When you look at your garden plants do you wonder why some of them are
turning yellow? Yellowing can be caused by over-watering,
especially in sandy soils, resulting in a loss of nutrients. How do we
tell what nutrient deficiencies are causing the discoloration?
Here is the secret:
-If the veins of the leaf are green but the leaf itself is turning
-If the whole leaf is turning yellow (especially the older leaves) --
Check for insects by looking for obvious chew marks:
-Grainy looking leaves
-Sap dripping from bark
-Sticky substance on leaves
find insects on your plants.
Here's the secret to finding the most common insects:
Take a light colored piece of paper and hold it under a branch-tap it
briskly with a pencil-wait a moment and look at the paper for insects
the size of a grain of sand.
-If they move they are alive. If they don't
it is just dirt or it could be eggs.
-Small reddish specks that move are Red Spider Mites.
-Cigar shaped specks that have antenna are Thrips.
If you are not sure what you have then bring
it into the nursery and we will be glad to help with the ID. Most
insects (not all) that you find in the garden will be killed by
horticultural soap, oils or Neem products (and these are very user
friendly). Please be sure to read the directions.
Got a tree that just won't grow?
You water it, you fertilize it, it looks O.K. but it just won't
grow. Suspect WEED-N-FEED FERTILIZERS (see FERTILIZER at right)
and check one other thing: Get down on your hands and knees and
look at the base of the tree for scarring from the weed eater
cutting the grass around the tree.
If this is heavily scarred remove the tree, the damage is
permanent. You have damaged the vascular system that is just under
the bark and the tree has lost its ability to receive nutrients
and water properly. It's toast!
What is the trick to removing unwanted
grass in preparation for adding gravel?
DON'T REMOVE IT -- that's right, just cut off the water supply, remove
the grass along the sidewalks to make room for the gravel (go back about
1 foot from the concrete) put down the weed barrier and haul in the
gravel. You saved yourself at least 75% of the work and you didn't add
to the land fill.
Another bonus is your decomposing grass adds nutrients
to the existing ground. You can cap your sprinkler heads or you can
convert them to drippers to water the plants you will be adding into the
gravel areas. If you have Bermuda grass, spray it with a glyphosate
(like Round-Up) first.
What about switching to a different color
You guessed it- remove old gravel around the edges to lower that area
and give room for the new stuff. Put on the weed barrier. Add the new
colored gravel. You'll never know that the old color is underneath.
Confused about fertilizers?
Look at it this way- there are three numbers on the
-The first number is the most important partially because
it is the most leachable from the soil- it's Nitrogen; Nitrogen
makes for green color and growth.
-The second number is Phosphorus; Phosphorus promotes
-The third number Potassium; Potassium helps in the root
and stem development.
Other than that there are an additional 13 elements needed for a
healthy plant. Guess what? A good balanced fertilizer has many if
not all of them.
what about rose food, lawn food, tree fertilizer? They are all
the same with slight variations in the formula.
-Rose food will have more Phosphorus to promote bloom.
-Lawn food does not need as much Phosphorus because lawn grasses
don't really bloom so lawn foods have Nitrogen to make your grass
green. That means that you can use your old bag of lawn food to
fertilize your trees and shrubs.
Specialty fertilizers are great but if you have old fertilizers
laying around use them first-unless you have a special deficiency
you need to address or if you are fertilizing indoor plants.
Indoor plants need water soluble fertilizer so the salts don't
build up in the soils.
Don't use WEED-N-FEED FERTILIZERS. It's a long story that I
will address later but they can do severe damage to trees and
shrubs even if they are quite a ways from the grass they are used