Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Make a “Seed Bomb”

Don’t worry- a seed bomb is not as threatening as it sounds! These little beauties are simply balls of compressed soil and clay that contain various flower and tree seeds. They can be thrown into those ugly patches of underutilized dirt that appear in defunct parking lots and vacated building sites, and what was once an eyesore will become a thriving ecosystem of lush greenery. Similar products can be purchased from eco-stores, but they are just too much fun to make at home. 

What will I need?

-Red Clay
Red clay will protect the seed bomb, make it portable, and provide the growing plants vital minerals. It’s best to use natural red clay, and not a craft-store substitute.
Compost can be made of fertilizer or high-grade potting soil mixed with organic material. A lot of people choose to compost kitchen scraps at home, another eco-friendly way to garden.
The seeds that you choose should be native varieties that will provide a pleasing aesthetic look. These must be hardy plants so that they can survive without any outside care. Be extremely careful not to introduce any invasive species to your area.

How do I make my own seed bombs?

The basic recipe for a seed bomb contains 1 part seeds, 3 parts compost, and 5 parts dry red clay. You will also need some pure water to make the mixture pliable and shapeable. The seeds and compost should be combined first, and then the clay should be added in the appropriate measure. Make sure to avoid adding too much water or you will end up with a very soupy mess. You can make a large batch and form your bombs from there. The sun is the best way to dry them, letting them sit but avoiding “baking” them. 

These seed bombs are a great way to improve your neighborhood while giving the environment a little boost. Fresher air means healthier bodies. Trees and flowers are a visual gift to almost any area.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Preparing Trees for Winter

The time is fast approaching when those chilly winds will begin nipping, the snow will begin falling, and homeowners will be preparing their trees for winter.  Big established trees should have no problems, but young trees are easily susceptible to all kinds of health threats as vulnerable saplings. Proper preventative measure will prevent serious damage and removal expenses. 

Mid Summer / Early Fall

Unless you have been experiencing drought throughout the summer, try to quit watering your trees. Getting the natural amount of rainfall will help to harden young trees for the winter. Refrain from using fertilizer and other plant food. If the tree experiences a lot of new growth prior to the beginning of cold weather, those fresh parts will be extremely weak. 

Mid Fall

The watering ban should extend until the leaves fall off of the tree. After they have shed completely, resume your watering regimen. This is extremely important for evergreens, which are highly prone to water loss in the winter. Preparing trees for winter moisture loss requires weekly watering in dryer regions. Although there is often snowfall in many areas during the winter, trees are not getting as much water as it would appear. 

Late Fall

Ensure that the entire diameter of the root base is getting at least one inch of water every week well up until freeze point. Keep in mind that a tree’s root system can extend to a significant area even up to three times larger than the diameter of the tree itself. 

Around late October, remove deadwood and branches that may encourage pest infestation. Before any sort of snow begins to fly, protect young evergreens with a burlap sack and stakes to shield them from harsh winds and intense winter sun. It may be beneficial to spread a layer of mulch before the first freeze to keep moisture in throughout the winter. Proper winter protection may save your investment and your time!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Planting Perfect Fruit Trees in Georgia

Georgia is famous for thriving crop plantations and beautiful flowering trees but this state is perfect for much more than that. Planting fruit trees on your property will give you fresh organic fruit and cool shade in the sweltering summer. This state has the perfect growth climate for a huge variety of fruit trees. In this article I am going to outline my three favorite fruit trees that take just perfect to Georgia weather. 

Yoshino Cherry Tree
This particular variety of cherry tree is so celebrated in Georgia, that there is a yearly festival dedicated to these delicious cherries in Macon! These trees grow to be a rather small size, with a typical maximum spread of 15 feet. These trees bloom with pinkish flowers in the spring and make a very attractive option for any yard. Maintenance for this variety is almost non-existent, but during a drought it will need to be watered. The Yoshino prefers moist, well drained soil. They originated in Asia, but have adapted to Georgia’s climate beautifully. 

Shockley Apple
Shockley apple trees are common to the northern region of Georgia. The apples yielded by these trees typically reach full ripeness in the latter half of October. Shockley apples are rich and sweet, and the trees don’t get too large as to be unmanageable. These trees approach an average height of 15 to 18 feet when grown in full sun with well-drained soil. Shockleys just won’t thrive well in areas that are prone to flooding of any kind.

Belle of Georgia Peach Tree
Of course, Georgia is famous for its legendary peach orchards. The Belle is just one of many varieties of peach found in the state, but this tree happens to be great for yard growth. With a maximum height of 15 to 25 feet and a total spread of anywhere between 8 to 20 feet, you will be sure to harvest more peaches than you can possibly eat. I hope you like sharing with friends!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fast Growing Trees

When planting trees on your property, you may want to reap the benefits of a fully grown tree as soon as possible. Of course, who wouldn’t want comfortable shade and fresher local air sooner? Luckily, there are several species of tree that won’t make you wait ten to twenty years for decent height and stature.

3. Lombardy Poplar
Lombardy poplars are an extremely versatile tree variety that has cropped up all over the United States. These trees are often planted in rows, as a windbreak or as an attractive property line. This poplar happens to grow a speedy 8-10 ft. per year, meaning that you will quickly have tall trees. In just three years, you can have a 40 ft tree!

2. Willow Hybrid
These hybrids are the fastest growing willow. They grow to be thick and lusciously green. These trees can become rather tall when mature, up to 75 feet! New homeowners often want to go the natural route when it comes to privacy fences, and planting this tree variety in rows will ensure you will have one quickly- growing 6-12 ft per year.

1. Empress Tree
If you are planting a tree for mostly visual purposes the Empress, or Paulownia, may be an excellent choice. These trees produce fragrant, colorful blooms. The timber itself is very valuable. This tree has a unique aesthetic quality and will make your yard look absolutely beautiful. These trees can be planted over most of the United States, and will grow an astonishing 10-15 feet per year until it reaches its mature height of 50 feet.

These three species of tree are all very versatile, and your local tree planting expert should be well versed in these popular varieties! Most of us don’t want to wait up to ten years for a proud, tall tree. That’s why planting one of these fast growing varieties may be a great investment for you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How Trees Can Help Your Garden

As a gardener knee deep in soil and weeds, there often isn’t much time to wonder about what trees can do for your garden.  Besides being a pain to mow around, what are the benefits? The answer to this question is that every part of the tree, from leaf to root, can benefit your garden in some way. Trees can not only benefit the health and appearance of your garden, but they can also save you quite a bit of money each year.

Stump Grinding
Stumps can present a major hurdle when it comes to choosing a garden plot. What many people don’t know is that you can turn that ugly, space hogging stump into a wealth of nutrition for your future garden. A stump grinding expert can utilize special equipment to take the danger out of root and stump removal. After the stump and its accompanying roots have been removed, the ground will be renewed and full of fresh nutrients. This process will turn a previously unusable area into a place that is perfect to plant or expand your garden.

Leaves to Mulch
Instead of bagging those leaves in the fall, why not consider turning them into mulch? All of the autumn leaves that otherwise clog the landfills could offer some serious potential benefits to your garden. The leaves will immediately begin to slow the growth of weeds. As they degrade, the leaves will begin to deposit huge amounts of nutrients, priming the area for planting in the spring. Consider asking your friends and neighbors for their lawn scraps as well. Mulching or composting your leaves will give you the double benefit of strengthening your garden while saving valuable landfill space. Your garden and the environment will thank you.

Trees as Windbreak
Planting a tree or a series of shrubs between your garden and the harsh winds may be a very wise investment. The harsh winter and fall winds can devastate harvests and ruin existing plants. When winds kick up in the winter, small fruit trees tend to take the hit the hardest. When using trees and shrubs as windbreak, evergreens can always be considered a safe bet. They stay full throughout the winter, giving the best protection. If you are going to go with shrubs, make sure they are dense enough to have an effect. The lack of a decent windbreak could leave your garden and fruit trees devastated come spring. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trees will Increase your Property Value

Homeowners, there is something important that you need to know about your property value. Those trees that you thought were simply convenient for providing cool summer shade may also be adding as much as ten percent to your property value, according to the United States Forest Service. The math is pretty impressive: If your beautiful, tree lined property is worth $400,000, your trees may be accountable for up to $40,000 of that total! Tree planting can be extremely rewarding. 

These numbers alone justify the claims that planting trees can be one of the most worthwhile investments on your home improvement list. A healthy tree will most likely stand much longer than your home will, let alone the new roof or garage you’ve been thinking about adding. 

There are many reasons to consider planting trees as a way to boost property value. The pleasant visual appearance can be worth a thousand words and a couple thousand bucks to boot. Any tree will complement existing home and garden styles. Small trees and shrubs can be perfect for hiding unsightly objects, such as air conditioners and composting bins. 

One surprising, long term benefit that many home owners overlook is the amount of money that can be saved. A couple of trees can beautify any gathering area, with relatively no upkeep compared to a garden or flower bed. Mature trees provide a stable root system, which reduces the level of water runoff during seasons of heavy rain. Water runoff can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home’s foundation, or ruin your existing landscaping. 

The key to increasing property value with trees is choosing the proper location and species of your tree. Choosing a tree that provides too dense of a shade cover may kill your grass or flowers. However, if you have an aggressive bush or shrub, a dense shade tree may help keep it under control. Planting a tree too close to your home or a power line may cause significant damage in the future. For the best bet on a low maintenance, healthy tree, consider asking your local garden center or professional tree service expert about the native tree varieties in your area.

Friday, October 8, 2010

When Not to Cut Trees Yourself

Sad as it may be to have to cut down a tree, if you are a property owner with trees on your land, sooner or later the time will come when you will probably need to cut one down. If your tree is sick or dead, or growing in a way that endangers you or your neighbors, you'll have to take care of the situation. Unfortunately, tree cutting can be a very dangerous activity to engage in if you do not know how to do it correctly.

There are myriad times when, no matter what, you simply should not cut down a tree yourself. If this is the case, you'll need to pay a professional tree service to remove the tree. This is often the case in urban areas where cutting a tree down in a specific place is simply too dangerous for an untrained person to do it with a simple chainsaw. Here are some other examples below.

Trees and Power Lines
To begin, never cut down a tree that is next to a power line. If a tree falls on the electric power lines there is a very real danger of fire and electrocution. There is also a very good possibility that you will have to pay for any damage you to do the power line! And, not to mention it, I guarantee you that your neighbors will not be very happy with if you cause a power outage :)

Instead, call the electric company responsible for the power line and ask them what to do. There is a good chance the utility company can come to your residence and cut the trees for you. If not, they can give you a list of commercial tree professionals who can safely work around the power lines.

Trees and Houses
Another time not to cut down a tree is when you have a large tree very close to your home (or your neighbors’ home). If the tree falls on a house it could do tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. If the tree falls on your neighbor’s property you will be responsible for any damage that the tree does. I recommend if this is the case that you call a tree service professional to cut down large trees if there is a possibility tree will fall on your home or business or a neighbor’s home or business.

Trees and Roads
Finally never cut down a tree yourself if there is a possibility that it could fall on a public road or street, a public highway or railroad tracks. You don’t want to do this because if the tree falls on a vehicle or causes an accident you will be responsible for any damage it causes.

Instead of causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, if your tree is in any of the above categories, call a professional tree service and don't try to remove the tree on your own. There should be professional tree services in your area that can remove trees without causing damage.