- Author: Jenni Dodini
Those of you who have ever worked with me, or have ever heard me speak, know that my favorite advice is, "Do your research." Well......I had the opportunity to do just that recently.
I have been doing a garden make-over lately, and it rather got out of hand. It started as an addition off to the side, and then it got legs and ended up being the whole area!!! Some plastic pots had decided to show their age and break, so that they required new pots, and moving plants from one place to another, etc. You know how it goes. Well, I looked into one such pot and noticed the Clivia plant that has a NEVER gotten more than 6 inches tall with maybe 4 leaves in the numerous years that it has lived in that pot. Granted, when I got the plant I hadn't fully developed my "Do your research" mantra to incorporate gardening. I generally saved it for nurses to whom I was trying to teach something. Needless to say, it got placed into a pot with another plant, a big pot at that. So, I decided that if it was not ever going to bloom, I ought to pull it out of the place it had been living and put it in another pot and place.
I got out my little hand trowel and dug it out of the pot. Well, to my Surprise!, it had been working right along to try to get itself root bound in that big pot. In the process of digging out the "rootball" I found no actual ball. I know that I broke a LOT of roots but still came away with a good clump of roots. I was getting ready to put this plant into a pot with regular potting soil, and my grandmother's voice said to me, "Jennifer, DO YOUR RESEARCH!" When Grandma talks to me about gardening, I know better than to ignore her.
I pulled out my phone (I actually remembered to take it outside with me for a change) and typed in "Clivia". I, of course, got the cursory sales sites first, but I scrolled down to the GardeningKnowHow site (because I like that site the best) and started reading. I found that the plant was named after Lady Florentina Clive and that it is native to South Africa. I also found that it is generally grown as a houseplant, but can be grown outdoors in a completely shady area, and in a pot so that one can bring it indoors during the winter, usually around October. (I'm now thinking to myself, "Well no wonder you have never bloomed. I've been treating you like a regular old plant all these years. At least you didn't just up and die!") This poor plant has been living outside for at least 5 years and has never been given a "dry period" of 12 to 14 weeks during which time it gets minimal watering, with a period of 25 to 30 days without any water and a temperature range of 35 to 60 degrees. (I got that part right.). During the winters, it got the same water that all the rest of Fairfield got or didn't get. Lastly, I watched the 2 really good videos on how to repot said plant and then how to care for it. The one thing that I got correct without doing any research at all was the temperature during the winter, except for the freezes that we had. Anyway, once the "dry period" has happened, one should resume watering gradually, and give a 1-time application of higher potassium fertilizer to force it to start blooming, usually around February, and take it back outside if there is no chance of frost. Once it starts blooming, it likes 20-20-20 fertilizer monthly. (Like I said, I got 1 thing right.). The videos both said that they prefer a loose soil - namely orchid mix- that is rich and fast draining and they like to dry out between waterings. Once divided, the young plants may take 2 - 5 years to bloom. (Oh well, it has never bloomed yet, so I'll just hope that I haven't killed it by treating it right for a change.)
The picture below is 1 that I took at the Botanic Garden in San Diego when we were there in March. As you can see, they are growing in the shade of a massive tree and are planted into the ground. I saw Clivia growing all over San Diego in shady garden spaces, even the grocery store parking lot! I. Was very jealous, but I realize that San Diego and Fairfield are very different climates. I'll just wait and see what happens with mine for now.
- Author: Betsy Buxton
Did you know that the Vallejo Market is the largest farmers' market in Solano County? Did you know that it is a year-round market, the only one in Solano County? And if you know, why aren't you there every Saturday between 9 am and 2 pm? The Master Gardeners have been on the corner of Marin and Georgia Streets for the last 5 years and we would really you to come visit with us!
We are there to answer your questions, give you all the handouts on tomatoes, herb gardening, when-to-plant guides, and much more from our table. We will try to identify insects that you bring to us and what that plant is from the piece you brought to us. Something eating your veggies or roses or trees? We'll suggest possible culprits and how you can catch them for positive id.
Want to sign up for our free e-blogs or to get information about upcoming events (sorry you missed the Fairfield Garden Tour 2018, it was wonderful) in a more timely manner? We can do that, PLUS tell you what's coming up that month as well!
We LOVE to talk plants and other topics plant and flower related. Stop by and say “HI”!! See you there!
- Author: Brenda Altman
Ouch! Recently when I looked out my bedroom window I was shocked when I saw this tree with overly excessive pruning cuts. I don't know why this drastic type of pruning was needed for this tree. Perhaps the landowner was fed up with raking the leaves in the fall, or maybe the tree was blocking the light to a newly planted garden. Nonetheless, tree topping is rarely a solution.
The tree now reacts to the loss of leaves by going into an accelerated growth phase. The tree will use its stored energy to create new branches and leaves. There will be many new weak branches sprouting from just beneath the cuts. The use of the stored energy will leave the tree vulnerable to infection and stresses. Stored reserves in drought times may have to be used to grow new roots, now the tree cancels new root growth for new leaf growth. The pruning cuts are not in areas the tree can readily form bark to seal off the wound. Each cut is an open gateway for rot, disease and insect infestation. Stressed trees slowly recover and tree life maybe shortens its lifespan.
The new growth resulting from these cuts will be prolific and now there may be even more leaves to rake than before. In addition, all these new branches will have weak attachments to the tree and in a strong wind storm might break off causing damage to cars and other objects below. If this tree's weak branches were to fall and damage someone else's property the tree owner could be held liable for those damages
Tree topping is not tree pruning. In fact, many local municipalities have ordinances that regulate tree pruning within the city limits. The National Arbor Day Foundation recommends: “Don't top trees and never remove more than 1/3 of a tree's crown.” Consult your local city ordinances before topping or removing a tree. In Vallejo. “Per the Tree Ordinance, in most cases, residents are responsible for the maintenance of trees located on their property.” “Tree trimming and tree removal permit may be required.”
Consult a certified arborist on how to prune your trees. Tree topping is not an answer.
- Author: Bill R. Reed
To document this I purchased tomatoes plants (Ace variety, from a 4 pack), and utilized three of the plants to run a trial to see if I could determine how significantly the eucalyptus roots affected the tomato plants' growth.
First, I planted one tomato plant directly into the root-infested raised bed. The second tomato plant was planted in a 5-gallon container which I filled using the raised bed root materials, cut up into chunks, and planted the tomato directly into this mixture. This planting was to test to see if the dead Eucalyptus roots had any phytotoxic effects on the tomatoes. The third tomato was essentially my control, with the tomato planted in a 5-gallon container in the new potting mix. All were fertilized bi-weekly with low nitrogen organic fertilizer and watered every other day.
The experiment was run for about 5 weeks. I found that the tomato planted directly into the root-infested raised bed grew very little, and seemed to struggle to get enough water, so I gave it extra water. The tomato planted in the chopped Eucalyptus roots with the raised bed potting mix actually did quite well and has the best set of tomatoes. There does not seem to be any phytotoxic effects from the dead Eucalyptus roots. The tomato in the new potting mix is growing fine and has set some tomatoes but fewer than the tomato plant in the dead roots. My belief is that this might be due to more nitrogen in the fresh potting mix.
Other garden vegetables such as vine crops, beans, and some other plants do not tolerate the root competition. We have found that carrots do okay, asparagus does moderately well, and potatoes are marginal. However, all these crops grow during the spring months when there is more free water in the soil.
The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources recommends that farmers stay 50 feet away from Eucalyptus, we are within 30 feet. We have shifted to above ground containers after excavating several raised beds and lining them with double landscape fabric to no avail.
Four photos are attached separately, as well:
Photo 1: Initial photo of the three tomato plants
- Author: Mike Gunther