Sunday, July 3, 2011

Triangle Palm Tree (Dypsis decaryi)


The Triangle Palm Tree, scientific name Dypsis decaryi, is a very striking palm known for its tristichously arranged leaves that form a triangle. The palm is a great ornamental plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors in the open to show its unique shape. It can grow indoors or outdoors. The Triangle Palm is also known as Three Sided Palm and Neodypsis decaryiraveler’s Tree. It is native to Madagascar Island. 
Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast
Height: Up to 10 – 20ft
Light Req: Full Sun to Partial shade
Water Req: Moderate
Cold Tolerance: down to 30F

Triangle Palm Tree Description

Dypsis decaryi can grow up to 50ft tall but usually is about 30ft. It has single smooth, upright, trunk, 9-13 inches in diameter, brownish-gray, ringed by the scars from the fallen fronds. Overlapping leaf-bases grow from three distinct points of the trunk, forming a triangle, hence the name Triangle Palm.
Leaves are pinnate, or feather-like, arching almost upright, about 10ft long and 3ft wide, segmented, bluish-green above and beneath, supported by brown petiole covered in a whitish bloom.
The Triangle Palm produces yellowish green flowers that are held by 4 ft long branched petioles emerging from the lower leaves. The Triangle Palm is monoecious, male and female flower are born on the same plant. Flowers are followed by round black inedible fruit about 1 inch in diameter. This beautiful palm blooms all year long, thus making it especially colorful.

Growing Triangle Palm Tree

It likes full sun but can also grow in light shade. Triangle Palm Tree can also grow indoors. It can tolerate temperatures down to 30F for a short period of time when mature enough. During cold temperatures it should be kept as dry as possible.
It does not require a lot of water so make sure you let soil dry between watering and provide good drainage. You can use general purpose potting soil with some added sand.

Triangle Palm Tree Propagation

Propagated by seeds and division. Seeds take only about 1-2 months to germinate.


Amaryllis Planting and Care


Quick Tips:

  • Planting Period:  October until the end of April.
  • Flowering Period:  Late December until the end of June.
  • Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
  • Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
  • Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place between 40-50 deg. F. 

Amaryllis-One of a Kind

Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom.  This can be accomplished indoors or out, and over an extended period of time.  The amaryllis originated in South America's tropical regions and has the botanical name Hippeastrum.  The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide.  The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.  There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Preparation for Planting

The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours.  Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F.

Planting

Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting compost, many are available pre-mixed.  Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots.  Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.
Planting picture

Placement and Watering

Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems.  The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F.  Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more.  At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.

Flowering Period

Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.  In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring.  Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind.  To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.

After-Bloom Care

After-Flowering. After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
Leaf Growth and Development. Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
Bulb Storage. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks.
Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.



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how to build paths



how to build paths

'How do I build garden paths properly?' We show you step by step how to lay a path properly, if you want to build your garden path yourself. We give you valuable landscaping advice, so get your spirit level, spade, trowel and cement mixer out and start laying some garden paths!

The secret to laying successful gravel, slate, shingle or granite chippings paths is to plan carefully and have all the required materials and tools to hand before you start work. For all loose surfaces, an edging of some description is required, to prevent it escaping to the rest of the garden.

step 1 - clear the site and mark out

Using a scaled plan of your garden design, mark out the position of your paths, with pegs and line. Clear any vegetation from the area and dig out soil to a depth of approx. 150mm (6") with a spade.

step 2 - edging in stone or concrete needs mortar

For stone or concrete edging mix a mortar at a ratio of 3-4 parts building sand to 1 part cement. Place the mortar at the edges, position the edging material into the mix ensuring the correct height by gently tapping with a rubber mallet. Use a spirit level to ensure they are level.

step 3 - edge higher than surface - retains gravel

Remember, the edge should be higher than the surface to stop the gravel spilling out. If it is placed next to grass, ensure that the top is at least 10mm below the height of turf to prevent mower damage. Instead of stone edging, you could use planed timber, logs, or wooden sleepers which don’t need concrete - secure with wooden pegs.

step 4 - layer of hard-core over the base of path

Now place a layer of hard-core over the base, to a depth of approx. 100mm (4") and firm with a vibrating plate. If you have a small path you could do this with a garden roller.


step 5 - layer of sharp, sand, hoggin or fine gravel

Cover this with a layer of sharp, sand, hoggin or fine gravel to a depth of approx. 25mm (1") and firm again. This will help the hard core from showing through the top layer in the future.

step 6 - gravel, slate, shingle, granite chippings

Now place a layer of gravel, slate chippings, shingle, granite chippings, or any other loose surface of your choice. Rake to correct level, and gently hose with water to clean the material.

 tips for your gravel path project

• If you spill mortar on edging, wash with water to prevent stains.
• For a curved edge, use a hose or rope as a guide.
• Although many people lay a weed proof membrane over the soil and then add gravel to create a path, this does not provide a firm foundation for gravel, but will be fine for bark chippings.



How To Make Compost

 Any herb gardener will benefit from adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil in order to grow plants well. One of the most popular and beneficial things to add is compost. Compost can be purchased at any garden supply center, but it is very easy (and less expensive) to make your own. Whether your garden is indoors or out, compost will help all your herbs grow better.
What is Composting?
The act of composting is putting organic materials in a pile or container, along with water. This pile is turned periodically and the beneficial bacteria will thrive. This creates high heat and breaks down the raw organic materials into a dark, rich, soil-like product. There will be no discernible original parts, and finished compost has a fresh, earthy odor.
How Much Compost Will I Need?
If you have a small indoor garden, you can simply create less compost. If you are growing your herbs outdoors, you can never have enough of this black gold. A nice idea for indoor composting is to buy a rubbermaid-style tub that will fit under your kitchen sink and begin composting with earthworms. This is called vermiculture, and it is the perfect way to create compost for all your indoor herbs.
For larger amounts, you may want to contain your compost pile in a bin. These can be made of any material you have access to. I have used free wooden pallets with great results. I simply wire three together and have the fourth side open for turning. These pallet bins are easy to move in the fall and contain enough room for me to easily stir the contents. There are many other styles of compost bins to choose from. You can spend hundreds of dollars buying a fancy version that is essentially a barrel with a handle to crank it around with. The choice is yours. Now, on to the ingredients needed for a healthy compost pile.
How Do I Make Compost?
Compost needs three essential ingredients in order for the magic to happen:
·         Green material
·         Brown material
·         Sufficient moisture
Green material is high in nitrogen. It is usually what we refer to as kitchen scraps like coffee grounds, peelings, fruit cores, and eggshells. Any kitchen waste that is not greasy or meat can be composted. Manure (NOT dog and cat waste, only barnyard animals), grass clippings, leaves, and weeds you have pulled are also green materials.
Brown material is high in carbon. Paper, sawdust, small branches and twigs, and straw all fall into this category. You may not believe that the items have anything to offer your compost, but they certainly do. The ratio of nitrogen to carbon ideally works out to be equal parts of both for us on the farm. We use all of our stems and any part of the herbs that we are not going to save and what we clean out of the stalls in the goat barn as the majority of our brown and green material. Cornstalks and kitchen scraps also get added regularly. We never have enough compost, but every bit helps and we do not suffer from drought or standing water like some of our neighbors do.
Water is the final key ingredient in a thriving compost pile. Without moisture, your pile will take months to do anything, and if dry enough, will not break down at all. If your pile is too wet, it will smell and become slimy as the ratio of bad bacteria outweighs the good. You want it to remain damp, but not dripping wet. If you do not get enough rainfall to suffice, dump a bucket over it once a week to keep things moving. You will know that your compost pile is right if it becomes hot in the middle. This is important to sterilize the compost and kill the weed seeds or bad diseases that may be there. The heat is your proof that the ratio is working for your compost pile.
What Else Do I Have To Do To My Compost Pile?
You will turn your pile from the outside in about once a week. This doesn't have to be anything major, simply shovel the outer portion of the pile towards the inside and continue moving in this way around the pile until you have rearranged it so that fresh compost is now exposed. This way, all the beneficial organisms can have a chance to work on all of the pile's ingredients.If your pile heats up, gets moisture, and gets turned regularly, you should have dark, wonderful compost in about one to two month's time.
I Have Compost, Now What?
Use this fertile addition to any herbs you have, both indoors and out. Add it in large quantities in the spring to the soil you are going to plant in. Use it throughout the season to top off any soil that has become tamped down due to water runoff or settling. In the fall, break down your garden and put any parts of it that are not diseased back into a new compost pile to work all winter and you will have new compost to use the following spring.

Looking After House Plants


 houseplants has been carefully selected to ensure that there’s something for everyone. So, whatever style you’re looking for, whatever the conditions in your home, we’ve got the plant for you. Below, we’ve got advice on making the right plant choice, and ensuring that it thrives for years to come.
Choosing
First things first: apart from looking good, what do you want from your houseplant?
Consider:
Time: if you don’t have much to spare, avoid plants that require daily care.
Try: spider plant, weeping fig, mother-in-law’s tongue or false aralia for starters.
Health: some plants will clean the air of pollutants, worth considering if you’re a city dweller.
Try: spider plant, weeping fig, rubber plant, parasol plant.
Permanence: do you want a burst of seasonal flowers or a long-lasting foliage display?
Flowers, try: azaleas, chrysanthemums.
Dramatic foliage, try: king begonia, peacock plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, Madagascar dragon tree, devil’s ivy.

Positioning
BEFORE deciding on a particular house plant it’s important to fix on where you’re going to put it, and what the conditions are in that spot. Consider:
Natural light: you’re spoilt for choice with a bright spot, less so with a shady one.
For moderately shady spots, try: peacock plant.
Direct sun: this is to be avoided. The sun can scorch leaves, and the heat will make the plant flop.
For a spot that receives some direct sun, try: Chrysanthemums, good luck tree, mother-in-law’s tongue, parasol plant.
Humidity: most plants are happy in moderately humid conditions, but bathrooms can be damp; small, centrally heated rooms can be very dry.
For your bathroom, try: peacock plant, spider plant, good luck tree.
For a small, centrally heated room, try: mother-in-law’s tongue.
Draughts: avoid these: generally, plants benefit from a steady, mild temperature.
Space: if limited, avoid plants with spikes or dangling stems, choose varieties that have a compact shape.
Try: azalea, chrysanthemum, king begonia, asparagus fern.
AFTER your plant arrives let it settle in: it may lose some leaves as it adjusts to conditions. If it has one source of light, turn the plant regularly to prevent it growing in only one direction. Occasionally wipe its leaves with a damp cloth.

Watering
· Place your plant pot in a saucer to avoid staining furniture.
· Water the plant when the compost surface is no longer moist – test it with your finger. NB. Some plants require their compost to be kept moist but not soaking. These are: azalea, chrysanthemum, peacock plant, spider plant, umbrella plant, devil’s ivy.
· Most are happy to be watered from the top, but if the pot is small, fill the saucer with water and let the compost soak it up.
· Don’t let plants stand in water; if necessary, tip away the excess from the saucer.
· Don’t overwater your plant.
· If your plant dries out and flops, submerge the entire pot (but not the plant) in water and hold it there until air bubbles cease from rising to the surface.

Feeding
Like watering, you can under- and overfeed a plant so, whether you choose a liquid or slow-release fertilizer, make sure you follow the instructions on the packet.

Repotting
You’ll probably need to repot your house plant after two or three years. To find out whether it’s time, take a look at the bottom of the pot: are roots coming through the hole? If you’re still uncertain, gently ease the plant out of its pot. Are the roots beginning to appear through the compost? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, here’s what to do:
1. Buy a pot that’s one size bigger, and some fresh house plant compost.
2. Pour a little compost into the base of the pot.
3. Ease your plant out of its original pot and place it so that the rootball is about an inch below the top of its new pot, adding more compost to the bottom if necessary.
4. Fill with compost, and tamp it down with your hand.

Thevetia peruviana


Peruviana, also known as Be-still tree, is an upright, open shrub or small tree with lance-shaped, mid- to green leaves. Produces scented apricot-yellow flowers, followed by triangular-ovoid, red, later black seed pods. In general, Thevetia is fast growing. Foliage is glossy and deep green, flowers are clusters of yellow funnel-shaped flowers. Can be used as hedges, or trained into tree form. They require full sun, heat and regular moisture, and are not very frost tolerant. This is a poisonous plant.

Fertilizing
How-tos : Fertilization for Young Plants
Young plants need extra phosphorus to encourage good root development. Look for a fertilizer that has phosphorus, P, in it(the second number on the bag.) Apply recommended amount for plant per label directions in the soil at time of planting or at least during the first growing season.

How-tos : Fertilization for Established Plants
Established plants can benefit from fertilization. Take a visual inventory of your landscape. Trees need to be fertilized every few years. Shrubs and other plants in the landscape can be fertilized yearly. A soil test can determine existing nutrient levels in the soil. If one or more nutrients is low, a specific instead of an all-purpose fertilizer may be required. Fertilizers that are high in N, nitrogen, will promote green leafy growth. Excess nitrogen in the soil can cause excessive vegetative growth on plants at the expense of flower bud development. It is best to avoid fertilizing late in the growing season. Applications made at that time can force lush, vegetative growth that will not have a chance to harden off before the onset of cold weather.

How-tos : Fertilize Monthly
Now is the time to begin fertilizing with a water-soluble fertilizer. Continue through the end of summer.

Light
Conditions : Light Conditions
Unless a site is completely exposed, light conditions will change during the day and even during the year. The northern and eastern sides of a house receive the least amount of light, with the northern exsposure being the shadiest. The western and southern sides of a house receive the most light and are conidered the hottest exposures due to intense afternoon sun.You will notice that sun and shade patterns change during the day. The western side of a house may even be shady due to shadows cast by large trees or a structure from an adjacent property. If you have just bought a new home or just beginning to garden in your older home, take time to map sun and shade throughout the day. You will get a more accurate feel for your site's true light conditions.

Conditions : Light and Plant Selection
For best plant performance, it is desirable to match the correct plant with the available light conditions. Right plant, right place! Plants which do not receive sufficient light may become pale in color, have fewer leaves and a "leggy" stretched-out appearance. Also expect plants to grow slower and have fewer blooms when light is less than desirable. It is possible to provide supplemental lighting for indoor plants with lamps. Plants can also receive too much light. If a shade loving plant is exposed to direct sun, it may wilt and/or cause leaves to be sunburned or otherwise damaged.

Conditions : Full Sun
Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.

Watering
Problems : Creating a Water Ring
A water ring, sometimes called a water well, is a mound of compacted soil that is built around the circumference of a planting hole once a plant has been installed. The water ring helps to direct water to the outer edges of a planting hole, encouraging new roots to grow outward, in search of moisture. The height of the mound of soil will vary from a couple of inches for 3 gallon shrubs, to almost a foot for balled and burlapped trees, especially those planted on a slope. Mulch over the ring will help to further conserve moisture and prevent deterioration of the ring itself. Once a plant is established, the water ring may be leveled, but you should continue to mulch beneath the plant.

Problems : Waterlogged Soil and Solutions
Waterlogged soil occurs when more water is added to soil than can drain out in a reasonable amount of time. This can be a severe problem where water tables are high or soils are compacted. Lack of air space in waterlogged soil makes it almost impossible for soil to drain. Few plants, except for bog plants, can tolerate these conditions. Drainage must be improved if you are not satisfied with bog gardening. Over-watered plants have the same wilted leaves as under-watered plants. Fungi such as Phytophthora and Pythium affect vascular systems, which cause wilt.If the problem is only on the surface, it maybe diverted to a drainage ditch. If drainage is poor where water table is high, install an underground drainage system. You should contact a contractor for this. If underground drains already exist, check to see if they are blocked.
French drains are another option. French drains are ditches that have been filled with gravel. It is okay to plant sod on top of them. More obtrusive, but a good solution where looks aren't as important, think of the French drain as a ditch filled with gravel. Ditches should be 3 to 4 feet deep and have sloping sides.
A soakway is a gravel filled pit where water is diverted to via underground pipes. This works well on sites that have compacted soil. Your soakway should be about 6'wide and deep and filled with gravel or crushed stone, topped with sand and sodded or seeded.
Keep in mind that it is illegal to divert water onto other people's property. If you do not feel that you can implement a workable solution on your own, call a contractor.

Tools : Watering Aides
No gardener depends 100% on natural rainfall. Even the most water conscious garden appreciates the proper hose, watering can or wand.
    Watering Cans: Whether you choose plastic of galvanized makes no difference, but do look for generous capacity and a design that is balanced when filled with water. A 2 gallon can (which holds 18 lbs. of water) is preferred by most gardeners and is best suited for outdoor use. Indoor cans should be relatively smaller with narrower spouts and roses (the filter head).
    Watering Hose: When purchasing a hose, look for one that is double-walled, as it will resist kinking. Quick coupler links are nice to have on ends of hoses to make altering length fast. To extend the life of your hose, keep it wound around a reel and stored in a shady area. Prior to winter freezes, drain hose.
    Sprayers: Are commonly thought of as devices for applying chemicals, but can really be a step saver for watering houseplants or small pots of annuals rather that dragging out a hose or making numerous trips with a watering can. The backpack sprayer is best suited for this. Take care not to use any kind of chemical in tanks used for watering!
    Sprinklers: Attached to the ends of garden hoses, these act as an economical irrigation system. Standing Spike Sprinklers are usually intended for lawns and deliver water in a circular pattern. Rotating Sprinklers deliver a circle of water and are perfect for lawns, shrubs and flower beds. Pulse-jet sprinklers cover large areas of ground in a pulsating, circular pattern. The head usually sits up on a tall stem, except for when watering lawns. Oscillating sprinklers are best for watering at ground level in a rectangular pattern.


Conditions : Regular Moisture for Outdoor Plants
Water when normal rainfall does not provide the preferred 1 inch of moisture most plants prefer. Average water is needed during the growing season, but take care not to overwater. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.

Conditions : Moist and Well Drained
Moist and well drained means exactly what it sounds like. Soil is moist without being soggy because the texture of the soil allows excess moisture to drain away. Most plants like about 1 inch of water per week. Amending your soil with compost will help improve texture and water holding or draining capacity. A 3 inch layer of mulch will help to maintain soil moisture and studies have shown that mulched plants grow faster than non-mulched plants.

Conditions : Outdoor Watering
Plants are almost completely made up of water so it is important to supply them with adequate water to maintain good plant health. Not enough water and roots will wither and the plant will wilt and die. Too much water applied too frequently deprives roots of oxygen leading to plant diseases such as root and stem rots. The type of plant, plant age, light level, soil type and container size all will impact when a plant needs to be watered. Follow these tips to ensure successful watering:* The key to watering is water deeply and less frequently. When watering, water well, i.e. provide enough water to thoroughly saturate the root ball. With in-ground plants, this means thoroughly soaking the soil until water has penetrated to a depth of 6 to 7 inches (1' being better). With container grown plants, apply enough water to allow water to flow through the drainage holes.
* Try to water plants early in the day or later in the afternoon to conserve water and cut down on plant stress. Do water early enough so that water has had a chance to dry from plant leaves prior to night fall. This is paramount if you have had fungus problems.
* Don't wait to water until plants wilt. Although some plants will recover from this, all plants will die if they wilt too much (when they reach the permanent wilting point).
* Consider water conservation methods such as drip irrigation, mulching, and xeriscaping. Drip systems which slowly drip moisture directly on the root system can be purchased at your local home and garden center. Mulches can significantly cool the root zone and conserve moisture.
* Consider adding water-saving gels to the root zone which will hold a reserve of water for the plant. These can make a world of difference especially under stressful conditions. Be certain to follow label directions for their use.


Conditions : Normal Watering for Outdoor Plants
Normal watering means that soil should be kept evenly moist and watered regularly, as conditions require. Most plants like 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, but take care not to over water. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important for establishment. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.

How-tos : Reduce Watering
This plant requires less watering during winter months, so reduce watering from late November through early March.

Planting
How-tos : Pruning Flowering Shrubs
It is necessary to prune your deciduous flowering shrub for two reasons: 1. By removing old, damaged or dead wood, you increase air flow, yielding in less disease. 2. You rejuvenate new growth which increases flower production.Pruning deciduous shrubs can be divided into 4 groups: Those that requireminimal pruning (take out only dead, diseased, damaged, or crossed branches, can be done in early spring.); spring pruning (encourages vigorous, new growth which produces summer flowers - in other words, flowers appear on new wood); summer pruning after flower (after flowering, cut back shoots, and take out some of the old growth, down to the ground); suckering habit pruning (flowers appear on wood from previous year. Cut back flowered stems by 1/2, to strong growing new shoots and remove 1/2 of the flowered stems a couple of inches from the ground) Always remove dead, damaged or diseased wood first, no matter what type of pruning you are doing.
ExamplesMinimal: Amelanchier, Aronia, Chimonanthus, Clethra, Cornus alternifolia, Daphne, Fothergilla, Hamamelis, Poncirus, Viburnum. Spring: Abelia, Buddleia, Datura, Fuchsia, Hibiscus, Hypericum, Perovskia, Spirea douglasii/japonica, Tamarix. Summer after flower: Buddleia alternifolia, Calycanthus, Chaenomeles, Corylus, Cotoneaster, Deutzia, Forsythia, Magnolia x soulangeana/stellata, Philadelphus, Rhododendron sp., Ribes, Spirea x arguta/prunifolia/thunbergii, Syringa, Weigela. Suckering: Kerria

How-tos : Pruning Trees After Planting
It is critical to prune trees correctly from the beginning to assure proper growth and development. Young trees can be transplanted in a number of forms: bare root, balled & burlap and in containers. The more stress the plant undergoes in the transplant process, the more pruning that is required to compensate.
Deciduous trees like maples (those that loose their leaves in the fall) can be dug up and sold with their bare roots exposed. Because most of the root system is lost in digging, sufficient top growth should be removed to compensate for this loss. This may be done at the nursery before you buy the plant or you may have to prune at the time of planting. Select and head back the best scaffold branches, i.e. those branches which will form the main lateral structure of the future mature tree. Remove all other extraneous side branches. If the tree seedling does not have branches, allow it to grow to the desired height of branching then pinch it back to stimulate the lower buds to form branches.
Ball and burlap trees are dug up with their root systems somewhat intact. This was mostly done for conifers and broadleaf evergreens, but has become common for deciduous trees as well. Since some root mass is lost in the digging stage, a light pruning is generally called for. Head back the plant to compensate for this loss and to promote branching.
Trees that are grown in containers generally do not loose roots in the transplanting phase. Therefore you do not generally have to prune them unless there is some root injury or limb damage in the planting process.
Once you have your trees planted, be patient. Do not remove shoots from the trunk early on as these allow the tree to grow more rapidly and also shade the tender young trunk from sun-scald. Wait a few years to begin training the tree to its ultimate form.

How-tos : Planting Shrubs
Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and deep enough to plant at the same level the shrub was in the container. If soil is poor, dig hole even wider and fill with a mixture half original soil and half compost or soil amendment.
Carefully remove shrub from container and gently separate roots. Position in center of hole, best side facing forward. Fill in with original soil or an amended mixture if needed as described above. For larger shrubs, build a water well. Finish by mulching and watering well.
If the plant is balled-and-burlapped, remove fasteners and fold back the top of natural burlap, tucking it down into hole, after you've positioned shrub. Make sure that all burlap is buried so that it won't wick water away from rootball during hot, dry periods. If synthetic burlap, remove if possible. If not possible, cut away or make slits to allow for roots to develop into the new soil. For larger shrubs, build a water well. Finish by mulching and watering well.
If shrub is bare-root, look for a discoloration somewhere near the base; this mark is likely where the soil line was. If soil is too sandy or too clayey, add organic matter. This will help with both drainage and water holding capacity. Fill soil, firming just enough to support shrub. Finish by mulching and watering well.

How-tos : Staking Trees
Staking is done differently depending on the size and flexibility of the tree, and the windiness of the planting site. Generally only trees that are planted in windy, exposed locations need to be staked. For most trees, a low stake is preferred, to let the tree move naturally. For windy areas or flexible trees, use a high stake. For trees more than 12 feet tall, use two low stakes on opposite sides of the tree or several guy ropes. The ties used need to accommodate growth and not cause bark damage with friction. Buckle-and-spacer ties can be found at garden centers, they are expandable and have a protective spacer. Ties without spacers should be formed into a figure eight to create padding. Latest studies have shown that when staking a tree, provide enough leeway so that the tree can move back and forth in the wind. Stronger roots will develop this way. If the tree can not move back and forth, these important roots will not develop and the tree might fall over during a storm, once stakes are removed. When planting a tree, stake at the time of planting if staking is a necessity.

How-tos : Planting a Tree
Dig out an area for the tree that is about 3 or 4 times the diameter of the container or rootball and the same depth as the container or rootball. Use a pitchfork or shovel to scarify the sides of the hole.
If container-grown, lay the tree on its side and remove the container. Loosen the roots around the edges without breaking up the root ball too much. Position tree in center of hole so that the best side faces forward. You are ready to begin filling in with soil.
If planting a balled and burlaped tree, position it in hole so that the best side faces forward. Untie or remove nails from burlap at top of ball and pull burlap back, so it does not stick out of hole when soil is replaced. Synthetic burlap should be removed as it will not decompose like natural burlap. Larger trees often come in wire baskets. Plant as you would a b&b plant, but cut as much of the wire away as possible without actually removing the basket. Chances are, you would do more damage to the rootball by removing the basket. Simply cut away wires to leave several large openings for roots.
Fill both holes with soil the same way. Never amend with less than half original soil. Recent studies show that if your soil is loose enough, you are better off adding little or no soil amendments.
Create a water ring around the outer edge of the hole. Not only will this conseve water, but will direct moisture to perimeter roots, encouraging outer growth. Once tree is established, water ring may be leveled. Studies show that mulched trees grow faster than those unmulched, so add a 3"" layer of pinestraw, compost, or pulverized bark over backfilled area. Remove any damaged limbs.

How-tos : Making a Hedge
Hedges can be trained to be informal with only occasional shaping or to have a more formal shape with judicious pruning.
Shear off the tops 2 to 6 inches several times during the first two seasons. Shearing of the tops and sides will promote branching. A common mistake people make is to cut the sides at a 90 degree angle. In this case the top growth shades the bottom resulting in a leggy open canopy. It is best to cut the sides at an angle so that they flare out at the bottom. This will ensure healthy and compact growth all the way down to the bottom of the shrub.

Problems
Miscellaneous
Conditions : Deer Tolerant
There are no plants that are 100% deer resistant, but many that are deer tolerant. There are plants that deer prefer over others. You will find that what deer will or will not eat varies in different parts of the country. A lot of it has to do with how hungry they are. Most deer will sample everything at least once, decide if they like it or not and return if favorable. A fence is the good deer barrier. You may go for a really tall one (7 to 8 feet), or try 2 parallel fences, (4 to 5 feet apart). Use a wire mesh fence rather than board, since deer are capable of wiggling through a 12 inch space.

Glossary : Backdrop
Backdrop is the term used to describe a plant or architectural element that is relatively neutral in appearance, that serves as a background for other plants. Backdrop plants are often taller, have dark or medium green leaves, and often of medium texture. However, this is not always the case. For a tropical effect, or to make a space more intimate, use a backdrop with coarse textured foliage. To make a space appear larger, use a small to medium textured leaf plant that is dark green.

Glossary : Hedge
hedge is any tree, shrub, perennial, annual or herb that can be clipped and maintained in a formal or informal shape. Hedges can provide privacy and define property lines as well as rooms of a garden.

Glossary : Some Sand
Some Sand refers to a soil that drains fast, but has lower water holding capacity due to the presence of a little organic matter. A good workable soil that needs added fertilizer due to lower fertility levels and adequate water. Usually gray in color. Forms a loose, crumbly ball that easily falls apart when squeezed in the hand.

Glossary : Clayey Loam
Clayey loam refers to a soil that retains moisture well, without having a drainage problem. Fertility is high and texture good. Easily forms a ball when squeezed in the hand, and then crumbles easily with a quick tap of the finger. Considered an ideal soil. Usually a rich brown color.

Glossary : Evergreen
Evergreen refers to plants that hold onto their leaves or needles for more than one growing season, shedding them over time. Some plants such as live oaks are evergreen, but commonly shed the majority of their older leaves around the end of January.

Glossary : Poisonous
Poisonous: any plant or part of a plant which is toxic or irritating in any way.

Glossary : Fragrant
Fragrant: having fragrance.

Glossary : pH
pH, means the potential of Hydrogen, is the measure of alkalinity or acidity. In horticulture, pH refers to the pH of soil. The scale measures from 0, most acid, to 14, most alkaline. Seven is neutral. Most plants prefer a range between 5.5 and about 6.7, an acid range, but there are plenty of other plants that like soil more alkaline, or above 7. A pH of 7 is where the plant can most easily absorb the most nutrients in the soil. Some plants prefer more or less of certain nutrients, and therefore do better at a certain pH.

Glossary : Soil Types
A soil type is defined by granule size, drainage, and amount of organic material in the soil. The three main soil types are sand, loam and clay. Sand has the largest particle size, no organic matter, little to no fertility, and drains rapidly. Clay, at the opposite end of the spectrum, has the smallest particle size, can be rich in organic matter, fertility and moisture, but is often unworkable because particles are held together too tightly, resulting in poor drainage when wet, or is brick-like when dry. The optimum soil type is loam, which is the happy median between sand and clay: It is high in organic matter, nutrient-rich, and has the perfect water holding capacity.You will often hear loam referred to as a sandy loam (having more sand, yet still plenty of organic matter) or a clay loam (heavier on the clay, yet workable with good drainage.) The addition of organic matter to either sand or clay will result in a loamy soil. Still not sure if your soil is a sand, clay, or loam? Try this simple test. Squeeze a handfull of slightly moist, not wet, soil in your hand. If it forms a tight ball and does not fall apart when gently tapped with a finger, your soil is more than likely clay. If soil does not form a ball or crumbles before it is tapped, it is sand to very sandy loam. If soil forms a ball, then crumbles readily when lightly tapped, it's a loam. Several quick, light taps could mean a clay loam.

Glossary : Tolerant
Tolerant refers to a plant's ability to tolerate exposure to an external condition(s). It does not mean that the plant thrives or prefers this situation, but is able to adapt and continue its life cycle.

Important Info : Seeds are highly toxic if ingested.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Common Name: Chinese hibiscus
Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Height: 4 to 10 feet
Spread: 5 to 8 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Color: Red to dark red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium


General Culture:
Hibiscus are drought tender and frost tender and prefer a position in a sunny location in a rich, moist soil protected from strong winds. In warmer areas, hibiscus appreciate abundant watering and fertilization when newly planted, but requires little care once established. They can be trained into an informal hedge with hand pruners, pinching the tips of developing branches in spring and mid-summer. Since plants flower on new growth, this type of pruning will increase flower production. Untimely pruning often removes flower buds. From April through September, small monthly applications of a complete fertilizer are beneficial. Container-grown plants will require more frequent applications. To bloom and grow profusely, hibiscus must have sufficient water. Water thoroughly, but not too frequently. To keep mature plants growing vigorously, prune out about 1/3 of the old wood in spring. Hibiscus are not cold hardy. If your area is subject to freezing temperatures, your Chinese hibiscus must either be treated as an annual or brought indoors for the late fall through early spring months. Once inside, place in a sunny, warm location during the day and night temperatures should range from 55°F to 65°F.
Noteworthy Characteristics:
A popular landscape plant in warm climates, this shrub creates a bold effect with its medium-textured, glossy dark green leaves and vibrantly-colored, four to eight-inch-wide, showy flowers, produced throughout the year. In cooler regions, hibiscus bloom throughout the warmer growing season. When flowering, this plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. While it can bloom abundantly, each flower only lasts for a day or two.
Problems:
Chinese Hibiscus can be plagued with aphids on new growth. Also a potential problem are mealybugs, mites, scale and whiteflies. Poor lighting, changes in temperature or irregular watering can cause buds to drop. Yellow leaves may be a sign of low nitrogen. Botrytis can also infect the flower buds and leaf spot can appear on the foliage. It is best to remove the damaged plant parts. Canker can kill branches or entire plants. Bright, reddish-orange fruiting bodies may appear on the bark. Prune out infected branches.
Uses:


In warmer regions, hibiscus are beautiful specimen plants or make a very attractive hedge or screen. In cooler climates, they make an exceptional pot plant that can be placed outside during the summer months. Hibiscus give a very tropical feel to an outdoor living area or pool-side garden. Grown indoors, their shiny foliage and periodic bloom brighten a greenhouse, sunroom or any brightly-lit living area.