Summer time brings plenty of fun in the sun, but it’s important to pay extra special attention to watering your garden and landscape this time of year—especially new plantings. While it might be easy to assume that trees and shrubs can adapt to their landscape and don’t need as much attention as flowers do, this is not necessarily true. If you have new trees, shrubs or perennials on your property, you may be wondering how to water them. Follow this simple guide of tips on what to do and what not to do when watering this summer.
How to Water New Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
New plantings need particular attention during the first year after they have been planted. In general, new plantings need approximately one to three inches of water per week, so ensure they get this through manual watering or Mother Nature.
Before we dive into watering (pun intended), it’s imperative to ensure you plant everything properly first. Here is a general overview of the proper planting technique to get things started correctly (this may not apply to all plantings, but in general is accurate for most, so when in doubt speak to a specialist before planting):
Now, let’s look at how to keep these new plants happy in long-term:
New Trees: We encourage watering young trees deeply once or twice a week. Doing this will encourage the tree to grow deeper, healthier roots which, in the long run, are less likely to sustain damage during dry periods. Younger trees do require more frequent watering than well-established ones, but even a mature tree will need deep, regular, weekly watering during periods of hot, dry summers when we are not getting any rain for weeks at a time. Continue watering your trees until there is a sufficient amount of rain or until winter rolls around. As a general rule: New tree plantings can take up to one year to become established, so until then be sure to baby it.
In particular, evergreen trees can trick you as they tend to react slowly, and once you notice a change, it can be too late. Their needles may appear green and lush even when they are under stress; it often takes time for the outward appearance of an evergreen to reflect this stress, and once yellowing needles appear, the damage is done.
New Shrubs and Perennials: The timeline for establishment varies depending on the plant but in general new annuals, perennials and shrubs establish relatively quickly; with larger shrubs potentially taking as long as a new tree to fully establish. With that in mind, the frequency of watering will vary based on the type of plant; it will also vary depending on weather and soil quality. For example, sandy soils will drain more quickly than clay soils, and shallow-rooted shrubs such as hydrangeas or azaleas will dry out more quickly than plants with deeper rooting systems.
When to Water in the Summer
A general rule of thumb for watering not only trees, but all plants really, is to try to do so either in the morning or in the evening. If you water during the hottest portion of the day in the summer (between 10 a.m and 6 p.m.), it’s a bit of a waste of resources as a lot will be lost to evaporation. This means that your plant may not get enough water, or you’ll have to use significantly more water to ensure that it does.
In the days after planting, physically check the top of the root ball and see or feel if it is dry. You must put real effort into looking and/or feeling the plant's root ball to assess its water needs. This is how to protect your investment!
Chronic overwatering and underwatering can show the same symptoms in plants. Chronic overwatering causes plant roots to die in two ways.
Once the roots die, they cannot move water up into the plant and the plant actually looks like it's thirsty or drying out.
Being the sole water provider for your landscape during a long, hot, summer can feel like a bit of a heavy task—but it doesn’t have to! With the right tools, knowledge, and understanding, you should be able to keep your trees, shrubs and perennials nice and healthy—even in the most challenging conditions. Stop by Carolina Seasons Nursery if you have any questions about tree maintenance or are on the hunt for the perfect new plant to add to your yard!
As spring marches on, we are getting more and more excited for warm-season veggie weather! The emergence of spring brings with it the excitement of the first plantings of the year, with cool-season veggies like lettuce, spinach, and kale kicking off the growing season. But that excitement will soon be in high gear with the heat of the summer, which veggies like cucumber, zucchini, and green beans love just about as much as we do.
Lucky for us, many of these summer-loving vegetables are also relatively easy to grow! So, whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, you’ll be sure to harvest a bountiful crop with these easy-to-grow vegetables.
Nothing says summer quite like the taste of a refreshing cucumber picked straight out of the garden. These warm-season vegetables are super easy to grow, making them a great choice for a kid’s garden. They do best when they get a lot of sunshine and are planted in moist, rich, well-draining soil. They also require a trellis of some kind for their vines to climb up. There are different varieties of cucumbers to choose from, depending on what your end game is.
If you’re big on summer salads, then you’ll want to grow a slicing variety, which can grow up to about a foot long. Most of our customers prefer the seedless or burpless type. The English cucumber has also been gaining in popularity over the last few years. These easy to grow summer staple vegetables are great in salads or on sandwiches. The second variety is the pickling kind, which is a bit smaller, usually growing up to about six inches long. You can harvest cucumbers once they are about two inches long and anytime after that before they start to yellow. They are the most delicious when they’re a little younger, though! Some favorites for kids and adults alike are the Baby Hybrid and Patio Snackers. They are both on the short side, almost seedless and very tasty!
Beans are super easy to grow in your garden right from seed. You’re almost guaranteed to get some sort of bean crop if you plant seeds in your garden, but if you want a killer harvest, there are a few things to know before you get planting. The first is which kind of beans you want to grow; there are pole beans and bush beans.
Pole beans grow up and spiral around a vertical support (so, another one that would require a trellis of some sort), and they mature pretty slowly. Their harvest period is generally around six to eight weeks, so if you want to have fresh, homegrown beans in your suppers all summer long - these should be your go-to.
On the other hand, bush beans grow into pretty compact plants (around 2’ tall) that have a shorter harvest period. They usually produce quite abundantly for around three to four weeks. This makes them a good choice for canning or pickling.
If you just can’t get enough of leafy greens, we would like to present to you the wonder that is Malabar Spinach. Just as other cool season leafy veggies wind down in the heat of the summer, Malabar Spinach is just getting ready to shine. It loves the heat! In addition to being one of the few leafy greens that will tolerate the heat, its foliage is also quite ornamental, so if you like mixing edible plants into your flower garden, Malabar Spinach is your girl!
While it bears the spinach name, Malabar Spinach isn’t actually a true spinach (despite what the appearance of its foliage might suggest). It also goes by monikers like Malabar nightshade, vine spinach, or climbing spinach, thanks to its climbing properties. Just like your beans and cucumbers, this is an easy to grow vegetable that will require some staking or trellises.
Malabar Spinach leaves have a pretty mild flavor that can be eaten raw or cooked. It holds up quite nicely in soups and stir-fries, and the plant itself produces a ton of seeds that you can save for next year’s growing season!
"Harvesting peppers involves a bit of personal preference, as they are generally best picked once they have reached your desired color and size."
Peppers will bring your garden game to the next level. There are so many varieties to choose from—sweet bell, habanero, cayenne, serrano, tabasco, or pimento, to name a few - and all of them have a unique, tasty quality to them. Peppers are usually best started indoors, but again, if you weren’t on top of seed starting, our greenhouse will have you covered. Our long, hot summers are perfect for growing peppers.
Harvesting peppers involves a bit of personal preference, as they are generally best picked once they have reached your desired color and size. Sweet bell peppers start out green and then mature to red, yellow, orange, purple, or white depending on the variety you have planted. Yes, green bell peppers are from the same plant as the red or yellow ones—they’re just harvested at different times! Did we just blow your mind?
Eggplant, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, and watermelon are some other warm-season vegetables you might consider growing this summer here in Greenville. But, if you’re new to growing or just want to take it a bit easy on yourself this summer when it comes to choosing what vegetables to grow, these four are a great place to start. Stop by our garden center anytime, and we’ll be happy to get you well on your way to growing a killer veggie garden this summer!
If you are hoping to become a budding fruit tree grower of the apple variety, you’ve probably heard about rootstocks by now. While the idea of planting a seed right from an apple may seem dreamy and appealing, in actuality, it’s not quite that simple! Growing a fruit tree of any kind from seed can take upward of eight years before it will start producing fruit. Furthermore, it’s just generally not how apple trees are typically grown.
The Ultimate Guide to Apple Rootstock
Apple trees are grafted (or fused) onto a rootstock that helps determine the size and strength of your tree once it has reached maturity. Grafting is a practice that has occurred for thousands of years. More recently, immense amounts of research have resulted in a list of the apple rootstocks believed to provide the best results. The online world is full of lots of complicated information, which is why we put together this guide to help you navigate your way to a better understanding of apple rootstocks.
So What Is a Rootstock, Anyway?
In simple terms, “rootstock” refers to the base of a tree, including the roots and trunk, that a scion (or the flowering or fruiting part of the tree that you see above ground) is grafted to. For the grafting process to be successful, the rootstock and scion need to be fairly close relatives. Rootstock varieties can come from a few different places: naturally growing trees, plant mutations, or genetically bred. When a “successful” rootstock is identified, it is cloned so that it can be used over and over again! In addition to determining your tree’s size and strength, apple rootstocks are also selected based on attributes like their level of disease resistance, cold hardiness, and the type of conditions they can thrive in.
What Is The Best Rootstock for Apple Trees?
When it comes to determining what the best rootstock is, there are a lot of factors to consider! What is ideal for one grower may be different for another. There are so many different rootstock variations that have been scientifically studied, bred, and established over decades. But, for the sake of simplicity in our guide, we are going to focus on some of our favorites that you can pick up at Carolina Seasons.
B9: This is what one would consider a “dwarfing” rootstock. As we mentioned earlier, rootstock variations determine the size and strength of an apple tree, and a B9 rootstock will limit the size of the tree to about 10 feet once it reaches maturity. While they are resistant to root and collar rots, they prefer a well-draining planting site and require permanent staking. The B9 rootstock produces a tree that is resistant to fire blight. B9 is also called Bud 9 which is short for Budagovsky 9.
M111: This is a vigorous semi-dwarfing rootstock that produces a tree that grows to about 85% of a standard-sized apple tree. They are considered one of the more adaptable of all rootstocks; they are quite winter hardy, have a fairly shallow-spreading root system, and are relatively drought tolerant. They are also resistant to woolly apple aphid, collar rot, root rot, and fire blight. Trees grown from an M111 rootstock will bear fruit at a relatively young age. The M111 rootstock is also known by the names MM111 and EMLA 111.
M106: An M106 rootstock is another semi-dwarfing variety that will produce a tree that is about 70% the size of a standard apple tree. They are quite productive and do not usually need staking. They should not be planted in wet spots due to their susceptibility to root rot. Rather, if you are looking to plant a tree in your backyard and go with an M106 rootstock variety, be sure to select a location with well-draining soil. Trees on the M106 rootstock are resistant to wooly apple aphid and show some resistance to fire blight. The M106 rootstock is also known as MM106 and EMLA106.
Selecting and growing an apple tree might seem overwhelming at first, but we hope this guide has helped break down some of the general mysteries in the beginning stages of that process. If you’ve still got questions, pop into our nursery, and one of our experts would be happy to help start you on your journey toward growing and enjoying delicious apples for years to come!
Houseplants are almost as popular as pets these days—and for good reason! They help improve air quality by filtering out toxins, they add to your decor by bringing an overall added ambiance to the home, and it can feel wonderful to nurture them and watch them grow. But as much as you may want to fill your entire North Carolina home with houseplants, if you also happen to have fur babies, they need to come into play when deciding which plants to bring into your home.
Unfortunately, not all of the trendy houseplants out there are safe for curious dogs and cats. But, don't let this fact deter you; there are plenty of pet-friendly houseplants out there to choose from! Read on for our top 10 list of pet-friendly houseplants that will look fabulous and keep your furry friends safe.
1. Spider Plant: The spider plant may be the ultimate houseplant for beginners! Known for being highly tolerant of low light and forgetful waterers, spider plants are excellent for folks with busy schedules or very little natural light in the home. When the plant is allowed to thrive in bright, indirect light and regular waterings, it will grow “pups,” or baby plants that can be plucked off, planted, and shared with friends! Best of all, they’re perfectly safe for both pets and young children.
2. Money Tree: Pachira aquatica, most often called a money tree, is a lovely, easy-to-care-for, pet-friendly houseplant to add to your collection. It is known as a symbol of good luck as well as financial success. Its braided trunk and bright green, palm-like leaves will bring a unique, tropical feel to your home.
3. Areca Palm: If you love the tropical look, the areca palm is a safe and beautiful way to give your space that “vacation” atmosphere. Areca palms are statement plants that can grow to be up to 8 feet tall, and yet they’re also easy to care for and perfect for beginners. Fair warning; their graceful fronds may be tempting for your pets to nibble on, but the foliage itself is harmless.
4. Air Plants: Tillandsia, more commonly known as air plants, have an almost ethereal feel to them. They seem to grow from nothing, as they don't require any soil to thrive. This magical quality makes them part of the epiphyte family, which means they grow on other plants (usually tree branches) rather than in the ground. There are hundreds of different varieties and almost as many ways to display them. While they are pet-friendly, they might also look like a fun toy to cats, so we recommend getting creative as you figure out how to display your air plants. You can attach them to hanging planters, make a DIY hanging terrarium for them, or even turn them into surprising little fridge magnets using suction cup hooks.
5. Bromeliads: Bromeliad plants are a bit of a triple threat, in the best way possible. Like air plants, many of them are epiphytes, which means they can be grown without soil. They like bright light and humidity, but otherwise, they are relatively low maintenance, pet-friendly houseplants.
6. Boston Fern: These beautiful, feather-like plants have an incredibly whimsical feel to them. They can grow quite large if cared for properly and make for wonderful hanging plants. They thrive in indirect sunlight, moist soil, and relatively high humidity. While all ferns are not pet-safe, the Boston fern is one of a few exceptions. The birds-nest and staghorn fern are a couple of other pet-friendly options.
7. Hoya: Hoyas are a family of beautiful air-purifying houseplants that helps to improve air quality in your home by removing icky things like benzene and formaldehyde. Their distinct, lustrous green leaves and fragrant flowers range from pink to white in color, and they won't do any harm to your furry friend.
8. Calathea: This eye-catching family of houseplants feature showy foliage with intricate markings. We’re especially fond of the Rattlesnake calathea, with it’s almost snakeskin-patterned foliage with rosy-purple undersides. Not only are calatheas an excellent pet-friendly houseplant for smaller spaces, but their unique appearances add something exquisitely different to your collection.
9. Basil: While basil probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think “houseplants,” the plant is a perfect companion to a bright kitchen. Keeping some fresh basil on hand comes in handy for enhancing hundreds of dishes, plus it looks great and smells fantastic. Unlike some other herbs, basil is also safe for pets, making it a pretty and practical addition to your collection.
10. Christmas Cactus: The Christmas cactus is another quirky succulent that is both pet-friendly and nearly impossible to kill. They also have a somewhat misleading name, as they are a little different than most desert variations that likely come to mind when you think of cacti. The Christmas cactus originates from the rainforest, so it does like a bit more humidity than you might expect. They thrive in indirect sunlight, bloom spectacular flowers around Christmas time, and when cared for properly, can live for decades.
Ready to fill your home with lush greenery, knowing Fido will be safe and sound? We have a wide variety to choose from, so stop by our garden center to browse our full collection!
Are you thinking of brightening your home with a poinsettia for the holidays? Or, perhaps you’ve already fallen in love with one and brought it home. Either way, the poinsettia is a lovely plant both for Christmas and year-round, if you choose to keep it, as it’s perfectly capable of living a long life. Plus, caring for a poinsettia plant indoors is easy-peasy. Here’s how to care for poinsettias!
Poinsettia Care Instructions
1. Choose a healthy plant. If you don’t have your poinsettia yet, be sure to pick a healthy one. Signs of health include thick, deep green foliage and firm, colorful flowers.
2. Protect it from the cold when you bring it home. While our North Carolina winter is milder than many, the cold from outdoors could still be a shock to your poinsettia, which is a tropical plant native to Mexico. So when you take it home, protect it from that cold outdoor air by covering it with a cellophane bag or pillowcase.
3. Put it in a sunny, warm place. Like real estate, poinsettia care is all about location, location, location. Once you get your plant home, put it in a spot that’s both sunny and warm.
4. Meet its sun and light requirements. The poinsettia prefers a minimum of 6 hours of bright sunlight each day. A pro tip: to get the Christmas-time bloom period to last as long as possible, also ensure that your poinsettia gets at least 12 hours of darkness each night. An easy way to remember to meet this requirement is to put the poinsettia in a dark place when the sun sets and return it to its sunny location when the sun rises.
5. Meet its warmth requirements. As already mentioned, the poinsettia is quite sensitive to cold. It’s happiest when it’s in a consistently warm room free of cold drafts and hot drafts, so keep it away from places like the ledge of a drafty window or radiators. Its ideal daytime temperature range is 64 to 70°F, while at night, it’s still fine if the temperature dips as low as 61°F.
6. Water it only when the soil is dry. Poinsettias often fall victim to overwatering. If your poinsettia has leaves turning yellow, that’s a strong sign you’re overwatering the plant. Water your poinsettia only when the surface of its soil has become bone-dry.
When you water it, immediately empty any water that collects in the plant pot saucer, as waterlogged soil is harmful to the plant. One efficient way to prevent waterlog and make the watering process easier is to put the saucer aside, move the plant into the sink, and water it generously. The excess water will then drain out directly into the sink, and you won’t have to fuss with emptying the saucer.
What About Poison Precautions?
Now, what about the stories of poinsettias being poisonous? Is there anything you should do to protect pets and kids from your poinsettia? As it turns out, poinsettias are not poisonous—that’s a myth. However, they’re not edible either, and in fact, are mildly toxic. So even though they’re unlikely to cause serious illness, it’s still best to keep your poinsettia out of the reach of pets and kids.
How to Care for Poinsettia Flowers
Before we answer this, first, an interesting fact: what you might think of as the flower on a poinsettia is not a flower. The colorful non-green parts of a poinsettia are actually bunches of modified leaves called bracts. In the center of the bracts are the diminutive flowers, which look like tiny yellow buds.
So how do you make those bracts last as long as possible?
Holiday Plants at Carolina Seasons Nursery
Whether you’re in the market for a poinsettia or looking for other holiday plants, we have lots available. Contact us so we can check our stock for you and recommend plants that will meet your needs. Happy Holidays!
Carolina Seasons Nursery