Water is becoming more and more precious. In 1965 the average
used about 50 gallons of water a day. Today the average
about 200 gallons. Add to that the population growth in
the south and
usage has skyrocketed. Rainfall in the south averages 40-60
rain per year but many areas of the south are and have been
experiencing severe drought. The greatest amount of water
in the summer is used outside the home. This seems surprising
until you look at an average water sprinkler. They apply
about 300 gallons of water every hour. What can be done?
We can't stop watering our lawns and gardens, but we can
choose plants that require less water. Xeriscaping comes
from the Greek word Xeros which means "dry" and
"Scape" for landscaping. We look at a garden that
incorporates Xeroscaping principles. It uses Lantana, ornamental
grasses, sedum and so on. They require less water, yet don't
sacrifice the beauty or quality of your yard and garden.
Simply by modifying your watering schedule can provide water
savings. Water early in the day when the dew is still on
the leaves. Pick plants that naturally thrive in your area.
If sunny, pick plants that thrive in sunny areas, if shady,
plants that do well in shade.
Ballard from Biltmore Estate provides some pruning tips
shrubs. Azaleas bloom early in the spring, anytime after
they flower you
can prune them, either a hard prune or soft prune. Azaleas
flower on new growth, so after they flower, sometime before
the middle of July, is a good time to prune. If you see
a dead cane, remove it down to an area where new growth
occurs, that way you won't have an open area. Bruce uses
a pruning saw on this job because the cane is larger than
1 inch in caliper. His rule of thumb is not to use hand
pruners on anything larger than 1 inch. He cuts at an angle
away from the crown of the plant so that water sheds away
from the plant and doesn't aid rot or decay. He doesn't
use a sealer or paint on the wound, instead allowing the
wound to dry in the air and heal itself.
If Azaleas are by a walkway, you'll want to keep them tight
isn't effected. Annual pruning is ideal for this situation.
long, leggy growth, but leave lower inside growth so you
don't leave a
hole in the plant. Remove the canes at a joint; that allows
encourages growth. Remove dead or diseased canes. Lack of
sun on parts of the plant may cause the canes to die, if
this is the case remove all the way back to the joint at
the base of the plant. Although we've discussed Azaleas,
almost any shrub can be pruned similarly.
According to many scientists the Mosquito has caused more
sickness and death than any other insect. When gardening
outside Dr. Rick has some tips for dealing with this pest.
Mosquitos from the time they are born until they die may
only travel a couple hundred feet. The humming we hear is
the flapping of their wings, they flap about a thousand
per second, but they only travel one to one and one half
miles an hour.
Mosquitos reproduce in about 7 days. That egg can lay dormant
for up to 2 years. Mosquitos like water so if we can remove
water sources we'll
stand an excellent chance of ridding ourselves of Mosquitos.
gutters to make sure they aren't stopped up, check empty
wheel-barrows, old tires, buckets, even a mud puddle. Mosquitos
hunt for hosts with high levels of carbon dioxide, so if
you've just exercised you're a prime target. Certain people's
blood chemistry is more attractive than others. Mosquitos
seem to be attracted to dark clothing. Herbs, Pansies, Peppermint,
Sassafras, Clove, Pennyroyal tend to repel them. But removing
standing water is the best single thing you can do to reduce
the Mosquito population. If you have a pond add gold fish,
or a minnow called Gambuza, they're excellent at eating
Mosquito larvae. Dragonflies are Mosquito munchers. To attract
Dragonflies take a Bamboo stick or several Bamboo sticks
and place them around the perimeter. Dragonflies are Mosquito
munchers. To attract Dragonflies take a Bamboo stick or
several Bamboo sticks and place them around the perimeter.
Dragonflies will roost on their top and wait for their prey.
Another method is to make Mosquito traps. Take a couple
of buckets, put them around the house, fill them with a
liberal amount of dishwashing liquid then fill with water.
This creates a sticky emulsion, when the female lands in
the water she won't be able to fly away and drowns. Also
consider Mosquito dunks or Mosquito donuts, they have Bacillus
Thuringiensis or B.T. It is a bacteria that gets into the
larvae and kills it. We place these in a pond or standing
water and use 1 dunk for every 25 to 100 square feet. You
will need to use them all summer long, but it is an organic
way to get rid of Mosquitos.
Darien Ball says Biltmore Estate introduces new and interesting
varieties and hybrids every year. We look at Amaranthus
Macalapha, Raggedy Ann, Tequila Sunrise, Inferno, all are
enjoy water and full sun. The Clerodendum genus is a very
beautiful group of plants. We view Clerodendum Quadriloculare,
it is a
great foliage plant. Caladium White Wing, like most caladiums
shade lover. There are 6 different varieties at Biltmore
and dozens more
to choose from on the market. Justicia is a large genus
prettiest of the group. Justicia Carnea is an old standby
their guest love the plant and it is easy to grow, it takes
a lot of
water and tolerates heat. The Kings Crown usually forms
a nice rounded
shape without a lot of pruning and the dark foliage compliments
pink flower. The Saphoglassus is a good spring through early
bloomer. It fades out in the heat but puts out a good show
The color variations run from bright yellow to jet black.
Banana and Sedi Verticosa has great color and interesting
form. It's a heavy feeder, loves sunshine, the leaves don't
tend to shed
as much as other bananas. The Abyssinian is considerably
other bananas. A relative of Kings Crown is Pachysatatachys
Lollypop Plant. It has nice yellow with white flowers. Tecoma
Stans grows into a nice, large sized bush and can be trained
into a standard
tree shape. The yellow trumpet blooms accent the garden.
Egmia is part
of the Bromeliad collection. The pink and blue blooms accent
foliage. It makes a bold statement. We view an Epiphyte,
which means it grows on a tree without soil. They are becoming
more popular and
available through floral shops. Antirium varieties have
red and white
blooms and are predominately from Hawaii. They are an acceptable
houseplant and can be used as a container plant in most
Moss is a revered plant in certain cultures, Japan for example.
cultures actually build or create moss gardens. When moss
is on a rock
or sculpture or a path it's attractive. When on your lawn
indication something is wrong. Moss thrives in shady, compacted,
drained, acidic soils. How do you rid your lawn of moss?
You will need
to change the existing soil conditions. First check the
PH of the soil.
Add lime, to insure it is at least 6.5. Core aerate to improve
Next prune or thin existing trees to get more sunlight to
Remove existing moss with a flat shovel, this will allow
grass to grow.
With moss on rocks you could use Potassium Salts of Fatty
Acids or any
chemical with Pergolic Acid or Ferric Sulfate (in a ratio
of 1 to 2
pounds per thousand square feet). These will kill Algae
and moss on
When prepping beds for annuals and perennials you should
ratio of clay to organic matter. The optimum ratio is about
soil and 50 % organic matter. This allows the clay particles
water and nutrients while the organic matter creates air
helps bind the clay particles together. Make sure you don't
layer effect, make sure both are mixed together. If not
mixed well the
fine textured clay would pull the moisture out of the organic
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