We are finally getting some crisp cold weather. Those warm season flowers of summer are all but dead at this point and should be pulled up. After pulling the old plants, you will need to prepare the soil.
Pull the weeds first. Add at least two inches of organic additives like chicken manure, compost, etc. Till the soil between eight and twelve inches deep. Sprinkle on your choice of fertilizer. Form the bed into a nice plateau and rake it smooth. For new beds, most cool season flowers want sun. Choose areas that are well drained and have a lot of sun. The more sun, the better.
If growing flowers from seed, read your seed packet closely to get the correct planting depth and spacing from other plants. Generally, the smaller the seed, the closer to the surface they are planted. If you accidentally plant too many seeds, thin them out when they start to grow. Overcrowding will make your plants under perform.
Use mulch. It prevents weed growth, deters fungus from spreading, and holds moisture in the ground. Keep your colors simple. Stick to one or up to three colors per grouping. Too many colors become distracting instead of interesting and enjoyable.
It is time to pick out your flowers that will last into spring. It is important to get those flowers into the ground so they can get established before the real cold season hits. Here are some nice flower choices for areas that get at least six hours of direct sunlight: calendula, delphinium, dusty miller, galliardia, geranium, holly hock, larkspur, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage, kale, petunia, poppies, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, and toad flax.
Sometimes you have a shady area that could benefit from some color. If you have an area that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight, try out the following flowers: viola, pansy, alyssum, diascia, and columbine. If you have an even shadier area that requires color, try out the following flowers: cyclamen, foxglove, primrose, forget-me-not, and lobelia.
Some cool season plants will bloom in fall, lose their blooms, and bloom again in spring. Think of these as getting double for what you paid for and enjoy the show. The extra root development will lend itself to much larger blooms in spring.
This is a great time to add some seasoning to your garden. Cool-season herbs grow well in Louisiana’s fall season. Annual herbs to keep include coriander, cilantro, dill, fennel, chicory and parsley.
Perennial herbs keep well also during these colder months. Options include thyme, lavender, rosemary, mint, chives, oregano, catnip (for kitty), and pineapple sage. Chamomile is a perennial, but cannot survive the summer in Louisiana, so think of it as an annual if you choose to plant it.
You will want to plant your herbs as close to the kitchen as possible. The further away they are, the less likely they are to be used. If you do not have an area close to the kitchen, herbs do very well when grown in containers.
Only get herbs your regularly cook with and only a few plants of each. This will keep the space required for planting to a minimum and keep your herb gardening purchases cheap.
Most herbs like well drained soil and to grow at a moderate pace. Do not apply a lot of fertilizer to your herbs. A nice mix of compost will do fine. If you do not have access to compost, and you must fertilize, use a half dose of the recommended amount. Herbs that grow too quickly do not have as much flavor.
You will still reap the benefits in spring and summer of an herb garden planted now. Herbs will have time to develop over the winter and will be better equipped to handle the heat of summer. I hope your herb garden leads to a lot of delicious meals shared with family and friends.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed West Nile infected 2,469 people last year and cause 119 deaths. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds and then feast on a human host. September and October are the worst months for the virus and your highest chance to contract it. Be sure to keep using personal mosquito repellent and wear long sleeve shirts and pants when possible. Fortunately, only 1 in 5 people who contract the virus develop fever, and less than a percent develop anything serious. If you suspect you may have contracted West Nile, please see a doctor as soon as you can.
GreenSeasons Mosquito Misting Systems
Fall creates a new need in pests, including rodents, cockroaches, and spiders. The changing weather lets them know to seek out a place to survive winter. A convenient place for them happens to be your home. Taking a few steps to pest proof your home now will reduce the chance of uninvited guest for winter.
Tips for fall pest proofing your home:
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It is cold, overcast and usually wet. As you look outside you see your end of fall chore piling up... leaf pickup. Well good news for all, here are some ways to make your life easier when it comes to leaf removal.
Lawn Leaf Removal
Lawn leaf removal is really simple. Use your lawn mower with a mulching kit and simply mow your lawn. If you have a bag mower, empty it and mow over the pile a few times. The leaves in both scenarios will become really small and blend into the grass.
If you are completely set on removing your leaves, use a tarp. Lay a tarp down and blow you leaves onto it. The tarp will make the leaves easier to transport to a burn pile, to place in bags/cans, or to drag to your composting pile.
Why mulch leaves?
Leaves and pine needles contain macro and micro nutrients your trees have absorbed all year and no longer need for the winter. If you were to remove your leaves completely, you would remove also remove the nutrition from your soil. By mulching, you get to feed the soil, beneficial insects and micro-organisms for free. The decomposing leaves will also lower you soil pH which is great for plants like azaleas, gardenias and camellias. The other major perk is there is no need to fill dozens of bags with leaves.
Landscape Bed Leaf Removal
The easiest way to get leaves out of your garden beds is to blow them out with a blower and mulch them in the yard with your mower. Try to return some of the mulch back to the beds so the bedding soil stays rich with nutrition for your shrubs and flower. An easier way to take care of leaves in your bed is to just leave them there. If you have pine needles, there is your natural and free mulch. If you have have an unsightly variety of leaf, now would be a great time to mulch right on top of the leaves. The leaves will still break down and act as soil conditioner.
Professional Debris Removal
GreenSeasons offers professional debris removal for you. We provide landscaping, lawn care and pest control services in the Greater Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans, Slidell, Hammond and Covington areas. If you would like any of these services, just click here and we will give you a call.
If you would simply like some advice, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help.
The big three for growing plants are sunlight, water fertilizer. The fourth component most home gardeners (and professional landscapers) need to focus on is the pH, or potential Hydrogen ions, of their soil. All it takes is a soil test from either your local garden center or agriculture co-op. There have been many good plants ruined simply due to the soil not being tested. Once you have the results from your pH soil test, check your plants' optimal pH range and see if they match up. If they do, great! If not, prepare yourself of a slow soil correction with your yard. Fall a great time to get started adjusting the pH of your soil.
How To Raise Your Soil pH
Add lime, usually the smaller form the better it will be absorbed.
Apply at three months or more before you plant.
Mix the lime into the soil. If you are liming your lawn, aerate first.Use the amount recommendations on the bag you have bought. Do not attempt to raise your soil pH more than 1.0 point per year.
Make sure your soil is getting watered. The water is what activates the lime to raise your soil's pH.
How To Lower Your Soil pH
Add sulfur. There are different forms of sulfur, some work rather quickly while some take a long time.
As a rule, you will want to use a form of sulfur to lower your soil's pH slowly. Forms of sulfur that lower your soil's pH quickly can be harmful to plants.
If you are adding sulfur to your lawn, aerate first.
Use the amount recommendations on the bag you have bought. Do not attempt to lower your soil pH more than 1.0 point per year.
Irrigate after adding sulfur to make sure all of the sulfur has been washed off your plants since it can burn plant material it touches.
Professional Landscaping Advice
Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, gloves, dust mask and any other personal protective gear recommended by the label of the products your are applying.
Read and follow the product label.
It may take you years to adjust your soil pH to where you want it to be.
A little lime goes a long way. Remember, lime is a key ingredient in cement, don't harden your soil unnecessarily.
If you soil is very alkaline, you may not be able to lower it to your desired level. Consider different plants or bringing in soil for a landscape bed in that area.
Professional Soil pH Adjustment In Louisiana
GreenSeasons will your soil's pH for you. We provide landscaping, lawn care and pest control services in the Greater Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans, Slidell, Hammond and Covington areas. If you would like your soil's pH tested and adjusted, just click here and we will give you a call.
If you would simply like some advice, please contact us.
It's autumn. A great time of year that brings cooler temperatures, football, changing colors and, unfortunately, hay fever. Fall allergies are a reality for about 75% of people with spring allergies and rag weed is a major culprit. Mold hidden in old piles of leaves and dust mites lurking around your office also play a role in your feeling miserable. Ragweed pollen simply makes things unbearable since its pollen can travel hundreds of miles so there is really no escaping the hay fever it brings.
How to Identify Ragweed
Ragweed flowers are greenish yellow in small growths on its stems. Its stems are purplish green, hairy and branching. Ragweed gives a look-a-like plant, goldenrod, a bad reputation. Goldenrod has a much larger pollen that does not cause the allergies associated with ragweed. You can tell goldenrod apart from ragweed by a few simple features. Goldenrod is on a single, non-branching, stem and its flowers are bright yellow.
Ragweed Allergy Relief
Baton Rouge, Louisiana has been ranked in the top 10 worst cities for allergies for a while now and this year it has moved up to number 7. New Orleans is not far behind at number 11. Click here for a list of the top 100 worst cities for allergies in the United States. Here are some steps to alleviate the pain these allergies bring.
We get asked very often about Louisiana super plants. What are they? Where to get Louisiana super plants? When to plant them? Where to plant them? Below all of these questions will be answered.
What is a Louisiana Super Plant?
What is a Louisiana super plant? These are plants which are strong enough to handle Louisiana's climate and pretty enough for you to want them in your landscape. Candidates for the super plant program undergo two strenuous years of testing in both north and south Louisiana. They also have to be easy to grow and distribute for nurseries. They are almost always marked with the Louisiana super plants logo shown to the left.
Louisiana Super Plants List
This is a list of the current Louisiana Super Plants. New plants are added twice a year so we will try to update this list when new plants are added. If you are interested in any of the plants, click on the name to follow a link to the LSU Agcenter page for each plant. There is information on planting, sun tolerance, and planting advice.
Where to Buy Louisiana Super Plants
Most nurseries will carry at least one or two Louisiana super plants. Click on this Louisiana super plant nursery list for names, locations, and phone numbers for all registered Louisiana super plant suppliers in the state. It would be best to call before you go to make sure they have the plants in stock since they have been known to sell out.
GreenSeasons is always proud to offer Louisiana super plants in any of our landscape designs. If you are looking for a landscape plan that focuses on using Louisiana super plants, just click here and we will give you a call.
If you would simply like some landscaping advice with Louisiana super plants, please contact us.
Mums are a very popular choice for fall color in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and throughout South Louisiana. Mums have a large array of colors to choose from to brighten up dull areas in your garden landscape. There are two ways to have mums in your landscape and that would be to either plant them as a perennial or to buy mums every year as an annual. Buying them is as easy as going to any store with plants, but planting them and having your mums come back every year seems to give gardeners some trouble. We will go through some steps for mum success.
Caring for Mums
Location is important since it determines the amount of light your mum will receive. Mums should have eight hours of sunlight every day. Most varieties of mums can get by with a minimum of five hours, but would look much better with additional hours of sunlight. Also, if you have a choice, morning sunlight would be better if they are only getting around five hours.
Mums should be watered whenever you see signs of wilting or dry soil. Watering this way will average about three times per week in the absence of rain. A layer of mulch, even in a planter or pot, will help to keep your mums healthy. Do not water excessively since mums can get root rot and that would defeat the purpose of putting extra time into watering them.
Since mums flowering is so brief, they may not need additional fertilizer if they are in good soil. If you find they need a little something more, try a fertilizer with a higher rate of phosphorus (the middle number in the N-P-K numbering on all bags of fertilizer).
How to Grow Mums in Louisiana
A lot of people will tell you to plant your potted mums in late October before the first frost of the year. The next time you hear this you can firmly tell them they are wrong. If you plant your mums in October, they rarely have enough time to develop their roots to survive the winter. You will have a much higher chance of success if you keep them potted during the first few frosty days and nights of the year. Move them inside during frosty nights until all of the blooms and leaves have fallen off. This shows the mum has gone dormant.
At this point you will want to plant the mum in the ground. Till the soil a good six inches deep to loosen it up and mix soil that drains well. Plant mums eighteen inches and two feet apart. Add mulch, leaves or garden debris up and over the base of the plant to prevent freezing. In late January or early February, prune the tops of the mums to under one and a half feet. Begin watering mums in early spring as they start getting their new growth and color. Apply some slow release fertilizer, 20-10-20, when the mums start to grow to ensure they take off. Your mums should be established then and will return for many years to add color to your home landscape.
Alternatively, you could leave them in pots in a climate controlled environment until the following spring if you have the room. That would also mean having what would look like a bunch of sticks in a pot with soil in your home for months and most people would not care to look at that for so long.
One day you come outside and notice the oak tree in your yard has white webbing covering most of its trunk and some branches. Your first reaction is, "What is this on my tree and how do I get rid of it?" Well most people would have that reaction, but the good news is it is an overreaction. What you are seeing is the protective webbing of psocids, commonly referred to as bark lice. Believe it or not, this is a good thing.
Bark Lice, aka Tree Cattle
Bark lice show up on trees during the summer and early part of fall. Tree cattle eat algae, mold, fungi, lichen and dead insects that are in and on your tree's exterior. Most of these food sources are plentiful when given heat and excessive humidity which is why southern Louisiana is home to large invasions of psocids. They typically feed on hard wood trees and palms. I personally believe their tree of choice is an oak tree since it is what I have seen bark lice on the most. The good news is bark lice does not do any damage to the tree. By eating these foreign objects on the hard wood trees and palms, they are actually cleaning the tree. Be sure to thank them.
How to Get Rid of Bark Lice
Bark lice will go away on their own. After they have gone, the bark lice webbing will dissolve over the next few weeks. If you just can't stand the sight of the webbing in your tree, a soapy water solution may encourage them to move along. Mix three tablespoons of dish soap per gallon of water and apply it to the infested area. If this does not work, you will have to learn to live with the tree cattle until they move on to their next tree.
GreenSeasons is glad to help with any concerns regarding your trees you may have. If you would like for us to come out and perform a tree inspection, tree pruning, tree fertilzation, tree removal, or any other tree work, just click here and we will give your a call.
If you would just like some more advice on trees, please contact us.