In Summer on November 2, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
We have learned that our skin needs sunscreen all year long. The same is true for trees and their bark. Young or newly planted trees, and thin-barked trees (maples, crabapples, honey locust, lindens – to name a few) are most susceptible to winter sun damage – called Sun Scald. This tree damage is characterized by dried, or elongated cracked areas of dead bark, usually on the south or southwest side of a tree. On cold winter days, the sun can heat up bark to the point where cellular activity is stimulated – breaking dormancy. Then, when the sun is blocked or sets, the bark temperature drops quickly, killing the recently activated tissue.
Sun scald can be prevented by wrapping the trunk with burlap or a commercial tree wrap. The burlap should be placed on the trees before the first frost and removed after the last frost. Newly planted trees should be wrapped for at least two winters and thin-barked species for many years, or as needed.
Older trees are less subject to sun scald because their thicker bark can insulate the dormant tissue from the sun’s heat ensuring the tissue will remain dormant and cold hardy.
In Summer on October 28, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
Plan now. The leaves are falling quickly these days and the air is getting cooler. It’s time to start thinking about laying the foundation for your winter exterior decor. It is much easier to work outdoors when you are not battling ice and snow, it is easier to place evergreen boughs in the ground and in containers when the soil is not frozen. We have spent many hours with a hand drill and frozen soil, trying to drill holes to place boughs in a frozen pot…
Fresh cut evergreen boughs, branches and berries will become available at the beginning of November. This is a good time to lay the foundation for your winter display.
In Summer on September 28, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
Massed in a shady bed or border, or arching out of a container – this 12-18″ tall golden japanese grass has it all. Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ is used mainly for its golden foliage, although it does produce tiny, inconspicuous flower spikes from late summer through mid autumn. Read Article »
In Summer on September 21, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
Think outside the mum! Fall presents another opportunity for outdoor color. We are still enjoying our outdoor spaces and will continue to do so until Thanksgiving. So, don’t forget this fall season to create a focal point in the garden.
Try a combination of plectranthus ’mona lavender’, brassica ’ruby perfection’, brassica ’laciniato’ and pansies.
In Summer on July 22, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
I spent a wonderful day last week at a client’s home during a Mariani Landscape sponsored garden walk.
One frequently asked question was about this plant in the front perennial border. Hollyhock mallow grows 2-4′ tall and looks like a miniature pink hollyhock with notched flowers on upright stalks. It blooms most of the summer in full sun or part shade. It can withstand hot and dry conditions, but wilts in high humidity.
I have always loved and used this plant in loose, cottage-type borders. I like the way it self sows and I encourage it to do so in my own garden. However, you can choose to deadhead the spent flowers to keep the seed heads from forming.
It’s at its peak right now and is worth a try in your garden…
In Summer on July 12, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
I haven’t seen any yet, but I know they are coming….the dreaded Japanese Beetle (papillia japonica). Japanese beetles are chewing insects that destroy the leaves, flowers and fruits of more than 276 plants. These beetles can completely skeletonize leaves. They are especially destructive to grapes, peaches and other members of the rose family. They are also particular fans of the hydrangea family. Japanese beetles do not feed on turf.
Japanese beetles (in grub form) are perhaps the most common turf-damaging insect in the northeastern U.S. Adults are metallic green with bronze wing covers and white spots are found on each side of the abdomen. Grubs typically grow up to an inch in length and are positioned in the shape of a “C” when feeding on roots. Japanese beetle grubs can be identified by the “v” shaped rastral pattern on the underside of the abdomen tip.
Japanese beetles have a one-year life cycle. Adults begin to emerge from pupae around the third week in June and reach peak activity between mid-July and early August. During this period the adults cluster on certain plant species to feed and mate. A few days after mating, females crawl into the turf and lay eggs in the soil. Eggs hatch within 9 to 30 days and emerging grubs begin feeding on turf roots. Feeding typically begins in late August and continues through September into October. When soil temperatures become cold in fall, the grubs move deeper into the soil and cease feeding. When soil temperatures warm to about 50 F in the spring, the grubs move towards the soil surface and feed for an additional 4-6 weeks on turf roots. Pupation typically takes place in late spring.
Turf damage from Japanese beetles is only a result of root feeding by grubs. Just because adults are observed on a property does not necessarily mean there will be grub damage later in the season. If turf damage does result from grubs feeding on roots, it will be most evident from late August to early October.
For grubs, the bacterium, Bacillus popilliae, sold as milky spore, must be applied to the soil and takes several years for it to build up to levels that are effective against grubs. Milky spore disease is ineffective against the annual white grub, that is usually found with Japanese beetle grub populations in Illinois. Annual white grub is the most serious turfgrass grub in Illinois. Chemical control should be discussed with a professional.
I have found that manual removal of the beetles, while donning gloves, into a bag of water and dish soap offers some control. Japanese beetle traps contain a scent that attracts the beetles to your entire property – so I don’t recommend that method. Preventative maintenance with milky spore or choosing less desirable plants is the way to go to avoid these summer pests.
In Summer on July 8, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
I have had more fun creating contained gardens of sedums, echeveria and sempervivums in pots, troughs and among rock gardens. There is a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Sedum pots are great for viewing up close on a table top!
My favorite small, low-growing varieties are:
Senecio repens ‘Serpens’, Sedum kamptschaticum, Sedum rupestre ‘Blue Spruce’, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Sedum rupestre ‘Dragon’s Blood’, Sempervivum tectorum ‘Hens & Chicks’, Echeveria ‘Black Prince’, Echeveria glauca, Echeveria glauca ‘Blue Cloud’
In Summer on May 24, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
Here are some photos of interesting texture in the landscape…
In Summer on May 20, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
Although, I do it every year, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to move my house plants indoors and out when the seasons change. The plants tend to encounter a lot of stresses. Here are some rules to consider when making the move….
- DO NOT move the plants outside too early. Houseplants acclimated to indoor temperatures can be damaged when night temperatures fall into the 40 and 50 degree range.
- DO NOT put the plants in full sun right away. Indoor plants need to move slowly into more light. Find a shady place for the plants to get filtered sun for a few days and SLOWLY give them more filtered light.
- NOT all plants can take full sun, but if the plant can handle or tolerate full sun slowly move the plant into move light over a 10 day to 2 week period of filtered sunlight.
- Once the plant is in high light or full sun, watch the leaves. If the leaves start fading, burning or bleaching out, reduce the light by moving the plant back into filtered sun. Give the plant another week in filtered light, then try moving it into more light.
In Summer on May 17, 2011 at 7:00 am | Written by Mariani Landscape
Good soil preparation and planting means you can avoid problems with your azaleas…but if you see these common problems, here’s what to do….
Flower Buds Don’t Open: If buds are brown and dry, they’ve been hit by frost or cold temperatures as they started to swell in the early spring. What to do – Choose cultivars that are more cold-hardy or bloom later in the season.
Yellow Leaves: Small leaves and stunted growth indicate that the roots are either water-logged or too dry. What to do – Plant your azalea so it has good drainage and make sure it gets regular moisture. Another cause of yellow leaves is chlorosis. This is caused by an iron or nitrogen deficiency (the veins of the leaves will remain green). A soil pH that’s too high prevents the roots from getting iron from the soil. What to do – Test your soil and amend as directed for a well-drained and acid (pH 4.5 – 5) soil. Do not use aluminum sulfate to acidify the soil – it’s toxic to azaleas.
Damaged leaves: The upper surface of the leaves appears stippled, but you’ll find the nymphs of the azalea lace bug and the adults underneath, along with the old “skins” from previous nymph stages. What to do – Spray the undersides of the leaves with a jet of water or with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Affected leaves will eventually die and be replaced by fresh green foliage.