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Continue to dead head your annuals (remove dead flowers) to encourage continued blooming. If your annuals have died off, pull them out and add them to the compost pile.
Replant that spot with hardy annuals or perennials. Or, get a second bloom from faded annuals by cutting them back to 1/2 of their height, then fertilize them with a quality liquid fertilizer.
Nicholson-Hardie Garden Center
5725 W. Lovers Ln.
(West of Tollway)
Dallas, TX 75209
5060 W. Lovers Lane
(West of Inwood)
Dallas, TX 75209
"Gardening gives one back a sense of proportion about everything--except itself."
~ May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep, 1968
When I was a kid, the arrival of Indian summer was the last summer hurrah! It was still light enough to play outside after dinner, and warm enough to wear shorts. Even though school had begun, you still had a couple of weeks of warm summertime fun. Well, now I realize that it was also a couple more weeks of summertime flower color for my parents to enjoy in their gardens! Somehow, I think they must have planned ahead to ensure that the gardens were beautiful.
That's right. Now is the time to tuck into your garden beds and patio paradise containers some of your favorite late summer and fall blooming perennials and shrubs. You may be the type of gardener who has a complete plan of colors, sizes and shapes in mind. Or you might be a gardener that loves just to collect plants of all colors, sizes and forms. You know who you are and what your style is.
There are plenty of late summer and autumn bloomers to choose from: click here to see our gallery. Our plant selection is a veritable treasure chest of Indian Summer colors; come into the garden center and begin choosing today. Don't forget to pick up a good soil amendment like Nicholson-Hardie compost . Oh yes, and to promote those non-stop blooms, feed them regularly; we recommend Carl Poole 13-13-13 or a quality fish emulsion & seaweed fertilizer.
Then sit back on a lounge chair or hammock--and enjoy your Indian summer garden in full bloom!
By Tamara Galbraith
Americans are renowned for pampering their lawns. We are obsessed with our turf's height, thickness and green coloring.
Unfortunately, such fussiness can lead to problems, especially during the summer months. You may think excessive watering and fertilization will give you a greener lawn when in fact, it can get you a nasty case of brown patch.
Caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, brown patch commonly attacks St. Augustine, Kentucky bluegrass, centipede grass and ryegrasses during the warm, humid months of summer. Brown patch looks just like what the name suggests: large brown patches appear in the lawn and gradually spread outward in a dark, wilted circle or horseshoe pattern. Sometimes the middle of the circle will start to recover a little, resulting in a doughnut-shaped brown and green area.
So what should you do? Here are a few tips:
- If you water your lawn in the evening, stop. Early morning irrigation is best.
- Cease the use of all high-nitrogen fertilizers.
- Set your mower to cut a little higher.
- Have a lawn service company perform a core aeration.
- Begin treating the lawn when nighttime low temperatures reach 70° F or lower; we recommend Ferti-lome.
- Organic approaches to brown patch are quite successful when applied after aeration. We suggest a natural fungicide, such as F-Stop or a corn meal based product.
Brown patch tends to shut down when temperatures rise above 90° F, so waiting until early fall before applying fungicide is prudent, as it won't have any effect on a dormant fungus.
And finally, the good news is that brown patch fungus attacks the base of the blade but does not kill the roots. So if you can get a handle on it, your grass will most likely recover...it's just a matter of adjusting your grass pampering methods a little.
One of the drawbacks to warm and sunny weather is the risk of damage from insects that thrive in these conditions. One such insect is the chinch bug.
This pest is a sunshine-loving insect that is most damaging in Gulf Coast regions and the southern United States, but can be a problem anywhere St. Augustine grass is grown. Areas in open sunlight several hours a day may be "hotspots" for chinch bug damage, as the pest seldom attacks grasses in a dense, shady area. This is not a pest to ignore: they can decimate turf entirely in a matter of weeks.
Removing thatch is also important for eliminating chinch bugs. Keeping the lawn moist will increase the tolerance of the lawn to feeding damage and create an environment where beneficial fungi thrive and attack chinch bugs.
At first, most homeowners will notice dead patches of grass along a driveway, curb,
sidewalk or foundation of their home. This is due to the heat emitted from these
kinds of objects. The chinch bugs insert their slender beak into the grass and
suck the plant juices--and in the process release a toxin that causes yellowish-brown
patches in the turf. Typically injury from infestation appears as spreading patches of dead, brown grass.
Chinch bugs are most damaging to St. Augustine grass; you may also see them
on grasses such as zoysia, Bermuda, and centipede, but infestations usually occur
where high populations have built up on St. Augustine grass.
Young chinch bugs (called nymphs) are yellow when they hatch but soon turn red and have a light colored band across their abdomens. They develop into adults in four to six weeks and are about 1/5" long and black with white wings folded over their backs at maturation. There are 2 to 4 generations per year.
Because they can fly, it is difficult to keep an area free of chinch bugs if they are emerging from neighboring lawns, golf courses or nearby croplands.
To keep an eye out for infestations, approach your lawn on sunny days by slowly sliding your foot through the sod and watching for the bugs to crawl across your shoe. You can also determine infestations by using a large coffee can or 1# can with both ends removed. Press one end of the can about 2 or 3 inches into the soil, fill with soapy water, and watch for about 5 minutes. If chinch bugs are present, they will float to the surface. (This test will also bring mole crickets to the surface) It is very important to check areas where the yellowish spots and the green grass meet in several different locations.
Chinch bugs have become resistant to almost every pesticide used to control them. Of the many insecticides labeled for chinch bug elimination, there are two that stand out above the rest: Bayer Complete Insect Killer For Soil & Turf and Hy-Yield Kill-A-Bug II Granule; for those who prefer an organic solution, we highly recommend EcoSmart Garden Insect Killer.
For best results, wet turf thoroughly with water before applying an insecticide. Treat the entire area evenly and thoroughly following directions carefully. Wet the area with water again after applying the insecticide. Where chinch bug infestations are heavy, re-treat the area in 2 weeks to kill recently hatched insects. Check the instructions, however--with systemic insecticides, repeat applications may not be necessary.
Chrysanthemums are a mainstay of the fall garden. Pots of these colorful perennials really brighten up a porch, patio, or entryway. They can also be used to decorate indoors; the fall colors are beautiful for holiday table settings.
Mums come in a variety of types including daisy (single layer of petals), button mums (tiny spheres made up of dozens of petals), and spider mums (long arching petals with tips curved upwards). Yellow, rust, gold, bronze, and maroon, as well as pink, white, red, and lavender, are just some of the many exciting chrysanthemum colors.
Is it a bug or is it a fungus?
Telling the difference between insects and fungus or disease problems is not a simple task! Remember when giant whitefly first showed up? Many thought it was fungus because of the fuzzy filaments hanging from the undersides of the leaves and reacted by spraying fungicides, which weren't any help at all.
Actually, insecticides didn't help much either--as we soon found out--due to the many generations present (some of which were resistant) at the same time. Since the mouthparts of giant whiteflies are long and tubular, a good blast with the hose is actually one of the best methods of getting rid of them!
Many other bugs also leave damage that looks much like fungus. In some cases, such as aphids (honeydew produced by the aphids promotes the growth of sooty mold), they actually attract mold or fungus. Using a fungicide may get rid of a symptom but leave the original problem.
Another example: small holes in the leaves of plum, nectarine, almond, and apricot trees are actually symptoms of "shot hole" fungus, but if you see tiny holes in your eggplant's leaves--you probably have flea beetles!
As you can see, diagnosis is not always easy! Bring a sample in and we'll try to help diagnose problems and find the best cure for your problem.
As always, the first and best line of defense is prevention. Keep plants healthy--avoid injuries (such as hitting trees with lawnmowers, etc.). Choose varieties that do well in your area and are naturally resistant. We can help you choose resistant plants that will thrive for you.
Disease occurs when the conditions exist to allow it. It is an interaction between the pathogen (causative agent), environmental conditions, and host (plant). All these must be present. That's why prevention is so important. Consult our nursery professionals for help.
Whether you use our organic or conventional sprays, you can get the most out of your spraying by following these tips:
- Make sure the spray is getting underneath the leaves. Mites, whiteflies, and many others spend most or all of their time there, so spraying only on the top surfaces will not control them.
- Don't spray a bone-dry plant, and don't spray in the middle of a very hot day. Early morning is a good time to spray because it's usually cooler and less windy, and the insects are less active--so more spray hits the pests.
- Follow all label directions. Don't use a more concentrated spray than the label recommends--you can easily burn your plants, and usually it is no more effective on pests. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to consult our nursery professionals.
If you hate mosquitoes, you are not alone! In fact, window screens, introduced in the 1880's, were called "the most humane contribution the 19th century made to the preservation of sanity and good temper."
The pesky little insect has ruined countless hikes, BBQ's and campouts. This vector has literally killed millions of people throughout history, and still affects millions around the world today. As daunting as this sounds, there are steps you can take to co-exist and stay healthy.
What attracts the mosquito? After 30 million years of evolution, the mosquito has perfected its hunting skills. The mosquito uses three sensors to attract its prey:
- Chemical sensors: Mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet away. Unfortunately, we give off these gases as part of our normal breathing.
- Visual sensors: Clothing that contrasts with the background enables the mosquito to "zero in" on you.
- Heat sensors: Mosquitoes detect heat, so they can find warm-blooded mammals very easily.
The best thing you can do to control mosquitoes is to use a mosquito repellant with deet and eliminate standing water around your home. A mosquito can lay up to 250 eggs at one time in still water, and they can hatch as fast as 7 days. Check your gutters frequently for collected water (especially if they sag and aren't level), along with birdbaths, buckets or boggy areas of the garden.
Burning citronella candles, using an electronic bug zapper, or spraying surfaces near entertainment areas with a mosquito barrier spray like Bonide Mosquito Barrrier or EcoSmart Organic Flying Insect Killer if you choose to take an organic approach to keeping the pests away. We also highly recommend using EcoSmart Organic Insect Repellent as it will also help repel mosquitoes.
Diligence is your best protection. Stay indoors at dawn and dusk hours, wear pants and long-sleeved shirts if possible, avoid any standing water, and repair broken screens.
Although it can be a constant battle, by incorporating the use of insect repellents and breeding prevention (eliminating standing water), mosquitoes and the diseases they carry can be reduced, making the outdoors more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
Partners Card 2009 is almost here! Shop 'til you drop Friday, October 30, 2009 through Sunday, November 8, 2009 and help prevent domestic violence.
As one of fall's hottest "must-have" items, Partners Card,
presented by the Bank of Texas, offers a unique opportunity to receive a 20 percent
discount at more than 750 retailers
and restaurants for a ten day period throughout the Dallas Metroplex, including
Nicholson-Hardie Nursery and Nicholson-Hardie Garden Center locations.
Now in its seventeenth year, Partners Card has raised more than $7.5 million to help break the cycle of domestic violence in our community. Click here to learn more about this important program.
Product Spotlight: EcoSMART ™
Can pesticides which are meant to be deadly to pests be truly safe to use around children, pets and the environment? With EcoSMART™ the answer is, “YES!”
- Highly Targeted to Insects ONLY
- NO Toxic Residue
- 100% SAFE, All-Natural Ingredients
How can EcoSMART™ be both safe and effective?
First, EcoSMART™ products have a unique mode of action that targets systems which only exist in insects. That means the active ingredients work on insects but are harmless to mammals, birds and fish.
Second, every EcoSMART™ product leaves no toxic residue and poses no exposure risk. After the pest control is done, EcoSMART™ products will not pollute ground water sources with harmful chemical residue.
Third, the basis of safety in EcoSMART™ products are the ingredients themselves. All of the ingredients used in our products are either food grade and listed on the FDA G.R.A.S. ("Generally Regarded as Safe") list or are commonly used in the food and beverage industry (this means they have no adverse effect on living organisms). No other household brand can make this claim.
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, EcoSMART™'s technology is based on the natural defenses that plants and trees use for their self-protection against insects and pathogens.
Unlike other botanical pesticides, EcoSMART™'s formulas are
composed of the most effective combinations of organic plant oils, rather than
reliance upon a single oil. EcoSMART™'s patented technology combines
plant oils that target and block a key neurotransmitter receptor site found only
in insects and other invertebrates. Additionally, unlike many insecticides on
the market, there is no known pest resistance to EcoSMART™'s botanical
What you need:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh carrot,shredded
- 1/3 cup fresh onion, shredded
- 1/3 cup fresh zucchini, seeded and shredded
- 1/4 cup fresh green pepper, shredded
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 6 cups shaped pasta (fusilli, campanella, gemelli or conchiglie), cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Step by Step:
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add shredded carrot, onion, zucchini and green pepper; sauté until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic; sauté for an additional 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add chopped tomatoes; cook until thoroughly heated (about 2-5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Add cooked pasta and basil, cheese, salt and pepper; toss ingredients gently to combine.
Yield: 6 servings