Archives for March 2014

Get Started: Lawn Care and Maintenance

We are approaching that time of year when our lawns will require a little care and attention.  If you maintain your lawn yourself, then there is a very useful calendar that the University of Georgia publishes that sets out when you should fertilize, apply pre-emergent weed herbicides, aerate and many other things.

UGA has published a calendar for each grass type and we have added these calendars to our website so that you can refer to them easily and also print a copy for your records.  You will find the calendars under Tips & Advice – Lawns.

CrabgrassThere are two main things that need to be taken care of in the next couple of months.  March is one of the best months to apply a spring pre-emergent, so if you haven’t done this already, do it soon.  This will take care of the summer annual weeds such as crabgrass.  All types of grass need this spring pre-emergent.

Fertilizer will need to be applied and the best month for the first application is May, provided the lawn is at least 50% green and soil temperatures have reached 65 degrees.   This applies to all turfgrasses except Fescue which would have been fertilized in February or March.

Fescue sodding and seeding can be done in March.  Sodding for Bermuda and Zoysia can be done from April through to September.  We will continually be receiving fresh sod, so check with us to see what is available.

Shop with confidence for your flower and vegetable seeds and seed starting products at The Family Tree Garden Center! We welcome you to come visit our team at The Family Tree! If you need information, direction or help please contact our office by calling 770-972-2470. Make sure to follow-us on Facebook ,Twitter,  Google+!

What are GMO, Non-GMO, Organic, or Heirloom Seeds?

image004The weather has warmed up and the gardener in us is getting excited about the possibilities of spring!  We start thinking about what seeds we should be starting, but sometimes we get confused by the seed labels and are not sure whether we should buy heirloom seeds, organic seeds, or non-GMO seeds.  The Family Tree Garden Center carries only certified Non-GMO seeds. We also carry organic and Heirloom seeds (both non-GMO).

What are non- GMO seeds (non-Genetically Modified Organisms)?

They are seeds that have not undergone any genetic modification.  Just to give you some understanding of what a GMO seed is, a gene may be added to make it more resistant to round-up, the common herbicide used to kill weeds (which would normally also kill the corn and other vegetable plants).  This makes it easier for the commercial grower to spray Round-up around the corn crops.  Some seeds have been genetically modified with a bacterial toxin that can make them resistant to insects.  Growing your own NON-GMO garden ensures that you will not be eating food that has been genetically modified. It is nice to know which seeds are non-GMO seeds to keep your family safe from toxic chemicals!

What about organic seeds?

These seeds have been certified that they have come from parent plants that have been grown under the organic growing guidelines.  This means organic fertilizers have been used, and only organic pesticides have been used, if at all.  Using organic seeds is very important to people who practice organic gardening in their home gardens.

What are Heirloom Seeds?

Heirlooms are vegetable or flower varieties that were being sold before World War II.  After WWII, hybrid varieties became popular when plants were bred to improve on a certain desirable trait such as higher yield, better disease resistance, or perhaps better marketability.  However, to often we lose other good traits, such as taste.  You may have heard of the tomato variety, Mortgage Lifter, this is an heirloom tomato that was grown by a man who sold so many that he was able to pay off his mortgage!

Shop with confidence for your flower and vegetable seeds and seed starting products at The Family Tree Garden Center! We welcome you to come visit our team at The Family Tree! If you need information, direction or help please contact our office by calling 770-972-2470. Make sure to follow-us on Facebook ,Twitter,  Google+!

March Gardening To Do’s

DSCN1558March is an exciting time in the garden as we watch the plants, flowers, shrubs and trees come to life and burst with color! Remember that the weather, on average, can be at or below freezing up until the middle of April, so there are still some items that can be taken care of in March to get ready for spring.  Keep an eye out for forsythia blooms as this is a great indication of when you should apply pre-emergent weed prevention.

Vegetable and Flower Garden

It is time to start your tomato and annual seeds indoors. However, you can sow beet, cauliflower, mustard, radish, and turnip seeds directly into the soil. Strawberry plants will soon be available and can be planted this month.  Tidy up your grapes, blackberries and raspberries. Fertilizing your winter annuals and if you need some more color, come and check out the cool-season annuals at the nursery.  Fertilize spring bulbs after they emerge with a water-soluble fertilizer.  March is also a good month to divide perennials and ornamental grasses and fertilize any newly planted roses.

Shrubs and Trees

This is the ideal time to plant shrubs and trees.  Prune evergreen shrubs like boxwoods and hollies.  Fertilize trees and shrubs once they leaf out.  Don’t prune River Birch or Maples in March as the sap is flowing and if you make a cut, the sap will just keep pouring out of the branch and drain energy from the tree. Keep an eye on your fruit trees as they will need a fungicide spray when the blooms appear.  Fig trees should be pruned prior to mid March.

Lawns

Fescue seed and sod can be planted now.  Seed will need a few days above 50 degrees F to get started.  Remember that you can’t use a pre-emergent herbicide for six weeks after planting seed.  Apply pre-emergent weed control if you haven’t already done so.  You should wait until April to fertilize, as your lawn needs to be at least 50 percent green for it to be as effective.  If your lawn needs lime (a soil test will tell you), apply 40lbs per 1000 square feet at the beginning of the month.

We welcome you to come visit our team at The Family Tree! If you need information, direction or help please contact our office by calling 770-972-2470. Make sure to follow-us on Facebook ,Twitter,  Google+!

Roses Are Beautiful And Elegant Additions To Your Garden

Happy Go Lucky Good as Gold 

There are a few things to consider when choosing your rose. Firstly, think about color. Roses come in all colors except blue, so think about where you would like to place the rose in your landscape. Look at what plants the rose will be next to and choose a color that would either ‘pop’ or co-ordinate well with the other plants.

Secondly, do you want fragrance? Most, if not all, of the roses we carry are fragrant. They all differ slightly with intensity and there are many different fragrances. Check out the tags and signs on the rose for color, fragrance, size and more great information.

Thirdly, decide whether you want a hybrid tea rose – they have large flowers usually borne on one stem and are great for cutting, or a floribunda rose – they have medium sized flowers in clusters and the bush is smaller in habit, or a grandiflora rose – they have large flowers in clusters and the bush is larger in habit, or a climbing rose – they have long canes that can be trained on fences or arbors.

Planting your Rose

Our roses are container grown so all you have to do is dig a hole as deep as the soil line in the containerand twice as wide as the container. Remove 50% of the soil and mix an amendment with the soil you will be putting back in the hole. We use Fafard Complete Planting Mix or Dr. Earth. The soil line should be justbelow the bud union which is where the branches emerge at the base of the plant. Never cover the bud(fat notch) on the main stem with soil. Apply mulch, compost, or pine straw around the plant, but not right against the base of the plant. Water the plant well.

Caring for your Rose

  • Water– Roses need about 1” per week especially through the first growing season.
  • Fertilizer – Your roses will bloom better and be more resistant to insect and diseases if you fertilize them regularly. Start off in early spring when the leaves emerge. Then fertilize again in six week intervals until the heat of the summer. Use a balancedNitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K) granular fertilizer. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers which may burn your plant. A good organic fertilizer is Espoma Organic Rose Tone.
  • Insect and Diseases – To have beautiful roses here in Atlanta, you need to take some preventative measures to combat insects and especially diseases. Bonide has some good products for rose care. An organic one is Rose Rx 3 in 1 which is a fungicide, miticide, and insecticide. They also have one that is systemic (gets inside the plant) and protects against insects and feeds for up to 8 weeks. Another good one is the Bonide systemic drench which controls both insects and diseases.
  • Pruning – Roses should be pruned in February. Look for any weak canes and remove. Try to leave 4 -5 main canes and each of the main canes should have a few vigorous shoots. Prune to a height of between 18-24”. Prune the cane to an outward facing bud, so that the new branch that emerges will grow outwards and not into the center of the plant.

We welcome you to come visit our team at The Family Tree! If you need information, direction or help please contact our office by calling 770-972-2470. Make sure to follow-us on Facebook ,Twitter,  Google+!