Tree Uses

People plant trees for a number of reasons but there are some uses for trees that might not have occurred to you. Here are some useful reasons for planting trees:

Food

A lot of trees give us food, particularly fruit trees such as apple, pear, cherry, lemon, and orange. The local climate dictates what variety of fruit trees can be planted; tree crops such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit prefer a warmer location whereas apple and pear trees do well in a cooler climate. Planting trees that provide nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans provide food, but they also beautify your property and provide shade. To look after trees in your garden, consider a Tree Surgeon Bournemouth at a site like kieranboylandtreeservices.com

Image credit: https://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01512/Apples-0_1512791c.jpg

Wood and Paper

Trees with softwood, such as cedar, pine, and fir are used in the manufacture of home and furniture. Rough wood requires a bit more shape, including ash, oak, cherry, redwood, and maple. Trees are also processed for plywood and all parts used from bottom to top, including the pulp, for paper.

Firewood

Dead trees, fallen branches and imperfect pieces of wood are put to good use in the fireplace, campfire, and bonfire. In addition, charcoal comes from charred wood.

Shade

Large trees with spreading branches are ideal for shade, cut heating bills when growing near your home, provide cooling in the summer and protect smaller plants. Some varieties of shade trees include maple, ash, sycamore, oak, linden, and elm. Shady trees also bring additional visual interest to a garden.

Beauty and Flowers

Trees are often used to add interest to your property, especially varieties that flower or look striking or unusual trees. Among the flowering trees that are often used for landscaping are dogwood, magnolia, oleander, witch hazel, red chestnut, crab-apple, tulip, mountain ash, and flowering ash. Rare and unusual trees make your home stand out from the other houses on the street.

Image credit: http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/13/590x/magnolia-tree-630524.jpg

Windbreaks, Sound Barrier and Privacy

If you need a windbreak, a good idea is to plant high trees together to serve as a barrier for wind and noise. As well as this benefit, they also add privacy to space. An established tree will cut wind exposure and help prevent snow from drifting into your property. They can reduce home heating and cooling costs as they cut the wind. As a side benefit, they prevent dust and protect, as well as attracting wildlife, especially birds. These trees include but are not limited to, pine, locust, pine, birch, cedar, and cypress.

Medical and Cooking

Some drugs are derived from trees. For example, an allspice tree, native to the Caribbean and parts of Mexico, has a fruit that, when crushed, used in cooking and added to a variety of drugs that relieve colic. There is a palm tree in Malaysia that produces seeds that can treat animals suffering from worms. Poplar buds are used for flu drugs and ointments. Camphor trees from Japan and China are used for muscle pain ointments. Dogwood tree bark can be used as a substitute for quinine and sassafras bark can serve as a diuretic.

Temperature Control for Indoor Gardens

The cooler the room becomes, the worse the problem gets. As temps climb above 80 degrees, another set of problems is encountered. The metabolism of garden plants becomes so high that C02 in the grow room is used up very quickly… a 6x8x10 garden area can become C02 deficient in approximately 45 minutes. This means that all photosynthesis (and therefore plant growth) stops, unless you are constantly exchanging the garden air or constantly adding additional C02. In extreme cases, high temps in the grow room combined with higher metabolism rates will simply cook the plants to death.

So, what is the ideal temperature for an indoor garden? That is a tricky question. In general, I like to keep my daytime temperature at about 75 degrees, and my nighttime temperature 5 to 10 degrees cooler. This is just about ideal in a garden that constantly exchanges the air with a powerful fan. If you are adding C02 to your garden, however, it is more beneficial to keep daytime temps closer to 82 degrees. The slightly warmer temperature speeds up plant metabolism slightly and allows you to take full advantage of the extra C02 by speeding up plant growth rates to their maximum.

It is important to note that photosynthesis (and plant growth) stop when the C02 in a garden drops below 250 ppm. With higher temps, the C02 in a fully enclosed garden is used very quickly and needs to be supplemented or replaced. That is how temperature affects C02 in an indoor garden. With higher temps the plants will consume more water. With more water, plants consume more nutrients. If you do not want your plants to become chemically burnt (over-fertilized), then you need to reduce the strength of your nutrient solution slightly whenever the garden is running at a warmer temperature.

Now that you know what temperatures are ideal for your indoor garden space and how it will affect the consumption of C02 and nutrients, let’s look at the most reliable methods for controlling the temperature in your garden. The very first thing I recommend is to have a large volume of cool air ready to exchange with the rest of your garden. A 4×8 foot garden area in a 20×40 foot basement is a good situation to have… the large volume of air can be constantly exchanged with the garden to keep it cool.

As your garden is confined to a smaller and smaller area temperature becomes more and more of a problem. If your garden is confined in a small space, you will want to ventilate your reflector separate from the rest of the grow room. This means having a fully enclosed reflector, pulling air from outdoors, through the reflector to cool it, then exhausting the (now warm) air back to the outdoors. This will prevent a lot of the heat from the light from entering into the rest of the garden air space.

The rest of the garden air space needs to be exchanged constantly with a powerful fan (either squirrel cage or centrifugal). Even then it may not be enough to keep high temperatures in check. This is especially true in the Summer months. If you are using this method and you find that it is not enough to keep your garden temps right, you only have one option… you need to introduce cold air into the garden. This is usually done with AC, but in Fall and Winter may be done in some areas simply opening a window and pulling air in from outdoors.

Those are the basics of indoor garden temperature control. I recommend always screening your air intakes to prevent outdoor pests from making their way into your garden. For more information, be sure to check out the included link, and happy growing!

Treatment and Control of Moss In Lawns

By first understanding why moss is growing, we can also understand the correlation of what is happening in the health of the lawn that it is allowing the moss to grow at all.

Moss thrives and grows in soil conditions that are usually moist and wet and heavily shaded. While in contrast, lawns will not tolerate growing under those same conditions of excessive moisture and combined shade. So with this in mind, if we have moss in our lawn, then we have optimal growing conditions for that moss to thrive, while also having the same conditions which causes lawns to deteriorate in health and to die off while living under those same environmental conditions.

So by removing the problematic conditions that cause moss to grow, we simultaneously improve the conditions in which lawns will grow and thrive. The purpose of this article then will be to improve environmental conditions to most greatly favor the lawn, while becoming the most hostile in which moss can grow, thereby removing the moss problem altogether and improving lawn health.

The number one environmental condition that favors moss and weakens lawns is when there is too much shade covering any lawn area. Therefore removing excessive shade is our highest priority to tackle the problem of moss in lawns.

Prune back all excessive growth from trees and shrubs to increase the amount of direct sunlight to the affected lawn area as much as possible. The more direct sunlight we can bring onto the lawn, the better. Moss will not grow in direct sun, and lawns love direct sunlight.

Continue to remove all other environmental conditions in the yard which may be causing excessive shade onto the lawn. This may be any type of shelter, fencing, shed, or other structure that can be moved to another place in the yard. Whatever object that can be moved away from the lawn, which is causing shade to the lawn, should be moved.

In areas where there is shade caused by objects which cannot be moved, like permanent fencing, a fixed shed or even the side of the house itself, then it may be a better option to remove the lawn altogether in that area and plant a shade tolerant garden bed, or to add paving, or outdoor storage or similar to that area, and to remove the lawn permanently.

The other major factor which encourages the growth of moss in lawns, as well as the deterioration of lawns, is the presence of large amounts of moisture that stay present in the soil for extended periods of time. So by removing this excessive moisture in these lawn areas that may be affected by moss, we then create a much more hostile growing environment for that moss to ever take hold.

This involves adjusting our lawn watering schedules if necessary, as well as making soil improvements if the soil itself is retaining too much water in its profile for too long.

We cannot cover all the factors involved in correct lawn watering in this article, as that is a long article in itself. Suffice to say that the homeowner should monitor the watering schedule at their property to determine if these can be reduced. This is an important factor, and any reduction to the water being applied to any lawn area affected by moss, is very important.

Next, we want to treat the soil itself in the affected area where moss is growing.

First dig out and dispose of the moss from the area.

Then we want to dig into the soil to determine its condition. Is the soil heavily compacted? Then we will need to heavily aerate and break up that soil. If the soil is very wet, then adjustments will need to be made to the soil so that water is more able to freely flow away. This is most often the case with clay or very silty soils, whereby we would then want to remove some of that soil and replace it with a coarse sand. The coarse sand is then mixed in with existing soil so that the area becomes more free draining of water.

If this type of soil improvement is undertaken, then we would want to treat the soil at a depth of up to a foot deep, turning over the soil and mixing in plenty of coarse sand, before finally levelling off and compacting the soil again.

For clay based soils, there are many different types of clay breaker products available to help treat clay soils, such as Gypsum type products. These should be strongly considered for use on clay soils where drainage is an issue for lawns.

After these soil repairs, we can then choose one of several options to repair the lawn itself, dependent on what type of lawn we have growing. Those choices will be to install new sod, or to re-seed the lawn area, or to allow the lawn to spread over the repaired soil area on its own – if the lawn is a runner type grass.

Growing Vertical Garden

The whole point of starting this type of garden was that my Shorkie, Brandy, is very destructive and I still wanted something pretty to look at besides the gray fence. So, my first thought was “why not plant something we can use”? Hence the herbs and veggies. That wasn’t enough however, we were still looking at the ugly gray fence, so a few weeks later, we added the flowers and decorations. I still plan to add more to the fence when the temps start going down a bit. Hey, it’s hot in Texas right now!

My inspiration was a beautiful pin I saw on Pinterest and not only were there plants all along the fence, the fence itself was painted like a flower garden! Very inspirational and so much talent needed I’m sure. The first challenge I faced when starting to put plants on the fence was how to hang them without the weight pulling on the fence. First I came up with over-the-door hooks to hang from the support board from the neighbors side. That ended up being where I hung other decorations like a tiny birdhouse and a pretty sun. You see, I would have had to find half baskets and I’m on a budget here.

Ultimately, we ended up getting strong decorative metal hooks that my husband was kind enough to install on the support posts of the fence. They proved quite strong and now I have a plant hanging from each one, three in all. There are other ways to hang more plants at one time, like a long box held by brackets or maybe even half baskets that would hang flush with the fence. Truth is, the weather got hot and I decided to wait to add more because I’ve created enough I have to water already!

We have managed to harvest a few cherry tomatoes and a sweet pepper plus I use the basil for many things. The mint comes in handy as well if you like to make infused waters for instance. Also, it’s wonderful to have pretty flowers, lights and decorations to look at now all out of my puppy’s reach!

Garden Fencing

Whether you want to give your garden a more decorative look or you simply want a protective barrier then fencing is without question a very worthwhile addition to your garden. Garden fencing plays many roles. It defines the boundary of your property, can act as a partition to keep neighbours or unwelcome guests out and children and animals in. Where possible garden fencing should be aesthetically pleasing and attempt to match the architecture of the house and surroundings. Be aware also if there are any bye laws in place that have height restrictions on perimeter Fencing.

With so many fencing options to choose from it can be difficult to know what will work best in your garden. As already alluded to the style of your garden and your primary reason for garden fencing in the first place will quickly help you identify the perfect fence to satisfy your needs. The cost of timber plus the high upkeep of wooden or timber fencing has led to some innovative materials for fencing such as vinyl or plastic fencing making a reappearance.

Let’s briefly look at some of the fencing options available always bearing in mind, however, that your budget will have a major role to play in the type chosen:

  • Bamboo fencing can give your garden an exotic look as well as providing privacy. It is, however, not very long lasting and can rot after one season depending on the rainfall.
  • Plastic fencing which comes in different colours and designs. Perhaps its greatest appeal is its durability and minimum maintenance as it is rot and rust resistant and rarely discolours.
  • Wire Fencing can be unsightly; however, it fulfils its purpose of defining a given boundary. It can be decorated with flower climbers and twirling plants and over time can be made to look pretty. It lets in lots of air and light but is not very private.
  • Chain Link Fencing made of galvanised or steel coated wires. Easy to install and minimum maintenance. Cheap to install, lets in lots of air and light but provides little by way of privacy.
  • Wrought Iron fencing has more architectural appeal and character. It also of course has its advantages in severe weather conditions.
  • Wooden fencing can give an old world type style to a garden. They provide privacy but require maintenance. They definitely will add to your garden and there is a huge variety of wooden fencing on the market.
  • Stone Fencing is in reality more of a wall than fencing but it is an option. It can be costly to construct and once erected is unlikely to be moved again so may limit your options.

 

About Garden Gnomes

Garden gnomes have been around much longer than you probably think. The tradition has been around since the early 1800’s with Germany being the first to produce them in factories there and the gnomes were made of clay. However, they actually became popular in the 1840’s after folks in England started adding them to their gardens. The first garden-gnomes that were mass-produced came from Germany in the 1870’s. With the onset of the world wars, production of the garden gnomes soon came to a halt. The gnomes we know today, many made of plastic began making their appearance in the 1960’s. The gnomes are whimsical and cartoonish, but not necessarily to everyone’s taste. There is only a few manufacturers that make gnomes of clay and resin, and are finished by hand and not mass produced. The die hard gnome fanciers seek out these gnomes for their gardens. Gnomes come in a variety of poses and sizes.

Known as symbols of good luck, gnomes were also thought to provide protection over things like buried treasure. Even today they are placed in fields to watch over crops. Some were even placed in the rafters of barns to watch over livestock. Of course they are also most popular for placing in the garden. The farmers that placed gnomes in fields also believed that their good luck charm would ensure a greater yield of crops while protecting them from pests and other problems. Some even thought that the gnomes would help the gardeners through the night.

The word “gnome” is thought to be Latin for “earth dweller”. They were often referred to in German fairy tales. Similar creatures were found in folklore across the world, and were known by different names, such as the Hob in England.

Although gnomes weren’t really described very well in any of the stories, one thing is common throughout the world when it comes to their general look. Most are wearing simple clothing and a red hat and usually have a long white beard. The lady gnomes which aren’t that commonly seen in gardens, tend to be dressed in a simple dress and they have long hair also topped with a red hat. Is anyone else thinking that gnomes sound a lot like Smurfs?

Garden gnomes can be found these days in so many different configurations. Some may be holding a keg of beer, others snooze lazily in a hammock while yet others provide a source of solar lighting while mooning visitors to the garden.

Gnomes don’t always end up staying put in the garden where they are placed. Some have become the victims of a prank kidnapping. Photos of the kidnapped gnome is taken to show the adventures and travels of the little bearded guy, travels to some places that I’m sure most of us would envy.

Commercial Parking Lot Lighting

Metal halide lights – They are excellent in color rendition because they offer a light that is almost white. They are efficient compared to mercury vapor lights, but less efficient compared to low pressure sodium when it comes to energy use.

Mercury vapor lights – They are not as good when it comes to color rendition and give a blue-green light. The lamp life is however very reliable but light levels, reduce was the lamp ages. The lights are very good when it comes to energy efficiency.

High pressure sodium lights – They give off yellowish amber light but the lamp life is long and light levels do not reduce that much even when the light ages. These lights are energy efficient making them ideal for the parking lot that needs to remain lighted throughout the night.

Low pressure sodium lights – They have an orange yellowish light and a lamp life that is relatively short. These lights, however do not reduce light levels as they age and they are very energy efficient and this makes them great for places that might need lighting throughout the day.

LED lights – They are cost effective, energy efficient and come in a wide range of wattages so you choose the perfect one in relation to the specific demands you have. They last long and rarely need to be replaced for years. The LED parking lot lights are dark sky friendly too, making them perfect for your lot.

Why light the parking lot?

It protects your business. When you install lights for your business premises, you enhance the safety and security of your assets. Lighting keeps intruders off your business because there is no hiding place around your property.

It protects pedestrians. Many people robbed in the parking lot, especially when there is poor lighting, especially during late night hours. Proper lighting therefore minimizes criminal activities. A well lit up space will provide a safer environment for local pedestrians and passers-by. You will also manage to give your employees a sense of security, especially when working late night.

It makes pulling out of the area easier. Your customers or even employees do not have to worry about bumping into objects and other cars when the place is well lit. Proper lighting gives them an easier time pulling out of the parking area.

Choosing Vegetable Seeds for Garden

Other considerations include garden size and design. Large vegetables, such as squash, should not be planted in a small garden since these ground vine plants require a spacious area. When confined, they will not be able to give good fruits. However, in case you have a small garden, add a trellis so that the climbing pants will grow upwards and not outwards.

Perhaps the best garden contains vegetable seeds that are productive during the entire growing season. Go for an assortment that will thrive in the first, middle and latter part of the summer, and some that will produce vegetables during the fall. As an example, green beans grow during the early part of summer and throughout the season, corn in the middle to latter part of the summer, and pumpkin or squash during the fall. It can be tedious to come up with a garden so naturally, people do not want to enjoy the harvest just once.

There are several different ways to buy seeds. Once spring approaches, interested individuals can find seed packets in many places like home depots, garden centers or supermarkets. These products make the process easier by offering information such as the best time of planting for a particular region, the estimated harvest date, plus planting instructions. In general, these instructions include the distance between the seeds and the number of seeds that can fit in every hole.

Gardeners can ask local farmers to supply them with seeds that will best suit their area. They are equipped with the experience and knowledge needed to grow productive plants in their location. There are farmers that sell vegetable seeds on stands along the road or at their farm.

Those who like a certain variety can go for heirloom vegetable seeds. These vegetable varieties have already been around for at least 5 decades, and preserved by devoted growers. They are able to produce big compatible plants from seeds and supply varieties that are not available in supermarkets. Small growers consider them as some of the best-tasting plants that are available on the market.

Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance

Water Production

The first thing to do is find out how long it takes your sprinkler to produce an inch of water. You can discover this information using a watering gauge, or by placing an empty tuna can under a stream of water. This information acts as a baseline. It allows you to anticipate your monthly irrigation costs, and it also reveals the standard amount of water used in an allotted time. By identifying normal function, you’ll be able to notice when something is not working properly.

Watering Schedules

Your watering schedules need to be adjusted depending on the season. Also, different zones of your yard contain different species of plants and need be tailored and adjusted accordingly. You can hire a serviceman to complete these settings if you aren’t confident, or you can set and monitor water output yourself using a “weekly watering number” for each section. The guidelines for weekly watering numbers can be found online, and include the necessary water percentages for various types of vegetation and climates.

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your overall watering system to identify leaks that will lead you to broken lines and misdirected heads. First, do an overall visual assessment, checking for pools of water and wet sidewalks. Both broken lines and misdirected water will cost you money, so take a few minutes once a month to make sure your water usage is efficient. A large, in-ground lawn sprinkler system should then be assessed zone-by-zone for leaks and damage to ensure proper functionality. Make any necessary repairs or replacements as soon as they are found to avoid worse, more expensive issues later.

Check Spray Patterns

Next, check the spray patterns of each sprinkler head to make sure water isn’t blocked by dirt, plants, or other material. If the heads are clear, but you’re experiencing poor water pressure, you may need to get your backflow checked. The backflow connection needed for automatic irrigation is required by law to be checked annually, but having it checked more often is a good idea. This testing process should be completed by a state-certified tester. Rules and regulations vary depending on your area, so contact your local water provider for specific information.

House Plants

The immediate excuse is ‘oh when I grow anything it immediately dies!’ Anything or anybody taken out of their correct environment is not going to be happy. I would venture to suggest this is time for a new approach. If you know you have a dodgy history with plants then take the necessary steps to change. Ask appropriate questions to find out what will make the plant you have chosen flourish – do they like to be in the sun or do they prefer the shade, what about water -?a lot or a little? If you are still unsure, then the Internet is really the place to go; or Gardening Groups on Facebook, or Wikipedia. There are also sites dedicated to houseplants. Surely by taking the time to investigate, you are investing in the success of the plant. Nothing says wasted money more than a dead plant.

So you have your plant home and it is sitting there. It may or may not need water but it will certainly need a nice container. Think about your interior design room scheme. What would be the most appropriate? Decide the theme. Is your room rustic, then a lovely basket would look great. If modern, then you need something that is clean lined and simple – Perhaps black, white or silver in colour. A room surrounded in antiques needs a planter that fits in with the scheme. Old soup tureens make wonderful containers. I also adore those lovely swans that you can fill with plants – they can look really interesting. Why not look round on Pinterest for ideas, go to your local flea market, car boot sale or trawl eBay to see what you can find that you like. Another option is terracotta pots, the older and more interesting the better. As with any container make sure that watering will not do any damage, appropriate saucers fitting in your general overall design are most important. There is nothing more heartbreaking than water damage on a beautiful dark wooden polished table.

Care of your container is vital. Always line your basket with a black liner. Make sure if you are using china that limescale does not become an issue. Re-potting a house plant gives ample opportunity for cleaning the container too. Glass too for a more modern display also has to be kept clean and smart.

Don’t forget by having houseplants in your home you are improving your health! Plants produce oxygen. There is a theory supported by NASA that houseplants remove up to 87% of airborne toxins. To do this, you need 15 – 18 good sized plants in 6″ – 8″ pots. By helping you feel calmer and providing a purpose helps you focus outward which in turn can help your blood pressure drop. Your plants can contribute a ‘Zen’ feeling in a room. So with all this very positive information, I hope that you are feeling more confident about giving them another go.

The next step is to decide what effect you are looking for. Do you want just foliage or do you want flowers as well? Realistically unless they are orchids, you will be looking at a limited timeframe when they are at their best. Orchids by the way flower for 3 months plus! If you fancy growing them, then please do check out Kew Gardens to learn more about their orchid extravaganza. Other flowering alternatives include lavender or jasmine, peace lilies even a shrimp plant; Christmas cactus, azaleas, streptocarpus and begonias.

If you have the space, see if you can grow your plants from seed. Coleus do well here and they are fun to grow as they have the most amazing coloured leaves going from pale green/white to the darkest of plums.

Foliage plants are a joy. They take less maintenance and have all year round interest – often seen in offices. In this category, you might also consider Air Plants. They are something a little bit special as they only need spraying not watering. Well worth investigating. Foliage plants are interesting, do you keep them as specimen statements or do you group them for impact? You need to use plants with different textured leaves and different colours. Be warned, group plantings can be more difficult as all the plants will have different watering needs.

In this category, check out ferns, spider plants and fiscus. Peace lilies cross the divide as their flowers are somewhat exotic yet the leaves look great by themselves. Aloe Vera and eucalyptus have health benefits. Herbs growing in the kitchen look most authentic and obviously have a use too. Also in the heat, the aroma of the plants is really attractive. Curry plants are fun here. I would also encourage you to check out sedums. Fascinating plants that look great in a modern scenario. Pinterest have lots of beautiful examples of how they can best be set off.