Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trees that will take your breath away!

We're in the full swing of things and I finally dragged myself inside to blog instead of weed, and plant my garden. The nursery's are buzzing with people and our yards are starting to take a good share of our Saturday. It's really hard to get plants off your mind this beautiful time of year. I have been thinking a lot about trees this week because this spring we have planted 5 new trees in our yard. Here is a list of my favorite ornamental landscape trees for zone 5 and why... Not in zone 5? Check to see if these trees will grow in your area! Trust me you won't be disappointed!

1. Crabapple (Malus baccata) this tree has many beautiful flowering varieties and does well in most any location. They will even grow where I live with a high water table area and look gorgeous! Very low maintenance tree and amazing color in spring, and beautiful small edible fruits in the fall. Attracts birds, and kids to eat them :)

2. Zelcova (Zelcova serrata)- want a beautiful large shade tree with a lot of disease resistance? Zelcova is the answer! One of the prettiest shade trees I have found for our area! An amazing example of this is located on the Provo BYU campus next to the Wilkinson Center. I loved to walk by this tree and enjoy it's never-ending beauty.

3. Saucer/star Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana, or stellata for star)-This amazingly beautiful tree has blossoms the size of your fist and it just happens to bloom on my birthday every year! Spring bloom and beautiful shrub-like shape! Believe me it is breath-taking when it blooms and has large attractive leaves the rest of the season. The only down side is that it is very slow growing. (It's well worth the wait!)

4. White Fir, or Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga sp.)- One of my favorite evergreen trees with soft needles and an amazingly beautiful shape. The dark green needles next to it's white bark is very aesthetically pleasing in any landscape!

5. Tri-color Beech (Fagus Sylvatica)- Or any Beech tree for that matter! Beech wood is beautiful and so are the leaves of this amazing tree. I love the tri-color, weeping beech and even the common beech has amazing form and beauty. This tree does well in Utah, the most beautiful I have seen are on the grounds of the Logan Utah Temple.

6. Weeping Cherry (Prunus sp.)- Need a beautiful focal point in your yard? This tree will draw your attention all year round. Beautiful blossoms in early spring and stunning form all year round. Even winter months it is fun to look at! (just watch to make sure it is pruned to stay within the weeping graft!)

7. Red Oak (Quercus Rubra)- a beautiful shade tree that has nice leaves in spring/summer but really puts on it's show in the fall with gorgeous fall color. It grows well in Utah with few problems!

8. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hipocastanum) This tree will always remind me of my grandpa! A huge hard wood shade tree with amazing blooms in the spring. Get ready to be amazed every time it blooms. I have literally stopped in traffic to see a mature horse chestnut bloom here in Utah. They are amazing enough it is one of the only trees that is going to be preserved with the remodel of the Ogden Temple. It has a brown round seed that drops off in the fall (great fun for kids to play with, but a little messy!)

9. Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) Another evergreen worth noting! This tree has linear soft flat needles and they turn yellow, orange before falling off in the fall. (Yes is is deciduous!) Likes to be planted near water! Beautiful choice for zone 5!

10. Lastly I would say any tree that is sentimental to you for any good reason is a great choice (as long as it does well in your area!). Trees evoke emotions that nothing else can and it is worth planting the tree that brings back good memories of a person or time of life!

Remember when planting your new treasure to dig the hole three times the size of your root ball. Plant only as deep as where the roots start to flare on the trunk! Do not plant it too deep! Place a hose near your new planted tree just dripping over-night to get a good deep watering and allow the roots to go deep into the ground.

Stop and enjoy the trees around you and notice all that they are accomplishing in the spring time!

Also, just for fun read this great article on Gardening with kids- here

Happy Gardening


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Video Info: How to Plant Tomatoes

Here's a very good video link for instructions how to plant tomatoes as you are getting ready to plant your gardens this year! Enjoy!

Thanks to Jerry Goodspeed at the Utah State Extension for posting this on the website!

Happy Gardening!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Summer Garden Crops

The peas, spinach, carrots and lettuce are sprouting and it's getting close to that summer planting time again in zone 5! The last freeze date in Utah is May 5th. However I may wait till the 15th or so this year because of the very wet cold spring we have had... I can hardly wait to plant my green beans, tomatoes, corn, squash, melons, peppers and a whole lot more delicious vegetables and fruits! Depending on how much you have to plant, I usually plan a couple of weekends to do the job. Seeds go in first, and then the plants that I always forget to grow from seed; like tomatoes, squash and peppers. For more info on specific crops and how to grow them look here.

Don't forget this year to think about Weed control. We are trying a few different things this year to help with our garden. We plant a pretty big space so each year we try something new to find the best way to control weeds and get the best yield. First, we are using black fabric for our squash, melons, and anything that is perennial or takes up a large amount of space. (Our only issue with this so far is that you need to stake it down pretty good so the wind doesn't blow it around. Also consider putting something like wood chips or mulch on top to keep it down and make it look better.) For row crops we are going to try to lay newspaper down in between the rows. You place 2-3 sheets on top of each other and water it down so it sticks to the soil and put compost, mulch on the top. I have heard this can keep the weeds down for 1-2 months. I have never tried this so I will let you know how well it works for us! The newspaper and mulch/compost breaks down and is a good soil amendment and you get less weeds win/win right?

Irrigation- This is also something we have worked on each year to improve and make less work for us each year. Also trying to be conscious of not using more than needed is important for our environment! If you live in a place where watering is not needed I am incredibly jealous. Watering is a lot of work in Utah and your plants suffer a lot if you mess it up! We have a small orchard, grapes and blackberries that we are working on putting in a drip system for. Set to a timer they should be pretty stress free once in place. We have tried flood, furrow irrigation, sprinkler and drip and for us a combination is needed to cover all the different watering needs we have. Consider the plants you have their requirements and supplies you already have to work with.

We really try to "train" our plants to have deep roots by watering them deeply (at least 8 inches) and infrequently (once every 5-7 days depending on weather). This makes your plants healthier than if you water daily and all the roots stay right on the surface of the soil! And it's better for our Mother Earth!

A few more spring tips:

*The next few weeks are also a great time to plant your annuals and containers! More to come soon about annual flower bed design. If you live in Weber County there is an amazing annual plant sale at the extension, free classes etc. look here for more info.

*Don't forget to break up your thatch layer in your yard by aerating each spring for a healthier lawn. For more tips on spring lawn maintenance look here.

*I like to add compost to my flower beds each spring from a local green dump to make my soil soft and amazing! A little each year makes a huge difference!!

*Enjoying your spring bulbs? Make sure the bulb stalk turns yellow and dies down to the base of the stalk before taking them out. Bulbs need all the energy from the leaves senescence to be able to bloom next year. When you can easily pull the stalk and it will gently snap off of the bulb it is the right time to take the stalks out and leave the bulbs in for next year!!

Happy Gardening!