Gardener's Corner

Join us for tips, helps, questions and answers about the gardening world. Monitored by a Certified Master Gardener but wisdom is shared by ALL.

Members: 42
Latest Activity: Dec 23, 2018

Gardener's Corner

Chief Walks In Shadows is a Florida State Master Gardener.
He will post information that he feels will benefit everyone as a whole. But basically this will be a question and answer group.
Chief Walks will answer all questions asked to him directly. He has over 40 years of experience. And a sizable personal research library.

We are here to meet ALL of your gardening questions and/or related subjects.



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The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone or use the map below. 



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Comment by Chief Walks on September 14, 2018 at 7:54am
Proper Palm Pruning
Mid-September is the peak of hurricane season; you only need to look at a weather forecast to be reminded of that. The mere word hurricane strikes fear in our hearts and sends us running in preparation mode.

The words hurricane pruning would strike fear in a palm tree's heart if it had one. The practice of hurricane pruning our beautiful palm trees has been around for decades. This is an unhealthy practice perpetuated by landscapers who want to sell you a service. It is bad for your wallet, but more importantly bad for the palms.

The practice of hurricane-pruning a palm is when all but a few fronds are removed. Palms are naturally able to withstand the high winds that hurricanes bring so this practice is unnecessary and can seriously damage the palm. Only dead or damaged leaves should be removed from palms. Flower stalks and fruit stalks can also be removed if they are causing an issue.

When removing dead leaves, cut the leaf bases close, but do not cut into the trunk. Never pull or tear leaves off, as this damages the interior of the trunk and can be a gateway for pests or diseases. And remember to sterilize tools between each palm (especially Canary Island date palms) to reduce the likelihood of spreading diseases.

Excessive pruning affects the vigor, nutritional health, cold hardiness, and in some cases it can even spread disease. You can choose to not prune the palms at all and leave the brown leaves as a roosting spot for wildlife such as bats. Some Florida municipalities do not prune their palms during bat maternity season (April 16th through August 14th) to protect the habitat of these beneficial creatures.

Remember that proper pruning of your palm trees will keep them as beautiful component of your Florida-Friendly Landscape, even during hurricane season.
Comment by Chief Walks on September 11, 2018 at 6:44pm
Comment by Chief Walks on August 26, 2018 at 9:18am
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Comment by Chief Walks on July 25, 2018 at 8:28am

Watering Succulent Plants: How And When To Water A Succulent Plant

Watering succulent plants is likely the essential part of growing them, so we want to get it right. For the long-time gardener or those who regularly grow houseplants, water requirements for succulents are much different and require a change in watering habits. Keep in mind that overwatering is the most common cause of succulent death.

When to Water a Succulent
When learning how often to water succulents, remember that many of them originate in dry, arid climates where rainfall is rare. Succulent plants store water in their roots, leaves, and stems. Wrinkling leaves after an extended dry period are sometimes an indicator of when to water a succulent. Check the soil first to make sure it is completely dry before watering.

Water these plants infrequently, and water them at night, as succulents take in water during nighttime hours and their respiration happens at this time.

How Much Water Do Succulents Need?
When watering succulent plants, water thoroughly so that it comes out of the drainage holes. This encourages roots to grow downward as they should. Light watering with droppers or spoons sometimes causes roots to reach upward for water, not a healthy situation for your beloved succulent plant. Roots of these plants sometimes spread laterally.

Avoid getting the foliage damp; this can cause leaves of the succulent to disintegrate. If you accidentally get them wet, blot the water with a paper towel.

Short containers are more easily saturated and dry out more quickly. Using proper soil with good drainage components like sand, perlite, pumice, or coir helps dry out the soil more quickly as well. In short, don’t water often and keep your plants healthy and alive.

It is not ideal to plant your succulents in a container without drainage holes, but it is something most of us sometimes do. Watering succulents with no drainage holes is tricky, but many do it successfully. Use a limited amount of water; this is where the dropper or spoon comes in. Squirt water at the base of the plants, enough to reach down and wet the short root system. If you’ve put a plant into a container without holes and you know it has a bigger root system, water accordingly.

Check your soil for moisture with your finger, down to the second joint, before watering. If you detect any moisture, wait for a few days to a week and check again. Or use an electronic moisture meter, which is designed specifically for the task.

If your soil is soggy, or a new plant you’ve brought home is in wet soil, remove the plant from the pot, remove as much of the soggy soil from the roots as possible and let it dry out for a couple of days. Repot into dry soil and don’t water again for at least a week.

Comment by Chief Walks on July 19, 2018 at 11:12am
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Comment by Chief Walks on June 23, 2018 at 10:15am

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