Paul Nickerson

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Arborvitae Air Layer Update!

In Gardening, Propagation on November 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Sorry about the quality, Taken on Phone. These are pictures of the Arborvitae I air layered a few months back. (Check Out How!) As you can see, this method worked wonderfully. Of the seven layers I made on the tree, six produced wonderful specimens with great roots systems. The one that did not develop roots was the one that I checked a little while back. It had a couple small roots when I checked on it. I am guessing I didn’t close it back up tightly enough as there were two large ants inside of the layer when I attempted to remove it from the tree. I planted these trees in the same nursery field as my Rhods. Hopefully they will be able to set good roots before the cold, New England winter sets in.

Rhododendron Stake Propagation

In Gardening, Propagation on November 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Rhododendron and Azalea are wonderful shrubs commonly used by landscapers. My father owns a campground, and uses rhododendron on the ends of many hedge rows dividing sites. Last winter the heavy snows and frosts damaged almost all of these bushes. In a response, we set out to propagate new bushes to replace future losses.
One of the easiest methods I have found to propagate Rhododendron is stake propagation. I have also successfully used this method to propagate dogwood shrubs, Cornus sericea. Simply take a saw, or large pruners, and cut long sections, a couple of feet on length, from the branches of the plant. I prefer to use sections that are at least an inch in diameter.
When you have harvested these stakes, prune any large offsets, and remove almost all of the vegetation. These stakes can be driven directly into the ground where they are desired, or can be potted in buckets or a nursery field. In this case we hammered them along the edge of the woods near an irrigation pond where the ground stays fairly moist. The key to successful stake propagation is maintaining a moist environment to facilitate healthy root development.

Potatoes from Tower

In Alternative Agriculture, Gardening on November 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

So I finally had the opportunity to dig the potatoes from my outdoor tower. Unfortunately, I have been living in Philly, and have not been able to maintain the tower: watering, piling. Because of this, the tower was not piled since I left it in August. Moreover, rain seems to have washed dirt from inside the wire tower, uncovering the plants. When I went to dig up the potatoes, the dirt was only about ten inches deep. These potatoes were all that were produced this year in the tower.

The potatoes we planted in furrows were also few and far between this year. In both the furrows and the tower, there were numerous potatoes that were mushy, destroyed by either a fungus or insect.

Next year I will be around for the entire growing season, and will be able to keep a closer eye on the tower. I am hoping that with some more attention next year this tower method will produce more. Also, I will be mixing more straw into the mix next season to make digging easier and keep the dirt from becoming so compact with rain.

Know Your Plants: Pick Your Poisons Wisely

In Identification, Potting on November 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Reading through my posts it may be evident that I have a small obsession with Adenium Obesum, the Desert Rose. This common houseplant is treasured for its beautiful blooms and uniquely shaped caudex. What is important to note is that while Adenium Obesum is a prized specimen, many of its parts contain a toxin that is very harmful to humans, pets, etc. In the past, this poison has been harvested from the sap and seeds of this plant as an aid in hunting and fishing.

When working with the Desert Rose, precautions should be taken to avoid contact with the poison. After working with the Desert Rose, especially if the sap comes in contact with your skin, thoroughly wash your hands. If you any part of the plant is ingested contact the Poison Control Center immediately. This goes for any inedible houseplant.

Many other common houseplants, such as Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, Barbados Lily, Bird of Paradise, and countless others are considered poisonous to pets and children. Be sure your know your plants and are aware of any dangers they pose. Full lists of poisonous plants can be found online.

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