How to Cure Cabin Fever in the Southern Garden

Do you ever get a case of Cabin FBloom n gardens daffodilever? Being from Maine, I heard that term every winter. Of course, winter there can be really brutal and……………LONGGGGGG!  I cannot say that I miss those winters much. Sure, I love to see snow every now and again, but being cooped up in the house all the time can wear on you a bit.  One of the great things about Georgia is the fact that we do see a variety of seasons, but they definitely are mild compared to our neighbors to the north.  We are lucky that we don’t typically have weather events that relegate us to the interiors of our homes for days on end very often, but alas that was not the case this year. Here comes SNOWPOCOLYPSE 2014 ROUND I AND II, whew!  Is it possible to suffer from Cabin Fever after just a few days? Well I say, of course! And my recommended method of treatment is to go outside, now that it is beginning to warm, and explore all the plants that begin to pop out just as the thermometer climbs out of winter.   [Read more…]

Shot Hole Borer Attacks Stressed/Weakend Trees

Have you ever witnessed a relatively healthy tree seemingly die overnight, or so it appeared.  Well this is exactly the experience we had recently at a client’s home.  Granted it really didn’t die overnight, but the death was relatively quick.  The exact tree in question was an ornamental weeping cherry tree that was fairly young, approximately 5” in diameter.  From examination, I found tiny round holes all through the bark almost as if a BB gun had attacked the tree Al Capone style.  This is a distinct indicator of Shot Hole Borer. 

Shot hole borer (Scolytus rugulosus) is a bark beetle that lives between the bark and the surface of the wood where it can feed on the succulent phloem tissue.  The larvae overwinter in this space and emerge in spring into early summer to feed at the base of the leaves or small twigs until it is time to tunnel back into the bark.  The adult beetles will then create galleries parallel to the grain and lay approximately 50 eggs. The larvae will then expand the tunnels at right angles to the primary tunnel which effectively girdles the plant. After pupating the beetles will burrow exit holes in the bark to start the cycle all over again.  The numerous entrance and exit holes are the defining characteristic of the infestation.  Two life-cycles can effectively occur each year creating havoc in our landscapes

In Atlanta, we experienced a severe drought, in the mid 2000’s, that lasted several years.  Witnessing a Shot Hole Borer infestation is just one indicator that our trees are under stress.  Unfortunately there is little remedy for Shot Hole Borer except to keep trees healthy and vigorous.  Good watering practices along with a consistent fertilization program will help to aid trees recover from stressful situations like drought.  It is important to remove and burn any infected trees in winter before the adult beetles can emerge in spring.  Shot Hole Borer is mainly a problem in fruit trees like apple, pear, cherry, and plum.

Sweet Spring Blossoms

Springtime Flowering Trees in Mableton, GaJust like last year, Spring sprang early as indicated by the abundance of flowering trees we all have been enjoying for the past few weeks. It’s safe to say that Georgia has seen it’s last big freeze and, soon enough, we can enjoy our garden splendor. Hopefully, most of our early flowering garden plants survived the crazy weather we had late last month.

What better way to signal the end of winter than the bright pink, purple and white blossoms of our favorite landscape plants. I find it funny that this is the time of year I get many calls asking us to install this tree or that tree that someone coveted in someone else’s yard. Although there are many pretty spring blooming trees out there, such as Saucer Magnolias, Pears, Quince, etc, I specifically enjoy the flowering cherry trees. Notice that I did not name one variety. There are many different varieties of flowering cherry trees, often confused for each other, that are suited to our landscapes. Each has its own characteristics that set them apart so I thought it would be helpful to give you a guide in order of bloom time to help familiarize yourself with the differences.
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