Heptacodium, the Seven-Son Flower

            A plant that is rapidly become one of my fall favorites is Heptacodium miconioides, the Seven-Son Flower. The genus name Heptacodium is from the Greek and means “seven heads”, in reference to the seven-part flower clusters. The common name, Seven-Son flower, is an English translation of the Chinese name for the plant, again a …

Fall is the perfect time to plant Trees and Shrubs

            When leaves produce their fall color and begin to separate from the stems of trees and shrubs, many gardeners assume it is time to put away the spades and gloves until spring. Seasoned gardeners, however, know that there is still plenty of time to establish that one plant that they put off purchasing earlier …

A Better Lawn through Proper Fertilization

            In order to maintain a dense, green, and healthy lawn, regular fertilization is required. Most homeowners refer to this as “feeding” the turf but in reality, the grass feeds itself by producing carbohydrates (food) in the process of photosynthesis. Along with these sugars, small amounts of minerals, found in fertilizers, are needed for sustained …

Lawn Mowing Basics

            Lawn mowing is perhaps the most fundamental practice of turfgrass culture. After all, it’s what makes a grass a turfgrass. Not all grasses are tolerant of the mowing heights to which we subject our lawns. The growing point of a turfgrass is at or just above the soil line. That of prairie grasses and …

Crabgrass or Quackgrass: What’s the Difference?

            Crabgrass and quackgrass are two of the most troublesome weeds in lawns and often confused for each other. Though both are true grasses of the grass family Poaceae, that is where the similarity ends. Crabgrass is fairly easily identified in your lawn and can be readily controlled. Quackgrass is more difficult to identify and …

Why is my Pine Tree Dying?

             Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) is one of the most commonly planted pines. It is fast growing, soil tolerant, and makes an excellent wind break or screening plant. Its needles are dark green, thick, and four to six inches long, appearing in bundles of two. In its native habitat it can grow to over 100 …

Fishing for Trout Lily

             I continue to be amazed by the beauty and adaptability of woodland wildflowers. Their ability to survive and thrive under what is often summer dense shade is incredible. Many complete their entire life cycle in just a few short weeks in the spring, before leaves form on the overhead tree canopy. By early summer …

The Life Cycle of Plants

            Even novice gardeners have heard the terms “annual” and “perennial” to describe the life cycle of a plant, but what do these terms actually mean? The definition of these terms may seem rather simple, but what about “biennial,” “half-hardy perennial,” “reseeding annual,” and “short-lived perennial?” It can get a little confusing.             The basic …