Gardening Daily Tips 108

Cherry, Higan (Prunus subhirtella)

Plant type: Tree

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5a to 8a

Height: 300″ to 600″

Spread: 179″ to 300″

Exposure: full sun

Bloom Color: Pink

Bloom Time: Early fall, Early spring, Late fall, Late spring, Mid fall, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: fast

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained

Form: Vase

Landscape Uses:


Special Features:

Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Blooms are very showy

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Q&A: Rabbits in the Garden

Question: Each year I have rabbits in the garden eating all the young shoots. What can I do to keep this from happening? Would fencing be the solution? What else?

Answer: There are a number of animal repellent sprays that would help deter rabbits from eating your flowers. Try ‘Get Away’ or ‘Deer Away’ available from Burpee. ‘Deer Away’ is efffective in deterring deer and rabbits and lasts 7-10 days without washing off. Natural scent repellents are also available such as fox and coyote urine. I have found that rabbits quickly realize there is no actual threat though. You could also try constructing a fence of 1-inch chicken wire that should be 2 feet high and buried at least 6 inches deep around your flowers. Consider also interplanting your flowers with garlic, onions, Mexican marigold or dusty miller. Bunnies tend not to like their aroma.

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Q&A: Seeds From Bouquet

Question: I want to start a little flower garden out on our deck from some flowers that my husband brought home in a bouquet. Can I get seeds from these carnations, mums, and a white daisy-like flower? I would like to “recycle” these beautiful flowers.

Answer: I like your idea of recycling the flowers, but unfortunately you won’t find many, if any, seeds in flowers from a florist. They’re specifically grown and forced into bloom under controlled circumstances and, without pollinating insects like bees to visit each flower, there won’t be any viable seeds. If you’d like to keep the thought alive, why not purchase seeds of exactly the same flowers as were in your bouquet and plant them outdoors in your garden?

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Q&A: Reclaiming Overgrown Garden

Question: I have a vegetable garden spot of about 50 ft x 75 ft that I have not used for two years. It is overgrown with weeds. It is especially overcome with comfrey, a tubular root herb. I would like some advice on reclaiming the garden for vegetables. If I just pull the weeds and rototill, I am afraid I will just cut up the tubular root of the comfrey and have a worse mess than before. But perhaps that is my only alternative. Last year I even tried “RoundUp” on the weeds. Something I really prefer not to do, but it only made a dent in the problem. Any advice you can give will be appreciated.

Answer: You are right, comfrey is an invasive plant and difficult to eradicate once it takes hold. You will need to try a combination of methods, a few times, to get it under control. If at all possible, dig up the roots so you can get all of the root system, as opposed to breaking it up with a tiller. You may need to dig to a depth of 12 inches or so. If spading is difficult for you physically, perhaps you could hire a high-schooler to help? As soon as you see any of the stuff sprouting, dig it out. Round-Up’s main ingredient is called glyphosate. Glyphosate is a systemic. This means when it is sprayed on a plant, the plant absorbs and distributes it throughout its system. Eventually, it kills the entire plant, including the roots. However, it needs to be applied when the plant is actively growing, and for tenacious weeds, it may need to be applied again. Follow product instructions exactly with any herbicide. The spray can drift to other plants, particularly if there is any breeze. Spray in the morning when air is usually calmest and cover any nearby plants. Another solution is to dab the hard-to-control weeds with glyphosate in a wick applicator (VERY low chemical use that way), which is preferable in a food-producing garden. Soil solarization is another possibility, but I don’t know if it will work with comfrey roots. Basically, you are heating up the soil to “cook” pathogens and weed seeds. You need to solarize during the hottest part of the summer, for up to 3 months. To solarize, smooth out the area (removing sod, plant debris and rocks), moisten the soil, lay a 4 mm to 6 mm thick sheet of clear plastic over bare soil, and seal the edges of the plastic with rocks or soil. This will naturally heat up to over 140 degrees F, which kills most pathogenic organisms and weed seeds in the top 4-8″ of the soil, depending on soil type and temperatures. I’m sorry there isn’t any easy “cure.” As a tip for the future, if you want to grow something that can be invasive (mint, for example), sink a 5-gallon container into the ground, which will contain the root system.

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Tip: Spruce Up the Lawn

When the snow leaves, it’s time to think about sprucing up the lawn. If it thinned over the winter, there is no reason to overseed. Allow it to thicken on its own first. Also, don’t be tempted to roll out the lumps. This will only compact the soil. Consider core aeration, a light fertilization and high mowing to thicken grass.

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Tip: Set Up Fences

If animal pests, such as woodchucks and raccoons, have caused problems in your vegetable garden in the past, set up sturdy fencing now, before planting.

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