Friday, March 17, 2006

Pruning Trees

Pruning Trees
By Paul Burke

Pruning your trees and shrubs is a very important part of any maintenance program for your landscape. By pruning on a regular basis you can avoid excessive pruning on plants which have become overgrown.

Why prune:

Five of the most important reasons to prune are as follows. Pruning increases light and air circulation within the canopy. Pruning also can be used to increase the amount of fruit or flowers on a plant. Removing unsightly suckers or water-sprouts is another reason to prune. Returning a plant to its natural growth habit is needed in some cases, certain plants need to be pruned when overgrown. One example of this is the lilac. Pruning can also be used to maintain the size and shape of a plant within the landscape.

When should I prune:

Some plants can only be pruned at specific times of the year. Most plants can be placed into categories based on some of their characteristics. Plants that flower in the spring should be pruned after flowering and before setting buds for the next season. Because they flower early in the spring, buds will develop on the previous year’s growth. Pruning before flowering will not generally injure the plant but you will usually see a reduction in the amount of flowering. Plants that flower in the summer should be pruned during the months in which the plant is dormant before new growth appears. Because the buds occur on current season’s growth, pruning after growth begins could decrease floral development. Cedars and junipers may be pruned at anytime of the year. Spruce and pine can also be pruned at any time. Shorten shoot length (candling) during growth in early summer for best results on these conifers. Deciduous trees can be pruned at almost anytime. Avoid spring pruning as bleeding may occur. Generally this will not harm the tree but can be unsightly to the homeowner.

Pruning tips:

When pruning a tree or shrub, never leave a stub after making the cut. Cut back to a bud or just outside the branch collar. Never remove more than 1/3 of the canopy when pruning. Never make your cuts flush, these cuts remove the closing off mechanism of the plant and will have a hard time healing. Ensure your tools are of the proper size and are sharp.

Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.
For more lawn care information, please visit http://www.fairyring.ca/.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Burke

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Moving Houseplants Outside for the Summer

One of the happiest moments in a houseplant’s life is when it gets to go back outside for the summer. The increased sunlight and fresh rain act as major growth stimulants for tired houseplants. And, it is very fashionable to incorporate houseplants and foliage plants into garden design. Having said that, every gardener has to follow a few simple rules for successfully moving houseplants into the garden.
Houseplants can be moved outdoors during the day after all danger of daylight frost has passed. The temperatures for these first few days should at least be in the low 60’s F or greater than 15 degrees C. to avoid temperature shock. A windless site is also important as a cold wind will quickly chill a houseplant into shock. Leaving a plant outside for only a few hours a day for the first few days is optimal rather than leaving it outside from morning until night.
Plants can be left outdoors at night after all danger of night frost has passed and after a week of daytime acclimatization. Again, do not leave the houseplant outdoors if night temperatures are going to plunge or if there is a cold, raw wind. If you wouldn’t want to be outdoors, neither would your plant.
The key to successful acclimatization of indoor plants to outdoor gardens is slowly acclimatizing the plant to increased levels of sunshine, cool winds and natural rains. Usually a week of moving a plant outdoors in the morning and indoors at night will serve to harden off the tender indoor plant so it will survive and indeed, thrive in its new outdoor location. While we all want to rush the season in seeing our gardens fully leaved out, rushing or pushing indoor plants into cold gardens will only set them back.
Doug Green, award winning garden author of 7 gardening books, answers gardening questions in his free newsletter at http://www.beginner-gardening.com.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Doug_Green

For more lawn care information please visit www.fairyring.ca

Monday, March 06, 2006

Choosing the Right Mower

Choosing the Right Mower
By Paul Burke




Nobody is really sure how much time we spend mowing our lawns, but on the average it is about 40 hours per season. With that much time spent pushing these machines along keeping our lawns well manicured you think we would know more about them. In actual fact the mower you are using right now might not be the right machine for the job. Lawn mowers come in two types, rotary and reel and each type has its strengths and weaknesses.



REEL MOWERS:



Reel mowers have been around for a very long time and in recent years have for the most part been replaced by the rotary type mowers. The reel mower is better suited for a small lawn, generally in the 1,000 to 2,000 square foot ranges. Some of the advantages to a reel type mower are that they are quiet, non-polluting machines that provide a better quality cut from the scissoring action they produce. Today's reel mowers are considerably lighter in weight, generally in the 16 to 20 pound range. Improvements in the gears ball bearings, and axles translate into a rolling action that is smoother. These mowers come in a variety of blade patterns but for general lawn cutting a 5-blade pattern is your best bet.



ROTARY MOWERS:



This type of mower was developed in the 1950's and for the most part replaced most reel type mower for a homeowners lawn. Several of the advantages of a rotary mower include a faster cut, adjustments to height are less difficult, and are better at cutting grass at higher heights. All rotary mowers use power to make them operate whether it is electricity or gasoline. They come in a variety of designs such as push, self-propelled, walk-behind or riding mowers. The cutting decks can vary in size from 18" to 24" for most push mowers and up to 36" for a riding mower. The advantage of a riding mower is simple; they mow considerably faster than a push or self-propelled model. Because of their size I would recommend this type of mower for a lot 1/2 or more in size. Any smaller and lack of maneuverability will cause you to go over areas with a smaller mower which the ride-on missed.



A mulching mower is designed specially to re-cut the grass clipping several times to reduce its size, which in turn decompose quickly eliminating the need to bag or rake. There are many after market blades you can purchase to convert your conventional blade to a mulcher. These blades do a fair job but are not as effective as a true mulching mower as it has specially designed baffles underneath the deck which keeps the grass clippings suspended until they are cut several times.



PURCHASING A MOWER:



By doing a little research you will purchase a mower which best suits your lawn. Is the equipment powerful enough and has a wide enough cutting deck to match your lawn? By saving money and buying something smaller and cheaper you run the risk of additional time spent cutting your lawn. One example of this is purchasing an 18-inch push behind mower to cut a 1-acre (42,000-sq.ft.) lot. Using this machine it will take an average person 2 1/2 hours to complete the job. On the other hand a riding mower with a 36-inch cutting deck can usually finish the job in 30 minutes. Buy the highest quality mower you can afford.




Paul is a Certified Pesticide Applicator in the province of Alberta, Canada. He has over 15 years experience in the lawn care industry.



For more lawn care information, please visit http://fairyring.ca/



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Burke