Category: Tropical Style

The way to Prune a Cypress Tree

If you are going to let them grow to their entire height, then evergreen cypress trees do not typically require a lot of pruning. These trees typically grow bushy green limbs which remain within a certain shape, making care comparatively easy. But should you prefer to make a topiary or wish to keep the tree from growing past a certain point, pruning is required so as to keep the appearance.

Cut out dead limbs as soon as you find them, regardless of what time of year. Use loppers for then a pruning saw for larger ones. Cut back the branch to the main stem of this tree, but never flush with the trunk.

Cut out diseased or dying limbs once you find them turning brown. If they are still yellow, and you believe you could salvage them with proper watering and added nutrients, hold off pruning. Otherwise, remove the limb back to the trunk, as you would a dead limb.

Shape the cypress tree only if it needs it or you are working to train it to a certain design. Trim the tips of their branches, taking off no more than one third of the length at any particular time. Trim cypress to shape in the winter, once the tree is dormant. Use loppers to make your cuts in a small angle so that moisture will not build up on the strategies and to encourage new growth.

Snip the top off your cypress if you would like to keep it from growing taller. Know that once you do this, it may start to branch out more, spreading wider. In this case, shaping the tree may be required annually. Keep the very best by cutting it back annually to keep it in the size you want. Cut the top branch at a 45-degree angle to keep moisture from resting on the timber.

Cut out branches all over the tree if you observe that the greenery is turning brown at the center region. This is a sign that the branches are too dense to permit air and light to penetrate. Remove select branches, spaced out all over the tree, to make holes to bring about light and air circulation. Cut them back to the main trunk.

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The Best Shrubs for a Sunny Border

Shrubs can fill in a landscape giving it a lush, established overall look. When deciding the best crops for any place, you will have to have knowledge of their requirements and growth habit of the shrubs, as well ecological and soil conditions and maintenance requirements. Another consideration is the way the newly chosen plants will become an present landscape.

Plant Attributes

As you choose shrubs for your border, keep in mind that their growth habits. Ideal plants for the front of a boundary will be reduced growing with plants progressively taller toward the back of the landscape. Plants at the front of a boundary shouldn’t sprawl; otherwise they will expand over the edge of the border and into spaces where they might not be desirable. Think about the color of their leaves and flowers. In case you have an present landscape in which these boundary shrubs will be integrated, consider these colours and textures can be used to complement each other.

Environmental Conditions

To choose the best shrubs for a sunny place, you have to understand how well your soil drains. This can allow you to decide which shrubs will grow best based on whether they prefer moist, dry or wet conditions. Many shrubs will tolerate full sunlight but vary in their water requirements. Creating a landscape with plants that have similar requirements is recommended. When selecting a tree, then familiarize yourself with the plant’s natural habitat so you can comprehend what conditions are advantageous for optimal growth, and determine if your landscape will be acceptable.

Native Shrubs

Plants that are native to your region are a good choice for your landscape, since they have a tendency to be acclimated to the climate and soil types. Native plants can also be employed to create a landscape with a more natural appearance. Although indigenous plants are typically more drought tolerant and water efficient, some varieties need more water.

Shrubs Requiring Occasional to Regular Water

Plants acceptable for a sunny border but need regular water and well-drained dirt include Australian fuchsia (Correa “Wyn’s Wonder”). This evergreen tree showcases rose-pink colored flowers. Though it prefers moist conditions, it’s drought tolerant once established and is suggested for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowana) can grow up to 10 to 25 feet wide and tall. Recommended for USDA zones 9 through 11, this big, evergreen shrub produces edible fruit. Lavender (Lavendula spp.) Is a common landscape tree growing 1 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Hardy to USDA zones 6 through 11, this botanical, deer resistant plant is a favorite because of its fragrant leaves. Myrtle (Myrtus communis) is also a fragrant, evergreen, deer resistant shrub. Growing best in USDA zones 8 through 11, myrtle will hit 4 to 6 feet tall and wide.

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs

Planting shrubs that prefer drier conditions together can save you time spent performing maintenance. Coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) is an evergreen that grows 2 to 6 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. It is deer resistant and recommended for USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. California lilac (Ceanothus spp.) Has a variety of growth habits from ground covers to little trees. The blue-violet flowers make this an intriguing addition to landscapes in USDA zones 7 through 10. Plumbago (Ceratostigma spp.) Has deciduous and evergreen varieties that hit 2 to 4 feet tall and wide and exhibit purplish blue flowers. It is suggested to get USDA zones 6 through 10. Rock rose (Cistus spp.) Is a deer resistant, evergreen that displays crinkly, rose-like flowers. Using a height of 2 to 8 feet and a width of 4 to 8 feet, this tree is a nice choice for your center to back of a sunny border in USDA zones 8 through 10. Bush poppy (Dendromecon harfordii) is an evergreen shrub, recommended for USDA zones 8 through 10. It can reach a height of 6 to 10 feet with an equal spread. Sun rose (Helianthemum spp.) Is a low-growing shrub, only 6 to 12 inches high, which makes it a good choice for the front of a boundary in USDA zones 5 through 10. It is evergreen, deer resistant and contains leaf which varies in shade from silver-green to mild green. Rosemary (Rosmarinus spp.) Can reach 2 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 8 feet wide. It is an aromatic botanical that can be deer resistant and hardy to USDA zones 6 through 11.

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How to Put Lime Pellets Down With Grass Seeds

A lush and healthy lawn needs water, nutrition and properly balanced soil pH in order to thrive. The soil often will need the application of lime to reduce the acidity level. Lime pellets are a convenient way of program, and can also help increase bacteria action and improve the soil structure. Lime also supplies calcium and potassium to the ground, which are essential elements for grass growth. Lime pellets and grass seed can be implemented at exactly the exact same time to help simplify the care procedure.

Pick a period in the fall or early spring to apply lime and grass seed. While winter is a good time to apply lime, spring and fall are ideal times for seeding. Take a soil sample from the yard to your neighborhood extension office for investigation, or purchase a soil kit and perform the assessment yourself. Most lawn grasses, including fescue, perform best in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Pelleted lime is used to raise the pH of soils that test lower than 6.0.

Add pelleted lime to the hopper of a seed spreader. Adjust the dispersal rate of the spreader based on the results from the soil test. Employ no more than 50 lbs of pelleted lime per 1,000 square feet of yard for a rule of thumb. Bear in mind that too much lime is often as bad for grass rather than enough.

Go back and forth across the lawn using the spreader to cast the lime. Repeat the procedure in rows perpendicular to the first to guarantee the pelleted lime falls uniformly, avoiding gaps or areas without lime. Lime doesn’t leech with water and stays where it’s dispersed on the yard.

Implement grass seed to the yard after the application of lime. Over seed a yard at a rate of 3 to 4 lbs of seed per 1,000 square feet based on the kind of seed being implemented. Water the lawn thoroughly to assist the lime and seed settle, and soak in the turf.

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Does Dish Soap Contain Formaldehyde?

If you’ve been finding yourself attracted to scent-free products when looking for dish detergent, there may be a good reason. One of those components in certain scented dish detergents is formaldehyde, which is not a chemical that you want to use to wash dishes.

The Dangers of Formaldehyde

A number of governmental authorities warn about the dangers of formaldehyde and restrict its use, including the State of California, the European Union’s REACH program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with the governments of Canada and Japan. Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen, and it is also supposed to be toxic to the respiratory system, the liver and the reproductive system.

Toxic Odor-Enhancers and Preservatives

Formaldehyde is added into your dish detergent to enhance the smell, so it is usually found only in scented products. If you don’t locate this compound listed on the label, it does not necessarily indicate the product is formaldehyde-free. Many products contain the preservative quaterniumthat functions by releasing formaldehyde when it is exposed to water. These are not the only two toxins you might find in dish soap. The Environmental Working Group maintains a ranking of dish detergents depending on toxicity and ecological impact, and those that receive scores of A would be the safest to use.

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The way to Boost a Buckeye Tree in a Pot

Buckeye trees (Aesculus spp.) Can all be started out from seed in a pot. Of the approximately six kinds of buckeye trees native to North America, half grow into large trees that can reach more than 60 feet tall, and do not make good permanent container plants. These buckeye seedlings need to go from pots into the ground following two to three years. Three little buckeye trees which average around 15 to 20 feet tall might be acceptable for growing as large container plants for decks or patios.

Seed Treatment

Buckeye seeds symbolize chestnuts, with shiny brown seeds in a husk that’s first green, then brown. Fresh seed is best and may be implanted immediately after harvesting, although properly stored seeds which haven’t been permitted to dry out and have been maintained cold can also grow. In the fall, collect seeds after they’re ripe. Stored seeds require a cold remedy, called stratification, before they will germinate. For your moist cold needed, put wet sand or moist fresh perlite in a resealable plastic bag, then add the seeds, then after removing the husks, so they’re covered by the moist material, and set the bag in a refrigerator for three to eight weeks. Following three weeks, assess on the seeds every single week, removing seeds which have sent out a seed root, then called the radicle, and that means that you can pot them up.

Seeds in Pots

A clean potting mix, like one made from equal parts perlite and peat moss, helps prevent disease and gives good drainage for developing seedlings. Soak 4-inch-wide pots in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water for five minutes. Rinse the pots and fill them to within 1/2 inch of the surface of the pot with the potting mix. Use pots with drainage holes. Before planting the seeds into the pots, soak them for 24 hours in water. Remove the seeds in the water after soaking and set them in a five percent bleach solution. Remove the seeds in the bleach after one minute and rinse them off with water. The bleach helps kill any fungus that may be found on the seeds which keeps them in germinating properly. One seed goes in every pot, together with the radicle pointing downward. The planting hole should be a little wider than the seed and one time its thickness. After covering the seed with potting mix, water the pot until water comes out the drainage holes. The pots require bright light until seedlings emerge. Keep the potting mix moist.

Seedling Growth

Later sowing, buckeye seeds usually germinate within 21 days, with a transplanted survival rate of approximately 90 percent. Once the seedlings have many sets of true leaves, then check to be sure they’re not getting rootbound. When the roots hold the potting mix together but haven’t started to end around the bottom of the pot, transplant them into your 1-gallon container, using the exact same potting mix. After they’re found in the larger pot, gradually move them into stronger mild, with an hour or two of extra light each day, until they’re in full sun. Keep the potting mix moist.

Youthful Buckeye Trees

As the seedlings grow, move them into larger pot sizes as needed. Always pick containers with holes. Use an excellent potting mix. When you have reached the greatest pot size you wish to handle, keep the plant by unpotting it every couple of years, pruning away busy roots and inserting some new potting mix. Wipe the pruning shears before and after pruning with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol to prevent disease spread. Each spring, provide buckeyes with 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1 tablespoon per 6 inches of pot diameter. Sprinkle it evenly over the surface, then dig it in to the upper layer and water the plant thoroughly.

Small Buckeye Trees

Smaller buckeye tree species comprise California buckeye (Aesculus californica), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. White to pinkish flowers appear in May or June. The plant is summer deciduous, growing into a large shrub or small tree. Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) includes showy red spring blooms and grows in USDA zones 6 through 9a. It reaches 15 to 20 feet tall. Painted buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) bears variously coloured spring blooms in hues of pink, green and yellow. Achieving 5 to 12 feet tall, painted buckeye is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8. These last two species are winter deciduous. Buckeyes have seeds and foliage that are poisonous to people and animals, and the nectar is toxic to honeybees.

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The Ecological Niche of Tomato Plants

An ecological market is defined as the area a specific life form occupies in the food chain. The exclusive market that tomato plants occupy illustrates the functions that it possesses that set it apart from other life forms, as no 2 types of plants, including tomatoes, behave in exactly the same way as they grow, produce flowers and fruit, and reproduce. Where tomatoes grow and how they accomplish this are the double roles they play within their specific market.

Tomato Plant Family

Tomatoes are members of the nightshade (Solenaceae) plant family which also includes potatoes, green onions, eggplant and edible flowers such as petunias. Over 3,000 species within the family are native to South America in a variety of habitats that range from deserts to rain forests and wooded areas. Rumors, especially outrageous varieties, are found growing in these areas where many species gradually adapt to aridity, heavy rainfalls and snowy freezing weather conditions.


The tomato plant’s primary mission will be to reproduce by means of the seeds which develop within a gelatinous cavity located in the middle of the fruit. Wild tomatoes only drop to the ground and decompose, releasing their seeds to the soil, while domesticated tomatoes are grown from seeds which are carefully harvested, dried and stored. Each seed is a potential new plant also grows according to its genetic makeup. Old-fashioned, or heirloom, tomatoes grow into more of the exact same sort, while hybrid tomatoes create plants which are crosses of two varieties bred for increased resistance to infection, increased productivity and drought tolerance. The tomato plant starts out as a tiny shoot that eventually grows to a compact or sprawling plant. Once the root system has formed, the plant shifts its energy to flower formation and fruit growth. The ultimate goal is to create the seeds which will lead to new plants, thus ensuring its success as a species.

Usefulness Factors

Nightshades, including strawberries, are valued as edible vegetables and therefore are among the most easily grown. According to the Sol Genomics Network, this makes tomatoes part of this third most economically important group as they are frequently grown and spread as food crops, together with ornamentals such as Nicotiana and medicinal plants such as red peppers (Capsicum). Like many of its cousins, tomatoes produce fruit that is a significant food internationally and it seldom changes in its development and growth, making it a simple plant to examine and manipulate.

Development Facts

Tomato plants develop in one of 2 types. Indeterminate tomato plants create long vines and multiple crops, while determinate varieties create smaller more compact plants along with one crop that ripens all at once. They manufacture their own food through a process known as photosynthesis which utilizes the sun’s energy to generate sugars and other nutrients within the plants’ tissues. Tomato plants will grow poorly or not at all if they are not exposed to approximately 12 or more hours of sunlight daily. Water and other nutrients and minerals are absorbed via superficial fibrous root systems along with the plants’ blossoms are pollinated by bees and end. Each blossom produces just one tomato, that is classified as a fruit, as it includes seeds encased in a ripened ovary. Other food plants such as potatoes, lettuce and carrots are considered vegetables because, unlike strawberries, their edible parts include no seeds.

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Pear Trees That Do Not Need Cross-Pollinators

The two species of pear trees are Asian pear (Pyrus serotina) and European pear (Pyrus communis). Most pear trees need cross-pollination from nearby pollen sources of trees that are common, however, some pear trees normally do not need cross-pollinators to produce fruit as they are self-fruitful. Both pear tree species have self-fruitful cultivars. Even some self-fruitful pear trees, however, might need cross-pollinators to produce fruit when they are planted in areas where their blooming period occurs during cool temperatures.


Most fruit trees rely on wind and insects to transfer pollen from their blossoms’ male reproductive parts to female parts. All fruit-bearing trees need pollination to produce fruit. The anthers in fruit tree blossoms contain pollen, and the pistils develop fruit. Reproduction parts of blossoms typically are located separately. Some pear trees produce flowers with anthers and pistils together, reducing the demand for cross-pollination for fertilization to develop fruit.

Asian Pears

Some Asian pear trees are partially self-fruitful and tend to overproduce when cross-pollinated. Their imaginations earned the nickname “apple pears” because of their physical resemblance to apples. The two self-fruitful Asian pear cultivars that grow well in California are the “Shinseiki” and “20th Century.” “Shinseiki” trees grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 6 through 8 and produce pears that are round with yellow skin. The “20th Century” cultivar, that is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, produces pears which are round, have yellow skin and are more delicious than “Shinseiki” pears. Thin Asian pear trees’ fruit to one pear a cluster to yield larger fruit and decrease stress on tree limbs.

European Pears

Depending on the cultivar, European pear trees vary in size and shape, and their pears vary in juiciness. Self-fruitful cultivars include “Kieffer,” “Anjou,” “Comice,” “Duchess” and “Barlett.” “Kieffer” pear trees are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. “Anjou” pear trees provide oval-shaped fruits with thin, light-green skins and grow best in USDA zones 4 through 8. “Comice” and “Duchess” perform best in zones 5 through 9. The “Comice” cultivar produces round pears with short necks and stems. “Comice” and “Anjou” Sensors do not change colors once ripe. “Bartlett” pear trees grow well as self-fruitful trees in the Sacramento River delta region and in USDA zones 5 through 7. According to the University of California, the “Bartlett” cultivar makes up 75 percent of the planet’s pear production. “Bartlett” pear trees produce bell-shaped fruits which turn to yellow after ripened. Utilize “Bartlett,” “Comice” and “Anjou” pears in salads and desserts for their sweet and hot flavors.


Pear trees grow best in deep, deep well-drained dirt and are prone to insects. Harvest season for California pear trees happens from mid-July during September. Asian pears can ripen on the trees. Pick them in the trees as soon as they change color. Asian pears require careful handling after harvest to prevent excessive bruising. Harvest European pears before they ripen on the trees. Permit them to ripen at room temperature prior to ingestion.

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Should You Fertilize After Rain or Before?

It is important to avoid fertilizing before a heavy rainfall although fertilizers work when water is offered in soil. Time every fertilizer application so that the nutrients will move into the soil as opposed to be transported off the yard or garden by excess water.

Avoiding Runoff

It can contribute to contamination instead of sinking to the soil if compost is taken out. Fertilizing before a rain results in most of the fertilizer washing into nearby storm drains and natural waterways. By waiting till after a rainstorm to 7, that problem is reduced. Compost runoff can be also controlled by you by not overfertilizing and by amassing.

Fertilizing Gardens

When applying fertilizer following a heavy rain to garden plants and shrubs, wait till their leaves are dry. Fertilizer that lands wet leaves instead of the soil surface may result in burnt marks on the leaves. Gently watering the plants after giving them fertilizer eliminates the fertilizer which dropped in their leaves and moves the nutrients to the soil. Then combine 1 tablespoon of the fertilizer with 1 gallon of water if you want to give plants a water-soluble, all-purpose plant food with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 24-8-16. Apply the mixture to the soil surface to 14 days in a rate of 1 gallon per 10 square feet. Applying a slow-release, dry fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 14-14-14 requires functioning its granules to the upper 1 to 3 inches of soil or mulch at a rate of 1 ounce of fertilizer per 2 1/2 square feet of soil surface in spring and fall for perennial plants and only at planting time in spring for vegetables.

Feeding Lawns

Lawns also should be fertilized after, rather than before, a heavy rainfall. Apply fertilizer to bud once the soil is moist, but make sure that the grass blades are dry. A normal lawn fertilizer with an ratio of 20-0-10 is employed by spreading it around the yard at a speed of 3 to 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet on a windless evening once the temperature is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Lawns may be fertilized every four to six months throughout the growing period to provide around 4 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every year. A lawn needs to be watered to dilute the dirt and also to work it. Watering prevents fertilizer burn the yard and leaves the nutrients accessible to plant roots. Either apply fertilizer the day before a rain after giving fertilizer to it or lightly irrigate the yard.

Using Compost

The principle about fertilizing following a rain instead of earlier applies to organic fertilizers as well as chemical fertilizers. Generally their nutrient amounts are lower than those of chemical fertilizers, although natural fertilizers, such as compost, have the additional advantage of improving soil conditions. Apply compost by spreading it across the soil surface of garden or a yard watering or then functioning it. Composts can be spread 2 to 3 inches thick and manure-based composts 1 inch thick. During the growing period to avoid burying grass during one application under a layer of compost, the compost amount can be broken up for a yard.

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Can Crabapples Keep Mice Away?

Crabapples won’t keep mice away. In fact crabapple trees are a winter food source for reports, mice the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Leaving crabapple fruit onto the floor will attract mice.

Keeping Mice Away From Crabapples

Mice may also eat the bark of small trees in winter, causing damage to the tree. Wrapping the trunk, placing mulch around the base of the tree and Eliminating fruit in the floor helps keep mice. All types of crabapple are observed in the Malus genus. Depending on the variety, they increase in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. Japanese flowering crabapple (Malus floribunda) is 1 type that grows at a Mediterranean climate and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8.

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How to Take Care of a Taro Plant

If you’re searching for the wow factor on your garden, develop a taro plant (Colocasia esculenta). Also called dasheen and elephant ear, taro can produce leaves that are two to three feet wide and long. This tropical plant is ideal for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11, where it could remain in the garden year-round. There’s no need for winter storage like taros. Properly caring for your taro plant can allow it to develop to a big and healthy plant.

Water taro regularly — one to 3 time a week — with 1 inch of water. If the taro dies back to the ground in the winter, water after every two or three weeks until it starts to grow again in spring. Taro thrives in soil that’s well-draining, especially in a moist environment. To help preserve moisture, add two or three inches of mulch around the base of these plants.

Fertilize monthly from spring till early fall such as 20-20-20 or 10-10-10. Spread the fertilizer evenly being careful not to let it touch the foliage. If it does, immediately wash it off with water. Fertilize with the rates recommended by the maker and water it afterward with 1 inch of water.

Prune dead or damaged leaves necessary, cutting them. Cut on a plant into the floor after the first frost, once the foliage turns yellow. In warmer climates, taros are evergreens and you don’t have to cut them back.

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, like leaves or straw, once you cut back the foliage to the floor in the fall in USDA plant hardiness zone 8. Mulch helps if winter is colder than normal, protect the roots.

Before they start to grow, Split taro roots in late winter or early spring. Dig up the tubers then yank them apart or separate them. Each section needs to have a bud. Replant the tubers with all the buds facing up, spacing them 3 to 6 feet apart.

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