As springtime approaches and warmer weather moves into our area, it is time to focus on pruning our trees and shrubs. How and when to prune your plants will depend on what type of plant it is. Some plants can be pruned early in the season –March through April- while others should be pruned once they have finished flowering.
Plants that bloom in the spring- azaleas, pieris and viburnums- set their flower buds late last summer, so heavy pruning now will reduce the number of flowers on the plant. Summer and fall bloomers such as crape myrtles, butterfly bushes and Rose of Sharon flower on new growth, so they can be pruned in late winter without flower loss.
Trees can benefit from the removal of rubbing, dead or diseased branches. This type of pruning allows more light and air to pass through the plant, which reduces the chance of fungal infections and helps reduce insect populations.
Forsythia and winter jasmine can be pruned hard after flowering-late April. Remove all canes leaving stubs 12 inches high. The plants will rejuvenate themselves and will produce more flowers the following spring.
Lilacs also benefit from removal of older canes. Remove 25% of older canes each year. This pruning should be performed after the plant has finished flowering, usually late April.
The butterfly bush should also be pruned aggressively in order to promote flower production. In late winter, prune the stems to about 12 inches above ground. Four to six weeks later, prune the new growth in half. This will result in more flower production for the plant. The blooms of the butterfly bush will attract butterflies along with hummingbirds.
Most plants will benefit from some type of pruning. If you are unsure about how much to prune or when, it is better to approach the task more conservatively. Some plants can be more forgiving after a hard pruning, i.e. forsythia and butterfly bush. For others, azaleas, pieris and hydrangeas, a lighter touch is better.
If you still have questions, stop by Potomac Garden Center in North Potomac or Urbana, Maryland and ask one of our representatives. We will be happy to assist you.
Contributor: Andrew Lawler, certified arborist
Posted in Gardening Tips, Potomac Garden Center, Spring, Trees and Bushes
Tagged Bethesda MD blooms blossoms, cherry blossoms montgomery county, Darnestown gardening, Gaithersburg gardening, garden center Maryland MD, gardeners, Gardening, Maryland, Maryland Gardening Gift Shop MD, North Potomac MD Gardening Center Landscaping Services, PGC, Potomac gardening, pruning, spring garden tasks, times to prune, trimming bushes MD, Urbana MD Garden Center, when to prune crape myrtles, when to trim azaleas, when to trim butterfly bushes, when to trim lilacs, when to trim pieris japonica
How will your vegetable garden grow?
On these cold winter days, it’s fun to browse Potomac Garden Center‘s seed displays and plan for that first fresh tomato around the fourth of July. Now is the perfect time to plan the garden and get your seeds planted on schedule so they’ll be strong enough to transplant outdoors when it’s time.
A minimum of six hours of sun per day is a must for growing seeds – you’ll know if you’re not getting enough light if they get leggy and stretch towards your light source – whether it be natural or under grow lights.
A favorite of everyone’s is growing your own vegetable plants from seed. There’s a wide variety of disease resistant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squashes and leafy vegetables to grow from seed. It’s very rewarding to pick your own fresh, vitamin-filled produce from your own garden or container and create fabulous meals with them when they’re at full flavor. Vegetable gardening makes a rich family experience; children are especially fond of planting seeds and watching them grow (a great way to get them to eat their vegetables).
There are two groups of vegetables – cold crop and warm season:
Cold crop vegetables include beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard, peas and spinach. These can be started indoors four to six weeks before the last frost, which in Maryland is around May 10th. If you start your own seeds you can find everything you need at Potomac Garden Center: packaged seeds, starter kits, soil and fertilizers. When it gets close to the time to plant them, harden them off. This means if it is above 40 degrees, keep them outside but slowly move them to full light so they will acclimate to their new environment (move them in or cover them if the temperatures drop). They’ll have a better chance of surviving when they are transplanted.
Cold weather veggies tend to bolt or go to flower and seed when the weather gets hot. This makes them bitter. It’s then time to plant your summer varieties and do another round of cold crop in the Fall to keep the garden producing.
If time is not your friend and full-grown, healthy vegetable plants are more your style, PGC will also have young vegetable plants for you to choose from around the end of April. While you’re at it, plant some cutting flowers, like zinnias or herbs to border your garden masterpiece and add even more color and texture over the Summer.
So plan now and get a jump on your garden. If you love to garden, you’ll love Potomac Garden Center. Our friendly staff is passionate about gardening and is here to help you with your green thumb if needed. Stop by our North Potomac location today. Urbana is closed for the winter but will be open for the Spring growing season with all your favorite plants starting March 1.
Posted in Edible Plants, Garden Products, Gardening Tips, Potomac Garden Center, Winter
Tagged Bethesda Maryland Landscape Design, flower seeds, garden center Maryland MD, md gardening supplies tools maryland, PGC, Potomac gardening, seed starting, Urbana MD Garden Center, vegetable garden maryland, vegetable seeds
Make your New Year’s Resolution for 2013
to transform your yard into a beautiful space to play, relax, entertain,
and of course, grow!
Fact: (General gardening chores can burn 272 calories an hour!)
Inquire about Potomac Garden Center’s new Residential Landscape Design services or chat with our knowledgeable staff for do-it-yourself projects!
Plan Now for Your Spring Garden
This time of year can be difficult to think about the warm sunshine and spring blossoms that make our landscapes so inviting. However, try to see through the Mid-Atlantic fog that blankets our chilly mornings, and use your imagination! Now is the perfect time to plan your future garden space with Potomac Garden Center.
Maybe you have a well established landscape with large trees and flower gardens that bloom throughout the season or you have a new home with minimal landscaping, and just a few complementary plants from the builder. You might have an acre or two, or even more, or your yard could be as small as a postage stamp.
Whatever the range of your current landscape, the off-season months are a perfect time for planning future projects. The yard you have always dreamed of can become a reality when the mercury starts to rise!
If you cannot seem to get your creative juices flowing, look to the friendly staff of Potomac Garden Center who can answer your questions about plants, soils, and garden pests. January and February are prime months for one-on-one attention from our knowledgeable staff members. During the busy spring and summer months, lengthy inquiries may not be as available.
Maybe your schedule does not allow for a DIY weekend project or you may not want to test out your green thumb. If that is the case, inquire about a Landscape Consultation with Emily Clark-Waterson, BLA, our in-house Landscape Designer. She will create a personal and unique design*, specifically planned for your yard! With a little effort and foresight given now, you can be enjoying the tastes, sights, and scents in your new garden space this coming summer!
* Fees may apply for design services.
Potomac Garden Center Can Take Your Landscape Project
From Concept to Completion.
Contact PGC to Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space – Start Today!
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Posted in Gardening Tips, Landscape Design, Potomac Garden Center, Seasonal Garden News, Winter
Tagged backyard renovation washington dc, before and after gardening, Bethesda Maryland Landscape Design, exterior landscaping, garden beds maryland md garden flowers, garden center Maryland MD, garden planning, gardeners, Gardening, great looking yard Green solutions, landscape, landscape design potomac, landscape designer MD, landscaping, landscaping companies maryland md, Maryland, md landscaping services maryland, North Potomac MD Gardening Center Landscaping Services, PGC, professional landscape design MD, residential landscaping, Urbana MD Garden Center, winter landscape
What is the Emerald Ash Borer?
EAB is a green metallic beetle
Emerald Ash Borer attacks only ash trees of the genus Fraxinus.
Native to Asia, it was discovered in Michigan in 2002. Since its discovery,the EAB has killed millions of Ash trees. The EAB has also been found in Canada, parts of the Midwest, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. The consensus on how this insect was introduced is that it made its way here in shipping crates made of green wood containing the larval stage or pupated stage.
The adult lays an egg on the bark of the tree and when the egg hatches the larva tunnels into the bark of the tree reaching the xylem and phloem (the vascular system of the tree). Creating tunnels, called galleries, the borer directly attacks the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, eventually causing it to fail. After the larva matures, it pupates and emerges from a D-shaped hole as an adult to start the process again.
There are two basic ways to control the Emerald Ash Borer’s destruction of the Ash trees in the landscape:
The first way is to use chemical control, Imidacloprid or Merit, which is available to the homeowner. These are found as a soil drench, called Tree & Shrub Insect Control by Bayer Advanced or Annual Tree & Shrub by Bonide. Using one of these soil drenches will give a 12-month control. Applications can be done in the spring and the fall.
The amount of chemical used is determined by the size of the tree. Just remember, you are responsible for applying the chemical properly according to the instructions on the label. There are other chemicals used to control EAB, but these are required to be applied by a licensed applicator.
The process of treating the tree could get expensive, but the aesthetic value of the tree in the landscape may, in some cases, outweigh the costs. Ash trees are one of the most common trees used in the United States.
The second way to control the borer is to remove the tree and replace it with another type of tree.
Here are some replacement suggestions:
• Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
• Oak (Quercus)
• Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvaflora)
• Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)
• Gingko (Gingko biloba)
• Linden (Tillia)
Quarantines have been placed on the areas in which the Emerald Ash Borer is found. Thispractice has been found to slow/prevent the spread of the insect. With the quarantines also come fines for moving Ash and hardwood out of these areas, into ones where the borer has not been found.
Contact Potomac Garden Center for safe, seasoned, hardwood firewood for sale.
Delivery is available within our service area.
For more information or to report infestation:
Maryland Department of Agriculture EAB Page
For details on the regulations for moving firewood and wood materials in your state, visit: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/firewood.cfm
In Maryland, if you suspect you may have EAB in your ash trees, call the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center at 1-800-342-2507 or the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 1-410-841-5920
Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
In Virginia, if you suspect you may have EAB in your ash trees, call the Forest Pest Branch of Fairfax County at 703-324-5304, TTY 711, the Arlington Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension at 703-228-6423 or 703-228-6400, or the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804-786-3515.
Potomac Garden Center has insecticides available at both locations to protect your landscape plants from damaging insects and diseases. Our knowledgeable staff is always at your service.
Firewood is available for delivery.
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Posted in Delivery, Firewood, Garden Products, Potomac Garden Center, Trees and Bushes
Tagged Bethesda Maryland Landscape Design, emerald ash borer, firewood for sale and delivery maryland dc va md garden center, garden center Maryland MD, insect control for trees, invasive species Maryland, landscaping, MD composters, North Potomac MD Gardening Center Landscaping Services, PGC, planting trees MD, Potomac gardening, Urbana MD Garden Center
Caring for your turf is an ongoing process to improve your stand of grass.
Fall is a particularly important time as your grass is likely stressed out from the summer and it is looking for some much needed nourishment!
Although it is best to get a soil sample and base your program on that, some general rules can apply to improve your grass:
• Aerate- core aerating (versus solid time aerating) is done to help relieve the compaction in your soil and allow the nutrients (including oxygen) to penetrate your soil, promoting deeper rooting.
• Overseed- Since the fall is the best time to apply grass seed in Maryland/DC/N. VA, after aerating, apply a Turf Type Tall Fescue grass seed at a rate of 3 to 4 pounds per 1000 square feet with a broadcast spreader (or verticutter for those with access to this equipment). If the area is in shade, use a blend of Fine Fescue seeds.
• Topdress- Using an organic material such as Compro or Leafgro, topdress your lawn with a ¼” to ½” layer to increase the amount of organic material in the soil, as well as provide a seed bed that will enable better germination.
• Starter Fertilizer- This can be applied to assist in the growth and development of your newly seeded or overseeded lawn. It is important to understand that with the new Maryland Department of Agriculture regulations, this type of fertilizer can only be used when applying seed. The benefit of this fertilizer is the Phosphorous which will aid in root development. This is usually sold with an analysis of 18-24-12. http://www.mda.state.md.us/resource_conservation/123Fort.php
• Mulch- depending on whether you’re overseeding or renovating, you may need to use a mulch to protect the seed from washing out. A great product to use is Penn Mulch or seed starter, which are recycled newspaper with small amounts of Nitrogen.
• Water- Since Mother Nature typically takes care of watering your new seed in the fall, you should see your seed germinating in 10-14 days. If you prefer to water on your own, please water in such a way that promotes deep watering (less frequent, deeper watering).
The next step is to apply the first of two fall fertilizer applications. Again, it is best to tailor your lawn fertilization program based on the soil sample results. However, as a general rule of thumb:
• In September/October, apply 1 pound of actual Nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Nitrogen is the first number of the fertilizer analysis (e.g. 10-6-4 has 10% Nitrogen, 6% Phosphorous and 4% Potassium).
• In October/November, apply 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Both of these applications should be with a quick release form of Nitrogen, not slow release.
In addition to the practices above, there are several cultural factors that should always be considered when trying to develop a strong stand of turfgrass:
• Proper mowing height- know what type of grass you have and what height you should be mowing at throughout the year. Tall Fescue should be mowed at 3 to 3 ½ inches. Never cut more than 1/3 of the height of your grass as this can cause stress to the plants. Studies show that you can reduce the amount of weeds by more than 50% by mowing at the proper height!
• Sharpen your blades- to avoid the onset of many diseases, be sure to sharpen your mowing blades regularly for a clean cut. Potomac Garden Center sharpens our blades every week for the communities for which we provide Landscape Maintenance services.
• Consistent moisture- if you are fortunate enough to have an irrigation system, this will allow you to maintain a consistent amount of water that is applied each week throughout the year. If you don’t have a system, you’ll want to apply about 1 inch of water per week if you’re looking to keep your turf happy and healthy.
• Soil Compaction- is another major factor in how well your grass performs. When the ground is moist in the spring and fall, it’s beneficial to aerate your lawn to relieve compaction as well as provide other benefits to the root system.
• Weed Control- whether you prefer the organic method or chemical control, eliminating weeds is important in helping your turf stand thrive, where it can eliminate most weeds on its own.
Old Wives Tale
It is common to hear that people “Lime” their lawn on a regular basis. This can be fine if that’s what the pH of your soil requires; otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money. Having a soil sample done to tell you what your pH (acid or basic) is as well as what nutrients your soil needs is very important in determining the best lawn care program you should follow.
Potomac Garden Center has turf improvement products available at both their locations in North Potomac and Urbana Maryland to assist you with improving your lawn.
The post Tips for a Happier, Healthier Lawn appeared first on Potomac Garden Center's Blog.
Posted in Community Landscaping Maintenance, Fall, Garden Products, Gardening Tips, Potomac Garden Center
Tagged before and after gardening, Bethesda Maryland Landscape Design, fertilizer, garden center Maryland MD, gardeners, Gardening, grass seed, green lawn, landscaping clean up, lawn care maryland, lawn fertilizer MD, lawn supplies, md gardening supplies tools maryland, shady lawn, sprinklers, sunny lawn, turf, Urbana MD Garden Center, weeds
Potomac Garden Center announced today that it was recently awarded several Safety Achievement Awards from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).
These awards, part of PLANET’s annual Safety Recognition Awards Program and sponsored by CNA, honors those companies with thorough, high-performing safety programs that create and maintain safe work environments in the green industry. It is designed to reward green industry companies that consistently demonstrate their commitment to safety.
Potomac Garden Center was evaluated on number of accidents, number of days that employees were away from work, and number of employee injuries and illnesses. In addition, a checklist was used to rate the company’s complete safety program. Potomac Garden Center is proud to be recognized for the following awards:
- No Vehicle Accidents
- No Injuries or Illnesses
- No Days Away From Work
- Overall Safety Achievement Award – Gold Performance.
Matt Owens, Vice President of Landscape Operations:
“Safety is always our top priority here at Potomac Garden Center, as we frequently perform our services in areas where children and adults work and play. Ensuring that our workforce is safe, properly trained and certified gives our clients the comfort that we’re not just there to beautify their landscapes, we’re looking at the bigger picture. Our outlook is quite simple- we want every employee to return home in the same condition they arrived at work. Being part of PLANET’s Safety Program has enabled us to formalize the strong culture of safety we have achieved with our employees over the years and will provide fresh ideas for us to continue this success well into the future.”
Potomac Garden Center has been in business for over 45 years, opening in 1967 in Potomac, MD. The garden center moved to its present Darnestown location in 1984. It is a family-owned business, with David Angell leading the company today after joining his mother and father in the business in 1992. PGC oversees both small and large scale communities in Montgomery County, providing maintenance services as well as enhancements, which can include anything from tree pruning and removal to designing and implementing complex garden spaces. PGC employees can be found most days traveling to our communities in the area, operating mowers, trimmers, wood chippers and chain saws safely due to the stringent safety training and policies which all the employees take to heart.
PLANET is the association of members who create and maintain the QUALITY OF LIFE in communities across America. With nearly 3,800 member companies and affiliates, these firms and their employees represent more than 100,000 green industry professionals. Some of these professionals have taken the extra step of becoming certified through PLANET and bear the distinction of being known as “Landscape Industry Certified.”
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