In the garden
Gardening and landscaping advice from the Henrico Master Gardeners
In the wake of Hurricane Irene, people are dealing with downed trees and the damage they caused. Some are considering not replacing or taking down additional trees in their yards, but Henrico Extension Agent Karen Carter is telling people, “Don’t hate your trees!”
“Most of the trees that came down had compromised root systems,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important to select the right tree for the space you have and plant it properly.”
Before choosing a large Willow oak, look at the space where you want to plant. Utility wires or security lights nearby mean you may need to select something like a White fringetree (Chionanthus retusus) that will stay smaller and grow slower.
Fall is a good time to plant a tree.
The most important factors in the success of a new tree are proper planting and care during the first year.
Carter says the biggest problems she sees are trees that have been planted in holes that are too small and too deep.
“There’s a lot of truth in the old saying that it’s better to plant a $50 tree in a $100 hole than a $100 tree in a $50 hole,” says Carter.
The hole should be wide, at least two to three times the width of the root ball, and shallow, no deeper than the root ball. “Studies show at least half of the trees being planted are set too deeply,” she said. Find the top-most root and measure from it to the base of the root ball before you dig so the tree isn’t set too deep and rests on undisturbed soil.
“If I could only say one thing about planting a tree,” said Carter, “I’d say plant it at the right depth.”
Another hot button issue is using too much mulch. “I see mulch volcanoes around tree trunks,” says Carter, “And that is very, very unhealthy for the tree.” Mulch should be only 2” to 3” deep, applied in as broad a ring around the tree as practical, ideally to the drip line of the tree.
Henrico Master Gardeners involved in the Tree Smarts program will host free seminars about "Caring for an Older Tree" next week (Sandston, Oct. 25; Twin Hickory – Oct. 26 and Glen Allen – Oct. 27).
Pre-registration is requested at 501-5160.
Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.
YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.
The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.
‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ fails to capitalize on tasty concept
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a curious little Romeo and Juliet of a film. A family, forced out of their native India, begins a trek across Europe.
The family’s sole mode of transportation sputters and dies in a sleepy little French town, but the town’s food culture is high, and that’s a perfect place for a family of restaurateurs to settle down. There’s only one problem – the family’s rustic “Maison Mumbai” is right across the street (a hundred feet away, if the title didn’t clue you in) from a prestigious French bistro with a Michelin star, run with an iron fist by the dreaded Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren, pictured).
It’s here that a particular Romeo and Juliet story begins to develop, with Hassan (Manish Dayal) on the Indian side and Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) on the French side. > Read more.
Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.
The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.
As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.
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