Improving your soils structure and nutritional levels is of utmost importance in today's gardening world.
Many DIY gardeners love to go to the local nurseries and big box home stores and buy pre-mixed bags of potting soil, compost, and other soil improvement products. We must all be aware of what we are bringing into our gardens and understand the value or lack of a particular soil amending product.
Many of the bagged potting soils are made up of a lot of wood based ground up products, fillers like perlite to help suspend and hold moisture in the soil mix and other nutrient enriched products to supply needed food to what ever tree, shrub, or vegetables you have or plan to install.
Keep in mind, plants grow in natural soil best,so it is my opinion incorporating natural top soil along with the bagged planting mixes, provides the needed natural minerals and nutrients that nature produces via biological actions.
Using organic compost like Malibu compost and other local brands which can be purchased at most of your
nurseries will add the needed boost to your planter mixes that will produce fantastic results.
I use compost in my soil blends especially when doing any containerized gardening as this technique guarantees soil quality and consistency in our mixes and gives all our plant materials a great start and environment to reside in.
Basic soil test are encouraged to be done so that you will know your actual nutrient levels in your soil when planting in the ground. By contacting your nursery professional or your local county extension office, you can find out where plus how to take some samples of your soil where you are planning to plant and see what you may be lacking in nutrient levels or have in excess and need to modify your soil to achieve maximum positive results for your gardens.
This may seem like a lot of effort to plant a garden but, the effort now is worth more than the mental stress later of trying to figure out why your fruits or vegetables aren't performing well.
* Be sure to click on the Hydretain logo at the foot of my website introduction page to take advantage of the special discount code on exclusive Ecologel Solutions products especially the Hydretain soil moisture managing products that we use on a professional basis.
Managing our natural resources during drought conditions takes mental observation of our situation, educating ourselves on what the causes and effects of drought are, and taking positive actions to provide the best remedies to reduce or at best eliminate the negative effects of drought conditions.
Managing soil organics and learning how to effectively improve your soil is one of the biggest steps you can take in your quest to deal with drought conditions in your landscape. By providing healthy, vibrant, microbe rich nutrients to our soil matrix, you can improve the overall growing conditions and health of all plant and tree materials on site. Biostimulants like CytoGro ( www.cytogro.com ) can provide special extracts and natural ingredients to improve the biological activity levels in a safe and organic way. The primary ingredients are cytokins & auxins that are combined with natural extracts of amino acids,vitamins, and nutrients derived from sea vegetables. This combination promotes deep, dense root development which strengthens plants and increases tolerance to stress by disease damage, insect infestation,lack of moisture,poor water quality, and other environmental factors
Another one of the best 'Ole Skool' methods of optimizing your soil is by utilizing organic compost and mulches to help retain vital minerals and nutrients in the soil and help create a living soil web environments for earth worms and other microscopic insects that create food and life for our plant and tree roots. As a bonus, this same mulch helps retain precious water so that our landscapes can survive under today's extremely hot weather conditions.
Proper water management through the use of 'Smart Irrigation' technologies and innovative approaches to saving and applying water to our landscapes is vital.
We are currently using one of the latest WiFi enabled controller that our clients and I can control water use on-site from anywhere in the world ! ( Contact me at this website under our contact form )
There are many water provider/supplier programs available now for you to learn more about what is available to help you conserve and use water wisely. Check with your water provider or online under "Landscape water conservation " and I am sure you will come across many websites that can help you learn more and apply proven techniques.
By educating yourself on the basics of proper resource management at your home or business you will be well on the way to saving your landscape investment, your precious time, and most of all our limited natural resources.
Fall is traditionally the best time to consider installing drought tolerant and native landscaping plants,shrubs, trees, and ground cover. Below I have listed five great tips that have proven to be very valuable in my landscape project installations over the past years.
1. Dig your planting hole at right angles and at least 1-1/2 times the size of the container your plant material is housed in.
By digging at right angles, you are encourage the root system of your plant to grow in a more natural downward and outward process rather than possibly growing in a " soup bowl " root bound process.
Also the roots have an opportunity to stretch out and anchor in better with the extra planting hole width.
* Note: Be sure to plant your material at least 1-1/2 " higher in the planting hole so to help avoid stem root rot from having the plant planted to low in the ground.
2. Hydrate the planting hole first.
By hydrating the planting hole first, you help reduce the possibility of the plants root ball from drying out.
Placing a fresh plant into a "Dry" hole is a sure way to have the moisture from the plant wick out to the surrounding hole dry soil area. By hydrating the hole first, you are able to reduce the wicking effect as the surrounding soil within the hole has reached a saturation point and will not pull available water from the plants root ball.
* Tip: I use a product called "Moisture Manager" in the water we pour into the planting holes. The product is a food grade compound/humectant that pulls available water vapor from the soil pore space and makes it available for the plant roots for up to 3 months.
Send me a email to get you more information on this amazing product and to place a order for a quart bottle to try out.
3. Avoid using a lot of the soil amendments and soil fertilizers when back filling your planting holes.
I have found over the past couple years from following the specifications from one of my ace native plant landscape designers ( Mr. Rob Moore of California Native Landscape Designs www.californianativelandscapedesigns.com ) that it is not really necessary to use a lot of supplemental soil amendments and fertilizers when installing native plant materials.
In my experience the nurseries where I purchase my plant materials have taken every effort to supply the best living environment for my chosen plants and usually the plant materials have ample soil amendments and fertilizers already within the planting container already and only in very extreme crappy soil conditions such as new construction sites or planting areas that have been covered with concrete sidewalks, patios, driveways, etc... you would really want to consider amending the soil before planting your new plants.
* Tip: I do use a mycroryze product that helps increase rooting and help reduce the transplant shock levels when I install the new plant materials. Contact me for more information on what we use and recommend.
4. Monitor your watering habits.
You can over water or under water plant materials so be careful not to " OVER WATER" your newly installed plants.
It is much easier to hydrate a limp plant rather than attempt to "Dry Out" a overly water one.
By observing the plants leaves,stems, and understanding your chosen plants growing characteristics, you can help reduce the death cycle on your new landscape.
* Tip: Soil moisture meters help you to get basic readings on your soil moisture content and can be used as a help in monitoring your soil moisture levels. You can find inexpensive ones at your local home store garden section or online.
5. Enjoy the "New Growth Process"
This process is leaving the newly planted addition to your landscape alone and giving it time to establish it's root system and become accustomed to its new living environment. This process normally takes approx. 60-90 days based on weather temperatures, watering frequency, and the attitude of each plant.
Yes, plants do have an attitude so leave them alone and let them show you what type they have.
A positive attitude equals a new home for your plants and a negative attitude equals a replacement in my book.
Good luck and let me know how things are going and if this blog was helpful.
Fertilizing turf,shrubs, and trees has become a lot safer and cost effective from the introduction and use of automatic fertilizer and supplement dispensing systems. One of the top dispensing systems on the market " EZFLO SYSTEMS" is making life a life a lot easier for managers of sports fields,commercial & municipal property managers, and residential landscape owners. By using a patented fluid flow technologies, EZ-FLO'S systems can precisely deliver non-hazzardous water soluble or liquid formulations through hose, in-ground sprinkler or drip systems using micro-dosing, a technique that provides plants the needed nutrients or supplements, each time you water. The combination of fertilizing while irrigating (Called fertigation) provides plants with essential nutrients through both the plants leaves, as well as roots. Fertilizer run-off is virtually eliminated, water usage can be reduced and, the combination of reduced water usage and less fertilizer runoff while using non-hazardous products can help our environment. For a free evaluation of how a "In-Line" fertigation system can help make your life a lot easier and also help you to reduce your cost on water and fertilizer applications, please go to the contact link on my web site or better yet, call me direct at (562) 755-9914.
* SPECIAL 15% DISCOUNT ON ALL EZ-FLO PRODUCTS IF YOU MENTION THIS BLOG*
Now is the time to consider over seeding those existing sparse coverage lawn areas. Early spring provides the supplemental rain water and the combination of warm days and cool nights to help with the germination process of the grass seed. Properly planned and installed, a over seeded lawn is the least expensive way to increase the density,texture,and over all look of a otherwise crappy lawn. Using premium quality grass seed is a must. Utilizing a premium seed cover is also necessary in order to protect the seed from drying out, and being robbed by hungry birds. Using a quality soil conditioner such as Tri-C Humate with Mycrorizye is also very helpful in establishing a strong root system for the seed and providing needed microrbal activity to the soil to improve the soil environment. Go to the web sites listed on my links page to link with Southland Sod Farms for information on how to over seed and where to purchase premium grass seed and, link to Tri-C Products to learn more about high in quality soil conditioners. For seed topper, Kelloggs "Topper"is a industry favorite. Over come the bad with the good and enjoy a strong,healthy, naturally "GREEN" lawn today.
Spring time brings the traditional season to do rose pruning. When properly pruned, your rose's will give you a display that will be the talk of your town. Rose pruning is very important to the health of your rose's. Giving the rose time to take a break from blooming is a great way for them to regenerate energy and produce new shoots for the year ahead. There are great books and brochures on rose pruning that you can purchase at the local nurseries and home improvement stores and, you can also find great information on proper rose pruning online. Be sure to purchase yourself a set of quality pruning shears and loppers for your project. Corona is a household name in quality pruning products so be sure to check out what they have available. Applying a insect retardant such a volck oil after your pruning will provide your rose's with protection from "Over-Wintering" pest that find their way into the cracks and crevices of the rose bark. The application of a systemic fertilizer will also provide energy and pest protection for your rose's. The last finishing touch to round out your pruning experience is to add a quality mulch on top of the base/root zone of the rose bush. The mulch adds protection to the root system and also helps to retain moisture for the rose to draw from. By incorporating these simple steps, rest assured your rose's will give your a fantastic show for the new year ahead.
Winter time offers not only shorter sunny days but the prime time to do some "winterizing" of your landscaping lawn,shrubs and trees. During the winter here in our Southern Calif. climate zone, we normally get most of our seasonal rain. This supplemental water provides the needed ingredient to activate energy to the root system and provide needed nutrients for the flower and fruiting production for our shrubs and trees later on in the growing season ahead. Fertilize those fruit trees,lawn,and shrubs with a balanced fertilizer and to add more boost to your fertilizing program, be sure to fertilize with a fertilizer that has a higher ratio of potassium and phosphorus. ( The last two numbers listed on the fertilizer bag, the first number listed is nitrogen )These two ingredients add strength to the root system to help your lawn, shrubs and trees withstand the hot arid summers ahead and also provide the energy for your shrubs and trees to produce massive blooms and plenty of fruit. For more information on our fertilization programs and soil supplements that we have available, respond back on the contacts link or call me direct at 562-755-9914.