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Steven Nikkila

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Everything posted by Steven Nikkila

  1. It's early April and our gardens are starting to get colorful. I am going to post a picture of something colorful from here in SE Michigan and want you to put up a photo or photos of what is in color by you. This way we can see what others are seeing without being there.
  2. Hi all, Here it is early Spring 2020 and a very weird one indeed, In this post let's simply share photos of spring beauty. Save problems or complaints to post elsewhere on this Forum. Here are some of the things I photographed this week. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them! Please feel free to add a photo or two of what is happening near you.
  3. A lilac naturally suckers and we often allow some to grow because the older lilac canes often get borer and need to be removed so the younger suckers can then grow to be a main trunk. Suckering does not indicate a mite problem. A couple of things: We do not use or recommend using any weed cloth or plastic in the garden. These materials don't allow for the natural workings of the soil and generally cause more problems than helping the garden. Also, we usually don't rip or tear plants, we use sharp pruners or a saw to make cuts. The cleaner the cut the sooner the plant will heal. Torn or ripped branches don't heal correctly and become areas where diseases like root rot can begin.
  4. Here are some Hicks yews weighed down by heavy snow. Hicks yews are upright, columnar shrubs not broad spreading as the snow makes them appear. When knocking the snow off these plants get underneath and push up to knock the snow off. Once the snow has been removed the plants are beginning to stand back up.
  5. Hoe the seedlings! Or do what a friend of ours did, have a party and tell the guests the admission fee is a bag, small sandwich provided by you, of maple seedlings gets them in. It worked for them.
  6. Wow, you have rare plant indeed! I have never grown one and have only seen ONE, at Arnold Arboretum, in all of the places that I've visited and photographed. I do know a tree can be stressed by transplant shock more than it being in the wrong location right now. Some of the information I found indicated that this plant can handle more sun than Stewartia sinensis, in fact many list it as sun to part shade, so it may be able to handle the light where it is. Are you sure your are not overwatering?
  7. I've been fortunate to see a lot of wildlife in the last couple of weeks. Here's some of the ones I've seen and enjoyed. Ran across a small herd of deer in a front yard while driving I stopped the car and watched them for a while: Soon a larger deer showed up and he soon taught (I could see bumps on both of their heads) this young buck the meaning of being the dominant buck. Here's some of the preying mantis egg masses in our burning bush, seven in all that I could find. And what the heck do you think this is? Does this help? One more for the bird watcher in all of us: It was turkey buzzards mating. I sure wished I had a longer lens with me. My steady eddy 18-200VR did the best it could.
  8. I know it is a preying mantis egg mass. Here's a story we wrote about one egg mass in particular: https://gardenatoz.org/whats-up/green-thumbs-up-and-down/mantis-claus/mantis-true-story/
  9. Steven Nikkila

    Design help

    That appears to be a difficult slope/site to plant anything of any size, so perhaps something like this sculpture with a vine or vines growing on it. Or you could suggest something like this, perhaps with a mirror instead of a window or stained glass like look. I wouldn't do an arbor because it invites people to look through it drawing attention to what you want to distract people from looking at directly.
  10. Another tip for winter care: keep the root system moist not wet until the ground freezes. We often forget to water our plants after leaf drop, even the evergreens. The plant is still going through photosynthesis, at a slower rate than during the growing season, and moist roots allows the plants to send moisture to the leaves. Once the root zone freezes the roots aren't able to their part, while the leaves are still sending starches to the roots. The leaves loose moisture and curl up and are more likely to burn/freeze. We try to pour our dogs water dish out on the root zone of some of our evergreens (false cypress), didn't help this year many of our plants burned. We're still waiting for leaf out before doing anything to them.
  11. Go ahead and cut it back. We usually give lavender a haircut or even cut back hard every spring. Just don't remove all of the existing foliage and buds.
  12. It could be the Cytospora but I didn't see any of the white sap that is usually drips from the cankers onto the lower branches or on the trunk. (above) This is a canker dripping sap. (above) Over the years we've come to the conclusion that the Colorado spruces are at best a short lived 25 to 40 years in our area of Michigan. Even in full sun and what seems to be good growing conditions they just seem to all loose their lower limbs and get sickly within that time frame. We've written about Cytospora here: https://gardenatoz.org/whats-up/ensemble-editions/early-spring/what%27s-up-138-spruces,-talking-to-plants/
  13. Why build up the soil? I would go ahead and plant the new plant away from the stump. You may have to cut some roots from the spruce but there shouldn't be a problem as long as the plant is watered.
  14. Good advice to wait and see. This year we're worried about damage done during the winter. Last year we had a lot of plants loose their new foliage due to a heavy freeze. That's nature for you, something different every year. The new foliage will come from any leaf buds that survived the cold and sometimes a plant will push leaves out of dormant buds as well. The roots need food, to get food the plant needs leaves, thus the plant pushes new growth. If the plant was healthy and growing well it is capable of surviving and getting back to it's normal self. If a plant is stressed and not healthy the plant maybe to weak to push out new growth and survive. The hollytone can't hurt. Please keep us informed on the plants progress, it sure looked like a beauty and still could.
  15. A tree Hydrangea (any variety that is not PeeGee) should work well in the space.
  16. You can wait until the stump has been ground, then plant. Just make sure to water whenever the tree is planted.
  17. First off sorry about this late response. It's probably fine. I have seen schizophrama growing up trees before and they work fine together. It's not a strangle vine like bittersweet bittersweet wraps around limbs, thickens and girdles the branch or trunk. It's not a monstrously huge thing that overtops the tree and shades it out -- grape vine, kudzu and wisteria do that. Schizophragma hangs onto the trunk by clinging to the bark's natural crevices -- no harm. And it lays out along main limbs once it reaches them. Prettiest we ever saw was growing on a Scots pine, and all the branches of the pine appeared to be in bloom. Looking for a photo of it... Until then, in our article on climbing hydrangea on GardenAtoZ (scroll to the bottom, it's one of the last-page pictures) you'll see a maple with a 4-foot diameter trunk, its trunk completely clothed in climbing hydrangea, which climbs to about 45 feet in that tree, no harm done.
  18. I would not even consider using topsoil. Use compost. You can go 2 inches deep with shredded compost. The landscape supplier that has the topsoil should be able to supply you with the compost.
  19. I drove through that area during the last year and did not notice anything that would draw my eye (I will admit that i was not particularly looking for pines). Do you have an update on how they are doing in that area, especially the Scotch pines?
  20. Since this was planted 3 to 4 years ago, it is not unusual to have tip die back and to be twiggy on the inside. Yes, prune out some of the weak inner branching to allow more sun and more air circulation.
  21. Look up, can you do any pruning to give those limbs more sun? That will do more good than anything for that spruce!
  22. In that situation you need drought tolerance, so throw the Mertensia out. Consider native pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens), red baneberry (Actea rubra), and tellima (Tellima grandiflora). We're talking about your yew dying. More in a minute.
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  24. Are the buds still alive?
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