Fertilize in Fall with SJN Southwest Winterizer

Designed specifically for use in the fall – the most important time of year for feeding your lawn, trees, shrubs, roses and perennials! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We know this sounds weird, but it’s true! 

Why?  Fall fertilizing helps plants rebound from the long hot summer stress, continue to grow strong, vigorous roots, and build winter hardiness, stem strength, and disease resistance.  At this time, deciduous trees and shrubs have started to lose their foliage for the year and active growth of plants and trees has slowed. As the days shorten, and temperatures drop, the plant stops using all of its energy to push top growth, and eventually stops completely.  The plant will now use its energy to grow a stronger, healthier root system.  This unseen process is the most important of all, as it is storing the excess nutrients that will be immediately available to feed the vegetative growth we will see in the spring.

Our SJN label is specially formulated with nutrients our soils are lacking.  This custom-made blend helps correct the soil composition making the nutrients readily available to maintain thick, green vegetation through the fall months.  It concentrates on root development, and provides early spring greening. 

The Key Ingredients:

  • Nitrogen promotes growth and greening (“up”)
  • Phosphate aids root development (“down”)
  • Potassium fortifies the grass against disease, cold, insects, and the like (“all around”)
  • Acidifier reduces alkalinity, and helps increase nutrient uptake (“local problem”)

Fact is a healthy and stable plant can endure the hardship of winter better than a weak plant.  Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!

Tip: Gypsum could be applied at this time. It loosens heavy clay soils and improves absorption of nutrients. Loose soil makes it easier for new spring grass to break through.

Squash Bugs Attack!

Squash Bugs Attack!

What are Squash Bugs?

Squash bugs are the bane of a gardeners’ existence! They are very difficult to kill and cause havoc. These bugs inject a toxin into the plant and suck the sap right out of it.

The leaves will wilt, dry up, turn black, crisp, and brittle. Smaller plants will die.

How to Control Squash Bugs:

• Early detection is important because adult squash bugs are very difficult to eliminate.
• Hi-Yield Garden, Pet and Livestock dust is a ready-to-use Permetherin insecticide that will take care of young squash bugs. Dust coat upper and lower leaf surfaces.
• Place boards or shingles on the ground near the plants at night to attract adult squash bugs. Seal in bag and dispose.
• Remove egg clusters that you find on the undersides of leaves. Seal in bag and dispose.
• Avoid deep, cool mulches that provide an environment that these bugs seem to love.
• Companion planting (growing plants next to each other for mutual benefit): Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles.
• Rotate your crops.

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!!

Needle Cast Disease

Needle cast (Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii) is a fungus disease affecting blue spruce trees in New Mexico.  We have been identifying the disease right here in San Juan County!

Infections take place in the spring, but evidence of the disease is typically noticed late summer to fall.  Symptoms of needle cast are discoloration of the needles, premature needle drop, and eventual defoliation.  Infected needles turn yellow, then reddish-purple, and finally brown.  Scattered lower branches are usually affected first and then browning progresses upward.

Timing is important!  Needle cast disease overwinters in infected needles on the tree or ground. Spores are released from the infected needles in the spring.  If your tree had needle cast symptoms in the fall it is time for treatment NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

Treat spruce trees with Fertilome Broad Spectrum Landscape & Garden Fungicide in the spring when new growth begins to emerge.

Two years of treatment is recommended because of the organism’s life cycle, and will usually restore moderately affected trees to full foliage.  Severely affected trees may require more years of treatment.

If you are unsure if your tree is infected, but it does not look normal, bring a clipped branch in a SEALED plastic bag to SJN for a diagnosis.

Tip: If trees are infected, fallen needles should be cleaned up and discarded in a sealed plastic trash bag and sent to the dump.  Pruning shears should be sterilized  with alcohol between cuts and between trees.  

Tent Caterpillar: “They’re baaaaack”!

Tent Caterpillar

“They’re baaaaack”! 

Have you noticed the tent caterpillars yet?

I saw the familiar web nest in my purple leaf plum, and weeping cherry tree today as I looked out my bedroom window to check the weather. Likely, most people never notice the tent caterpillars themselves, but the bags are hard to miss.

Tent caterpillars, commonly known as bag worms, spin their silk into a web nest (or “bag” or “tent) in the branches of trees where the limbs grow in two separate directions. This forked location provides a good strong foundation on which their nest can support the ever increasing weight of the local colony.

These nests house hundreds of larvae, protecting them from predators.

The larvae are not restricted to the nest, however. They spend much of their time eating the tree’s leaves, only returning to the safety of the nest when not feeding. During their early development, the larvae feed during the day and return to the nest at night. Later in their development, the larvae reverse this, feeding at night and retreating to the nest during the day. Tent caterpillars will spin a constantly growing “tent” in order to accommodate their ever increasing size. This tent will become more and more apparent as spring turns to summer.

Are tent caterpillars a problem? 

They can be. They voraciously feed on leaves and can defoliate large sections of tree quickly. The bag nests are also an eyesore. Tent Caterpillars are very active pests with ferocious appetites and will eat most any plant they find making a mess along the way.

How do I treat tent caterpillars?

Fortunately, there are some very effective treatment options for controlling tent caterpillars. It will be easiest and most efficient when done early in the season (now!). Also, treatment is best done at dusk, when you will have the best chance of finding the larvae in the nest. Break open the nest with a stick, and then spray with Borer, Bagworm, Leaf miner & Tent Caterpillar Spray, a natural, organic, bacterial insecticide, which is non toxic to humans, pets and beneficial insects.

Directions:

1. Prepare the spray and be sure the sprayer you have will reach high enough to soak the nest.
2. Using a stick or pole, poke 3-4 holes into the tent. Holes should be large enough to allow for treatment to penetrate but not too large that all caterpillars fall out.
3. Once access holes are made, spray the solution you have already prepared onto the nest for a quick kill. Soak it to the point of runoff thus insuring the ones present will be killed and that there will be a lasting residual to get any that may be away.

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!

Feathered Friends: If You Feed Them They Will Come

January 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Answers and Tips, Birds, Garden Creatures

Brighten up the dreary days of winter by drawing beautiful birds to your yard.

As winter approaches and the natural food supply for birds dwindles, our feathered friends rely on our generosity to survive the short days, freezing temperatures, and severe wind chill.  The natural food supply birds need to provide energy to keep warm has been consumed or hidden by snow.  Most insects are dead or dormant, water can be hard to find, and finding shelter may not be easy.  If there are limited evergreens or shelter, birds may seek manmade houses or habitats that can provide refuge from the winds, rains, ice or snow of winter.

 

 

Providing Food For Birds

In order to maintain their body temperature, birds have to keep up their high metabolic rate by eating rich energy foods such as seeds, insects, and suet.  Providing high calorie and high fat foods can be important to the birds.

Of course birds will love any good mixed seed, but black oil sunflower is the hamburger of the bird world.  The kernel inside the shell is larger than the kernel inside a white or gray striped sunflower seed.  Plus, the shell is thinner and easier to crack.  Suet is a great food to offer many of the birds that will visit backyards in the winter.  Suet is a high energy, pure fat substance that is invaluable in the winter when insects are harder to find, and birds need many more calories to keep their bodies warm.  Peanuts are another great food to offer birds in the wintertime.  Peanuts (de-shelled, dry-roasted, unsalted) have high protein and fat levels and are often an ingredient in suet products.  They are a great source of protein for birds.

Feeders should be located out of the wind.  The east or southeast side of a house or near trees is ideal.  It is best to have a perching spot such as a bush or a tree for the birds to use to survey the feeding area and provide sufficient cover for safe refuge from predators and shelter from the weather.  The feeders should be positioned near cover but in the open to allow birds to watch for danger.

Providing Water For Birds

Birds do need water in the winter, and they appreciate open, available water.  Especially when ponds and streams are frozen.  You can help birds find water by providing an open source of water.

Birdbaths with heating elements built into the bowl will prevent the whole bath from freezing.  In extremely cold weather, some ice may form around the edges, but there will be some open water at least in the middle, and the birds go right for it.  The advantages of a built-in heater are the cords are concealed, and the heater cannot fall out of the bath and let the water freeze.

If you already have a birdbath that you like, but it doesn’t keep the water from freezing in the winter, you can add a de-icer, a heating element that sits down in the basin.  It’s not quite as convenient as a bath with a built-in heater, but it is an economical way to transform your present bath into something that will function in the winter.  We recommend purchasing one with a thermostat, so the heat is on only when necessary to keep the water from freezing.

Providing Shelter For Birds

In addition to weather, shelter is needed for protection against predators of birds.  There are many ways to provide safe shelter, and providing that shelter will help attract birds.

Roost boxes and birdhouses provide secure, comfortable shelter for different types of birds.  Positioning shelters facing south will take advantage of heat from the winter sun, and painting the shelters dark colors will absorb the most heat.  Be sure to clean out old nests from houses to help reduce the possibility of parasitic bugs surviving the winter.  It also allows the birds the opportunity to roost in a clean house.

Providing evergreen trees and shrubs can offer birds a safe place to escape the elements as well.  It is an easy and natural way to provide birds with winter shelter.  Many of these plants will also provide seeds, nuts, or berries that can be a natural food source for wintering birds.  We suggest you prune landscaping in the spring rather than the fall so birds can take advantage of extra insulated spaces and natural cover throughout the winter.

Attracting birds to your yard is really quite simple.  By providing winter birds with three basic needs (food, water, and shelter), you will be able to transform a lonely winter wasteland into a happy habitat full of beautiful birds.  Basically, if you feed them they will come!

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!

Houseplants: It’s Time for a New Pot

Repotting Houseplants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sooner or later, repotting houseplants becomes necessary, and winter is a great time to do it!

Plants should be moved into larger containers as they grow.  Larger pots allow for more soil to nourish the root systems.  Unless more space is provided for the plant’s roots, they become root bound.  That is, the roots of the plant become cramped and form a tightly packed mass that inhibits growth.

How Do You Know if a Plant Needs to be Repotted?

The most obvious sign that your plant needs repotting is when you can see roots on the surface of the soil or emerging from the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.  Also, if the plant seems to have slowed growth, it has likely become root bound.

Turn the pot on its side and ease the plant out of its container.  We are checking to see if the roots are coiling around the bottom of the pot.  If so, it is definitely time to repot.

When to Repot a Plant

Many indoor plants like to be repotted prior to a new growing season, which is another reason to repot now before the spring season.

Young, actively growing houseplants should be moved into a slightly larger pot with fresh potting mix once a year.  Repotting houseplants that are large, such as ficus tree, or slow-growing plants can be repotted every two years or when they seem to outgrow their pots or look top heavy.  If a plant is thriving, you can assume it is happy in its pot.

How to Choose a Container

Do not oversize pots when repotting.  A good rule of thumb is to increase the size of the existing pot by 2 inches.  A pot that is too large gives the roots too much space to grow into.  The top of the plant won’t grow until its roots begin to fill the container.

Also, if the new pot is too big it can hold extra water and cause root rot.  While we are on the subject, make sure the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.  To protect your carpet or hardwood floors select a saucer that compliments your new pot.

Come see SJN’s selection of pottery and let us help you choose a pot that is complimentary to the décor in your home and the size appropriate for your plant.

How to Repot a Plant

  1. Remove the plant from the existing pot by turning it on its side and ease the plant gently from the pot.  If the plant won’t budge, you may have to tap the bottom of the pot to loosen it.  Or, slide a knife or trowel along the side of the pot, taking care not to damage the root ball.
  2. If the roots are coiled, pull them apart, and prune them before potting.  Pruning will stimulate new root growth and help the plant establish in its new container.
  3. Add potting mix to the bottom of the new container.  Center the plant in the container, and then fill the sides of the plant with additional mix.  Tamp it down with your fingers, especially around the sides of the pot.
  4. Water thoroughly to moisten roots and settle the potting mix.  Add more mix if needed.

After Repotting Houseplants Care Tips

Repotting houseplants is stressful for them, and they need time to recuperate.  It is not unusual for the plant to go into shock after repotting.  Here are a few tiops to help plants adjust:

  • Do not expose to direct sun right away, because harsh sun can be too harsh on a weakened plant.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy.  If you notice that the leaves are limp, the plant is not getting enough water.  If the leaves turn yellow, it’s getting too much water.
  • High humidity can help a newly repotted plant recover.  You can add humidity by using a humidifier, misting the plants, or setting pebbles in their saucer and fill it with water (this keeps the plant from sitting directly in the water).

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’! 

Poinsettia Care: New Shipment of Poinsettia at SJN

November 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Answers and Tips, Gift Items, Holidays, Plants

New Shipment of Poinsettias at SJN!

Taking Care of your Poinsettia

With proper care your poinsettia will last through the holiday season to retain its bracts well into the new year. Pay close attention to the following care tips:

  • Place in a room where there is sufficient natural light to read fine print but not where the sun will shine directly on the plant.
  • Avoid hot or cold drafts or excess heat from appliances, radiators or ventilation ducts.
  • Place the plant high enough to be away from traffic, and out of reach of unmonitored children and animals.
  • Set the plant in or on a water-proof container to protect your furnishings.
  • Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Remember to discard excess water from the saucer.
  • To prolong the bright color of the bracts, temperature should not exceed 72 degrees during the day or 60 degrees at night.

 

Re-flowering your Poinsettia

December: Full bloom. Water as needed.

February: Color fades. Keep near sunny window and fertilize when new growth appears. Cut stems back to about 8 inches.

June 1st: Re-pot if necessary. Fertilize according to directions. Continue to water when dry to touch. Move outside if temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees. Place in light shade.

Late August: Take inside. Cut stems back, leaving 3 to 4 leaves per shoot. Sunny window. Water and fertilize as needed.

September 20th til December 1st: Keep in light only from 8 am to 5 pm. Put in dark (NO LIGHTS) 5 pm to 8 am.

TIP: Remember the key to success is to follow he strict light/dark instructions very carefully.

Now thats ‘advice you can grow with’!

Winter Freeze Alert: Protect Sprinkler Systems

November 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Answers and Tips, Garden Care, Lawn, Plants

PROTECT SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

With an expected freeze Sunday night, San Juan Nurseries recommends winterizing your sprinkler system to prevent pipe damage.

 

1. Locate the manual shut off valve to your sprinkler system and turn off the water.

2. Open the drain.

3. Briefly cycle through each zone (from controller) to relieve pressure in the main line, and zone pipes.

4. Turn the controller to the “OFF” position.  Remove the battery to prevent corrosion.  Unplug the controller.

 

Stay warm friends!!

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!

 

 

 

African Violet Care

African Violet Care

What window exposure is best? African violets should grow well in any window with good bright light, not shaded by a porch or trees. In south-facing windows, protect violets from hot sun in summer with sheer curtains or blinds. African violets do well in a south window in the winter. For east and west windows, check to see that plants do not get too warm when the sun is in that area. North windows will provide sufficient light to bloom most of the year. Keep plants close to the window for maximum light. An African violet on a table in the middle of a room may look pretty, but may not receive sufficient light to keep blooming.

What about fluorescent light? If you do not have bright window light, then fluorescent fixtures are the answer.  Special plant bulbs, called “grow lights,” also produce an attractive plant. The optimum distance from pot to light is 8 to 12 inches.

How often should I water my African violet? The best guide is to feel the top of the soil: if it is dry to the touch, then it is time to water. African violets should be allowed to dry out between each watering to encourage blooming. Overwatering can kill a plant.

Should I water from the top or bottom? Either is fine. It is important not to use cold water; lukewarm or warm is preferred. If you water from the top, be careful not to get water on the leaves when the plant is in the sun; this is to avoid leaf spots. If you water from the bottom, the excess water should be discarded after the plant has taken up all it needs. Do not allow an African violet to sit in water indefinitely.

What size pot is best? Over potting will delay bloom. The usual recommendation is that the pot diameter should be one-third the spread of the leaf span. For example if the plant’s leaves measure 9 inches from one leaf tip to the opposite leaf tip, use a 3-inch pot. Violets bloom best when they are potbound.

Which is better, a clay, glazed or plastic pot? Either is suitable. Plastic pots can be kept cleaner and will hold moisture longer. Clay pots allow the air to penetrate to the roots, which is beneficial, but they dry out faster, and salt may build up on clay pots, rotting violet leaves resting on the top rim. Glazed ceramic pots offer the best of both worlds.  The glaze helps hold moisture, and prevents salt build up on the rim.  Plus, they are self watering from the bottom and there are many pretty colors to go with your decor.

What brand of fertilizer should I use? Feed African Violets every 2 weeks with Jack’s Classic African Violet. If organic gardening is your thing, use Fox Farm Big Bloom.  Regular feedings will enhance color, quality and quantity of blooms.

 

Tips: 
Pinch off spent blossoms and blossom stems to encourage development of new blooms. Place plants away from floor vents, fans, or entrance doors to avoid air drafts and bursts of cold air.  

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!

 

 

Hummingbirds

August 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Answers and Tips, Birds, Garden Creatures

Hummingbirds are the most fascinating birds!

Hummers can fly in all directions and can hover in place, something no other bird can do! Their gorgeous colors are another fascination. Their feathers are iridescent, and when they catch the sunlight, the color can change entirely!

Should I Hang Feeders?

Hummingbirds have a lightning fast metabolism and must eat about every ten minutes. In fact, if you were to copy the eating habits of a humming bird, you would have to eat 20,000 calories a day! This means that your feeders and flower garden can be a vital source of food!

 

 

 

Keep your hummingbird feeders full of nectar using the Best-1 Instant Hummingbird Nectar.

This natural powder has no color or preservatives, as tests have proven red coloring may be harmful to the birds.

Mixing Instructions:

Mix 8 ounces of this powder with 32 ounces of hot water to create clear, fresh nectar. Once cooled, the nectar can be used in any of your hummingbird feeders, offering them the energy they need.

Tip: Place any excess nectar in your refrigerator, for a fresh supply.  

Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!

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