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Organic Maintenance Tips for Spring

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Garden tools

Learn how to care for your gardening using the same proven organic maintenance tips and techniques that our maintenance crews employ on our customers' properties.

Read the Transcript:

I'm Jim Connelley and I'm going to talk about organics, mostly with respect to lawns. And then Tammy is going to come out later and talk about organics and your beds and things like that.

So I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about one organic program is because it's very different than a chemical program and basically an organic program is intended to make the soil healthy, so when you're fertilizing with a chemical fertilizer, you're dumping soil into the fertile food for the plants into the soil with an organic program, you're making the food in the soil, so you're making the soil healthy. And making the soil healthy is really the key to an organic program.

You need to have microbes in the soil. Organic materials in the soil that will then support the plants. The chemical approach does not coexist with the organic approach, so every time you put a chemical fertilizer into soil, regardless of whether it's in your lawn or whether it's in in a flowerbed, it destroys all those microbes with healthy beneficial microbes, and so you're actually working against the organic program.

A few more people joining us. Hi there.

Guest: We got lost.

Oh, that's that's not good.

Guest: It's not good. We made it now.

So I've been talking a little bit about the difference between a chemical or organic program. Let me just, that's it's pretty important because you can't mix chemical and organic approaches.

So if you put down a bag of organic fertilizer and then two months later you put down a bag of chemical fertilizer you've undone all that you've done with with the organic program. They're really, they're really two separate approaches. You really need a long term comprehensive program.

Because it takes a while to repair your soil and get your soil healthy and full of the necessary microbes and nutrients that you need for the organic program. So it's not like overnight you you put down a bag of chemical or of organic fertilizer and all of a sudden you're on the organic program. It takes a while for for your, for your soil to to to get into good shape. And it also makes a little bit of a difference what kind of soil you start with.

There are a lot of different kinds of soil in the Metroplex here. There's soil, it's almost pure sand. There's soil that's almost pure clay and and there's rocky soils and everything in between, so you have to really look at what kind of soil you have in your yard to know whether you need to put some soil amendments into it to make the most of your of your plants.

When our landscaping group does maintenance for customers, we start, we have a basic program that we start with and it includes a pre-emergent, which is corn gluten meal.

It includes granular fertilizer. We usually use the either the 5-1-2 or the 6-1-2 -- they're almost the same product -- because it doesn't smell.

Some of the organic fertilizers that made out of poultry manure can have an odor to them and but they're allm they're all good organic fertilizers. It's just that some people don't like the smell on the on those but the 5-1-2 or the 6-1-2 is a is not going to stink up your yard.

But we also use liquid fertilizers, so we do two of the granular fertilizations and 2 liquid fertilizations. And we do that because you get a different set of nutrients in each different kind of fertilizer, so using a combination of different fertilizers gives you a better result than just using the same fertilizer more often.

And and then we also do an application of dry molasses. Dry molasses is not a fertilizer, but it adds sugar into the soil, which makes the microbes more effective.

I mentioned before that you might need to amend your soil, particularly if you've been on a chemical program, you need to get the microbes back into the soil the chemical program has killed.

Even if you haven't been doing anything, you may not have enough of those microbes in the soil, and you may have soil that could benefit from certain amendments to change the nature and quality of the soil.

The first thing is microbes and fungi. Beneficial microbes and fungi. We will get some of these. In the organic fertilizers, both the both the granular and the liquid fertilizers have some of those in them. You can also add them indirectly.

For instance. I was looking for Garrett Juice Pro. Garrett Juice Pro has a number of these microbes in it, so if you're -- particularly if you're transitioning from a chemical program, it's good to to use something like that.

Also a great product here is BIO S.I. This is not a fertilizer, it's just full of these microbes, both bacteria and fungi that are going to be good for your yard, so particularly when you're when you've got very poor soil when it's been chemically damaged, this is a good product to start with because it'll give you a jump start on getting those microbes reestablished in your yard.

A great amendment to almost any soil is compost. Our compost has organic matter in it. It's got microbes in it and it that will be very helpful to your soil.

Some kinds of soils are particularly in need of compost. If you have a sandy soil, there's very little organic matter in that soil, and so putting compost into it is going to give you a lot of benefit of making the soil more productive. And you can use compost anytime. You can either top dress with it or you can till it in -- whichever you want. That's it's a really good thing to do.

If you have clay soil, you may want to consider using either lava sand or expanded shale. These will break up the clay and make it hold water better and allow water to get into it better than the the gooey clay will allow by itself.

The basic difference is that once you put in expanded shale, it's going to stay in your soil forever. With lava sand, it will eventually percolate down to below the the active area, so expanded shale you do once. Lava Sand we recommend you do about once a year.

The lava sand, however, is a lot easier because you just top dress with the lava sand, whereas expanded shale really has to be tilled into the soil.

You can also add minerals into your soil and good. Good materials to use for adding those minerals in your soil are Greensand and Azomite.

The Azomite is right here.

Both of these will add a variety of minerals into the soil. A whole bunch of different ones. The Azomite is more expensive.

It's also got more minerals. But you don't use as much as much as you do Greensand, but both of them are really good for adding that into your soil.

We talked about microbes and a special kind of microbe is beneficial nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are little microscopic worms that live in your soil. They get killed by chemical fertilizers just like everything else. But what they do is they attack fire ants.

So if you have fire ant problems, adding beneficial nematodes will help with that. They also will help with grubs and flea larvae as well. They eat all of those obnoxious little pests.

Another thing that people often forget about that is good to add to your soil are humates. Humates are basically fossilized carbon, and they're important for those microbes to work on.

The microbes use that carbon. And if you don't have humates in your soil they're going to have problems proliferating because of the lack of humates. Humates are carbon and so sugar, so molasses would do some of the same thing as humates. But you can also add humates directly. You can, if you have a low humate soil, you can really get dramatic improvements in your plant life by adding humates and and you can do humates.

There are liquid humates you can put out. That's pretty easy. You just put them out with a with a hose-end sprayer, either built-in or or one you put on your hose yourself.

There's also a great product called Mirimichi Green, which is a combination of compost and humate's that's going to give you an even bigger shot of humate's into your soil. And particularly sandy soils are low in humates. Sandy soils are allowing all kinds of good stuff, but but humates are something that are not in sandy soil. So if you have a sandy soil, adding humates is going to give you a big benefit.

Anybody have any questions so far about stuff I've been going over?

OK, if you do feel free to feel free to --

Yes, Sir.

Guest: What did you use to get the fire ants?

Beneficial nematodes.

And they are microscopic worms. You put them out with a hose end sprayer. Once they live in your soil, they'll live in your soil and reproduce for a long time unless you use a chemical fertilizer, which kills them. A lot of people put them in each year just to make sure there are enough of them in their soil. But you don't actually have to do that because they'll stay there for a while and proliferate. Sometimes cold weather can be bad for them, but the real killer is chemical fertilizer.

Guest: I use that bravo ant killer. okay, The granules. Is that the same as chemicals?

Which kind?

Guest: Is there any kind that's a granule that's not a chemical?

Sure. We have a granular bait which is called "Come and Get It" and that's a bacterium. It is not chemical, it's compatible with an organic program. There are also other organic mound drenches that you can use. Most of the things that you get in Lowe's and Home Depot that say Ant killer are chemical and they're going to do harm as well as good.

Guest: So "Come and Get It?"

"Come and Get It," yes. Yes, ma'am.

Guest: Okay, so you that organic nematodes and stuff can survive but in this really cold weather and the freezing, do we not have to put it down every year? Cuz, or do they go down far enough that it doesn't affect them?

They go down in your soil. Now the weather we had last winter I imagine may have killed some of the nematodes because it was so cold. But our soil doesn't freeze. It it it stays, it stays usually above 32 degrees so and they do go down in the soil.

If you put them out and you put them out when it's freezing, you're probably not going to be successful with them. But if you put them out on a nice day and they get down in your soil, they should be able to tolerate a light freeze.

OK Yep.

The last thing that I wanted to talk a little bit about was weed control, because that's usually a question that a lot of people have in their lawns.

The first line of defense in organic program for weed control is having really thick grass. If your grass is really thick and healthy, there's no place for the weeds to grow and that will take care of most of your weed problems.

If you don't have thick grass -- if you have grass that has problems or you have Bermuda, which never really gets thick, then you can use a pre-emergent like corn gluten meal.

What corn gluten meal does is it interferes with the germination of seeds. So you want to put it out when the weeds are throwing off seeds like they're about to do right now. And those seeds would normally germinate now and then come up and be dandelions and so forth next fall. But if you use corn gluten meal, they won't be able to germinate and you'll have far fewer weeds in the fall. It won't help for the weeds that you've got right now.

There are also organic post emergent herbicides which are very compatible with an organic program.

One of the old standbys is is high strength vinegar. Use at least 20% vinegar and it helps if you use a little bit of orange oil with it and a little bit of dishwasher soap to increase the effectiveness.

One of the key things about vinegar when you want to kill weeds is you want a nice sunny day if you do it on a cloudy day, it won't work. The plant just isn't as receptive to the to the vinegar killing activity. Unfortunately, it's also true that if you do it in a shady area, it won't work as well because it needs the sun on the plants really to be effective.

Another organic weed killer is Pulverize, which comes in three different varieties, there's blue, orange and green. The blue and orange are spot killers. They will kill any kind of weed. The orange is for tough weeds like Poison Ivy or something like that, or a vine of any kind. And you spray the weed.

Now if you spray your desirable plants, you'll also kill those plants as well, but you want to try and not do that.

The green is completely different. You can spray that out over your lawn and it will just home in on the weeds because the broadleaf weeds absorb this product much more than the grassy weeds -- the grasses. It won't killing grassy weeds but it will kill the broadleaf weeds. It does a really good job on dandelions. You spray it and in within a day or two they turn black and shrivel up and die.

So that's a good post emergent for the for the weeds that are already up and growing.

Another good post emergent is Agralawn. This kills grassy weeds as well as a lot of broadleaf weeds. It's a little bit tricky to use because you have to make sure that it's not going to rain and you're not going to run your sprinklers for 48 hours after you put it out.

So it's it's a powder, so it's hard to put out over your whole lawn, but if you got a little patch of weeds, you wet the weeds, you put this out, and they'll turn a little bit yellow in it, and then they will die. And this will not hurt your grass also. So this is another good post emergent product that you can use.

That's about all that I've got, unless anybody got any extra questions.

OK, I'm going to turn over to Tammy, who's our store manager and give her my microphone here.

Thank you all for for coming and and listening to our seminar here.

Good morning is everybody OK? You ready for Wednesday? Have you started watering? We're supposed to get a freeze on Wednesday once again, so make sure everything is wet before we freeze.

What I'm going to talk to you about is more of the maintenance of beds cleaning your beds up from last year. Getting everything ready for your perennials and garden and that kind of stuff to come back.

So right now is a great time to go -- Well, OK, after Wednesday -- is a great time to go out. Start pruning back some of your perennials if you haven't already done it. Clean the beds out and to actually do some re-mulching and re-fertilizing, that kind of stuff. Okay?

Some of the tools that are just absolutely great for what we're doing is -- I just got this guy in. I love him. He's going home with me. It's really cool.

We have shrubs. Everybody has shrubs that are only this far apart, so you can take this little guy and you can make his fork or his head as small as you need or he can go all the way out and be a regular size.

The other thing is I'm real bad about getting on the ground to rake out stuff he is expandable. You can make him very short so that when you're on the ground you can rake out and just as easy, turn and make him his regular length again. All stainless. It is not going to tear up for you. Made in the USA. Not made in China.

I brought in a bunch of new stuff that is made here. So your staples are going to be your leaf rake, your tine rake, a shovel. These are all great things to have. Sorry. To have around having your thing with these guys since they are telescoping.

They do not take up a whole bunch of room, so if you don't have the room to put them up, since they are not wood or anything like that, they're not -- if you accidentally leave them out like I do -- they're not going to go bad on you. They're not going to put splinters in your hands, and that kind of stuff.

I'm really bad about it.

You're going to want your hand tools for digging out all those little weeds that get into your perennial beds. This guy is really nice. He will cut off tops but he will also get into the soil to cut out -- I just like him. It looks like a cat claw. I love kitties. And then a shovel.

I like this shovel because it's got so many different cutting edges on it that with our really compact one of soil compacts in that you can still dig a hole pretty easily.

You'll also need pruners. And if you're like me, I've got these coming in in a smaller -- in a handheld pruner. But these are ratcheting so when we get a little older like I am, I can't take a 2 inch branch and just manhandle it down. But these are ratcheting and so you don't have to, you just keep. . .and it just cuts it really smooth, so I'll have it in a small. They didn't ship it yesterday, but I'll have it in a handheld.

And then I've got this. This is actually a 1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter limb pruner, which is really good for your trees, larger shrubs, that kind of thing when you have to prune old guys.

These I just want to show them to you, that's so cool. It's all stainless steel. It's really cute. It is a 14-in-one tool. So a lot of times we're out in the garden. We're digging. We need a little knife. So we have a little knife on there. We cut our piece of twine or whatever we got. We've got screwdrivers. We've got tape measure. We've got everything you can imagine. Even a little saw.

How about a bottle opener?

Yes, there is. There is a, OK, bottle opener for beer. It does not have a wine opener, but if, if you can afford those tops with corks in there, you're probably not doing your own gardening. But it does have a little beer top opener.

And then they then they fold up. And they come with a little holster, so you can put it on your belt and not lose them.

OK, I just got excited.

But they are stainless steel, so they're not going to break as easily and with this brand they -- you can order replacement blades. So even if you do accidentally break a blade off or the blade you've used it so much that you can't sharpen it anymore, they all have replaceable blades on them. I kind of like that, so it's not -- they're not meant to be a buy-it-use-it-for-a season-and-throw-it-away. I mean they are meant to stay with you. All right.

So there's your tools.

I forgot the most important one. Gloves. Wear your gloves when you're working in the soil.

But so you're going to have all your tools.

You're going to go out, start cleaning up your beds, clean off any of the old leaves, that kind of thing. I let mine lay all winner just to help insulate my perennials. So you're going to have a lot of cleaning out to do.

When you have a really well made perennial bed, you don't have to add a whole lot of fertilization to it because you've already got your soil really happy and working for you. What you will want to do is, once you've cleaned all of this off is you want to put a really good organic compost on it. The one I would suggest is our Comand Plus. Comand Plus has elemental sulfur and because we have such an alkaline soil here, it adds some sulfur to it, which makes makes the pH come up some, so it's better for us. You can put it around your hollies, hydrangeas, azaleas, gardenias, anybody that loves that acidic soil is going to benefit from Comand Plus, because it's going to give it what it needs.

All of our other perennials you can just use a really good Living Earth Organic Compost. Add it to the top of the bed after you've cleaned it out and cut back all of your perennials and that pretty much keeps you fertilized for the season.

Now if you feel like your soil isn't as good as it should be. That goes back to what Jim was saying about maybe putting BIO S.I. on it. Kind of giving it some more of the minerals and stuff that it needs to get the soil going again.

You can put -- He was talking about doing the nematodes.You can take your nematodes. Put your nematodes in your flower beds too. A lot of people will start and they'll put their nematodes on their lawn and forget about their beds and ants will run to the beds. So you want to cover that whole area so that you're not fighting your ants in your beds and then having a wonderful lawn.

You can also put them in your vegetable garden. It will not hurt. It's not that type of nematode. These are good nematodes. But it will also help with all of those in-ground ugly guys that we don't want to mess with.

If you do need to add some fertilizer to your soil in your perennial beds, that kind of thing. If you've got, like, bulb beds, irises, cannas, that kind of thing, it's going to benefit from bone meal, and it's going to benefit from Espoma Bulb-tone. Both of these guys are really good for any of your guys that are in the ground and having rhizomes, bulbs, that kind of thing. It's going to feed it and you're going to get better blooms using these two guys.

If you have shrubs, trees -- Any of your any of your flowering shrubs, that kind of thing -- I would use either the Espoma Holly-tone. Which Holly-tone is really good for any of our acid loving plants, but it's also good for our other guys too, so your Holly-tone works really well.

The other thing that I would that you could use is your Espoma Plant-tone.

Once you get into your garden for your tomatoes and veggies, you can either use your Espoma Tomato-tone and your Tomato-tone can be used on all of your other vegetables, but it can also be, or it's great for tomatoes.

Can you see, hun?

And then Espoma Garden-tone.This is great for any of your any of your other vegetables, so it works great on corn, peppers, that kind of thing.

All organic. You don't have to worry about that. Everything is organic and really easy to put down.

I put it down like I'm feeding chickens. I say it says a cup and I said OK, That's probably 1/2 cup.

But because we are doing an organic fertilizer, you don't have to worry as much about burning or overdoing it because you're actually, you're feeding the soil. You're not feeding the plant itself. So it works really well.

I was going to show you a couple of things. I brought these two guys up. I just got this baby in. I got him in before this last freeze. I did not think about the fact that it was coming out of a greenhouse and it had not hardened off. I mean, it's a shrub that should be able to take a small freeze. We got down to 28. It shouldn't have done this. But because it had just come out of a warm greenhouse and I left it out and we got down to 28 or so here, it burnt all of this new growth. So it's not going to kill the plant. All we need to do is go in and snip out all of this new growth that burnt and then it will re -- releaf out and be fine.

So this is some of the things that you might see right now because we've gone from, it's 70 degrees to it's 30 degrees to it's 70 degrees, it's 17. So it does a lot of damage.

The second thing I was going to show you all is this boxwood. This boxwood came in absolutely gorgeous. It's been here for a little while. It was one of the boxwoods that we got last year after our major freeze and everything happened. You know, the world came to an end for a few days.

It has done so much damage to all of our growers. I mean, this was something that came from the grower and it started dying back like this. And what they have told me is that it can take up to two years for you to see all of the damage that those -- that freeze is going to do to our shrubs, to our trees. It's going to take them 5 to 15 years to recover. I mean they have lost that much.

It has been a major fight trying to even find product to bring in here and to replace the stuff that everybody did lose. I was told by one of my growers that nandinas. If you need to replace nandinas, and you see them, you'd better get them right then because we're not going to have the supply for a couple of years.

Everything is just -- and when you do find it, you're probably going to find more of, you can find it in a one gallon, or you can find it in a 7 to 15 gallon. There's not going to be that middle section that we -- you know we all -- very affordable. It's gotten bigger than, you know, that little one gallon. So you don't feel as bad about it. But then there's the prices. You know, I know, the prices were big, but the prices have gone up like you would not believe.

So we're trying real hard to stay with our growers that we've always used, because we know that their, their. Their quality is there. But I am having to reach out past Texas to try to find some plants. So bear with us, we will find it. It just might take me a little bit longer than not.

Now annuals I won't have any problem with. They've grown them out big time. Fruits and vegetables -- or vegetables I'll be able to do. Fruit trees, no.

They, I mean a lot of our fruit trees, they've just flat lost. And it's been really hard. I mean I hate when people call and say, do you have and it's like, no, I can't find any. But we're working really, really hard, so I just wanted to tell you all that.

That's not really part of the class, but it is part of reality right now.

Is there anything? Yes Sir.

Guest: I'm looking at the Bio S.I. and it says seed inoculant and root dip. Do you use that when you're propagating your plants?

You can. He was asking about the BIO S.I. Because it says seed inoculant and root dip. So yes, your BIO S.I. you can put down your seed and then spray it over, since this is a hose end. Or you could take and you could mix it up and make like a gallon of it and then dip your transplant into it. And that's going to help with the root structure. And help it really get going. So yeah, this is a really good one. I like the BIO S.I.

Guest: Would you recommend soaking your seeds in it?

You can. You can.

Guest: Like beans and peas and stuff like that?

Beans, peas, yeah, anything like that.

Now if you're doing something a little harder. Corn. What else? Really hard seeds? Okra. Those kind of things. You might want to take like 2 pieces of fine sandpaper, rub them like this and then do it. Because that scarifies the seed and it helps them germinate quicker. Sorry.

Guest: Thank you.

Oh, you're more than welcome. But this is all over good product.

Is there anything else I can talk to y'all about? Yes, ma'am.

It's not stupid.

Guest: Well, this will be my third season going organic, but at what point do you say you have an organic garden?

You're in 3 years, yes, ma'am. You have an organic garden. Now, whether it's gotten to 100% and it's doing everything on its own and you don't have to work as heavily, I don't know. Some people get to that organic you know, toward nothings, nothing's bothering it --

Excuse me.

in two years. Some people, it takes 5 or 6. So. But at 3 years everything should be a little bit better at managing it and that.

Guest: Not like fire ants?

Oh no, you never.Fire ants you can have them under control for 2 years and then all of a sudden they're everywhere. And it just depends on the weather and your neighbors, and neighbors.

Fire ant colonies can be really huge and extend over several properties.

Thank you. I'm sorry.

And you know, if you're the only one that's treating for them, you know you can get rid of the mounds in your yard. But they're going to come right back because your neighbor didn't do anything. And plus they multiply really fast because they are insects. So that's why it's so hard to control fire ants. You almost have to get your whole neighborhood together and do everything as a group.

Anything else?

Are you going to actually show them how to prune?

Well, I can. I can.

These are them. This is the ratcheting one. I thought they didn't come in. So they're called heavy duty ratcheting pruners.

Come on.

While she's opening that, I just want to say real quick that if you're interested in having us do your property for you, I have some brochures you can take. You can also visit our website. Under "Landscaping," we have some more information about our organic services. And of course you can always ask us your questions or just come in the store or give us a call or whatever. So I'll hand this out.

OK, this guy here we were talking about that it's burnt.

You're not gonna just take and you know cut him off there. You don't want to make a mid stem cut like that. You want to come down to this next leaf set. If you see right here, he's got a big leaf. He's got a couple of sets of little leaves. So you want to go all the way down. You don't want to make a flat cut. You want a little bit of an angled cut.

I just knocked that one off. A little bit of a angled cut.

If you do it flat it can't heal as easily, so you want to go in and do that and it -- That's all it takes is that.

These are not meant for tipping. We do have pruners that are very -- they're called needlepoint. And they deadhead and do this really, really nicely.

But so you'll want to do that to it.

This guy. I should have picked out a better one. I've got one out there that the whole Lamb died back. Just a whole limb just all the way back.

But, can you see?

OK, so this guy as you can see he's got actual whole limbs that are that are doing badly. So if you have this like this whole limb, you're going to go all the way up. You're going to go all the way up to the main stem and you're going to go in here and cut as close to the main stem as you can so that it can heal easier.

Always cut on an angle. Remember that when you're pruning that whichever angle you cut on -- Like if you cut it to where it's going like this, the new growth is going to go this way. OK? If you cut it like this, it's going to open the plant up and the new growth is going to go that way. So yeah. So so you want to angle whichever direction you want the plant to go. If you don't want it really wide then you're going to want to angle this way so that it will grow up and forward.

Guest: That was worth the trip.

That was worth the trip? All right.

I'm glad I found something that you needed. But yeah, so --

Guest: I've always been told you've got to cut above the bud.

Yes --

Guest: But they never said anything about the angle.

But they never said anything about the angle. Yeah, Yep, the angles are, the angles are very important and a lot of people think that they're supposed to cut straight across. And if you, you gotta have an angle and then that angle depends on what's going to happen to it after that.

Guest: I've always been told to get the rain off of it but it doesn't keep moisture.

Yeah, yeah.

Guest: Is that true?

It's easier for the plant heal itself because it's not flat because a plant -- You've seen trees that have had limbs cut off, how it tries to heal and it and it curves in and starts covering up that spot. If that spot is just flat. It can't go over it. So a lot of times it'll you'll see it that it'll start healing, but then you'll have this ugly stick out right here that it can't grow around.

So go ahead.

What what I've found too is if you have, like if this is your, if this is you're where your bud is and you just cut straight across like that, this part is gonna just be dead.

Yes, Yeah it'll die completely back.

And so, and then you'll have like a little stick sticking up, and then the new growth will come out from this and then nothing there. So and then because you have that dead material, that's what invites in the pests and diseases that can that can really hurt your plant later down the road.


And that's also, I mean, if you see it, you're around town and you see crepe murderside right? And that's what they do is they go through and they go phew! And so it makes that knuckle. And it just ruins, ruins the tree.

Guest: I have a Rose of Sharon in the front yard and I don't want it to grow big because I want it to stay bushy and flowers.


Guest: Do I want to clean out the inside? Because how do I keep it from growing and covering the --

Well, you can prune it and prune it back, you just make sure that you prune it back to an actual leaf node, not in the middle of it. Okay? So if you want to take -- okay -- It it blooms in the in the later part, so you could prune it right now. So if you want it to stay a 2 foot circle and right now it's 3 foot, you could go out there and prune back the foot to keep it to that 2 foot or a foot and a half so it has a little bit of growing seat, uh, space and that. But you're going to prune it back to where you have a leaf node.

Doesn't have to have a leaf right now. I mean because we know they're not leafed out right now, but you can tell where the next leaf is going to come.

Guest: And do I want to prune the inside or what?

If you'd like that open look then yes, clean out the inside if you like that very dense look, then leave it in there. It's it's all a matter of what pleases you when you're looking at it when it comes to how to prune back something like that.

Since it is a patio plant, you're going to make sure everything at the bottom it stays cleaned out and then you're going to make sure that the the shape is what you want.

Guest: If you have 2 exactly alike, do one outside and one inside.

Cough. There you go. If you've got two, do one outside and one inside. Then you can decide which one you want.

Guest: What I do is I usually change my mind and do something totally different, Yep.

I'm having an asthma attack.

Is there another question?

I'm going to have an asthma attack.

OK. I'm sorry.

So I'm going to take over here real quick. So anyway, any other questions before we, before we end the class today?

Guest: Is there really much difference between the 20% vinegar and the 30% vinegar

Yes, there is. A lot of people hold out for the 30% just because it is that much stronger. But uh normally, especially if you mix it with the orange oil and and the little bit of liquid soap, that's usually sufficient.

Guest: If you use kitchen vinegar I guess you just have to put a lot more in.

Well, if you use the yeah if you use like 5% vinegar, you're actually fertilizing your weeds.

Guest: Really?

Yes, because all you're doing is acidifying the soil and and I mean, that's that's really what vinegar does is it acidifies the soil and the 5% acidity is is very friendly to most of your weeds. So that's actually going to fertilize them and encourage them to grow, whereas the 20% is kind of the minimum. 10% -- We don't even sell 10%. You can get it, but we don't sell it 'cause it's not effective as a weed killer.

You know what they have now? 50%.

Yeah, but a lot of states you can't get it. A lot of states you can't even get -- a lot of states don't even allow you to sell the 30% because it's so it's so caustic.

Yeah and corrosive then and that's another thing too. If you're going to use the vinegar, really, any of your any of your products, even the organic ones you really want to rinse out, your your sprayer or whatever you're using really thoroughly, because that caustic acid is going to burn up the plastic and chew it up and and if you have any rubber parts in there, they're going to disintegrate in a big hurry. if you're using 20% vinegar. So make sure that you rinse everything out. The container. If you have like a pump sprayer, The container is not the issue. It's the parts inside that are going to get all chewed up and destroyed.

So it'll last a lot longer if you keep it rinsed.

Guest: After this week and after this cold

Uh uh. Yep.

Yeah, you can actually go ahead and fertilize your lawn now. Because it's just going to sit there. It's, I mean, the the the cold weather is only going to last for a few hours really. You know 24 to 48 hours isn't that long and so it's just going to sit there until your lawn you know, starts to come out of the freeze and then it'll start working again.

So there's really -- Same with your pre-emergent, I mean, today, weed seeds are going to germinate today.


You know, but Thursday they won't. But today they will, so do I put it down now? Or do I wait until afterwards? Well, I've I'd say put it down now.

The only thing that I would wait on is doing any pruning. Don't prune because pruning is going to encourage new growth, new growth freezes easier so abstain from any pruning, but everything else you can do. Clean out the bed, put in new soils. It's not going to hurt anything, just don't prune anything back which you don't want to encourage any growth right before this freeze.

I'm really hoping that this is our last freeze. I mean, we'll be close to March. March 15th is our last Frost date?

The 17th, I think, March 17th or 16th.

So we're getting really, really close to go.

Guest: So turn the sprinklers on?

Most definitely before Wednesday, get everything watered in heavy. Water insulates your roots when it freezes and it keeps it from it and keeps it from hurting the plant. I mean, the top might freeze, but you don't want your root structure to freeze, and that's what everybody we -- It's one of those things like him, you know he didn't know that the way the angle. A lot of people do not realize that water is our friend when it comes to freezing. You know, your grass needs it, all of your plants need it, that it really needs to be insulated before that freeze.

Our ground doesn't freeze deeply, but that first two inches can freeze, and that's where a lot of our root structure is.

Guest: So the old wives tale pruning roses on Valentine's Day doesn't work.

Uhm, yeah it works.

Guest: If you don't get --

I used to tell people that all the time because it was a date they could remember. I would say OK, don't start pruning until Valentine's Day 'cause I would tell him not to do their crape myrtles not to do their roses. Wait until Valentine's day just because it was an easy date to remember.

Uhm, now, it's kind of like I've seen stuff because Valentine's Day. What was the temperature that day?

Like minus two.

It was colder than all get out and then we got a almost 80 degree day about three days later. That just encourages growth. It encourages everything to wake up. And then now we're going to have another freeze. So I just don't want to encourage it.

But it's not going to hurt anything to do it. If you got out there on Valentine's Day, I'm so proud of you! I might get out there by June.

Yeah, yeah.

It also helps our menfolk remember that they're supposed to do something else on Valentine's Day.

Yeah, I'm going to go prune the roses for you, honey.

Guest: Speaking of roses, do you have heirloom roses in stock?

I do not carry roses anymore I have stopped carrying them because of the rosette. I just cannot keep a healthy -- Yeah, a healthy garden. I mean, I tried for two years. I mean we did everything we could to keep them disease free. And it just didn't work, and so instead of taking the chance of getting, you know someone purchasing a diseased plant and taking it to a bed that has been healthy, we just decided not to do them.

Guest: Have you seen problems with different varieties?

Pretty much all of the varieties. I have not seen any --

Guest: I have a Dolly Parton that's in a container that's 5, 6 years old now they're not even a sign of --

That's awesome.

Guest: But I had a Joseph's Coat --it got all kinds --

Oh yeah, I have noticed that a lot of people do have success when they put them in a container and then the container is in an area that does not get a lot of wind.

Guest: Exactly

Because the mite is blown in the wind, and so if it's not getting a lot of wind and it's and it's not in the ground, it seems like it does a little bit better.

But it's just -- It's a hard battle and I feel so sorry for everybody that loses the roses because you know, roses are something that have been a mainstay for centuries and it just it's it's hard. It's hard. And it's --

Guest: I've had three or four all the time, so I'll buy him every year if I have to.

I love roses. I mean, I've I've always had roses around me, but you know.

Yes, ma'am.

Guest: Well I got excited about the fruit tree session that's coming up. Are you -- so are you saying that you won't be --

No, we're still having the class. We'll still talk about how to take care of them, uh, the -- What?

Guest:I don't have them yet.

You don't have the fruit tree yet.

Oh, okay. There's some behind you.

There's some available.

Yes, ma'am.I'm bringing in everything that I can bring in. So yes, I do have - I don't have every variety out there because they're just not out there to get. But yes, I am bringing them in.

Guest: So that class is a go.

Yeah yes yes definitely yeah.

And and then there's no reason why you can't, you can't plant them, I mean it -- You know, at this point you might as well wait till after the cold weather rather than trying to to plant them now. Usually they tell you to do it like in the winter or early Spring, but nobody wants to be out there when it's that cold, so you know, most people end up waiting until March to plant them anyway.

Guest: If you did plant one like last week, should I cover it? I did cover it.

No, it'll be fine.

Yeah, it should be fine.

It hasn't started blooming yet, right?

Guest: No. It's a fig tree.

It's a fig?

Oh yeah, figs are fine. They don't mind being frozen.


Guest: I, I did cover it 'cause I was like, Oh my God.


Yeah, just water it.

...Fig frees outside but yeah.

Yeah, I don't want to get ahead on the fruit class, but --

-- real close for when they start putting their flowers on.

Because almost all the time, people's fruit trees will start blooming and then we get that freeze and all the blooms fall off and then they don't get the fruit that they wanted, but yeah.

It's just one of those things that you have to watch real close. As long as there's no, no buds, no open, they'll be fine in the freeze.

All right, well thank you all so much for coming out today.

We really appreciate it and we'll be around to answer more questions if you if you want to want to chat more and we'll see you at the next class.

Thank you.



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