Is Poison Ivy Safer in Winter?

Poison-Ivy1I never saw poison ivy in my yard until a few years ago. I guess I didn’t get it all pulled out, because I’ve seen it around ever since. We had some mild winters when it wasn’t killed by the cold.

I’m not susceptible to it – so far – but I know you can develop a sensitivity at any time, so I treat it with caution. I wondered if I could tag it and safely pull it out once it went dormant for the winter.

Is There a Safe Season for Poison Ivy?

Alas, no. This vine has more tenacity than Kimye. Not only is the toxin (urushiol) present in every last fiber of the plant, from the roots to the tips of the leaves, it can even remain on the bark of the tree it latches onto.


So if you were waiting for a frost before you rip your vines out, keep the gloves handy. Certainly get it out of there before the berries form. The birds love them and will plant vines all over your lawn.

Do Trees Need Fertilizer?

Maple-LeavesMost of us will pamper newly planted trees for their first year, if at all. After that, trees are usually left to their own devices. I have to say, there is very little agreement out there about whether trees need any supplemental feeding and a whole lot of qualifications, even when fertilizing is recommended.

Where Most Experts Do Agree Continue Reading

Ever Wonder How Tiger Lilies Spread So Fast?

Tiger-LilyLove them or hate them, orange tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium, also known as Lilium tigrinum) are one hardy plant. Unlike fancier hybrid lilies, tiger lilies seem to seed themselves throughout a garden. But it’s not seeds that are dropping throughout the borders, it’s bulbils. Bulbils are baby bulbs and if you look closely at the stems of your tiger lilies, you’ll see small black balls where the leaves meet the stems. These are the bulbils.

Bulbils start forming when the tiger lilies and their hybrids bloom, in late summer. You’ll know they’re ripe when they start to fall off on their own, with a gentle nudge. When they fall, they send out what’s called an exploratory root. This root finds its way into the soil and then pulls the bulbil under with it.

Can You Encourage Them to Sprout?Continue Reading

Tops Down, Dig Up

OnionsThe rule of thumb for harvesting onions is to dig them when the tops have fallen over. However as long as the tops are green, the bulbs will continue to plump up. So when is the ideal time to harvest them. That partly depends on the weather, as do so many things in the garden.

Rainy Seasons

If you’re having a rainy season, onions can re-sprout, even after most of the tops have started turning brown. That may sound like a good thing, but re-sprouting will shorten their storage life.

Of course, that doesn’t really matter if your growing a variety that doesn’t store well to begin with, like a Sweet Spanish. But if you’re growing a lot of onions to keep throughout the winter, don’t wait for the tops to brown. Get them out of the ground when the leaves have fallen over.

H3 – Hot, Hazy, and Humid

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Should You Plant or Remove the Peat Pot?

Peat-PotsAlthough I’m leery of using peat, I still love the convenience of pots that can be plunked in the ground and left to decay. Last year I was sent some seedlings in pots that were labeled biodegradable. I tossed them in the compost heap, where they remain to this day, totally in tact.

Peat pots don’t dissolve immediately, but they do eventually break down. Even so, it’s better to loosen or remove the bottom of the pots, before sinking them in the ground, so that the roots of the tender seedling don’t have to work so hard to branch out.

Another thing to consider is that peat has a tendency to wick water. Since the top of the pot is usually above the surface of the soil within it, part of the pot remains above ground when you plant it in the garden. That slight lip will try out fast and then it will pull water up from the buried portion – away from the plant’s roots.

The pot on the left is decomposing, but it's still wicking water while it does so. You can't even see the pot on the right, with the rim removed.

The pot on the left is decomposing, but it’s still wicking water while it does so. You can’t even see the pot on the right, with the rim removed.

On the Other HandContinue Reading