Monthly Archives: May 2016

Tips to Finding the Best Tree Cutting Service

Decorating the garden is an important hobby that many people share. For them, it is like a passion and they really enjoy doing so. They even spend large sums of money to fulfill their passion. While decorating the gardens, people always pay some special attention towards planting trees and plants, and take care of them at regular intervals. Growth of a tree depends on proper care where cutting of certain parts of the trees becomes necessary. Tree cutting or tree lopping is a special technique that not only guarantees better growth of the trees but it also helps them to look better.

Though you may find tree cutting or tree lopping an easy task, it is not so. It requires some specific skills and you may or may not be that comfortable in those skill sets. For this, you need the expert tree loppers in Brisbane South. To reach these tree loppers, you must look out for tree cutting service Southside Brisbane. The number of service providers is increasing rapidly these days. It is because of that you need to follow a few strong tips that can find you the best service providers in Southside and Brisbane.

Following are a few of these tips:

Check if the Company Has Active Insurance Policies:

This is an important thing that you should never overlook. Companies with reliable tree cutting service Southside Brisbane must be abide by the law of the land, and that is why it must have a valid insurance policy for all the field workers who are primarily engaged in cutting trees or shaping them as per your needs. You must insure this before hiring their services otherwise you would find yourself under some financial liabilities.

Insist on Getting Into a Contract:

Though some companies hesitate to get into a written contract of any kind, you must insist on it. This would guarantee everything that you and the company for tree cutting service Southside Brisbane have agreed on. It must include the nature and features of the job, cost, and dates of starting and finishing the job.

Settle the Cost Before You Start the Service:

Usually, the best tree loppers Brisbane south vary in their charges for their services. You must gather online quotes from all the leading companies in Brisbane that are engaged in this task. You should spend some time to compare them, and then reach the final decision as to which company to engage. This initial step can save you some money in the process.

Consider Experience and Skill:

As said earlier, the tree cutting service is extremely technical, and skilled people can make all the difference. To get the work in style, you must look for the skilled and experience tree loppers Brisbane South. Skilled people can finish the work within the specified time, and guarantee you better return of your money.

Apart from these, you should also look for the infrastructure and techniques that the best tree felling companies adopt while cutting or lopping the trees in Southside and Brisbane. These things can be very helpful for you to get the best services without making any mistakes.

Ways to Grow and Care for Grape Ivy Plant

Grape ivy tendrils have suction disks that help the plant cling to surfaces like walls and tree trunks.
As the name rightly suggests, grape ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a woody vine that belongs to the grape family Vitaceae. Though the berries of this plant are not edible, the plant is grown for ornamental purposes. Grape ivy is not related to true ivy, and is native to Asian countries, like Japan, China, and Korea. It is also called Japanese creeper, Boston ivy, Japanese ivy, etc.
The scientific name of the plant indicates its genus (Parthenocissus) and the specific epithet (tricuspidata). The term tricuspidata is derived from the shape of grape ivy leaves, which have three pointed lobes.

The green summer foliage turns red during autumn.
During spring, the plant produces red-colored shoots that turn green as they mature. The foliage remains glossy green throughout the summer. The color of the foliage changes to orange-red during fall. Though the plant retains its leaves during winter, it may shed if the temperature drops too low. A new cultivar named Parthenocissus tricuspidata purpurea has reddish-purple leaves throughout the year. Parthenocissus tricuspidata veitchii is another variety with smaller leaves that turn red during fall. The cultivar named ‘Beverly Brooks’ has bright red fall foliage and large leaves. However, the cultivars may not be as hardy as the original species.

Grape ivy produces blue berries during fall.
During summer, the plant produces greenish-yellow flowers that are mostly inconspicuous. Small, blue-colored, round berries appear during fall. The berries develop in clusters on bright red stems. Though they are consumed by birds and small mammals, the berries are toxic for humans. The plant is said to be moderately toxic for cats and dogs too.
Grape Ivy Plant Care
Grape ivy is a hardy plant that can be grown without much care. It can be grown outdoors as well as indoors. Usually, grape ivy is grown on walls, trellises, fences, pergolas, etc. It can easily grow to a height of around 50 to 60 feet. The plant is best for USDA zones 4 to 8.
Soil and Sun
Grape ivy is tolerant to a wide range of growth conditions. However, they grow well in partial shade to full sun. Those growing in full sun develop bright fall color. Partial shade is preferred in warmer areas. Though it grows in different types of soil; well-drained, loamy soil is preferred for grape ivy. The ideal pH level ranges between 6.1 to 7.5. Mulching is beneficial for retaining the moisture in the soil.
Watering

Grape ivy requires frequent watering, till it gets established. Once established, try to keep the soil slightly moist. This can be done by watering the plant once a week during spring and summer. Reduce the frequency of watering during winter and fall. Avoid over-watering, it can cause root rot. In case of a very hot summer, water the plant as and when the soil gets dry. Watering is not a must for established plants.
Feeding
Being hardy and self-reliant, the grape ivy plant does not require frequent feeding. Apply a small amount of all-purpose fertilizer once a year during spring. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer regarding the dosage and method of application. Water thoroughly before and after application of fertilizer. Avoid feeding the plant if it grows too fast and is getting invasive.
Support

If you want to grow the plant as a climber, it must have proper support. Grape ivy needs a surface to attach its tendrils. Tree trunks, walls made of rocks, bricks, wood, etc., are ideal for growing this plant. Wooden walls may develop mold and get damaged in the long run. Avoid growing grape ivy on painted walls as the suckers will damage the paint. The same applies to walls clad with siding. Grape ivy is ideal as a wall cover if you are looking for a permanent fixture, because removal of established plants can get difficult.
Pruning

Without proper control, grape ivy may turn invasive.
With proper growth conditions, grape ivy grows really fast. It can cover walls and fences within no time. So, pruning is highly necessary to check its unrestrained and aggressive growth. You can remove the new shoots as and when they develop, especially during spring. Hard pruning during winter is good for controlling the growth of the plant. Apart from that, remove diseased and damaged stems. Remove new plants that grow from fallen berries and stem cuttings.
Propagation
The easiest way to propagate grape ivy is to use stem cuttings. Try to get cuttings with a length of 4 to 5 inches. All you need to do is to remove the leaves near the cut end. Dip that end in rooting hormone and plant it in a container filled with soilless potting mix. It takes around two weeks for the cutting to develop roots and new leaves. You can transplant it in a pot or in the ground. Another method is to collect the seeds from ripe berries and grow them into new plants during fall. Plant grape ivy saplings at a distance of around 10 feet.
Pests and Diseases

Grape ivy is prone to powdery mildew, downy mildew, canker, leaf spots, etc. They are also get affected by pests like beetles, scales, aphids, caterpillars, and many other insects. Spraying soap solution on the foliage may prove effective for aphids, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, mites, and scales. For eliminating caterpillars, spray Bacillus thuringiensis on the foliage. They will die within a few days of ingesting these bacteria. Application of sulfur spray may prove beneficial for countering fungal diseases. Consult a horticulturist or the local garden center for proper guidance relating to control of pests and diseases in grape ivy.
In short, grape ivy is a hardy plant that can be grown easily. However, it may turn aggressive and cover a whole area in a very short span of time. When grown as a wall cover, grape ivy can cover the whole building including the windows and doors. So, prune them properly at regular intervals. If you want to remove an established grape ivy plant from the wall, don’t pull out the vines. One method is to apply a herbicide like glyphosate during late summer. The plant will die within a week or two. Another method is to remove the trailers as well as the leaves and spray white vinegar.

Tips on Planting Daylilies

Daylilies have three petals and three sepals, together known as tepals. Planting them is easy due to their adaptable nature, little care, vigorous growth, and surviving abilities. They are one of the easiest flowers to plant in your garden as they can also survive winters with only little injury.

Planting Guide

Planting: Choose an area in your garden that receives sunlight for at least 5 to 6 hours everyday. Next, remove the roots of unwanted plants that may be present in the soil earlier. Dig out a hole in the ground that is a little bigger and wider, so that the roots can easily sit in. Mix the fertilizers in the soil. Place your plant in the hole, gather the soil around it and then, water the plant.

Soil: Daylilies grow best in soil that is well drained with a pH between 6.5 to 7, but they are so adaptable that they can actually grow in soil containing any pH. They will also grow in sandy soil as well as heavy clay soil. If your garden has heavy clay soil, you can add manure, peat moss, good compost, gypsum, etc., to make it suitable for your flowers. Adding compost or another organic material to the soil increases its nutrition value. If there is a drainage problem, raising the beds is the easiest option available.

Water: These plants grow best in early spring. But if you buy them in other seasons, save them from drought. Watering will ensure big and bright blooms. Water sufficiently in spring, and also in summer, which will help boost their growth. These plants are capable of withstanding drought, but obviously less water is going to make them dry off and wither away. Pour water up to an inch every week so that the soil soaks it up at a greater depth.

Fertilizers: If you want to know what exact nutrients your soil needs, get a soil analysis done. The soil should be fertilized every two to three weeks after plantation. If you are using chemical fertilizers, doing this twice a year is sufficient. Chemical fertilizers should be added in early spring. Mulching is one of the best ways to make the soil more fertile.

Insects: Insects such as aphids, thrips, spider mites, snails, and slugs feed on the blooming flowers and buds. These can be killed by spraying some insecticide or by simply watering with force. These insects cause discoloration and holes in the leaves. Although the insects may do minor damage to these plants, it might be difficult to tell the exact cause of any disease. Hence, it is better to consult an agricultural agent, or a local nursery.

How to Make Your Garden Greener

Bananas are something everybody goes bananas over, in the good way or the bad! It is probably the first fruit that a baby learns to eat because it is so easy to chew, digest, and is very nourishing as well! Bananas are the best source of potassium, and make for a healthy snack. But did you know that the plants in your garden would also love it if you fed them bananas? There are several benefits of using bananas as fertilizers. First and foremost, bananas as fertilizers, are ‘organic’ substance. Hence, unlike chemical fertilizers, the fruit and its skin are both degraded easily and completely. They do not accumulate in the nature. To add to that, it can be used as fertilizers for almost all the plants commonly grown as house-plants or garden-plants. Banana fertilizer works for fruits, vegetables and flowers equally well. There are also several ways in which you can actually use bananas as fertilizers. If you have been contemplating using bananas in your garden, worry no more! Read on to find out how to use bananas as fertilizer.
Banana Skin

Banana skin is also as rich in potassium and even phosphorus, just as the actual fruit that we consume. The skin or peels make for a great organic source of these nutrients for the plant. The easiest way to use banana skin is to simply place it in the tilled soil around your plants. The peels decompose into the soil due to the action of different microorganisms in the soil. Alternatively you can shred the banana skin or break it up into little pieces and mix it with the fertilizer you apply. You may even dig up a little bit around the plant (taking care to not damage the roots of course) and place the peels and then cover them up. This ensure faster decomposition. Also burying them means the peels are in closer contact with the plant roots. Sometimes just placing them on the surface may cause them to be eaten up by your pets, or by birds and insects, so that hardly any is left for the plants. Burying them ensure your plant gets chunk of the nutrients.
Banana Mulch

Being rather fleshy and moist, banana peels can be used as mulch as well! They retain water efficiently. You can place banana skins into a plastic bag and punch little holes into the bag. This can then be placed the way you place regular mulch. If the peels disintegrate or decompose, do not worry! You can always add fresh peels into the bag; alternatively you can keep several banana mulch bags ready. If you want a more eco-friendly option, you may choose to use a jute bag in place of plastic. They are porous enough to not require additional holes being punched into them. You can even wash them clean and reuse them.
Banana in Compost

A lot of people who are fond of gardening usually have a compost bag, a compost bin or a small compost pit right in their garden. If you don’t, it’s never too late! A lot of kitchen waste can go into the compost – vegetable refuse, potato skin, left-over of apples, pears, egg shells, and yes, banana peels too. The benefit of using compost over single components is that – you add one scoop of your garden compost, and you don’t have to worry again! Due to the different things that go into the compost, it becomes a rich mix of all the nutrients a plant needs, from calcium to phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and all the micro-nutrients. You can convert an empty pot into a compost bin. Otherwise you can collect all your compost material in a plastic bag, dig up a pit in a clear patch in your garden and then dump everything into it and cover it up. In about 2-3 weeks time, all the components would have degraded into a nice compost you can use for all plants in your garden.
Which Plants Can Be Fertilized With Banana?

Bananas as fertilizers work good with a number of plants. They work good with roses, the roses blooming bigger in size and with intense color. Bananas also work wonders on tomatoes and potatoes. They have shown to work for fruits like strawberries too. And of course they are good for the mother plant as well – bananas! Adding the entire fruit to the ground can also boost your plant to bud, bloom and fruit! This may seem a little wasteful, but then you can always add the slightly spoiled or rotten bananas that you are going to trash away. Better put them to some use than totally throw them away!
Bananas have a lot of health benefits. Banana flowers are also consumed by humans. All this is because of the nutritious value of the fruit. One tip here would be to buy organic bananas. They may be slightly costlier, but they have better health benefits, and their skins act as better fertilizers. Using banana skin fertilizer is also a great way of recycling kitchen waste – so you can be proud you are doing your little bit to keep the planet clean and green! Happy gardening!