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The Bay Gardener by Dr. Francis Gouin

Understanding plants' nutritional needs is the key to good gardening

     This year’s fruit on my American hollies is very heavy. That gives me a job to do. Unless I give them additional nitrogen by mid-September, their foliage will be yellow-green instead of a rich dark green that will better show off the bright red berries.
You’ll have to call in the big guns with poison ivy and English ivy
     Late summer is the best time to kill poison ivy and English ivy. As both of these species have extensive root systems capable of regenerating from pieces of roots, they are nearly impossible to eradicate by digging them out of the ground. The heavy wax covering the leaves makes them difficult to chemically eradicate as well. An exacerbating factor with poison ivy is that mature plants generate seeds that can remain dormant in the soil for years. Their potential germination adds to the frustration of complete eradication.
Try some of these gatekeepers
     Readers are complaining that rodents and deer are feasting in their gardens.       There is nothing like a good dog for keeping rabbits, groundhogs and deer out of the garden. Best is a dog that prefers staying out all night guarding the house and garden. Since we have had our dog Lusby, we have not had any four-legged pests feasting in the garden.      If you don’t have such a dog, I suggest a few remedies.

Our second season is at hand

     The vegetable gardening season is only half over. Now that you’ve harvested your beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and onions, it is time to plant beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce and peas.

Turn on the blooms with Bloom

To keep plants in hanging baskets growing and flowering for two months or more, dump one-half cup of Bloom in a single lump on an eight-inch diameter hanging basket, or one cup for a 10-inch basket. At each irrigation, pour water onto the mound of Bloom. As the water flows through the Bloom, it absorbs nutrients and makes them available to the roots of the plants. Trying to Make a Better Rain Garden www.bayweekly.com/RainGarden-072017

Vertical Mulching and Tree Roots Q    I enjoy your articles. Recently you’ve written about trees & Bloom.     I have two chestnut oaks that now have slime flux. Do you think your method would help these trees? I have called forestry schools, and they tell me I can’t do anything. Commercial tree companies want to sell me a fertilizing service for $1,000 with no guarantee.

Early-rising yellow-bellied sapsuckers The rings of evenly spaced holes you see in the trunks of smooth-bark trees are the work of yellow-bellied sapsuckers. The birds drill into apple, beech, birch, cherry, linden, peach, plum, red maple and southern magnolia as well as pine and cedar trees. I have received several reports from readers wondering what is causing the holes because they have not seen any woodpeckers on their trees.

Composting and PFRP make them safe for your garden

Readers continue to write with concerns about composted biosolids and Bloom. To calm your concerns, I’ll lead you through the processes that make fully treated biosolids safe to use in your food garden.

Vertical mulch with Bloom

A mature tree not only increases the value of your home but also offers shade during these hot days of summer, thus reducing the cost of air-conditioning. Trees also provide branches for hanging swings and places for birds to nest and perch.     However, your surrounding lawn does not provide the best conditions for keeping mature shade trees healthy. Soil compaction is often a problem, as foot traffic, riding mowers and often other vehicles compact the soil surrounding the roots.

Don’t over-handle your onions

Onions are bulbing. Disturbing the plants now will reduce the storage life of the bulbs. Keeping your onion patch free of weeds is important, but from now until harvest you’ll want to weed by hand. An onion hoe may damage bulbs.