pruning is an oft-needed maintenance treatment for good tree health and safety, but pruning without the correct knowledge or tools is not good tree care practice,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with TCIA. “Pruning can be overwhelming to those not familiar with the process, and more often than not can result in undesirable results, including injury to the tree, injury to yourself and even death.”

Pruning tree branches away from a structure? A couple of things can go wrong.

Ladder placement, tie-in points, chain saw size and type of cut all affect the success of safely performing a “drop cut,” or a cut that controls whether a tree branch falls flat to the ground, as opposed to swinging unpredictably. When performed incorrectly, a branch could break mid-cut.

At the least, the cut branch might just tear the bark off the trunk while remaining attached. This would injure the tree and possibly cause a tree hazard in the future. A torn branch still requires a finishing cut, which can have an unpredictable result.

At the worst, the branch could unexpectedly and rapidly swing back into the ladder, knocking it and the worker to the ground. Another all-too-frequent scenario is when the branch weight is cut, the limb that the ladder is resting against will suddenly lift, and the ladder falls to the ground.

Many uninformed people have died attempting to prune tree branches from ladders.

Avoid the accident. Use proper tools and pruning cuts to control the limb.

There are specialty chain saw cuts professional tree care providers use to manage large limbs. But before making the first cut, they select the right cutting tool. It is necessary to use a chain saw powerful enough to make swift cuts through the wood. Do not use the following to cut live limbs from trees:

  • carpenter’s saw
  • hacksaw
  • reciprocating saw
  • low-powered electric saws

Proper pruning of tree limbs involves three cuts.

First Cut: A short distance away from the branch collar, make a small cut in the underside of the limb about a third of the way through. This notch will keep the bark from splitting during the next cut.

Second Cut: Slightly farther out the branch (away from the trunk or parent stem), parallel with, and on the side opposite the first cut, make the second cut, or “top cut,” through the branch until the branch separates. This removes the weight of the branch so the final cut can be made without the branch splitting and falling. This cut requires a firm, two-handed grip on the saw. The saw must run at full throttle to reduce risk of the branch breaking.

Final Cut: The final cut should be just outside the branch collar at the swollen attachment point of the branch into the trunk, following the angle of the branch collar. If the saw doesn’t fit into the crotch at the correct angle, it can be cut from the bottom, up.

Do not try to remove the whole branch with one cut. Making one cut to save time or effort is extremely hazardous. Cut away short, manageable sections from the end of the limb first. Removing “end weight” will reduce the risk of the branch breaking during the cut and swinging. This may require moving the ladder several times as an extra safety precaution.

About that ladder…

Ladder safety is important to consider while pruning.

  • Always have another person around while working from a ladder.
  • Use an extension ladder. Do not use a step ladder.
  • When leaning the ladder against the branch being cut, extend it at least three feet past the branch. The branch will lift significantly past the ladder when the end is removed.
  • Keep at least 10 feet away from energized lines when carrying, setting up and working from an extension ladder.

It is more technical than it looks.

It takes training and practice to confidently cut and manage tree limbs. Those working without proper chain saw experience could cause tree limbs to fall out of control, causing damage to property or themselves.

TCIA does not condone the idea of untrained people using chain saws to prune trees, especially when standing on a ladder. Standards for professional arborists call for them to secure themselves to the tree when working from a ladder, and to have two separate attachment points to the tree when using a chain saw. That’s how hazardous these practices are.

TCIA always recommends contacting a qualified tree care provider to complete tree-pruning projects.

Find a professional.

Contact TCIA, a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture since 1938. TCIA has more than 2,300 member tree care firms and affiliated companies. All tree care company members recognize stringent safety and performance standards and are required to carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance, where applicable. TCIA also has the nation’s only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. For more information, visit http://www.tcia.org.

An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the “Find A Tree Care Company” program. You can use this service by calling 800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP Code search on http://www.treecaretips.org.

  • Board Certified Master Arborist, Certified Treecare Safety Professional

Watering and Fertilizing your Indoor Garden Plants

Watering and Fertilizing your Indoor Garden Plants
Watering and Fertilizing your Indoor Garden Plants

Unless it is the middle of summer and there has not been enough rain, watering your
outdoor plants is usually not necessary (or not very often). But indoor plants rely on you
as a source of water and extra nutrients in the form of fertilizer. It is important to know
the individual water and nutrient needs of each plant to keep them healthy.

As mentioned, individual plants will require different amounts of water to keep them
growing optimally. But what all plants do like is moist soil. If you are worried about
over-watering your plant, make sure that the pot you choose has a good drainage system.
With holes in the bottom of the pot or gravel inside the pot the soil and plant will soak up
the necessary water and the excess will run out through the bottom.

If your houseplants are not thriving no matter what you do, there are two things to look
into. If you are using tap water to water your plants there may be too much chlorine or
salt present. A solution to this is to use distilled or filtered water or you can leave a
container outside to collect rainwater. Either option is acceptable and may be the change
you need to make to grow healthier plants.

Choosing to fertilize your plants is another way to give them a boost. Fertilizer contains
nutrients and elements that plants need to grow. Indoors plants do not need as much
fertilizer as their outdoor counterparts do. Because of a slower rate of growth, feed your
plants minimal fertilizer. In the winter time you can probably skip this step altogether.
The spring or summer time is the best time to fertilize indoor plants. This is during their
growing phase when they need the extra nutrients the most.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Can Be Done Using Containers

Organic Vegetable Gardening Can Be Done Using Containers
Organic Vegetable Gardening Can Be Done Using Containers

Organic gardening isn’t only for farmers or people who have backyards. This is because it can be do using containers.

Organic vegetable gardening containers have advantages. You can use it decor every time you decide to let it get some sunlight when you place it by the balcony or patio. If the weather gets too cold outside, you can bring it indoors. But best of all, you don’t have to deal with certain threats that can only happen outdoors like weeds, insects or soil borne diseases.

Organic vegetable gardening containers do not use soil. You need to use potting mix that is much lighter and provides excellent drainage. You need to use organic fertilizer though to help it grow. An example of this is mulch that can be made from chipped bark, garden compost, leaf molds and manure which helps prevent it from drying out.

Another thing the plants inside these containers need is a lot of water. Ideally, you should put these in small amounts at least 30 minutes after an initial watering because putting in too much could drown your plant.

Read more… →

How To Grow And Handle Fresh Herbs From Your Garden Beds Or Your Container Garden

How To Grow And Handle Fresh Herbs From Your Garden Beds Or Your Container Garden
How To Grow And Handle Fresh Herbs From Your Garden Beds Or Your Container Garden

In any recipe calling for herbs, use fresh herbs. Preparing the herbs for your dish is easy. The more tender herbs like mint, parsley, basil and cilantro can be gathered in a bowl and snipped with scissors. This is the fastest and safest way to chop the herbs. If your recipe calls for the more hardy herbs like oregano, rosemary, or thyme you should use the stripping method. Hold a branch of the herb upright in your fingers and run the fingers of your other hand down the stalk stripping the tiny leaves free. The flavor will be more intense if you have gathered the herbs from your herb gardens or container gardens because they will be absolutely the freshest herbs available.

The best way to have fresh herbs is to plant and grow them yourself. No longer is there a designated herb garden. They can be found in your flower beds, along walkways or in pots on your porch. Many ambitious gardeners are finding new ways to incorporate herbs into their garden beds and their container gardens.

Many gardeners are unaware of the beauty of flowering herbs and never consider planting them within their flower beds. Some herbs that have beautiful flowers are purple coneflower, catmint, bee balm, yarrow, pinks, lavender, pot marigold, borage, feverfew, and nasturtium which is particularly lovely in fresh salads.. Many other herbs, such as parsley are excellent next to flowers of all sorts because of their spectacular foliage. When planting red or blue flowers, place purple basil around them for an artful arrangement.

Another area to consider is to use herbs as ground cover. The herbs that are suitable to this are the low growing oregano, chamomile, woolly and other creeping thyme, mint, and rosemary. Not only will it look pretty but it will be absolutely fragrant. Just be careful of the mint family, they tend to take over everything.

One of the best ways I have grown herbs is in containers. In fact, I like container gardening so much I wrote my eBook Container Gardening Secrets (available at ContainerGardeningSecrets.com), so everyone could enjoy this type of gardening. The beauty of a container garden is that it is portable and can be changed at a moment’s whim. When there is no more room in your garden, start a container garden which you can place on your door step or patio. Use them to fill in bare spots that come up during the gardening season or put them on a sunny window sill in your home for easy harvesting. Best of all you can bring your herb containers inside over the winter months and continue to harvest for months to add to your tasty meals or to be used for medicinal purposes.

Another way to employ pots in your garden is to plant invasive herbs such as mint into a pot and then plant pot and all into the ground. This is an easy trick to keep those creepers from taking over your garden beds.

Plant a container garden near your door with the cherry pie scented blue flower heliotrope and other fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil. Every time you walk by you will be greeted with there delicious scent.

Some herbs that have grown on rocky hillsides over the centuries such as thyme, oregano and lavender are perfect for cracks in flag stone paths or walls and rock gardens. They thrive in hot dry areas with good drainage. Some believe that those herbs grown in these conditions produce much better flavor.

Now is the time to plant your herbs, whether it is in a garden bed, a cracked wall or a container garden. Use your imagination. Consider color height and texture when planting your gardens. Not only will it be visually pleasing but your cooking will improve too!

Happy Gardening!

Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

Growing Beautiful Flowers From Bulbs

Growing Beautiful Flowers From Bulbs
Growing Beautiful Flowers From Bulbs

When most people think of bulbs they often think of daffodils or other similar flowers. However, the bulbous variey of flowers goes well beyond that.

While tulips, hyacinths and snowdrops also belong with the ‘true’ bulb family, there are many flowers that have corms, rhizomes or tubers. These include agapanthus and hippeastrums, dahlias, cannas and other lilies, irises, begonias, anemones and amaryllis, to name just a few.

Not only do bulbs do the work of reproducing the plant, they store food for those months when the leaves die and the plant is dormant. Thus, when the conditions are right the new plant has all it needs to thrust new shoots up into the sunlight.

Most bulbs need moist, rich, free draining soil and a sunny position to grow happily. Many flower in the spring, but such is their diversity, it is possible to have bulbs flowering in every month of the year.

To grow bulbs such as tulips in a temperate region, keep them in the refrigerator for four to eight weeks before planting out at the coldest time of year. In cold ares, plant in late autumn. Tulips like warm, dry summers alkaline soil. They may be affected by aphids, or a fungal condition called ‘tulip fire’ if there is too much moisture about. Their vibrant colors make them well worth a place in the garden.

Bulbs will usually do well if their natural habitat is approximated in the garden. For instance, daffodils are meadow flowers, so like plenty of sun. They will naturalize successfully in the lawn and flower early before the grass becomes too competitive. It’s best not to mow for at least six weeks after the flowers die, because the leaves provide food to the bulb for next years’ growth.

Woodland bulbs like bluebells and snowdrops will do better in a semi-shaded or a dappled sun position. They do well under deciduous trees. Spring-flowering bulbs may be planted near a well-used path or where they can be seen from a window to save trekking over soggy lawns to admire them.

Most bulbs can be grown successfully in containers, but need at least four inches ((10 cm)) of soil below them and 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) above. It’s a good idea to plant bulbs in a pot and bury it in the garden to prevent them from being accidentally hoed during a weeding session. If you have trouble with rodents eating your bulbs, plant them inside a wire cage buried in the garden.

Many bulbous varieties grow easily and are quite tolerant. Do your research, however. Some of the more unusual ones can be found via mail order or on the internet, so take the time to look for them. You’ll be pleased with the result.

Equipment You Need for a More Productive Greenhouse

Equipment You Need for a More Productive Greenhouse
Equipment You Need for a More Productive Greenhouse

Ever wondered how higher altitude places can grow crops in their location? Plants need enough heat and sun’s energy to grow. However, for places that are located in the northern portion of the globe, this requirement may be difficult to attain because of the nature of their weather. Thus, farmers in these places use the greenhouse method to be able to still successfully to grow good quality crops.

A greenhouse is an enclosed structure where plants are being cultivated. This building is usually made of glass or plastic to trap the sun’s electromagnetic radiation to warm the plants and soil inside. Having a greenhouse needs proper maintenance for a more productive crop growing. Different supplies are needed by greenhouse farmers to make this happen.

Greenhouse Supplies
There are different materials and equipment needed for a greenhouse planting to be effective. Here are some examples of the supplies you will need in case you are planning to build a greenhouse:

1. Heating and cooling thermostats. Since temperature is crucial to the efficiency of greenhouse structures, a thermostat is needed to be placed inside the building. The best location to mount it is near the middle of the greenhouse and at plant height. Also, it would be best if both the cooling and heating thermostats are protected from direct contact with water and sunlight.

2. Vents. Greenhouse temperature and humidity should be controlled to attain perfect growing conditions. Thus, vents are needed to be able to get in more air for proper ventilation during warm seasons, or seal out air in colder times of the year.

3. Exhaust fans. For plants to grow healthier in your greenhouse, circulation fans are needed. These fans even out the distribution of fresh air and heat inside the greenhouse.

4. Plant watering systems. Of course, aside from heat and fresh air, plants also need water to grow. You can always do the watering on your own by having water hoses long enough to reach all parts of the greenhouse. Moreover, it would be best if you just have an automatic watering system so you don’t have to worry not having to water your plants when you are out. This watering system should be placed on a shelf above the plants then connect the dipper’s to the circulation tubing.

5. Benches and shelving. These pieces of garden furniture are needed to be able to place more plants in lesser space. They are ideal for greenhouse owners doing gardening as a hobby. Also, a good-sized working bench is needed for potting and re-potting of plants.

6. Lighting system. Having a good lighting system helps increase the speed of growth of plants as it provides plenty of light for longer periods of time.

7. Thermometers. To properly maintain the ideal conditions inside the greenhouse, you will need to monitor the different factors affecting your plantsí growth. Different thermometers are needed for you to be able to track changes occurring inside the structure. Examples of these thermometers are the regular thermometer, humidity gauge, soil thermometer and the light intensity meter.

8. Ground cover. Since weeds are known to grow anywhere, it is best to protect your soil from these weeds that carry pests and diseases to plants. To do this, you can have a ground cover as a floor to your greenhouse or cover it with soil, sand, brick and gravel.

9. Cycle timers. To be able to automate the equipment’s you use in your greenhouse, you can also put a cycle timer which can accurately cycle the equipments on and off time. This is ideal for ventilation controls, irrigation, and misting. With this timer, you do not have to worry going in and out of your greenhouse to turn the machines on and off.

10. Greenhouse books and reading materials. Continuous learning is essential for anything we do. Same goes with maintaining greenhouses. You need to be well equipped with all the necessary requirements of having more productive plant cultivation in your greenhouse. These books and magazines will also keep you updated of the latest news and recent technology releases about greenhouses.

These are just some of the main supplies you need to have a well-maintained greenhouse. There are several items available online or at your favorite garden supplies shop. Take a look at them and determine which ones will be useful to your greenhouse.