Monday, January 27, 2014

A 2014 Introduction: 'Windbreaker' Big Sacaton

This is a wonderful grass for its upright, sturdy habit.  At a height of eight feet high and six feet wide, it is a foot taller and wider than the original Sporobolus wrightii.

This windbreaker can be used as a living fence.  It is however, a herbaceous perennial.  The Plant Select Program tested this plant.  It is now listed as a Plant Select Plant because of its ability to adapt to the extreme conditions in Colorado.

The Los Lunas Plant Materials Center in New Mexico originally bred this plant to be a wind barrier according to Megan Shinn of Horticulture Magazine. 

The best part of all is Sporobolus can be grown in garden loam, clay or sandy soil.  It has a watering range from moderate to very dry. 

Sporobolus and plants like this are also great sound and dust barriers.  When the wind blows in Colorado, the dust comes with it. 

Make room for Sporobolus wrightii in your garden.  You will find that it does not need a lot of care.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dessication or Anti-Dessicant?

In the west the extreme weather conditions can make it difficult to hydrate a tree or shrub exactly when it needs to be.  Between the periods of freezing temperatures there is a thaw.  Hopefully, you can find a way to water the trees and shrubs during this thaw.  Sometimes that thaw may not even be above freezing but close to it. So what can you do?  Anti-dessicants such as Wilt-Pruf, Transfilm, Stressguard and Vapor Guard can help.

Apply Anti-dessicants as the temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and you have 24 hours before freezing temperatures arrive. Begin the treatment in November and end in March.  Since these anti-dessicants are organic and breakdown in light and heat you will have to reapply.  Again, you need to be careful that you have a 24 hour period before freezing temperatures return. 

Anti-dessicant is not to be used on Blue Spruce for they already have a wax coating on their needles.  Cedar, cypress and pines all benefit from the use of anti-dessicant.  However, arborvitae show mixed results when anti-dessicant is used on these shrubs.  For perennials, you can use this on rose canes and hydrangea stems to prevent winter burn.

Sometimes, it may be more practical to use other plant material to lessen the amount of exposure to the extreme weather conditions.  Low evergreen ground covers can be protected in this way. For taller evergreen shrubs you might want to think about burlap instead of anti-dessicant.

Remember the important thing is slowing down the evapotranspiration or water loss that occurs in winter.  Start out by taking the time in the fall before the ground freezes to water your trees and shrubs so that they start out the season hydrated.  One of the other benefits of hydrated trees and shrubs is less breakage in high winds.  When cells are turgid, branches are more flexible. 

Time factors, cost and the size of your landscape will also determine which option works best for you.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Recycling Benefits All

To name just a few of the positive outcomes for recycling aluminum, paper, plastic and glass:

Reduced deforestation
Conservation of energy
Recycling creates jobs
Reduces the size and need for landfills

For example:

When one aluminum can is recycled this can save enough energy to power a 100-watt bulb for almost four hours or a television for three hours.

If you still don't recycle here are two things that might make you consider recycling:

E-waste makes up for 70% of toxic waste in landfills. Lead being one of the main elements of toxic waste.

The other elements in cell phones are copper, silver, gold and palladium.  You would have to collect a million cell phones to get 75 pounds of gold. 

Read more by going to the following websites:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Going Native with Fruit Bearing Shrubs

Here is a small selection of fruit bearing native shrubs to add to your garden in 2014 which are more native to Colorado. 
  • Golden Currant or Ribes aureum
This shrub grows to a height of 3-6 feet and a width of 3-4 feet.
It grows best in zones 3-6.
Tolerates drought and wet soil.
Prefers moderate moisture.
Grows in a range of soils.
Grows in sun to part shade.
This plant will sucker.
Remove suckers if spreading is not desired.
  • Clove currant or Ribes odoratum
This shrub grows to a height of 6-12 feet and a width of 6-8 feet.
It grows best in zones 4-8.
Tolerates clay and drought.
Tolerates alkaline soil.
Prefers moderate moisture.
Grows in sun to part shade.
This plant will sucker.
Remove suckers if spreading is not desired.
  • Nanking Cherry or Prunus tomentosa
This shrub grows to a height of 6-10 feet and 12-15 feet.
It grows best in zones 3-6.
Tolerates some drought.
Tolerates alkaline soils.
Prefers moist, well-drained soils.
Grows in full sun.
  •  Chokecherry or Prunus virginiana

This shrub grows to a height of 20-30 feet and a width of 15-20 feet.
It grows best in zones 2-7.
Tolerates a wide range of soil types and textures.
Prefers dry to medium, well-drained soil.
Remove suckering if spread is not desired.
The leaves, stems, bark and seed are all toxic.
The meaty flesh around the seed is not toxic.