Break up the garlic bulb into cloves. You don’t need to pull off the papery covering like in cooking. To get them off to a good start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in enough water to cover, containing one tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Garlic should be planted in the fall. Timing of planting should be within two weeks of the first frost (32°F) so they develop roots, but do not emerge above ground.
Cloves should be planted with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch; leaf, straw or dried grass clippings work well.
Smaller shrubs like rhododendrons, will benefit from using fresh cut branches of conifers [spruce, pine]. Direct the thick end into the ground near the crown of the plant, and intermingle the branches together. This will provide a windbreak and help stop branch breakage from the weight of snow. If the shrub is taller than the conifer branches, tie them together at different heights to protect the whole shrub.
Another method of providing protection is to use horticultural fleece, plastic, wind-break netting or commercially made covers like below. This method should be used on all late-season planted evergreens, as they may not have developed an adequate root system yet, and can dry out from harsh winds.
New planting beds should begin in autumn in the Midwest because the freeze/thaw cycles of winter, work to break up the clods of clay.
Most soils in the Midwestern region are alkaline and consist of high concentrations of clay. Contrary to some opinions, there are more plants available for this soil type than any other.
Choose a location that meets the criteria for the types of plants being chosen i.e. sunny location for annuals and vegetables, or a shady location for a woodland garden.
Many factors must be considered when pruning any type of shrub or tree. Proper pruning technique is necessary, and is described further at Trees are Good. Identification of the plant, along with knowing it’s growth or habit, flowering schedule, and reason for pruning, is also imperative.
Pruning of dead, dying, or diseased limbs should be done at anytime. The 3 D’s! Many problems can be avoided if the problems are not allowed to spread throughout the tree or even to the neighboring trees.
My houseplants enjoy their summers outside on the porch. I feel the living room looks a bit bare when they get moved out, however, I don’t spend much time in the house during the summer either!!
When it’s time to bring everyone back into the house, there are a few things that need to be done to insure a safe, pest-free winter. Otherwise, things can go bad fast…
I then make sure the pot drains correctly and that the pot is rinsed off of dirt or any other cling-ons. This will become difficult to do if you can’t bring it outside to correct.
Some of my plants need amendments, like my orange tree prefers acid soil in this land of limestone well water. I add the garden sulfur as directed and water it in thoroughly. Again this is something you really can’t do after the plant is inside with only a reservoir under the pot. I do give some of them a bit of fertilizer, however I only give it sparingly.
Mechanical damage and improper tree maintenance kills more trees than any insects or diseases. This how-to guide will hopefully teach you how NOT to treat your tree friends. .. However, if you’re the sadistic type and love spending money replacing trees, this is a great read for you also!
1 – “Top” the tree which promotes watersprouts that weaken trees and encourage pests and disease.
Do not top trees. Tree heights can be lessened by proper crown reduction that doesn’t stimulate watersprout growth.
2 – Leave co-dominant leaders to promote “V” growth and splitting during winds and storms.
When a tree is young, select one or the other of the competing upright branches to be the main branch and cut the other off. Do not buy a tree with these characteristics.
3 – Leave crossing branches to rub protective bark and create wounds.
Prune branches that cross and rub in order to prevent bark wounds.
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©Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl