Friday, February 27, 2015

March Gardening Calendar 2015



March Gardening Calendar
Fertilize winter flowering annuals with a blooming type fertilizer. Water in all granular type fertilizers.

Tattered Liriope leaves can be cut either with a weed eater or your lawn mower set on its highest setting.

Lawns should have lime at least yearly. Have you limed your lawn lately? Use 40 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Start spring flowers and tomatoes from seeds indoors. It takes about 6 weeks to get strong seedlings.

Spring is a good time to prune your boxwood shrubs.
Peach and Apple trees need to be sprayed with a fungicide recommended for fruit trees, and spray the trees while the blossoms are on the tree.

Prune back Holly shrubs that have gotten too large. If needed, you can prune back to 18 inches.

Need to divide your Hostas? When the leaves start to show you can divide and plant elsewhere in a shady part of the garden. Use a solution of SuperThrive as a root stimulator for best results after planting.

Fertilize Pecan Trees with a fruit tree fertilizer and water in well after.

Check for scale insects on Camellias and Euonymus. Spray with a horticultural oil, if you detect the insects.

March is the last month recommended to prune Roses to half their original size. Fertilize with Bayer Advanced Rose Fertilizer after pruning and apply once a month. Click Here For More Information on Roses.

There is still time to plant winter veggies. Click Here For More Information. All vegetables can be grown in large containers. I prefer to grow my vegetables in containers. Click Here For Cedar Planters.

Fertilize shrubs with a shrub and tree fertilizer and water in well.

Flowering shrubs such as Winter Honeysuckle, Quince, and Forsythia can be pruned after flowering.

One of the best time to plant fruit and nut trees is in early spring. Nurseries have a good selection of these trees in spring, but hurry the selection usually goes fast.

Cheryl Ann Meola Texas Certified Nursery Professional #1282


©Cheryl Ann Meola 2015.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Encore Azalea – Care and Varieties



Encore Azalea – Care and Varieties 

Encore azaleas are known for their repeat blooming, spring, summer, and fall; and Encore azalea’s will provide brilliant color and easy care. There are 29 varieties to choose from with blossoms in pink, bi-color, red, white, lavender, and purple. The plants mature height range from 2.5 feet to 5 feet. After Encore azaleas become established in the landscape, one year after planting, Encore azaleas usually only need water during periods of extreme drought. Spring 2015 brings in 4 new varieties added to the Encore azalea line: Autumn Ivory, Autumn Jewel, Autumn Lily, and Autumn Sunburst. Look for them at your local garden center this spring.

Sun Exposure: Encore azaleas require 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. Encore azaleas will not grow in heavy shade locations as there will be a reduction of blossoms and the azalea may grow more slowly. When Encore azaleas are planted in a western location the plants may require more water and water more frequently during the summer months. One way to reduce this is to heavily mulch the area where they are planted and at planting time use extra compost mixed into the soil. 

Spacing: The spacing of the Encore azaleas depends whether the gardener would like some space in between each plant or would desire a hedge type effect. The spacing of your Encore azaleas depends on the mature width of the variety. For example: Autumn Angel has a mature width of 3 feet and you would space the plant(s) 3 feet apart measuring from the center of the first plant to the center of the second plant. If, you would like more space between each plant space 4 feet or more. 

Planting: All azaleas, including Encore azaleas, are acid-loving plants and require an acid-loving soil. When planting use a soil recommended for azaleas and camellias. Dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball and deep. Use a 50 – 50 mix of original soil from the planting hole and the azalea/camellia soil. Add this mixture to the planting hole. The root ball of the azalea needs to be one (1) inch above the soil line. Fill the planting hole with the soil mixture. Water in well. After watering add a root stimulator or Super Thrive. These are products that you mix with water and help reduce transplant shock and also help stimulate the roots. Use once a week for the first month and then after, once a month for six months. Did you know that leftover coffee or tea grounds help increase the acidity level of your soil? Instead of throwing away your leftover coffee or tea grounds away your azaleas will benefit from sprinkling the grounds around your azalea bushes. Let the grounds dry in a container and one can add the grounds daily or weekly. Cover with a layer of mulch one to three inches thick.

Spring and Summer Care: As with all newly planted plants, Encore azaleas are no different, they will need water until the root ball establishes in the ground. New azaleas will die quickly if the soil dries out excessively. Under and over watering is one of the main causes of death to newly planted plants. Encore azaleas, like most newly planted plants, usually establish their root system within a year after planting. After a year only water during extreme periods of drought. Apply an azalea fertilizer after spring bloom, but do not fertilize in the month of August.

Fall and Winter Care: Fall is an excellent time to plant including Encore azaleas. The cool weather of fall lets the roots start getting established in the ground and when the spring season begins your Encore azaleas will be the talk of the neighborhood. Cover young or newly planted azaleas during the first year when extreme cold weather approaches and there are special frost covers that you can use. The frost covers are designed to keep the heat radiating out of the soil at night inside the area that is covered by the cloth. These can be purchased at your local nursery. 

Pruning: Encore azaleas require little to no pruning. If you need to shape the azalea a little bit do so right after spring flowering.

Encore Azalea Varieties: 

Autumn Amethyst: Trials at universities have shown Autumn Amethyst as one of the most cold-hardy varieties. Dark-lavender blooms, lush green summer foliage turning to an attractive purple in the winter months. Intermediate in height: 4 feet x 4 feet wide.  Bloom size 2 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Angel: Pure white blossoms with glossy, dark green foliage. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3 feet wide.  Bloom size: 3 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9. 

Autumn Belle: Ruffled pale-pink blossoms with magenta freckles. The flower petals show white along the edges. Intermediate in height: 5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9.

Autumn Bravo: Blazing red blossoms with dark green foliage is a favorite among Encore azalea fans. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Carnation: Rich medium-pink blossoms similar in color to Pink Ruffles that only bloom once a year. Lustrous dark-green foliage makes a striking contrast with the pink blossoms. Intermediate in height: 4.5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Carnival: Profuse bloomer with medium pink blossoms that is great for borders or a specimen plant. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Cheer: Lovely medium-pink blossoms that is well suited for small spaces and borders. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 1.25 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Chiffon: Light-pink blossoms with a splash of dark pink in the center that is a compact grower that works well as a foundation plant. Dwarf in height: 2.5 feet x 3 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.75 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9.

Autumn Coral: Soft coral-pink blossoms are dotted with fuchsia centers with an explosion of color in the spring and does equally well through summer and fall months. Dwarf in height: 2.5 feet x 3 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.75 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9.

Autumn Debutante: Light pink blossoms with dark green leaves. Intermediate in height: 4 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Embers: Bold, deep orange-red blossoms is one of the more popular variety. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Empress: Medium pink blossoms contrast nicely with the dense dark-green foliage. Autumn Empress makes a nice specimen plant or foundation plantings. Intermediate in height: 4 feet x 3 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.25 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Ivory: Compact grower with bright white blossoms making an excellent choice for containers or borders. Autumn Ivory is a new variety this spring. Dwarf in height: 2.5 feet x 3 feet wide. Bloom size: 2 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9.

Autumn Jewel: Is one of the most cold-hardy of the Encore azaleas with pink blossoms and attractive purple foliage in the winter months. Autumn Jewel is a new variety this spring. Intermediate in height: 4 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 2 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Lilac: Has been selected for its rounded growth habit and cold-hardiness. Beautiful lavender blossoms with darker purple freckles. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Lily: White blossoms with a single purple stripe running down the center of each petal. Autumn Lily is a new variety this spring. Intermediate in height: 4.5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Monarch: Beautiful ruffled orange-pink blossoms with specks of red and light green foliage. This variety can be used in the background of the planting bed because of the upright growth habit and overall height. Intermediate in height: 5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Moonlight: Pure white ruffled blossoms with yellow dusted throats and light green foliage. This variety can be used in the background of the planting bed because of the upright growth habit and overall height. Intermediate in height: 5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9.

Autumn Princess: Beautiful double salmon blossom with burgundy foliage in the winter months and compact growth habit makes an excellent addition to the landscape as hedge or specimen. Dwarf in height: 3.5 feet x 3 feet wide. Bloom size: 2 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Rouge: Deep red-pink ruffled blossoms with dark green foliage is well suited for background planting. Intermediate in height: 4 feet x 4.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Royalty: Large rich-lavender (purple) blossoms with an upright growth habit and dark green foliage. Intermediate in height: 4.5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Ruby: Ruby red petite blossoms can be used in formal gardens and border plantings. Dwarf in height: 2.5 feet x 3 feet. Bloom size: 1.25 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Sangria: Large dark-pink blossoms with green foliage is well suited for foundation plantings. Intermediate in height: 4.5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9. 

Autumn Starlite: White blossoms with pink flecks and stripes. Narrow light green foliage. Dwarf in height: 3.5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3 inches across. Hardiness: 7-9.

Autumn Sunburst: Coral-pink, white-ruffled edges blossoms standout against the dark green foliage. Autumn Sunburst is a new variety this spring. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Sundance: Year round color is provided with this variety. Deep-pink blossoms with rich green foliage that turns a reddish hue in winter. Dwarf in height: 3.5 x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Sunset: Vivid orange-red blossoms reminiscent of spectacular sunsets. The blossoms have a dark green backdrop of foliage. Dwarf in height: 3 feet x 3.5 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.

Autumn Sweetheart: The pink blossoms are so soft they sometimes appear white and dotted with lavender freckles. Rich green foliage. Intermediate in height: 4 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 2.5 inches across. Hardiness: 6B-9.

Autumn Twist: Unique white-and-purple-striped blossoms an occasional, completely purple blossoms will appear. Autumn Twist has dark-green foliage that contrast beautifully with the purple blossoms and is one of my personal favorite variety. Intermediate in height: 4.5 feet x 4 feet wide. Bloom size: 3 inches across. Hardiness: 6A-9.


©Cheryl Ann Meola 2015.  Texas Certified Nursery Professional (TCNP) #1282.