1. WHY DOESN’T MY LILAC BLOOM? Answer: Lilacs need four things to bloom: Time, Sun, Proper Pruning and Proper Nutrition.
Time: It takes up to 4 years for a newly planted lilac to establish and bloom. Sun: Lilacs need 6-8 hours of full sun each day to bloom Proper Pruning: Only prune lilacs in spring after flowering. They set flower buds for the next year after flowering. If you prune after Mid June you will remove next year’s flowers. Proper Nutrition: Don’t over fertilize. Lilacs don’t need a lot of nitrogen and too much will cause growth without flowers. If you fertilize your lawn you might be over fertilizing your lilac. Lilacs need a soil pH of 6.5 to 7. You should have your soil tested and see if the pH is good for lilacs
2. WHAT’S THAT GREY STUFF GROWING ON MY TREE TRUNKS? Answer: It is probably lichen. Lichens are not parasitic and do not harm plants. If they are unattractive you can spray with a copper soap. You may have to spray off the dead lichens with a hose.
3. HOW DO I FORCE BULBS INDOORS?
Answer: You should buy bulbs that are recommended for forcing in September. It takes 16-20 weeks to force a bulb to flower. So if you want Tulips for Christmas plant them in early September. If you want bulbs blooming for Valentine’s Day plant them mid to late October. Plant the bulbs in pots that have a soil mixture of 6 part potting soil, 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite. The bulbs should be placed so the tips of the bulbs are at the soil line or just under. The bulbs should have the flat side facing the side of the pot and the pointed tip up. After planting water the soil in till it just drains out the bottom of the pot. Let the soil drain and then place it in a location that is 35-48 degrees Fahrenheit for 13-16 weeks. After the cooling period, put the pot of bulbs in a sunny location that is 60-65 degrees. They should bloom in 3-4 weeks.
4. WHAT IS A SMALL TREE FOR PLANTING CLOSE TO THE HOUSE?
Answer: Small trees range from 6 feet high and wide to 20 feet high and wide. Make sure that you account for the width when placing a tree or you will need to continually prune. Some examples of small trees are: Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)– 15’-20’ tall; 15’ wide Japanese maple “Bloodgood” – 12’-20’ tall; 15-20’wide (zone 5 hardy, needs winter protection) Korean Maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum) 15’ tall; 10’ wide Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) 20’ tall; 15’ wide Caragna “Walker Weeping” (Caragna arborescens) as tall as the graft; 3-5’ wide (strongly weeping) Minnesota Strain Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) – 20’tall; 20’ wide Snow Mantle Dogwood Tree (Cornus racemosa) – 15’tall; 8’wide ‘Galzam’ Chinese Dogwood’ (Cornus kousa) – 20’ tall; 20’ wide Crusader Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli) 15’ tall; 10’ wide Crimson Cloud Dogwood (Crataefus laevigata ‘Superba’) 15’tall; 10’ wide Burning Bush Tree (Euonymus alatus) – 10’ tall; 10’wide Prairie Radiance Winterberry Euonymus (Euonymus bungeana ‘Verona’) 20’ tall; 15’ wide Summertime Maackia(Maackiea amurensis ‘Summertime’) – 15’tall’ 12’ wide Leonard Messel Magnolia (Magnolia kobus) 15’tall; 20’ wide Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia kobus stellata) 8’ tall; 8’ wide Candymint Crabapple (Malus sargentii) – 8’tall; 15’ wide Guinevere Crabapple (Malus x) – 8’ tall; 10’ wide Madonna Crabapple (Malus x) – 15’ tall; 10’ wide Tina Crabapple (Malus x) – 6’ tall; 8’ wide Hakuro NIshiki Willow Tree (Salix integra) 15’tall; 15’ wide Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree (Syringa meyeri) 10’tall; 6’ wide
5. HOW DO I KILL MOSS GROWING IN MY YARD?
Answer :5 Conditions favor the growth of moss: excess moisture, shade, compacted soil, poor fertility and low pH
To get rid of moss you should thin out trees to increase sunshine, aerate the soil and have a soil test to determine if the pH needs to be raised.
6. HOW DO I GET RID OF CRABGRASS IN MY YARD?
Answer: Crabgrass grows from seed every year. It is an annual and dies off every winter. To stop crabgrass in your yard you need to apply a pre emergent herbicide in the Spring to prevent the Crabgrass seeds from germinating. The proper time is before the soil temperatures reach 50 degrees or when the Forsythia is blooming. If you have crabgrass you will have to wait till next year to get rid of it.
7. HOW DO I GET RID OF TENT WORMS IN MY TREES?
Answer:Tent worms and most caterpillars are effectively killed by a Spray of Bacillus thurengiensis (American Brand Thuricide) or Spinosad (Monterey Garden Insect Spray) We carry both. You can also burn the web with a torch if you can reach the web.
8. WHEN CAN I DIVIDE MY PERENNIALS?
Answer: The rule of thumb is to divide mid-summer to fall blooming perennials in the early spring. Divide spring and early summer blooming perennials in the late summer to early fall.
9. HOW CAN I KEEP MY TOMATOES HEALTHY?
Answer: Staking or caging your tomatoes and mulching underneath them is the best thing you can do for the health of your tomatoes. Keeping your tomatoes off the ground and keeping soil from splashing on them is the best way of keeping tomato blight off your plants.
Watering is also important. Too little water can cause blossom end rot and too much water can cause fruit split.
If you do suspect a disease starting you can spray with Espoma 3 n1 Disease Control or Monterey Liqui-Cop.
10. HOW DO I KEEP WEEDS UNDER CONTROL IN MY GARDEN?
Answer: Once you have weeded your garden you should mulch where possible and apply a pre-emergent herbicide. Mulch covers the soil and smothers weed seeds. Pre-emergent herbicide prevents weed seeds from germinating. Two pre- emergent herbicides we recommend are Corn Gluten (organic) and Preen (Treflan). They only prevent weeds so you must start with a weed free area to begin with. If you have grasses growing where it’s difficult to weed, especially quack grass, you can spray “Poast”. This is an herbicide that only kills grasses. Be careful not to spray your ornamental grasses. Poast takes several applications to be effective and needs to be applied in spring and early summer while grasses are growing and immature. We carry Hi-Yield Grass Killer that is made with ‘Poast’.
11. I HAVE SO MANY DEER IN MY LAWN, WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY LANDSCAPE?
Answer:Damage to ornamental plants by white-tailed deer has increased during the past decade. This increase is attributed to rising deer populations and human populations moving from rural and suburban home sites. Most research reveals that the best approach to control deer damage is an integrated pest management (IPM) plan, which includes population management, fencing, repellents, or plant management. Planting ornamental plants not favored by deer, will help homeowners to attempt to preserve their landscapes. The product “Green Screen” sold at Bloch’s Farm has proven to be very useful in the ongoing struggle to keep deer of landscape plantings.
12. WHAT PLANTS CAN I USE THAT ARE DEER RESISTANT?
Answer: The lists below are accumulated from various research projects and trade professionals. This is only a guide as most animals will adapt to the available food sources.
Trees • Aesculus parviflora / Bottlebrush Buckeye • Cornus kousa / Chinese Dogwood • Betula nigra ‘heritage’ / Heritage Birch • Gleditsia tricanthos / Thornless locust • Picea abies / Norway Spruce • Picea Pungens glauca / Colorado Blue Spruce • Pinus Nigra / Austrian Pine • Pseuditsuga nebziesii / Douglas Fir