Tag Archives: spring

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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Planting, Transplanting and Dividing

Planting, Transplanting and Dividing

When planting, transplanting or dividing plants it is vital to use a transplant fertilizer. We use Acti-sol Transplater 4-10-2. It is made of pure hen manure and bone meal.  It is ideal for planting and transplanting all types of plants as the hen manure acts rapidly to stimulate root development and the bone meal breaks down slowly for medium and long term action. A plant will not push any crown growth until it is firmly established.

Planting

You can plant at any time of the year, as long as you can dig a hole (so you can’t plant when the ground is frozen).  The most important thing about planting is watering – and not just watering once…water, water, water – water lots especially during the plant’s first year.  Trees need up to 15 gallons (that’s 57 litres) of water a week, shrubs need up to 10 gallons (that’s 38 litres) a week.  The easiest way to water is taking a 5 gallon pail, drill a couple of holes in the bottom, set it beside the plant you are watering, and fill it up – it will slowly empty, giving the plant a nice deep water.  Repeat this a few times a week depending on how much water your plant needs.

This is a great video on how to water using the bucket method.

Also, keep watering your plants until the ground freezes. Plants need nice moist roots going into the long dry winter.

Transplanting

Transplanting plants is a little different than planting potted plants. When transplanting, for the most part, we do not want to move the plant while it is in bloom or during it’s growth time. Move the plant either really early spring or late fall (depending on it’s blooming and active growth time). It is expected that there will be some root loss and damage when moving a plant so plants moved in the heat of summer is discouraged. Damaged roots will not always be able to absorb sufficient water for the whole plant so cutting back the tops is sometimes necessary to keep it hydrated and cool – if possible try to move the plants in cooler wetter weather.

Transplanting offers the ability to redesign your gardens without having to buy any new product. A fresh new look, accentuating different plants and bringing attention to some of your more hidden specimens at a moments notice keeps your yard looking fresh and new.

Dividing Perennials 

As a rule of thumb divide and move perennials in the cooler weather and remember: spring bloomers in the fall and fall bloomers in the spring.

Dividing perennials is a rewarding though finicky gardening adventure. Dividing plants is a great way to scale back some of the more vigorous growers keeping your garden from looking overgrown and unkempt. It is good for controlling plant growth, smaller plants are most often more vigorous bloomers than their larger leafier selves. When managing our gardens that is our goal, emphasis plant blooming and manage our space. When using a spade to separate clusters use rubbing alcohol to clean the spades cutting edge to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Below is a great article on dividing perennials: when, which ones and how. Check it out!

http://www.finegardening.com/10-tips-dividing-perennial-plants

Check out our video on dividing hostas – the general concept of dividing hostas can be used on many other perennials as well.

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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.

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Spring Clean Up Checklist

Spring Clean Up Checklist

Spring has come and it is time to get out there and get your yard ready for the coming season. A proper spring clean up will set up your lawn and garden for greater success throughout the growing season. There are a number of things you can do to get your lawn and garden ready.
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Opening your garden beds:

  1. Clean out all winter debris: driveway rocks pushed over with the snow, leaves that came down in the fall, etc
  2. Cut back the dead plant material left by your perennials
  3. Prune back the shrubs that need it
  4. Turn over and add new soil
  5. Clean up the edge of your garden with a freshly sharpened spade
  6. Add a fresh layer of natural mulch

Doing these few things will provide you a great deal more success with your garden in the months to come.

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Lawn:

  1. Aerate your lawn for better air, water and nutrient penetration and to break up heavily compacted ground. Aeration also helps to increase the lawns ability to retain water, reducing run off and erosion
  2. Fan rake the lawn to help the grass stand back up and to clean up excess thatch
  3. Topdress your lawn with new topsoil for greener more dense grass. Top-dressing also allows you to smooth out bumps or low spots in your lawn
  4. Overseed your lawn to thicken your grass, to fill bare spots and to choke out weeds
  5. Fertilize your lawn to green it up, stimulate new growth and to keep it healthy

A beautiful thick green lawn starts in the spring with the proper spring care and maintenance.

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How to Turn Hydrangeas Blue

How to Turn Hydrangeas Blue

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To get that rich blue hydrangea colour in your garden that everyone loves is easier than you think.

If your hydrangeas are supposed to be blue but are pink, you’ll need to add Aluminum Sulphate to the soil.  Adding aluminum sulphate is necessary to change the pH of the soil to help make it more acidic. You can only change hydrangeas blue that are supposed to be blue (i.e. you can’t change white ones to blue) and this process only works on big-leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla).

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Changing the pH of the soil to the ideal pH 4.5 to 5.5 levels can take more than one season depending on your starting conditions. Start applying aluminum sulphate in the spring as soon as it starts to warm up, once a month until the blooms are open. You can also add pine needles, mulch and/or leaves to help add natural acidity to the soil as they break down.

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Click here to learn how and when to prune your hydrangeas to get the most blooms?

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