Tag Archives: gardening

How to Choose a Healthy Plant

With spring in the area it’s time to start planting, so thought I’d share these helpful tips when picking out plants. Just a note, I found out that if you see spider webs on your plants, get rid of them quickly as they can cause plants to suffocate and take their nutrients!

How to Choose a Healthy Plant

You can’t judge a plant by its good looks. To pick the healthiest plant, take time to do a two-part visual inspection of the leaves and roots. It’s easy to slip a plant out of a pot. Press gently on the sides of the pot, or squeeze it in your hands. Invert the pot while holding one hand over the top of the soil and cradling the stems. Don’t pull the plant out by the stems.

Healthy Roots Healthy roots are white, ivory,or tan and should reach to the edge of the pot. (Pictured) The soil should smell moist.

Root-Bound Roots that are circling the bottom of the pot are a clue that the plant has been in the pot a long time. Before planting, tease out those circling roots and cut them off.
Sick Leaves or Roots Damaged leaves might indicate disease—don’t buy that plant. Roots that are slimy or mushy might be rotting. A foul sewer-gas smell is a sign of root rot.

Weeds Weeds growing on the soil surface around the perennial are a clue that the plant might have been carried over from the previous year. The plant might be healthy — check the roots to be sure.

Source Better Homes and GardensBuying Healthy Plants

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4 Ways To Save On Landscaping…

There’s no better place to build sweat equity than outdoors.
A high-end landscape contractor will charge at least $5,000 to remodel a typical compact suburban front yard. Yet if you can handle a shovel, hose, and wheelbarrow, you have the physical skills to replace overgrown or mundane greenery with fresh plants, boosting curb appeal and possibly property.
The tricky part is getting the design right; it’s not as simple as putting a few plants in the ground. Here’s how to achieve that upscale look on your own.

1. Broaden the beds

A single-file row of plants along the foundation and the property lines looks generic atbest.
Widen the beds to four to six feet so there’s room for more flora — and to make the plants really pop, use mulch that’s the color of soil. That means the fine, dark, compost-like material that costs about 25% more than basic wood chips, and that lasts only one year.

2. Focus on foliage

Replace oversize or drab plants with new shrubs and perennials arranged two or three deep, with smaller plants placed in front of larger ones (check the mature size listed on the label).
Don’t get hung up on picking the best flowers. That’s because blooms are short-lived; it’s the foliage that you’ll see most of the time.

Look for plants with red, purple, or multicolored leaves, as well as a variety of textures, from fine light-green needles to broad dark-green fronds. Alternate shapes too, with, say, a conical spruce near a chunky hydrangea.

3. Accent the architecture

Create a focal point using a dwarf tree or a large shrub. Don’t just plunk it in the middle of the yard. Instead, place it in line with a structural element of the property, such as a corner of the house, garage, or lot. Japanese maples ($100 to $400) and crepe myrtles ($30 to $50) are two good choices that look attractive in all seasons.

4. Trim with technique

When it comes to caring for your plants, ditch the electric clippers, which carve bushes into perfect geometric shapes. Unless you’re trimming a hedge, always cut the branches to slightly varied lengths one by one using a hand tool. You’ll get a more natural, flattering look.Image

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