Don’t Give Firewood Insects a Winter Home

Each time you bring a load of firewood inside this winter, you could be opening the door for wood-infesting insects to make your home their home. Most insects brought into the home on firewood are harmless, and you can greatly reduce their numbers by following a few simple steps from the entomology department at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Continue reading

Incorporating Edible Plants into the Landscape

A nice landscape of a few trees and shrubs, some flowers and well-tended turf has value. Our landscapes help define our outdoor living space, provide shade and help screen unwanted views. A well-maintained landscape may add as much as 5 to 10 percent to the value of our property. But landscapes can provide another resource that we don’t often consider–food. What if it were possible to introduce edible plants to your landscape? Continue reading

Stunning Black Gum for Home Landscapes

As a horticulture nerd, I am always a bit perplexed why we get stuck in tree and shrub ruts. Maples, pears, dogwoods…that’s the tree rut I’m talking about. There are so many other trees worthy of a spot in our yards and landscapes.  Here’s one very much worth it.

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) displays all the things desirable in a tree for home landscapes: clean, glossy foliage, brilliant fall color, unique thick bark, and few insect and disease problems. Continue reading

Lawn Care Simplified

Priorities for spring should be–#1 weed control, #2 mowing, #3 watering, #4 aerating, #5 insect control, and #6 fertilizing.

Spring is the perfect time for crabgrass and other weed controls.  Please read instructions carefully on your choice of weed control.  To legally use and lawn chemicals, you must follow all directions on the bag. The chemicals work at certain concentrations, so a little more only allows a chemical to run off desired treatment area & pollution occurs.  For actively growing weeds, it is especially critical that you apply when there is moisture on the plants for broad leaf control.  Chemicals must stick to leaves to be effective.  This is easiest to achieve by applying in early morning when there is a heavy coat of dew.  If the grass is not wet, you have most likely wasted your time and money. Continue reading

A Messy Winter Garden Makes Good Wildlife Habitat

You worked hard turning some of your property into wildlife habitat. You planted nectar and host plants for butterflies and pollinators. Trees and bushes offer shelter and habitat for birds, squirrels, and other small creatures. Perhaps this summer, a box turtle took up residence in your back yard or you heard tree frogs singing in your own trees! Now, after all your hard work, why would you destroy that wonderful ecosystem by cleaning it up for winter?

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Winter Lawn Fertilization

Many Kentucky lawns can go for a number of years without applications of phosphorous and potash, or even lime. But it is not unusual for a homeowner to apply these amendments annually. A good practice is to find out what is actually needed for good lawn quality in the upcoming months. By testing the soil before deciding to add any of these, gardeners’ dollars can be saved. It is important to keep in mind that application of nutrients when none are needed is hard on the wallet as well as the environment, in the form of both the products applied and the fuel required to spread amendments.

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