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How to Protect Your Plants from Surprise Cold Snaps

The latest cold snap probably shocked your early blooming daffodils; Spring has officially started, but the thermostat says otherwise at the moment.  Mother Nature tries to adhere to a calendar, but at the end of the day, we are at her mercy.  Over all, our weather is considerably more hospitable this time of year, but there may still be a few more surprises, as evidenced by our recent snow storm.   It’s time to prepare your blooming fruit trees, vegetables or flowers from these potential cold snaps. There are several methods of protection for your landscape while the weather remains in flux. It’s important to note that it doesn’t have to freeze for plants to be damaged by frost.  It just has to get cold enough for water vapor to condense on cold plants that have been chilled.       Young trees or varieties of trees that have thin bark, (some fruit trees fall in this category), as well as the evergreens and firs are very susceptible to branches breaking from the heavy wet snow that often happens in the springtime. The best way to remove the snow is to gently brush the snow off by hand or with a broom with upward strokes. Gently shaking the branches can also be done, but this needs to be done carefully. Branches can be brittle during the winter months, so you could be doing more harm than good. You can also remove snow throughout the snow event to make removal easier and minimize the weight that’s on your plants at any given time.   There are many varieties of plants that can handle the sudden cold temperatures, such as azaleas, hollies and pansies – these can

Keeping Your Landscape Healthy Throughout the Summer Heat

Every spring, with ambitious goals for our gardens, we plant flowers, edge, mulch, and mow and tend to our lawns in anticipation of being able to enjoy it throughout the summer months.  However, by July, the temperatures have usually skyrocketed, and what started out as lush and vibrant, may now just be a shadow of its former glory.  Surprisingly, overwatering your dead-looking lawn and wilted plants, as well as feeding them fertilizer in the hopes of resuscitating them may end up doing more harm than good. However, there are some precautions you can take to avoid losing all the beauty you worked so hard for in the spring. The most important thing to look for is dehydration.  Nothing will grow if your soil is hard and dry.  As soon as you notice any signs of dehydration, such as wilting, smaller-than-usual curly or misshaped leaves, flower buds that don’t open, more weeds than normal, or brown and thinning patches in your lawn, implement a regular watering schedule either first thing in the morning or as the sun is setting and stick to it. Most lawns need about an inch of water each week and plants require about one gallon of water for each square foot.  Always apply the water to the base of the plant to ensure the roots are getting soaked properly.  Mulching plant beds (about 2 or 3 inches of mulch) as well as the deep but REGULAR watering will help plants establish deep roots.  Moisture will remain in the soil and give the plant the extra time it needs to encourage root growth.  Make sure you keep up with weeding, a collateral “benefit” of watering regularly is that you will also be watering