Monday, November 17, 2014

How To Protect your Garden Plants From Desert Storms

Plant damage can stem from a variety of sources. These may be environmental, cultural, mechanical or chemical. Sand storms in the desert wreak some of the most severe havoc on your garden. Desert garden protection methods can help prevent the damage that drying wind, scorching sun and scouring sand can cause on tender plant leaves, roots and trunks. Learning how to protect plants from desert storms can minimize the symptoms of storm exposure and help keep your plant healthy.

Damage from Sand Storms in the Desert

Deserts aren’t the only place plants can become exposed to extreme arid wind storms, but the combination of the sand and the gusty weather scrub plant leaves and dry out the entire tissue. The symptoms noticed are leaf scorch, torn foliage, seedlings ripped out buy their roots, dropped leaves or cactus pads and other physical injury.

A desert dust storm swirls scratchy dry soil and sand around the area, leaving behind plants that look like they have been in a blender. Much of the damage will be topical but the drying effect can seriously and adversely harm the tissues of the plant. Additionally, rain often follows a big storm and the sudden moisture will soften the soil and may topple trees.

Dust Storms and Gardens

Protection of plants in dry areas prone to wind and dust storms starts with proper plant choices. Choose native plants that have adapted to the common desert dust storm. They can more easily withstand such conditions since they have had centuries of time to adjust and modify in order to thrive in these challenging circumstances.

Use your home or other outbuildings to shelter tender plants and trees. Watch the area for trends in wind exposure and populate the most badly affected regions of the garden with hardy natives.

How to Protect Plants from Desert Storms

Drying winds cause much of the damage to plants, which can be persistent if the plant doesn’t get water naturally. It is best to give plants a big drink after a storm to restore moisture to the soil and allow the plant to recoup its moisture levels in the root and vascular system.

Mulch is an effective way to help prevent severe moisture loss in the soil. Stone mulch helps reduce particulate damage to the root zone, but it doesn’t allow water penetration as well as bark mulch.

Sand storms in the desert are often unchallenged by large trees and edifices, allowing the damaging wind to tear across the sensitive species, strip any topsoil and dry out the land. Natural windbreaks are effective desert garden protection, while providing beauty to the landscape and personal barriers to your property.

Effective Planting for Dust Storms and Gardens

Always install new plants a few seasons before desert storm season so they have a chance to establish and anchor themselves.

Provide water to tender plants on a regular basis so they have a wellspring to prevent damage from wind caused dryness.

Install sensitive plants in containers on casters so you can move them to shelter when storms threaten. Use stakes, plant ties and cages to help support weaker species.

It is not always possible to save a mutilated or damaged plant, so choose wisely in your desert landscape. Pick plants for their sturdiness and hardiness in your zone.

The Benefits Of Lawn Aeration

Green trouble free lawns take work. The growth and replacement of blades of grass produces a thatch, which can cause trouble for the health of the lawn. Lawn aerating will help break through thatch and increase nutrient, water and airflow to the roots of the turf. There are several aerating lawn tools on the market, which can help make this annual chore easy and even fun.

Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn

There are several benefits of lawn aeration. Lawns with a thick build up of thatch that is more than an inch deep can suffer from disease and insect problems. This deep layer of old material harbors pests and disease pathogens, such as fungal spores. The thatch also minimizes the amount of nutrients and moisture that the roots need to grow.

The benefits of aerating your lawn also include stimulating root growth by providing a more porous and easy to navigate soil texture. Lawn aerating is not always necessary annually on low thatch varieties of grass, but it cannot really hurt to increase the movement of water to the roots.

Lawn aerating is also important for earthworm activities, as it loosens the soil so they can perform their important composting activities.

When is it Time for Aerating Your Lawn?

You should aerate a lawn when soils are moist. Spring is a great time to aerate a lawn made of warm season grass. This is when the grass is actively growing and it will recover quickly from the process. The cooler season lawn is better aerated in fall.

If you are not sure if you need to aerate, simply dig a section of turf out that is at least 1-inch square. If the brownish layer under the green, growing grass is an inch or more, thenit is time to aerate. You can also just stab a screwdriver into the sod. If it is difficult to bury the tool to the hilt, it is time to aerate.

Aerating Lawn Tools

You can aerate a lawn with many different tools. The most inexpensive way is with a pitchfork or spading fork. This tool is most useful for aerating smaller areas. Simply punch holes as deep as possible in the turf layer and then rock the fork to enlarge the holes. Repeat and overlap your path as you move through the lawn.

More expensive aerating lawn tools, called coring machines, are also available. You can rent them and they make quick work of the job. Powered aerators rapidly punch holes in the sod and remove plugs, which are deposited on the surface of the lawn.

Lawn Aeration Steps

Water the sod well before you use any method of aeration or coring. Allow for four weeks of healing time before winter’s cold or summer’s hot fury. If you want to overseed, you should also wait four weeks. Then top dress the area with good quality soil and sow with seed that is appropriate for your area.

Compress the area with a roller, which you can also rent. These are heavy wheeled tools, which compact the earth and ensure seed contact with soil. They can also help smooth bumpy lawns. Unfortunately, the process may also increase compaction again, requiring you to aerate the lawn again soon.

How To Use Herbicides for your home garden

There are times when the only way to get rid of a stubborn weed is to treat it with an herbicide. Don’t be afraid to use herbicides if you need them, but try other control methods first. Pulling, hoeing, tilling and digging will often take care of weed problems without the need for chemical sprays. Let’s learn more about using herbicide in gardens.

What are Herbicides?

Herbicides are chemicals that kill plants or prevent them from growing. Their method of killing plants is as varied as the plants they kill. The first step in understanding herbicides is to read the label. Labels tell you how to use herbicides safely and effectively. It is illegal to use herbicides for any purpose or by any method other than as indicated on the label.

Here are some tips to help you use herbicides safely and effectively:

 Avoid using herbicides on windy days and near bodies of water.
Always wear a protective mask, gloves and long sleeves.
Make sure children and pets are indoors when you spray herbicides.
Buy only as much herbicide as you need and store it in a safe place, out of the reach of children.
Types of Herbicides

Herbicides can be divided into two main categories: selective and non-selective. Selective herbicides kill certain types of weeds while leaving other plants unharmed. The herbicide label lists the target weeds as well as garden plants that are unaffected. Non-selective herbicides, as the name implies, can kill almost any plant. Selective herbicides are useful when treating weeds in lawns and gardens. Non-selective herbicides make it easy to clear an area when starting a new garden.

Selective herbicides can be further divided into pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to the soil, and they kill young seedlings soon after they emerge. Post-emergent herbicides are usually applied to the foliage where they are absorbed into the plant tissue. The type determines when to apply an herbicide. Pre-emergents are usually applied in late winter or early spring, while post-emergents are applied in spring after the weeds begin to grow.

When using herbicide in gardens, take care to protect the plants you don’t want to kill. If you have identified your weed, you may be able to find a selective herbicide that will kill the weed without harming garden plants. Those containing glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, are good herbicides for hard to control plants and unidentified weeds because they kill most plants. Protect the other plants in the garden by making a cardboard collar to fit around the weed before applying the herbicide.