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.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.
Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.
Growlers to Go has opened its second area location – in Short Pump, next to Trader Joe's.
Unlike the flagship store on the Boulevard in Richmond, this location is equipped with a Tasting Room, offering customers the opportunity to drink pints or tasting wheels as well as order snacks on premises. > Read more.
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Oct. 1, 2015Click here to read the print edition.
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