The term "bulb" is used by most people to refer to plants that have underground, fleshy storage structures. Only some of the plants commonly called bulbs actually are bulbs. The primary function of these underground storage structures is to store nutrient reserves to ensure the plants' survival.
Here's a quick guide to identifying a few of the earliest starters.
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is the most widely planted lawn grass throughout the United States. Introduced from Europe with early settlers, this species has become naturalized and grows well throughout most of North America.
Positive Characteristics of Kentucky Bluegrass
•Creates a dense, uniform, cushioned playing surface, with attractive dark green color.
•Strong sod-former (because of underground stems, called rhizomes).
•Can recuperate from traffic injury relatively quickly (due to rhizome growth).
•Readily available as sod.
•Excellent heat and cold tolerance.
•Excellent drought resistance (although it does become brown and dormant to survive prolonged drought).
•Soft leaves allow it to be mowed without unsightly shredding seen with other turf species.
Negative Characteristics of Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass should not be considered to be a low-maintenance turf.
•Forms thatch, the result of aggressive rhizome formation and shallow rooting.
•May require frequent irrigation, especially on compacted, shallow, or poor-quality soils.
•Requires more frequent nitrogen applications than most other turf species.
•Susceptible to diseases.
•May be attacked by insects like billbugs, grubs, and sod webworms.
•Will not grow well on salty soils or where salty irrigation water is used.
•Performs poorly in moderate to heavy shade.
Planting the Bluegrass Lawn
Kentucky bluegrass lawns can be established by seeding or sodding. In either case, it is ESSENTIAL that the soil be properly tilled and leveled to eliminate compaction, to remove large stones and other debris, and to ensure that the lawn drains away from the foundations of any buildings.
Mowing the Bluegrass Lawn
Kentucky bluegrass should be maintained at a height of 2 1/2 inches throughout the growing season. Whenever the grass reaches a height of 3 1/2 inches, it should be mowed back down to 2 1/2 inches. It is recommended that grass clippings be returned to the lawn because nutrients are recycled to the lawn (allowing reduced fertilizer use) and certain disease problems may occur less frequently.
Contrary to popular belief, grass clippings do not contribute significantly to thatch accumulation on a properly mowed lawn.
Fertilizing the Bluegrass Lawn
Kentucky bluegrass must be fertilized more often than most other turfgrass species in order to maintain a lawn of acceptable quality. Lawns in higher elevations, where the growing season is shorter, may only require one or two fertilizations in a year. The goal of this type of fertilization schedule is to minimize the amount of fertilizer applied in the spring when the turf is growing rapidly, and to encourage fertilization later in the growing season when the turfgrass plant can use the fertilizer more effectively. This type of fertilization schedule produces a healthier, more stress-tolerant lawn. If grass clippings are routinely returned to lawn during mowing, you may be able to fertilize less frequently or with lesser amounts.
Controlling Thatch and Compaction
Thatch formation is a common problem on bluegrass lawns. Contrary to popular belief, thatch does not result from grass clippings. Rather, it is a layer of slowly-decomposing roots and stems that accumulates at the soil surface. When the thatch
layer becomes deeper than about one-half inch it creates a situation in which the turf can not be irrigated and fertilized as efficiently. A deep thatch layer also can shelter insect pests and may result in more frequent and severe disease problems.
Dethatching in the Spring and Aeration in the Fall.
Weed Control in the Bluegrass Lawn
A healthy, vigorous, well-maintained lawn will suffer very little from weed invasion. The occasional weed can usually be hand-pulled or spot-sprayed.
Disease Problems in the Bluegrass Lawn
There are a number of diseases that can cause minor to major problems for Kentucky bluegrass, including: dollar spot, necrotic ring spot, leafspot, Ascochyta leaf blight, and fairy ring. As with weed problems, the occurrence of diseases is often an indicator of poor management, that soil was poorly prepared prior to planting, or that Kentucky bluegrass should not have been planted on the site.
Take the guesswork out of creating beautiful annual containers. There are many great websites providing easy annual combinations.
I found my first dandelion flower this weekend along the Snake River. Dandelion, which literally translates into “lion’s tooth” in French, is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium and detoxifiers which explains its common inclusion in medicines. It has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries across many different cultures, as early as 900 AD.
The roots, leaves and flowers have been known to treat bone health, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, cancer, jaundice, constipations and high blood pressure.
Every part of the dandelion can be eaten. From teas to salads, why not harvest the plants, as a method of control rather than a pesky weed.
Dandelion greens should be eaten like any other leafy green, such as spinach. Greens can also be ground and turned into a pesto.
Tea: Forage for dandelions in your own backyard, chop up the roots and steep as a regular tea
A new "superfood" drink that is getting some buzz is dandelion coffee, an herbal drink made from roasted dandelion root, which is said to taste like coffee but have the health benefits of dandelion tea.
Health Notes: A special note to people who are allergic to ragweed and related plants, like chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, feverfew marigold, ragweed, sunflower or yarrow: Dandelions may exacerbate your allergic reaction, so proceed with caution. Anyone allergic to iodine or latex also should also avoid dandelion preparations.
Lawns and the rest of your landscaping need some TLC at this time of year, to prepare your yard for the growing season. With the dreariness of winter finally behind us, now is the time to start preparing your lawn and landscape for these seasonal changes.
Pest & Weed Control
Contact Salt River Landscaping today if you would like to speak to one of our Landscape Maintenance professionals about caring for your lawn and landscape.
Schedule service in the month of March for April spring clean-up service and get 10% off.
Spring is weeks away!
Although Spring is still about three weeks away, recent temperatures have made it feel as if it has already arrived.
In my garden, I have daffodils and tulips sprouting from the soil. Aspen catkins, the fuzzy buds, are a definitive sign of spring in Western Wyoming.
How to get ready?
If it gets real cold, down into the 20s at night, it can affect early spring bulbs, like daffodils, irises, and tulips. The best thing a gardener can do under the circumstance is to leave a lot of leaf debris about their plants. It's not time to for clean-up.
Ornamental grass should be cut back now in preparation of spring
The planting season for gardens begins following the last frost of the season - usually late May and as late as mid-June. As the snow melts this is the time to pick up sticks, apply treatments to mitigate vole damage, and turn your compost pile.
Visiting a botanical garden while you are on spring break or vacation is a great opportunity to relax, recover from jetlag and be inspired.
For those who might not be familiar with the term, a botanical garden is dedicated to the collection, cultivation, and display of a wide range of plants. Botanical gardens are often run by universities or other scientific research organizations, and they maintain the grounds and study the plants. Visitor services at a botanical garden might include tours, educational displays, art exhibitions, open-air theatrical and musical performances, and other entertainment.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This 52 acre garden right outside of Manhattan should be on the top of you list when traveling to the Big Apple. The row of cherry trees rivals gardens in Japan.
Located in Brooklyn, NY
More information: http://www.bbg.org
Chicago Botanic Garden
The top of my list, this garden is the largest with 385 acres. It is home to a renowned Bonsai collection of miniature masterpieces, including some donated by bonsai master Susumu Nakamura.
Located in Chicago, IL
More information: http://www.chicagobotanic.org
Cleveland Botanical Garden
10 acres to explore with the oldest children's garden. The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, an immense conservatory filled with plant and animal life from the spiny desert of Madagascar and the Costa Rican rainforest.
Located in Cleveland, OH
More information: http://www.cbgarden.org
A nationally recognized display garden that spans more than 66 acres with 17 specialty gardens. Consistently ranked at #1 of all ‘Things to do’ in Dallas.
Located in Dallas, TX
More information: http://www.dallasarboretum.org
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
I have to recognize the Botanical Garden I worked at. 2 hours outside LA, the Living Desert provides desert gardens from around the world. Plus you can see the animals that survive in the these harsh conditions.
Located in Palm Desert, CA
More information: http://www.livingdesert.org
Starting garden plants from seeds indoors can be an enjoyable project for any gardener. It's a relatively inexpensive way to grow a wide variety of plants. Many garden favorites are found in a greater variety of colors, sizes and growth habits as seeds, rather than as started plants.
When selecting vegetable varieties, check packets for the number of days until harvest to be sure your choices will ripen before frost. Many long-season vegetables must be started indoors in early spring. Similarly, many annual flowers need an indoor start if they are to bloom during the summer.
The University of Wyoming provides a great article in Barnyards & Backyards.
Necessary items: seed, containers, and soil-less mixtures
Timing, just to name a few:
Early February: geraniums, pansies/violas, wax begonias, leeks, onions
Mid-February: dusty miller, fountain grass, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, celery
Early March: petunias, black-eyed Susan, scabiosia, snapdragons, verbena, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, head lettuce
Mid-March: bells of Ireland, candytuft, cleome, dianthus/pinks, hollyhock, marigold, ornamental pepper, annual phlox, sage/salvia
Early April: amaranthus, aster, baby's breath, bachelor buttons, calendula, morning glory, nasturtium, tomatoes
Mid-April: cosmos, sweet peas, thunbergia, zinnia
Early-mid May: harden off outside, first in the shade and then in the sun. Bring inside during freezing temperatures.
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