Category Archives: natural

Fall Checklist

Fall Checklist

Wrapping Evergreens

Yews and Alberta Spruce are the most susceptible to winter wind and sun burn. It is, therefore, advisable to keep these plants wrapped with burlap from top to bottom, beginning in the late fall. Never use plastic as a wrap – even in the winter months plants must be able to “breathe.” Evergreens should be well-watered before the severe ground frost of mid-December to guard against desiccation (drying-out) caused by cold winter winds.

Wrap burlap around cedars and evergreens that are exposed to wind. Again, a reminder, the last 2 winters have been quite the winters where plant damage was concerned.
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Two layers of burlap around all evergreens will help to prevent snow damage (from the weight of snow), salt spray (from the melted snow on a nearby road, especially on the east side of the road) and sun scald in late winter (when the sun reflects off a clean, white layer of snow onto evergreen foliage).
wrapping evergreens with burlap wrapping evergreens with burlap for winter
Upright evergreens, such as Junipers and Cedars suffer the most damage from the weight of snow on their branches. This will not usually kill the plant, but can make it unsightly the following year. The best protection is to cover the juniper with netting. Apply in late fall and leave on the plant until the threat of snow has passed in early spring.
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Tender Trees & Shrubs

Rhododendrons & Azaleas

These plants are very susceptible to wind, sun and snow damage through the winter months, especially if they have been planted in an unprotected location. Be sure to cover the root area with up to eight inches of mulch. Then build a shelter around each plant with burlap and stakes to keep out the wind and the sun. Make sure the soil around the plants is moist going into the freeze, the more moisture available to them over the winter, the better.
georgina garden centre gardening tips

Japanese Maples, Magnolias, Eastern Redbuds & Peach Trees

Similar to Rhododendrons & Azaleas, these plants are very susceptible to wind, sun and snow damage through the winter months, especially if they have been planted in an unprotected location. Build a shelter around each plant with burlap and stakes to keep out the wind and the sun. Be sure to water really well going into the winter freeze – keep watering until the ground freezes.
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Wilt-Pruf

This is liquid magic on boxwood, yews, cedars, euonymus, rhododendrons and other evergreens that are exposed to wind and road-salt-spray.
Wilt-Pruf is an ‘anti-desiccant’ that provides an invisible layer of protection to all broad-leaved evergreens through winter. The humidity in our winter air drops to less than 10% some days, causing the moisture in the foliage of tender evergreens to evaporate. The result is browning in the extreme.
AND…your Christmas tree will benefit from an application of this too, reducing needle drop and fire hazard.
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Covering Roses

Cut your roses back approximately 1/3 by removing all frozen buds after the first heavy frost. Remove all leaves as much as possible and dust the lower branches with a general fungicide. Using a rose collar, build fresh garden soil 2′ high around each rose bush – cover as much of the rose as possible. Do not use manure, peat moss or other material high in organic matter (ie, compost, straw, leaves etc.).
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Climbing Roses

Climbing roses should be pruned only very slightly in the fall by removing the frozen buds and tips of the most tender growth. The branches of climbing roses should be tied together and wrapped in burlap. Never use plastic. Build up soil around the roots the same as for other roses.

Lawns

Feed your lawn. The most important application of the year occurs in the fall, but only when you apply it. Fall fertilizing helps to strengthen your lawn and the lawn’s roots, providing stamina to help it survive the long winter. If you haven’t done it, it is not too late. Fall is also a great time to overseed. Come spring your lawn will thank you by greening up quickly with much greater resistance to snow mold and brown-out. You can read more about topdressing and overseeding here on our blog
The last mowing should be done very close to the ground and the clippings raked away. This will prevent fungal diseases from destroying grass roots over the winter.
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Watering

Water, Water, Water! It is very important to continue to water until the ground freezes. Plants need moisture in the ground to get them through the winter.  If we have a long winter like we have had for the past 2 years, plants rely on the moisture to keep their leaves from drying out too much (winter injury and burn will be much worse on dry plants).

Hedge Trimming

Now is the time to trim your hedges and evergreens. You want to finish trimming your evergreens before it freezes as it could cause injury to the foliage. If you don’t want to trim your evergreens and hedges, or you can’t – we can! Fill out our online request form to request a free quote!
shrubs cedar emerald georgina garden centre gardening tips

Trees

If you don’t have plastic spiral collars on your trees, put them on now! These quick, simple, economical little guys will save your trees from rodent and animal damage. Put them on all your trees – Japanese Maples, fruit trees, shade trees etc. You’ll be thankful in the spring that you did this!
plastic spiral tree wrap guard

Leaves

Leaves are garden gold. Spread small leaves of trees, such as locust, birch, beech, serviceberry and silver maple (or shredded larger leaves), over all exposed soil. They will degrade into mineral nutrients and worms will turn them into fertilizer.
fall leaves

Planting Bulbs

Squirrels “read” the disturbed soil and marks you leave when planting their favourite tulips and crocuses. Outwit them by concentrating spring bulb plantings in large groups and disguising your marks by flooding the soil surface with water. Then cover them with 5cm (2 inches) of leaves and blood meal.  You can also cover sections of bulbs with chicken wire – the bulbs can grow through it, but squirrels can’t relocate them on you.
planting bulbs georgina garden centre features spring bulbs

Overwintering Plants

If you would like to overwinter any tropicals indoors be sure to bring them in before it gets too cold (anything under 10 degrees Celsius). Be sure to spray them with an insecticide to kill any pests that are hiding, and trim the plant back. Keep in a bright room, keep it from drying out (you want the top inch of soil to be dry before you water it again) and fertilize once a month. Most plants will defoliate because you have moved them into a different climate but they will push out new leaves again once it is acclimatized to your home.

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Topdressing and Overseeding Your Lawn

Topdressing, Overseeding & Fertilizing your Lawn in the Fall

It is ideal to topdress (spread soil) your lawn once a year. If you topdressed in the spring, than just overseed and fertilize at this time of year (the fall).

Even if your lawn is looking healthy and green, still topdress, seed and fertilize – don’t wait until it stops looking great before you follow the steps below.  By keeping up on your lawn every year, you’ll have less weeds, disease and insects invade – and less stress! If it all seems like too much, just overseed – overseed, overseed, overseed! I know some people that overseed every month and their lawn is nice and thick and healthy.

Below we have listed the easy steps to topdress, seed and fertilize your lawn.

  1. Rake lawn with either hard rake or fan rake and discard dead grass to compost – if lawn is long – cut grass to 1” high (this makes topdressing easier)
  2. Topdress lawn with soil, spreading it out no more than ¼” deep over existing lawn area
  3. Spread seed evenly over lawn (be sure to keep it out of the gardens)
  4. Fertilize lawn with an organic fertilizer (use a spreader, do not spread by hand)
  5. Water entire area in each section for 20 minutes. Keep area moist but not soaking until seed has germinated (likely 6-10 days depending on the weather and your watering practices)
  6. You might have to seed some areas you missed after germination has occurred
  7. When cutting your lawn – wait until the grass has grown 6″ and set the mower to its highest setting and keep it there all season long to encourage deep rooting of your lawn.

Watch our quick video below for a how-to on topdressing and overseeding – sorry about the vehicle noise and the agitated Mike – this is why we keep him out of the greenhouse and off the cash registers!!

Natural Grub Control

Natural White Grub Control for the Lawn & Garden

Are skunks or raccoons digging up your lawn? Do you have large patches of dead grass?

These are sure signs you have grubs.  Grubs are the larval stage of May/June Beetles, Japanese Beetles and European Chafers.

georgina garden centre features natural white grub control

You can use natural Lawn Guardian which consists of beneficial nematodes that are microscopic worms and are native to Canada. Applying beneficial nematodes will stop grubs from damaging the roots of the grass.  It is safe to apply to the garden as well.

lawn guardian beneficial nematodes

Apply in the spring (April-May) when the soil temperature is 10C or warmer and grubs are seen in the soil.  Apply again in late summer (end of August-September) to prevent fall damage, as well as, the following spring.

Repeat applications every year (spring and late summer).

100% Safe for people, pets, plants and earthworms

Beneficial nematodes also help control over 250 insect pests including: Rose Chafer, Rose Midge, Thrips, Birch Leafminer, Cranefly/Leatherjacket, Root Weevils, Fleas, Iris Borer, Cutworms, Webworms, May/June Beetles, Japanese Beetles & European Chafers!

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Note: Beneficial nematodes are most effective when soil is moist and remains moist for 3 to 5 days after application. Lawn Guardian is easy to apply using a hose-end sprayer and comes with full instructions.  Application of 10 million nematodes should take approximately 40 minutes to apply using our hose end sprayer and will cover an area of 2000-3000 sq ft.

Soil Is Soil… Right?

Soil is soil…right?!

‘Tis the time of year for buying new soil for your yard, garden and pots (indoor and out), so what better time to learn the difference between the different types of soil we offer!

Many people don’t know that there is a difference between types of soil and that it really does matter what type of soil you use for different projects.

I think some of it has to do with the fact people are trying to save a buck and a bit of their time, as both are hard to come by, and if they just get one type of soil it will save them time and money. Besides, soil is soil, right? NO!

I always say to customers, you’re spending the money on the plant buy the right soil for it otherwise it all is a waste of time and money!

There are also quite a few people that don’t know that the problem they’re having is because of their soil (their plants keep dying or not preforming how they’d like them to)!

So…

Top soil

Top soil is straight soil with nothing mixed with it.
It is good for using under sod and any other lawn application.  It can be used for topdressing but topdresser is better and easier to apply. Do not use top soil in pots.

georgina garden centre top soil bulk products

Triple Mix

Triple mix is made up of: top soil, manure and peat moss.
It is good for planting in the ground and can be used throughout the garden.
Triple mix helps to break up heavy clay soils and is good to add to sandy soils. Do not use triple mix in pots.

georgina garden centre triple mix bulk products

Garden Soil

Good garden soil contains a combination of: black soil, organic matter, peat moss and horticultural sand.
Garden soil can also be used on the lawn. Don’t limit your lawn soil to just top soil or topdresser, your grass needs as much rich nutrient soil as your garden does!
Garden soil is heavier than potting soil, retains some moisture, and has less air space than potting soil. Do not use garden soil in pots!

**Top soil, topdreser, triple mix & garden soil are for the lawn and/or garden – not pots or containers. They all hold more water than potting soil and does not have the type of drainage that plants in pots need. Your plants will get bogged down over time and will lag behind and could die.**

Potting Soil

As the name states: potting soil is for pots (and containers).  Good potting soil is usually soilless with a combination of: organic matter, perlite, vermiculite and horticultural sand.  It is light and holds water well and has great drainage. There should be a lot of air-space in it.

Soil that contains fertilizer

Buying soil with fertilizer already in it is not necessary and could be a waste of the few extra dollars it costs. If you have container grown before, you would have noticed that when you water your pots, a lot of water comes out the bottom, so does all the nutrients. Buying a good quality potting soil and fertilizing regularly is sufficient for your container plants for the season!

georgina garden centre gardening tips

Fruit Tree Pruning and Spraying

Fruit Tree Pruning & Spraying

It’s Time to Spring Into Action

Here we are, the snow is finally gone and with it the wool socks, the time has come to sharpen your trowels and come up with a game plan for spring garden season. While we are still some time away from sowing seeds and planting outside, there are a few things you can do to get a leg up on the coming season. Lets get out there and get started on what will be another great season.

 

Pruning Fruit Trees

This is a perfect time to get out there and start shaping your trees and shrubs. Beyond the esthetics there are many practical reasons to get pruning especially with your fruit trees.

  1. Proper pruning helps to increase the size and quality of your blooms, foliage and fruit by allocating plant resources.
  2. Increase the plants health by removing damaged, dead or diseased limbs.
  3. Control and direct the plants growth and get rid of any criss-crossing branches.
  4. Compensate for root loss after transplanting.
  5. Improve air circulation and light penetration. It is important to thin out dense growth periodically to increase overall health and shape.
  6. Leader management. Manage the direction and shape of growth by pruning the leading branch of the tree or shrub.
  7. Creating a focal point or landscape feature.
  8. Create more space by pruning back, or thinning out plants.
  9. Expose colorful, textured or shapely stems and bark.

These pruning basics apply to all the common fruit trees we can grow in our zone (zone 5) – apples, pears, plums and cherries.

Lime Sulphur & Horticultural Oil

After pruning apply Lime Sulphur & Horticultural Oil in combination to protect your fruit trees.

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Early spring is the perfect time to apply the combination spray to your fruit trees, before the buds break (open). Both the sulphur and oil protect your trees from a variety of insects and diseases that can damage the tree and inhibit proper fruit growth. Applying the lime sulphur & horticultural oil is easy; simply spray it on the tree’s stem and branches putting a fine layer on all surfaces. Note the oil stains so be cautious around concrete, decks, houses and clothing.

For more on Lime Sulphur & Horticultural Oil read the directions on their containers.  You can continue to use the sulphur throughout the growing season (as long as the tree isn’t in bloom – you don’t want to interfere with the bees and insects pollinating) if you see any insects or disease on your trees. However, we suggest to only use the oil in the spring before the buds open as oil on the foliage could burn when leafed out.

Proper maintenance of fruit trees will leave you with bigger and higher quality produce so a little elbow grease now will pay dividends by harvest time. Remember, gardening is fun so lets get out there and enjoy ourselves!

 

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Dandelion Problems

Dandelion Problems

Corn Gluten- Natural Weed Inhibitor

Corn gluten is natural and non-toxic. It prevents seeds from germinating – it won’t get rid of existing weeds (those you’ll have to pull or spray), it can inhibit more seeds from germinating. While effective, its application timing also has to be precise – you apply corn gluten in early spring and late fall.

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Types of weeds best controlled:

  • Crabgrass
  • Dandelions
  • Curly Dock, Knotweed, Lambs Quarters, Pigweed and Plantain

How to apply:

Apply corn gluten to your lawn with a spreader – not by hand. Apply the corn gluten to a moist lawn but be sure that the corn gluten will stay dry for 48 hours after application.  Allow 6 weeks before/after overseeding your lawn with grass seed, as corn gluten will inhibit the germination of any grass seed you put down. Apply corn gluten in April – May depending on weather – before the Forsythia finishes blooming.