Blog Archive 2008
Weekly Blog entries
by Tom Dayton
December 19, 2008
Dec 12, 2008
Nov 14, 2008
Although we’re in full swing with making grave blankets, there is still a lot of preparation to get ready for the cold winter.
One of our major goals is to over winter our plant stock for spring successfully which entails not only keeping the cold winter blasts off the plant roots by placing them in winter storage, but preventing problems that can occur in winter storage.
For example, fungus diseases love the dark, humid environment of the storage houses so that we must spray monthly with fungicides to prevent the diseases from “eating” leaves on evergreens, flower buds on Azalea or twigs and branches of deciduous plants.
Rodents just love the winter storage houses as they’re warmer than the outdoors and there is plenty to eat in the way of tender bark.
I prefer to catch the critters by setting about 100 mouse traps baited with nothing but a small sunflower seed.
Usually we find about ten mice caught per week for about 3-4 weeks which can eat their way through hundreds or even thousands of plants.
Several years ago, Roemer Nursery in Madison, Ohio had several hundred Sand Cherries in winter storage which were killed by the gnawing of mice on the bark.
With the Dutch doors of our storage houses, we constantly ventilate them by opening the top door to let air move through in order to keep temperatures low and humidity lower.
I ventilate the houses on a cloudy day if temperatures are to remain above 28°F while on a sunny day, I like to ventilate the houses if the temperature is 22°F or greater.
Lastly, checking for dry spots in the houses is paramount as some watering of the plants is necessary even if the soil mass is frozen.
A dry root ball or dry container of a plant is the “kiss of death” if temperatures fall to subzero levels as the root system is dehydrated from the cold, dry air.
I hope that explaining what needs to be done all winter long to preserve the quality of our plants for spring sales dispels the rumors that I sit in the sunshine of Florida all winter!
I don’t mind the winter so much as I have plenty to do that makes the dark days pass quickly.
To many of you, snow is a big headache especially when driving to work but I look at snow as a blessing as it is a good insulator to keep pipes in the ground from freezing and breaking, it provides precious ground water for our water supply and it covers up the crowns of tender perennials and prevents wind burn on a lot of evergreens.
Remember that we’ll have Christmas greens available next weekend and locally grown Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, White Pine and Concolor Fir available the week before Thanksgiving
So long for now.
Nov 7, 2008
Even though the leaves have fallen and the days are growing dark, there is still an “orchestra” playing below ground with the push of new plant roots to sustain the top growth with the water and nutrients they pull into the plant system during the growing season and the “extra” roots to anchor the tree or shrub to the ground.
Another aspect of November to consider is the deer problem as deer just love to chew on certain plants such as members of the Taxus family, Rhododendron, young trees and many other ornamental shrubs.
The deer breeding season brings in another set of problems in which the males select a young tree to rub the velvet off of their anthers, which, in turn, rubs the bark off the tree which can weaken or kill the affected tree.
One way to prevent or mitigate the deer damage is to hang two or three pieces of Irish Spring soap from the tree branches or on your valuable shrubs. A good way to use the soap for a deer repellent is to cut the bar of soap up into two or three segments, drill a hole through the soap and pull a piece of twine through and then hang the piece on the tree or shrub. The soap will normally keep the deer at bay all fall, winter and early spring.
Another method to repel deer is to spray Liquid Fence around your plants now and to reapply it during a late January or February thaw. I have written about Liquid Fence previously especially as its use in controlling deer from grazing on Hosta and emerging Tulips in spring.
We’ve been out gathering old evergreen trees to be cut down for their branches to be used in making grave blankets. There is not a lot of information on the internet about the history of grave blankets but I know that my own families’ tradition is one of arranging the evergreen boughs on a chicken wire frame or board and embellishing the evergreen blanket with bows made out of water resistant ribbon among other decorations. About Thanksgiving or in early December, our family lays the blanket on the grave plot as a rememberance of those who have passed on before us.
My great-grandmother, Susan R. Dayton, and my great-grandfather, George C. Dayton, passed on in 1892 and 1919 respectively and are buried in Burton, Ohio. To this day, we still place a blanket on their grave sites.
If you would like to take a look at what we make in grave blankets, pillows or wreaths, visit our website or stop in to see us in the next few weeks. Some artificial items are available now while the live greens are available starting November 15th.
Some of our larger blankets can be quite heavy so that we offer a delivery service to local cemeteries starting just before Thanksgiving through December 24th.
Check out our website for photos and other information.
See you soon,
Oct 31, 2008
Smaller shrubs and trees are placed inside a polyhouse that is nothing more than a steel frame covered with 3ML skin of white plastic that shields the plants from winter winds and sever winter cold as the root systems of plants above the ground in pots cannot survive the winter.
Many items are still available in that we have purchased inventory for next spring and the fact that we grow much of our own material.
A new supply of White Pine, Concolor Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce and Norway Spruce has just arrived too. Now is still a good time to plant, so if you’re looking to do a fall planting project, we still have plenty in stock.
November is “greens” gathering time for our wreaths and grave blankets so be sure to take a look at our website to review what is available.
As time goes by this fall and winter, keep looking at our plant encyclopedia for our ever expanding varietal list of new plants, old plants and just plain interesting plants.
I’ve go to go now as its pressing to get all the work down with the days getting so short.
Oct 24, 2008
I’ve been writing about different topics that you should be doing in the fall. Now I would like to summarize what is essential that you do in the next four to six weeks:
The above summary is by no means all that needs done before winter but it will give you a head start to avoid “problems” that may show up later.
Oct 17, 2008
This process has been going on for a millennium and is no need for concern.
In order to get your garden ready for winter though I have spoken and written many times about fertilizing trees and shrubs in fall so that the plant may absorb the nutrients in fall and use them for growth in spring.
This fall fertilizing strategy applies to the lawn as well as winterizing fertilizers that are high in potassium that will thicken up the turf and increase its overall resistance to disease and insects.
A good plan to give your established trees a boost should be implemented now by an even broadcast of a granular fertilizer under the drip line (the area from the trunk to the trees outer branches) of the tree.
First, calculate the area of the drip line by the formula r² which more specifically is with an assigned value of 3.14 and the r is the radius of the circle of the drip line.
Then, calculate the amount of nitrogen to give the tree at no more than 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft.
For example, I have a Maple tree that has a drip line with a diameter of 20 feet. Therefore, the formula will be as follows:
3.14 x 10² =314 ft² for the area of the drip line.
A fertilizer such as Greenview’s Wintergreen has an
analysis of 10-16-20 so that 10% of each pound of Wintergreen is nitrogen.
314 ft² x 10 lbs. = 3.14 lbs of Greenview Wintergreen needed 1000 ft² under the drip line
If you were using 12-12-12, 12% of each pound of 12-12-12 is nitrogen so that
1 lb. Nitrogen or 1
which gives 8.33 pounds of 12-12-12 fertilizer as the equivalent of 1 pound of actual nitrogen plugging in our formula for our tree with a 20 foot dripline is
314 ft² x 8.33 lbs =
2.62 lbs of 12-12-12 to be
Getting ready for spring means taking a soil test now in order to check the chemical properties of the soil, such as pH.
If the lawn or yard needs lime to increase an acidic pH (below 7), applying it in fall will allow it to react with the soil particles all winter so that the pH is “adjusted” by spring when growth of the plants resume.
It is very simple to take a soil test:
*The soil test kit is available here for $12 so that the only additional cost you will have is some postage.
Now get going as winter won’t wait forever!
Oct 10, 2008
One of the problems of controlling these critters has been thick thatch that does not allow the control material such as Dylox to move into the soil to control them.
Another scenario affecting control is possible that has been put forth by Dave Shetlar who is a well-known entomologist for the extension service of the Ohio State University.
In the P.E.S.T. newsletter to which we subscribe, Mr. Shetlar writes about adsorption (not absorption) in which dry thatch of lawns will bind pesticides to the surface by an electrostatic charge so that pesticides such as Dylox will not move into the soil to kill grubs.
He recommends irrigation of the lawn the day before application and then irrigation right after application of the grub control to get the maximum effectiveness in about five days.
On the Azalea front, we’ve had two good frosts at the nursery which could have damaged the flower buds on our thousands of Azaleas we grow had they not been sprinkled with water in the early morning hours to “wash off” the frost.
Since the plants are not quite hardened off yet, the flower inside the forming bud can be killed by a too early frost so that bloom is sparse in spring as well as the selling of these plants.
My good friend and propagator John Ravenstein of Losely Nursery warned me about the danger of early fall frosts on Azalea in the mid 1970s so now I’m steadfast to keep frost off the plants until early November.
At the nursery, many of our sale items have been sold but some material remains at bargain prices.
One of the problems in late summer and fall is that some plants lose much of their pizzazz and thus market appeal because of a hot summer, necessary constant overhead irrigation or simply it’s normal for the plant to look in a more tired state than which it looked in the glorious spring and early summer.
Many of our gardeners know however that the plants are just shutting down to get through winter and fall is a good time to plant as well as to save money.
Finally, we’re working feverously in Wolf Creek Gardens that is our botanical display garden.
This summer, we’ve installed more water lines and have been planting dwarf conifers, Rhododendron, Azaleas, new Eastern Redbud varieties, European Beech and… Stay tuned for more.
Oct 3, 2008
Because of the frosts in the eastern part of the United States in the fall, colors seem to intensify more than in any other area of the country.
Bright fall color is one important consideration for homeowners wanting to plant a tree for either ornamental purposes or shade.
One tree that satisfies shade requirements and fall color is the Autumn Blaze Maple in that its fast growth of two to three feet per year creates cooling shade relatively quickly compared to other trees while putting on a dazzling show of brilliant red leaves in October.
The other benefit of the Autumn Blaze Maple is that its roots grow deeply into the soil making it drought tolerant while strangely enough, it is tolerant of moderately wet soils due to its red maple and silver maple parentage.
The other tree I formerly mentioned is the Sugar Maple with orange, yellow and red fall colors frequently mixed on the same tree.
The stately Sugar Maple is my favorite tree although many homeowners reject it due to its slow growth especially when starting from no shade in the yard.
In shrubs, Burning Bush still seems the favorite but many choices are available including the newer dwarf Burning Bush called ‘Rudy Haag’, Aronia (Chokeberry), blueberries, Viburnum, Itea (Henry’s Garnet Sweetspire) and Clethras (Sweet Pepper Bush).
Fall colors add another season of interest to the landscape after the annuals and perennials have finished their summer dance.
At the nursery now most of the trees and shrubs I have mentioned above are in stock and now is a great time to plant in order to achieve the plant’s establishment long before spring arrives as roots will grow vigorously in fall and then again in spring before shoot growth begins.
Sept 26, 2008
Flower bulbs such as narcissus, tulips and crocus are harbingers of spring in that the flower is formed inside the bulb the summer before which enters into its deep slumber over winter only to fulfill its promise of beauty in spring even sometimes with snow on the ground.
Most flower bulbs are grown in the Netherlands and exported to the United States, hence the name, Holland bulbs.
Properly arranged, flower bulbs will begin flowering in March and continue through early June.
The flowering scenario would go something like this: Galanthus (Snowdrops) – March, Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ – March, Crocus – Late March and April, Narcissus (Daffodil) – April, botanical tulips and Darwin tulips – April, triumph tulips – May, Hyacinths – late April/May, Dutch Iris – Late May and June, Allium species – June.
With this long blooming period, flower bulbs are definitely a “plus” when incorporated into the landscape and will add cheer and excitement to one’s environment after the long, cold winter.
It’s interesting to note that in the 17th century, when multi-colored tulips were rare in Holland, everyone rushed to get into the action of growing these tulips in order to get rich quick.
Prices of these tulips went up and up until the market crashed while many participating in “tulip mania” lost everything including their homes!
It sounds so familiar today with the problems on Wall Street caused by expectations that have values would continue to rise just as was expected of the tulip bulb!
At the nursery, we’ve planted many flower bulbs in the landscape around the nursery including 20,000 narcissus and daffodils which are like rays of sunshine when they’re in full bloom.
October and November are perfect months to plant bulbs so that roots can grow in fall, the cold will end dormancy of the bulbs after 13 weeks, and then ribbons of colors in an emerging spring.
Get planting now to fulfill the promise of spring with flower bulbs.
Hope to see you Saturday at the Fall Festival!
Sept 19, 2008
It’s a way to show our customers some appreciation for the support they have given us these many years and hopefully the weather will support our efforts!
Again, since September is THE lawn month, I want to inform you about the benefits of a tall fescue lawn.
This tall fescue is the same grass that is along the interstate highways to prevent erosion.
While the “highway” tall fescue is not “pretty” as it is so coarse, the “lawn” types of tall fescue are refined types of this coarse grass.
Although lawn types of tall fescue are still coarser than blue grass, they have many advantages compared to a blue grass or blue grass/perennial rye mixture.
A major benefit is the deep rooting nature of tall fescue in that it does not require the water of blue grass lawns to stay green. In fact, tall fescue lawns require only 1/3 of the water of its blue grass cousin.
Another factor to consider is that tall fescue has a much lower need for nutrients than other grasses that will lower your fertilizer costs and the work of its application.
In fact, over-fertilization of tall fescue grasses can cause them to deteriorate and even die as excess fertilizer salts will damage the root system.
Durability of blue grass lawns due to heavy foot traffic is excellent partly due to its deep-rooted nature making an ideal choice for play areas or dog runs.
When considering all the advantages of a tall fescue lawn together, its obvious that this grass is one of low input which results in it being an “environmentally friendly” grass because of less water usage, less fertilizer to run off in creeks and streams and less pesticide and herbicide use because of its durable nature.
To be sure, tall fescue lawns are part of the “green” solution to non-point pollution in our creeks and streams.
In summary, my conviction is that anyone putting in a new lawn today has to be out of his or her mind if a tall fescue lawn seed is not at least seriously considered.
We have the tall fescue lawn seed in our store under the brand name of Carefree Lawn Seed which is sown at the rate of 8 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Never use this type of seed to repair patches in other types of lawns as the repaired spots will not blend with other types of grasses.
Hope to see you at the festival Saturday September 27th for a display of different crafts, a petting zoo, hayrides, pumpkins, kid’s activities, food and of course, music from Barberton’s Polka King Frankie Spetich!
Check out our website for the schedule of events!
Sept 13, 2008
A good cover crop of winter rye after the garden is finished would help to restore the soils good tilth and to ensure good success in the vegetable garden for next year.
I’ve been asked many times if chrysanthemums are winter hardy and there is not a simple answer. Mums are in fact a tender perennial and usually will come up year after year as long as several conditions are met:
Yoder’s of Barberton performed several experiments some years ago on chrysanthemums and concluded that the spring cutting and removal of the old crown is significant to achieve over-wintering success.
You might ask, “Can chrysanthemums planted in fall be over-wintered successfully?” The answer to the above question is yes as long as the root system is carefully loosened around the outer edges and the plants are watered well especially if the water is warm and dry.
However, I would plant mums in fall with the attitude that if they come up next spring, that’s just find and if not, they brightened up the fall landscape and you can replace them with other perennials or annuals in spring.
Don’t forget to attend to your lawn this month for weed control, over-seeding, thatching and spot repairs as September is the very best time to bring your lawn back into shape.
With mums, your lawn and planting your favorite tree or shrub, you’ll be very busy this fall!
Enjoy the great weather too!
Sept 6, 2008
Its not a bad idea to give your plants a good deep soaking especially if they are not quite well established yet.
Flower bulbs from Holland are just beginning to arrive so that it is a good idea to shop now for the best selection but I would delay the actual planting until October when soils have cooled.
Some of you have been “turned off” from planting tulips as they have become deer food! The best way to combat the deer is to do one of two things:
Many but not all of our perennials, trees and shrubs are 50% off and are marked clearly by sale signs. For those items that are not 50% off, the reasons are varied but usually we have just brought the plants into the sales yard from the production area or have bought in new stock from Lake County, Ohio in order that we have a good selection for our customers whether they are landscaping or simply are looking for that ‘Just right” plant.
Don’t forget that the sales list is in our store or you can find it listed here on our website.
Don’t forget that on Saturday, September 27th, we’ll be hosting our first Fall Harvest Festival that will feature craft vendors, hayrides, pumpkins, a food vendor, petting zoo and music by Frankie Spetich known as the “Polka King” of Barberton!
Check out our website a little later for information on the timing for all activities for our fall festival.
Hope to see you soon.
P.s. Remember that a fun way to celebrate the coming of fall is to plant or to place chrysanthemums around your home and that Barberton will be the “Mum capital” for the mum garden of over 20,000 plants donated by Yoder Brothers in Barberton plus all the other activities around Lake Anna the weekend of September 20th.
Aug 29, 2008
If you’re not a garden club member, don’t worry you can sign up and receive the garden club benefits the same day!
“Why are we having the sale at all or why don’t we have the sale earlier?”, some customers have asked.
The reason to have this sale in late August is to sell items that we do not want to repot or “shift up” to a larger size, to move items out that are not selling well for one reason or another and to give our customers another benefit of belonging to the garden club!
Some items on sale are those that do not have an automatic appeal to the vast majority of our customers as these plants sometimes take years to develop and gain their stature and beauty in the garden.
After September 1, all of our inventory marked at 50% off will be available to all customers but we thought it would be best to notify our club members first.
Remember September means lawn work to bring your lawn into shape.
To over-seed a lawn, follow the steps below:
The above method will work as long as your lawn does not have a thick, somewhat inpenatrable thatch layer which in that case you’ll want to add thatching to your list of lawn chores.
Don’t wait too long as by late September, you’ll have a “Cadillac” lawn if you act now.
E-mail us with any questions you might have or just stop by the store.
Aug 22, 2008
No, you won’t see much if any “top” growth of plants but the action underground is substantial.
Trees and shrubs planted in the fall will almost gain a year over spring-planted plants as root growth will continue until soil temperatures fall below 40 degrees F. Additionally, plant roots will begin to grow in March when soil temperatures begin to rise above 40 degrees F especially with a good blanket of insulating snow on the ground!
The early spring “push” of roots works well to establish plants before the hot and usually dry summer as the time when it occurs is normally when soils are too wet to work or plants are simply not available for planting.
Please do keep in mind the following rules to avoid
planting in fall and that is the following should not be fall planted unless
the plants have been previously spring dug or are in a container.
If you’re one of our garden club members, remember to use your Dayton Dollars by August 28th as after this date they will not be valid!
If you would like to join our garden club, you may sign up online or step in the store to do so. The advantages for your are the special sales and discounts, Dayton Dollar rewards and informative newsletters on gardening topics mailed to you three times a year.
The advantage for us is to have your name in our file to directly market to you which lowers our advertising cost! Don’t worry, we don’t need your social security number or your credit card info on file as these are your own personal, private business!
Another item to keep in mind is that we will never sell or share your name with other mailing lists or bombard you with numerous mailings as we’re sure you have quite enough flooding your mailbox now!
Fall (September) is the best time to repair your lawn or sow a new lawn for which I’ll give you more info in my next blog.
One more thing before I go. Please check your lawn at least once a week for evidence of grub damage between now and September 15th. Check for discolored patches of lawn, digging by animals, especially skunks and for patches of sod that will lift off the ground as grubs have eaten all the roots.
Healthy grass will tolerate a few grubs (3 or less per square foot) but if you find more than the tolerable amount, treat the lawn with Dylox by applying it with a spreader and watering it in well.
The grubs will be killed within one to two weeks and save you from lots of back-breaking work and/or hundreds of dollars to repair unchecked feeding damage by grubs or Japanese beetles and European chafer.
So long for now.
Aug 15, 2008
At the nursery, Lord Baltimore (red), Blue River II (white) and some others are dressed in their huge 7-8” blooms. The perennial Hibiscus is very hardy and forms a great background for the perennial garden or it can stand on its own to flaunt it’s beauty.
Although we’re sold out of many of the varieties, we still have a good selection of Yoder’s Carafe series of perennial Hibiscus in Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir which are white and red respectively. The Carafe series is more compact than many of the older varieties in that it only grows to about 36-42” compared to others which can attain 6 feet.
August is the month for Black-Eyed Susans that seem to be taking the place of the daylilies which now seem to be winding down. Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’) are easy to grow and spread quite nicely by self-seeding and by the clump size increasing every year.
Think about a combination of Rudbeckia with the different varieties of Coneflower to put on a spectacular mid-summer show!
I’m still on the road investigating new and unusual perennials, annuals and dwarf conifers and I’ll have to admit my ignorance of some of these beautiful plants that have been in the nursery trade for years but are not well-known.
Extra long needled dwarf pines, zebra-striped conifers and “extra” dwarf Chamaecyparis with lustrous green or yellow foliage would add interest to any boring landscape as well as giving your home a customized, detailed look instead of the ordinary suburban look so many of us are accustomed to as gardening sometimes takes a back seat to media rooms, bathrooms with hot tubs and 3-car garages.
Added interest in many homes is the fact the patio-backyard area becomes an extension of the inside house living area especially in spring, summer and fall although many trees and shrubs do add much winter interest too if the planning is done right.
The results of my “plant safaris” will become evident when I tell you about the new items we’ll have at the nursery next spring.
Look for information on all these new items on our website and on our radio show “Ready-Set-Grow” every Saturday morning from 8:00 to 10:00 am on 1590 AM WAKR.
Well, I’m off again.
Aug 8, 2008
Many of our new Daylily and Hosta varieties for next spring arrive as bareroot plants from Holland, Michigan to be potted, grown and over-wintered in cold storage greenhouses to finally be displayed for sale next spring. It’s a longer process than spring potting but the advantage to you is a fuller plant that is well-rooted.
Another one of my August projects is going on “the hunt’ for new and unusual plants that I think you will all like. I’ll be searching the country for new perennials, roses, trees, shrubs and annuals to populate the nursery next spring and in some cases 3-4 years from now!
The Azaleas and other plants that we’ve propagated and have shifted to larger containers seem to be doing quite well especially with the cooler summer with adequate rainfall.
Stop by and see us soon as the nursery constantly changes not only with the seasons but even week to week!
Bye for now,