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15-0-15 Fertilizer: What’s It All About?

One of the most thrilling things about gardening is having a lush, green lawn to complement all your plants and flowers.

In addition to a sensible watering regime, you’ll also want to get yourself the best fertilizer for the job.

Today, we’ll take a look at what the numbers like 15-0-15 displayed on the packs of fertilizer mean along with some general tips and guidance on fertilizing your lawn the right way.

The right nutrients are paramount if you want to get the very best out of your lawn.

What Do The Numbers Mean On Fertilizer Packs?

fertilizer

Source: Woerner Landscape Services

When you look at packs of fertilizer, you’ll see 3 numbers quite prominently displayed.

These numbers refer to:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Your lawn needs plenty of nitrogen so that you’ll get proper growth, a perfect color and overall health to your grass. Warm-season and cool-season grasses both respond well to a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen.

Phosphorus helps to kickstart early growth. This is crucial for your seedlings to develop correctly. If your lawn has been freshly seeded, you should opt for a mix heavy in phosphorus.

You’ll want potassium in your fertilizer to help build up resistance to disease and to add strength to the root structure.

The numbers will always be listed in this order (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and illustrate the percentage of each component found in the pack.

A 10-10-10 mix is a very common all-purpose garden fertilizer. To break it down, if you got a 50-pound bag you would have 5 pounds (10%) of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The remaining 70% of the bag is made up of inert filler to help get the chemicals circulating efficiently.

Using 15-0-15 Fertilizer

fertilizer

SourceWoerner Landscape Services

If you go for a mix of 15-0-15, you’ll have nitrogen and potassium but no phosphorus.

Warm season grasses like Bermuda and St Agustine respond well to this mix. From shrubs and trees through to ornamental gardens or vegetable patches, 15-0-15 has a range of applications.

The ideal time to apply this fertilizer is from the middle of spring on through the summer. You can use it year-round with no problem at all.

Apply it with a spreader, mix lightly and water thoroughly.

Types of Fertilizer

You have a choice of several different types of fertilizer over and beyond the mixes listed above.

Slow-Release

This type of fertilizer does not need to be used as frequently. The trade-off is that it’s usually much more expensive.

Fast-Release

If you want results in a hurry, fast-release fertilizer will deliver.

You’ll need to apply this fertilizer more often and using lesser amounts. Be very cautious not to use too much or you might burn your lawn.

Liquid Fertilizer

These are tough to apply evenly and need to be regularly re-applied so are best avoided.

Organic Materials

Compost and manure are not as concentrated as chemical fertilizers so you’ll need to use a great deal more.

Be very careful with horse manure as it can contain weed seeds.

When To Fertilize Your Lawn

lawns

Source: Pike Nursery

You should ideally fertilize your lawn three times a year.

It’s absolutely essential to feed your lawn while it’s still activelt growing and never during a period of drought.

Start off in early spring as the grass starts to get green.

From that point, your fertilizing schedule will depend on 3 main factors:

  • Climate
  • Type of grass
  • Type of fertilizer

Most lawn seed that you get is a mixture of a few types of grass so fertilizing in spring and fall is advisable.

If there is any kind of drought, either stop using fertilizer or cut it right back. In these conditions, you want to lessen the amount of nutrients your lawn gets so growth will slow back. Reduce watering too if things are too dry for comfort.

How To Fertilize Your Lawn

fertilizer

Source: Curbed Seattle

You can fertilize by hand but the results are questionable. You risk burning the grass if you apply it in too concentrated a manner. If you miss covering other areas adequately, you’ll get pale patches.

The best option is to buy yourself a fertilizer spreader. We reviewed some of the best fertilizer spreaders here.

  • Apply your chosen fertilizer to freshly mown grass. Make sure there is no wind although a fine dew is OK
  • For best results, use only half the suggested amount in your spreader
  • Remember to start working before you turn on your spreader and to shut it down before you come to a stop
  • Make sure you wash your spreader after use
  • Water the lawn for optimum effect. It’s perfect if you can fertilize just before it starts raining but if not then just thoroughly water instead

Is It Possible To Use Too Much Fertilizer?

Yes!

While making sure your lawn gets the added nutrients it dearly needs is wise, being heavy-handed with your fertilizer can lead to problems.

Using too much feed will mean you need to mow your grass far more often.

The grass also tends to grow back quickly so, if this happens, make certain to obey the one-third rule: don’t cut off more than one-third of the leaf blade in one session of mowing. If you end up scalping the lawn, you’re inviting the weeds in.

Also, over-fertilizing can lead to turfgrass diseases setting in. Both pythium and brown patch take root in warm and moist conditions where over-fertilization has occurred. You’ll need some fungicide to fight back if these diseases take hold.

If you go totally over the top and grossly exceed the recommended application rate, you’ll finish up with scorched yellow grass and a ruined lawn.

The key? Less is more with fertilizing.

Wrap-Up

Well, hopefully you have enjoyed our explanation of 15-0-15 fertilizer and you now have a clear idea of what the numbers on fertilizer packages translate to.

Please feel free to share any of our articles on your social media if you think they would be of interest.

Contact us at any time if you have any questions or there’s anything you’d like to know about any aspect of gardening.

Now get that fertilizer spreader going!

1

Best Fertilizer Spreader Reviews and Buying Guide 2017

A sprawling green lawn in perfect condition sets off any garden, large or small.

Keeping your grass in peak condition is not easy, though. You will need the best fertilizer and a solid spreader in order to make light work of the job at hand.

Everyone needs food in order to survive and thrive. Your lawn is no different. Although the process of photosynthesis will result in most of the sustenance being provided, it never hurts to give nature a helping hand.

And if you want to fertilize your garden properly, you’ll need to get yourself a good spreader unless you want to invest a great deal of effort into performing this task manually.

Our Pick For Top 5 Fertilizer Spreader

Product Name

Image

Type

Broadcast or Drop?

Coverage in square feet

Price

Our Rating

Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader

Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader

Push

Broadcast

5000

$

#1
Editor Choice

Agri-Fab 45-0463 130-Pound Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader

Agri-Fab 45-0463 130-Pound Tow Behind Broadcast Spreader

Tow-Behind

Broadcast

25000

$$$

#3

Earthway 2150 Commercial 50-Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader

Earthway 2150 Commercial 50-Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader

Walk-Behind

Broadcast

15000

$$$

#2

Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader

Scotts Wizz Hand-Held Spreader

Handheld

Broadcast

2500

$

#4

Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader, (Up to 10,000-sq ft)

Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader, (Up to 10,000-sq ft)

Push

Drop

10000

$$

#5

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Definitive Lawn Care Guide To Help You Achieve A Healthy Lawn FOREVER

Gardening is an extremely rewarding and relaxing hobby.

You can keep yourself fit with the gentle effort of maintenance. When you’re done, you can kick back and reap the spoils. Sit back under your cantilever umbrella or huddle around your glowing fire pit and bask in the beauty of your garden.

The centerpiece of any outside space is a nice rich lawn.

Today, we’ll give you a complete lawn care guide so that you’re covered from sowing the seed right through to mowing, edging, watering and fertilizing. We’ll also take a glance at how to get rid of common lawn pests.

So…

First thing’s first, how about getting started with a new lawn?

1. Starting Off: Sowing Your Grass Seed

sowing grass seed

The quick and easy way to lay a lawn is to rely on turf.

Growing from seed might take longer but it offers you a far wider range of choice of grasses. It’s also much more cost-effective.

When To Sow Grass Seed

As a general guideline, you should sow your grass seed in spring or fall.

Whatever the exact time you choose, always make sure the soil is damp and that the weather is neither too hot nor too dry. Avoid sowing grass seed in the rain.

Different Types of Grass Seed

You can get a wide range of grass seed. Each type has different characteristics. They also have differing covering capacities.

The way in which mixes are named varies from supplier to supplier.

If you pop to the garden center, you should get plenty of advice on what seed would work best for your circumstances.

Seed is normally sold loose so you can get more or less the exact amount you need.

Here are some of the most common seed mixes…

  • Standard: This tough seed mix is perfect for areas with kids and animals. It establishes itself very rapidly and it’s highly durable. Most standard lawn seed is ryegrass
  • Drought-Tolerant: If you expect to suffer from water shortages, opt for drought-tolerant seed. This seed is usually a mixture of seed from a handful of fine grasses. Because they are so fine, very little moisture will be lost into the air. This type of grass can be mown very close
  • Luxury: As the name suggests, you should get a rich and resistant lawn of the highest quality with this seed. You will need to mow regularly. This type of seed lends to year-round performance
  • Shaded: If your lawn is in a shaded area, shoot for some seed that’s fit for purpose. Shaded lawn seed is also tolerant to drought and can bounce back easily from wear and tear
  • Low Maintenance: If you want grass that establishes swiftly and grows low, opt for low maintenance seed. If you lack the time for constant mowing, the slow rate of growth with this grass is ideal

Planning and Preparation of The Lawn

Planning-and-Preparation-of-The-Lawn

Since your lawn will obviously be with you for some time to come, taking the time to think about what you want from it is essential.

If you are bringing on a lawn from seed, it’s best to put down the whole lawn then cut in some flower beds after a year or two.

Steep slopes don’t work so well with lawns so you might need to flatten some areas out. Remove the topsoil from the area you want to flatten. Move the sub-soil around and then replace the topsoil. If you need to level up by more than a foot, allow the ground to settle for at least a year before grassing.

You need to choose an area that’s well drained.

A lawn works best on top of a nicely drained medium loam.

If your soil is heavy clay, add some sharp sand and compost or manure. Rotted leaves also work well. This will help to enhance drainage.

Give sandy soils compost, manure or rotted leaves. This will boost moisture retention.

Prepare your topsoil. You want it to be fine and workable to a depth of about 5 inches. With small lawns, just dig by hand with a spade. If you have a larger area to deal with, a rotavator comes into its own.

Once you have turned everything over and broken down the soil, chuck in half of anything organic material you plan to dig in. After digging over the entire area again, throw in the other half and repeat.

Rake the area.

Leave well alone for a week or so.

Rake again. Remove any stones or vegetation.

Tread over the area to really help things settle down.

Sowing Your Lawn

sowing-lawn

With preparation taken care of, it’s time to sow your grass seed.

For obvious reasons, choose a day with no wind.

You can use a broadcast spreader rather than sowing by hand. Use whatever method you find most comfortable.

Before sowing, rake the area one final time.

Divide your seed in half. Sow half of it walking in one direction. With the second half of your seed, sow it at right angles to the first batch.

Gently rake the seed into the top of the soil and you’re good to go.

Just over a week from sowing the seed, germination will take place and your lawn will gradually begin to take shape.

Care and Maintenance

care grass

Do not walk on your grass while it is germinating.

You will need to gently water the young lawn if there’s a dry spell. Try using a sprinkler or a hose with a very fine spraying attachment. Point the spray upwards for a light touch. This will keep the soil moist but not too damp. You want to avoid seeds pooling into clumps.

Keep animals and birds away as much as possible. Chicken wire works well on smaller areas. Aluminum foil attached to string can help.

Once the grass gets to an inch or so high, it’s time to roll it carefully with a garden roller. If you don’t have one of these rollers, tread it over just like you did after sowing the seed.

Wait until the grass is about 3 inches tall before you break out the mower. Mow using a light touch to a height of 2 inches. If you do not have a cylinder mower, you’ll want to roll or tread after mowing.

Reduce the cutting height each time you mow but don’t dip below 1 inch until you enter the second season.

Children and pets should be kept away from the lawn during the first season. Seedlings are extremely fragile and you need to give them the time to properly establish.

So…

Now your lawn is up and running, you need to think about setting a regular mowing routine in place.

2. Mowing

mowing lawn

Mowing is part and parcel of proper lawn care.

It not only helps your grass to look great but makes it healthier and more robust.

The first thing you need to do is choose your mower. There are several different types at your disposal…

  • Manual Push Mower
  • Gas-Powered Push Mower
  • Electric Mower
  • Riding Lawn Mower
  • Lawn Tractor
  • Garden Tractor
  • Mulching Mower
mowing lawn

Manual Push Mower

If you’ve got a very small lawn and you want something that’s cheap, quiet and environmentally friendly, a manual mower is an option.

Think about your mobility and how easily you would be able to push something around. It’s no use buying something that’s not fit for purpose.

Gas-Powered Push Mower

If you want a mower with a great combination of power and maneuverability, a gas-powered walk behind or push mower is a smart choice.

You’ll have to choose between 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines.

While you will get plenty of performance from a gas-fueled unit, they are noisy and give off a few fumes. You’ll also need to factor the price of gasoline into your ongoing costs.

For anyone with a medium-sized lawn, gas-powered mowers are a great cutting solution.

Electric Mower

Electric mowers come as corded or cordless.

Corded versions are more powerful but you will be limited by the need for a power outlet. With a cordless, the battery will need recharging so you won’t be able to work continuously for long periods.

For a small yard, these quiet and green mowers are perhaps the best choice.

Riding Lawn Mower

If you have a much larger lawn to mow, a riding lawn mower comes into its own.

For large and sloped lawns, a riding mower lets you get the work done in no time without breaking a sweat.

Lawn Tractor

Once you step up to a lawn tractor, you can hook up attachments as well as mowing your grass.

If you want to make use of a bagger or pull your cart around, a lawn tractor might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Garden Tractor

The biggest mowers are full-blown garden tractors.

These highly capable and adaptable mowers also allow you to hitch things up behind.

With large, all-terrain wheels, you can get anywhere with your garden tractor and do far more than just mow your lawn.

A zero-turn commercial mower is a heavyweight riding mower with an exceptionally tight turning circle. If you want something powerful but highly maneuverable for really large-scale mowing jobs, think about a ZTR mower.

Mowing Basics

Although you need to mow your lawn frequently, there’s no need to set a fixed schedule.

How often you cut your grass should depend on the growth rather than being fixed. The season and also the type of grass influence how quickly it grows.

You should aim to remove no more than 1/3 of your grass blade in any one mowing session. You risk depleting your turf’s carbohydrate stores if you cut too closely. Your turf will also be more prone to attack by weeds, pests or diseases.

Never now when the grass is wet. You just won’t get an even cut and it will clog up your mower. It’s not worth it.

Here are some handy pointers to bear in mind when mowing your lawn…

  • Maintain Your Mower: You should always make sure your mower blades are sharp. Sharpen them every 3 or 4 times you mow. If you end up with ragged cuts from dull blades, not only will your grass be uneven but it will more susceptible to pests and diseases
  • Fertilize After Mowing: We will look at fertilizing in more detail in section 5. Proper feeding is just as important as watering. We will look more at that in section 4
  • Vary Your Mowing Patterns: Grass tends to lean in the direction it’s mowed. Mix up the way you cut your grass and you’ll encourage a much more even growth

So…

Give your grass a close cut without going over the top. Mow often but not to a set routine.

Once you have packed away your mower, it’s time to break out the weed eater and apply the finishing touches

3. Edging

cutting grass weed eater

Getting yourself the best weed eater is one of the smartest investments you could make when assembling your lawn care tools.

Whether you want to edge your lawn and borders, clear away longer grass, weeds or debris, getting the right string trimmer will make your life much easier.

While there are several different styles at your disposal, the idea of a weed eater is very simple…

A plastic string is rotated at high speed and this slashes through whatever gets in its way.

Although you can get away with using shears or a manual pole saw, a weed eater is a huge time-saving device that doesn’t cost the earth.

Different Types of Weed Eater

There are 4 main styles of string trimmers:

  • Cordless Electric
  • Corded Electric
  • Corded/Battery Combination
  • Gas

Cordless Electric

These battery-powered electric strimmers are quiet and offer plenty of freedom without the restriction of a power cord.

If you have a medium-sized garden and you need mobility without the noise and fumes of a gas-powered trimmer, go for a cordless model.

Corded Electric

For anyone with a smaller garden and plenty of power outlets, a corded weed eater works well.

These lightweight models are extremely user-friendly. They are quiet and convenient since you won’t need to stop to refill the fuel tank or charge the battery.

The principal thing to watch out for is not to trip over the cord. Work with care and caution at all times.

Corded/Battery Combination

For a real win-win, some electric weed eaters offer you a combination of a cord to use if you are near a power supply with a back-up battery for other occasions. These are highly versatile pieces of kit.

You’ll get a superior run-time when compared to a cordless model and much more flexibility.

Gas

The most powerful type of weed eater comes with a gas-fueled engine.

These can be 2-stroke or 4-stroke. With a 2-stroke engine you will need to add oil to the gasoline.

Gas weed eaters make a fair amount of noise and also give off some fumes so they are not the most environmentally friendly option. That said, if you have a larger area and want freedom of movement married to great cutting power, a gas weed whacker might be just what you have been looking for.

If you need to replace the trimmer line, check out our reviews here. It’s also possible to swap out the head in the event of any problems.


The Many Names of Weedeaters

Terminology can be confusing. There are many different names for edging tools…

  • Weed eater
  • Weed whacker
  • String trimmer
  • Strimmer
  • Weed snipper
  • Weed whip

All of these are one and the same.

A brush cutter is a large 2-stroke gas-powered edging tool that you need 2 hands to operate and is suitable for much heavier-duty cutting.

Weed Eater Shaft Design

The way in which the shaft is designed influences performance.

There are 3 main styles:

  • Straight Shaft: The key advantage to straight-shafted weed eaters is the length of reach you will enjoy. Whether you need to access awkward spots below your decking or get in underneath shrubbery, a straight shaft works best. They are also particularly useful for tall users
  • Curved Shaft: With a curved shaft on your weed eater, you can exercise much more control. They are generally lighter and easier to use around fences and posts
  • Split-Shaft: These weed eaters come with removable heads. This makes your tool much more multi-purpose. You can hook up other attachments like a leaf blower giving you much more bang for your buck

Think about which variety of shaft would best fit with your needs. There is no right or wrong answer so make sure you pick what works for you.


Safety With Your Weed Eater

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  • Wear safety goggles and gloves
  • Do not wear open-toed shoes. Work boots are ideal
  • Keep long hair tied back and do not wear excessively loose clothing
  • Go for some ear defenders if you have a noisy, gas-fueled weed eater
  • Use insect repellent and sun screen if you are working outdoors in the sun for long periods
  • Clear all large debris from the area before you start edging
  • Work slowly and do not overwork your weed eater

OK…

If you take your time to get the right tool for your situation, a weed eater will give your lawn a truly professional finish.

Now it’s time to think about a proper watering regime…

4. Watering

watering lawn

Luckily, watering your lawn is far from rocket science. Knowing how to water it the right way, though, is crucial if you want to maintain a healthy lawn.

First thing’s first, you’ve got a simple choice of how you prefer to give your grass the moisture it needs between rainfall:

  • Hose
  • Sprinkler

If you don’t mind a bit of therapeutic physical effort, getting yourself the best hose reel and garden hose is the simplest and most economic way to give your grass a burst of water.

For anyone who struggles with their mobility or simply does not have time to devote an hour to walking around the garden, a lawn sprinkler will get the job done on your behalf.

Once you’ve chosen your weapon, it’s time for some very basic pointers to help you on your way…

Water In The Morning

Early morning watering sessions are the most effective.

By cracking on first thing in the morning, you’ll ensure that the roots get the moisture they need before the sun comes up and starts evaporating the water. Also, the grass will have time to dry off before evening rolls around. This helps to ward off pests and diseases.

It’s usually cooler and calmer in the morning with less wind so try to make this a part of your routine and take care of business when you get up.

Water 3 Times Each Week

Watering your grass is a delicate balance…

You want to make sure that your grass gets the moisture it needs without drenching it and causing over-saturation.

While there is no hard and fast rule, watering 3 times weekly is a reasonable benchmark. There are many variables but this is a good starting point from which you can fine-tune things.

You certainly won’t want to water more than 3 times a week. This is just as harmful as neglecting your watering duties completely.

1 Inch a Week Works Best

You can’t go far wrong giving your grass 1 inch of water over the course of the week.

You can do this weekly in a single session but it’s much better to water every other day, perhaps 3 times a week in total.

Don’t Be Wasteful

One of the drawbacks of lawn sprinklers is wastage. Water comes gushing out more quickly than it can be absorbed. This leads to it running off into the street or wherever it can escape.

Water in short bursts if you are using a sprinkler. Leave it running for 10-15 minutes then shift the sprinkler or turn it off for a while.

One way to fight back against sluggish water penetration is to dethatch your lawn. Thatch is a collection of organic debris that builds up near the surface and slows things down. Remove it for best results.

Let Your Grass Dry Between Watering

Healthy roots need a good relationship between water and air.

By watering every 3 days, this part should be taken care of nicely.

When you walk over your lawn, if you can see your footprints, it probably needs watering. Dry grass also tends to lose its luster and bright green coloring so keep your eyes peeled and watch for any signs your lawn is crying out for moisture.

Be Flexible

Watering your lawn is not an exact science. Make small adjustments as necessary.

Does your lawn seem to struggle drying out between waterings? Change it up and extend the spell between sprinkler sessions.

If you are finding that the water just isn’t getting deep enough, water more in each session but water less frequently.

Fine-tuning your watering regime will lead to a superior lawn over time.

5. Fertilizing

fertilizer

Once your lawn is fully established and you’re watering regularly, it’s time to think about giving it a helping hand with some fertilizer.

Why Do You Need To Fertilize Your Lawn?

Soil will provide your lawn with most of the nutrients it needs but fertilizer also plays an important role.

With a proper feeding routine you can:

  • Reduce weeds
  • Encourage recovery from damage caused by pests
  • Replace any lost nutrients
  • Boost new leaf and root growth

If you’re going to the time and trouble of bringing on a lawn, it’s essential to go the extra mile and provide it with great fertilizer.

How Big Is Your Lawn?

Most fertilizers are sold according to how may square feet of lawn they will feed.

The most common sized bags cater for 5000 and 15000 square feet.

Measure up your garden allowing for any areas of pathways or driveways.

Taking the time to measure accurately will let you get just the right amount of fertilizer for your needs.

What Type of Grass Do You Have?

Grass can be loosely divided into 1 of 2 categories:

  • Cool Season
  • Warm Season

Cool Season

Most common in northern areas, grasses like ryegrass, bluegrass and fescue are known collectively as cool season grasses.

Since they grow most vigorously during spring and fall, this is the best window of opportunity for fertilizing.

Give fertilizing during the heat of summer a wide berth. This can really weaken your lawn and is to be avoided at all costs.

Warm Season

Bermuda, St Augustine and Bahia are warm season grasses prevalent in the south.

Anywhere from late spring through to the start of fall is a good time for fertilizing these grasses. Getting the timing right is key to prevent weeds as much as possible and to strengthen the grass for the coming winter.

Test Your Soil

Conducting a pH test of the soil before fertilizing is critical if you want to get the right fertilizer for the job.

pH tests show how acid or alkaline your soil is.

A reading of anywhere from 6.0 to 7.0, as close to neutral as possible, is an ideal basis for feeding from.

testing your soil

It’s All About The Numbers

Fertilizers are composed of macronutrients and micronutrients.

The 3 main macronutrients are:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

These always appear prominently displayed on the pack of fertilizer in the same order.

A 15-0-15 fertilizer is a common mix. This would contain 15% nitrogen, no phosphorus and 15% potassium. The remaining 70% is simply inert filler.

10-10-10 fertilizer is a standard all-purpose mix.

Nitrogen helps with growth, color and overall lawn health. Phosphorus is great for promoting early growth. Potassium helps your lawn ward off disease and strengthens the root structure.

How To Apply Your Fertilizer

Fertilizing by hand is an option but it’s not recommended. You’re likely to apply it unevenly causing bare patches or even scorching the lawn.

A spreader is by far the best option.

Check out our fertilizer spreader reviews here so you can quickly and easily get to grips with the best spreader for your needs.

Mow your grass first and then get your spreader loaded with half of your feed. Walk in one direction dispersing the fertilizer as you go.

Walk in the other direction and use the remaining half of your feed.

Remember you should start work before you turn on your spreader. Turn it off before you come to a halt.

Clean your spreader and thoroughly water your lawn for the perfect finish.

Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers are not cheap but they are effective and environmentally friendly.

Many of these organic fertilizers have meal-based goodies inside them:

  • Bone meal
  • Blood meal
  • Fish meal
  • Feather meal

Poultry litter is another common nutrient added.

The NPK numbers are low with organic feed, usually below 10 on all counts.

Organic feeds boost microbial activity in the soil making for a healthy growing environment.

They are best applied during the warmer months.

Fertilizer Dos and Don’ts

Dos

  • Always test your soil first
  • Choose your fertilizer based on these results
  • If you use a spreader, buy the best one you can afford
  • Maintain your spreader and make sure it’s properly calibrated
  • Measure your lawn accurately for best results
  • Try organic fertilizer over the hotter months
  • Keep records of how and when you feed your lawn

Don’ts

  • Don’t wait until after you’ve fertilized before testing your soil
  • Never fertilize more than 4 times a year
  • Do not rely on guess work
  • It’s not a good idea to fertilize in hot weather
  • Keep your fertilizer well away from water features
  • Do not bag your clippings
  • Stay away from phosphorus unless your soil tests shows a deficiency

Get your fertilizing regime right and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy and vibrant green lawn well worth the effort you have put in.

6. Pest Removal

Luckily, lawns are not prone to attack by many pests.

Like any form of planting, though, it can run into problems from a variety of unexpected angles.

We’ll take a quick look now before we wrap up this complete lawn care guide at the main lawn pests and what to do about them…

Leatherjackets

leatherjacket

Source: Gardening Know How

The leatherjacket is the larval stage of the crane fly or Daddy Longlegs.

They live for around 1 year after the eggs are laid in the lawn in September, hatching a few short weeks later.

These larvae will feed on the upper part of your grass’s root system over the winter. As an added kicker, birds root for the grubs causing further damage.

Chemical controls for leatherjackets have been banned. Your best bet is to introduce nematodes.

Chafer Grubs

chafer-grubs

Source: Vert Lawn Care

The chafer beetle has larvae in grub form. These grubs live for up to 3 years.

Females lay their eggs in the lawn.

The small grubs feed on the roots of the grass. Birds and other animals like badgers also enjoy feasting on the grubs so your grass gets attacked from all angles.

As with leatherjackets, the best solution is to break out the nematodes.

Moles

moles

Moles leave obvious trails of destruction behind them if they start menacing your lawn.

The mounds of soil are the result of all the soil the mole pushes toward the surface as they are constructing their underground tunnels.

Caster oil can be an effective way to discourage moles. They also prefer overwatered lawns so go easy with the hose or sprinkler.

Voles

vole

Source: BBC

Voles are small rodents that can chew their way through grass after the snow melts. They are able to move freely around under the cover of snow but seek shelter when it begins to thaw.

Use some soil or compost to fill in their trails. The grass should heal just fine.

Put down some castor oil before the snow kicks in to put them off before they get comfy.

Wrap-Up

We trust you have enjoyed this complete lawn care guide. We have tried to give you as much information as possible in a concise and easy to digest manner.

If you pay attention to the tips and guidance here, there’s no reason that any element of lawn care needs to be confusing. Take care of the basics and you will enjoy a bright healthy lawn to set off the rest of your garden.

Reach out any time if you have any queries or feedback. We love to hear your thoughts and we’ll help in any way we can.

Now go and get to work on making the very most of your lawn!

Sources

Calandiva: Growing Succulents Is Easy!

Growing plants indoors is often challenging.

How about if you’re just too busy or on vacation? The last thing you need is to worry about excessive plant maintenance.

Calandiva is a succulent with a striking appearance.

calandiva

Source: Helpful Gardener

What Is A Succulent?

succulents

Source: Pinterest

Succulents are great news for anyone with a hectic schedule.

They don’t just look great, they require almost no effort to look after.

All succulents are able to store water. They have thick and rubbery parts that are fleshy and luxurious.

There’s no standard succulent. They come in a diverse range of shapes and sizes. They do tend to look rather exotic. This is one of the main attractions alongside the lack of care required.

Generally, the leaves, roots and stems of a succulent are extremely thick. This is where they store up water.

In their natural surroundings, succulents are able to cope with high temperatures and very little rainfall.

Cacti are often referred to as succulents. There’s a certain disagreement among botanists, though. Some consider the cactus is a stand-alone variety.

Why Are Succulents Easy To Care For?

succulents caring for them

Source: Agavaceae

Before we move on to explore the calandiva plant, we’ll take a quick glance at why succulents are so easy to look after…

  • Succulents need very little watering
  • There’s no need to go over the top with pruning
  • Most pests are not attracted to succulents
  • You can keep succulents in containers very easily
  • They can be simply transported from their native areas
  • Succulents work well alone or with other plants

So…

Now you’re tempted to give these attractive and aesthetically pleasing plants a try, how about calandiva?

Calandiva Plant

calandiva

Source: PlantShed

Kalanchoe is a genus of tropical succulents from the Crassulaceae family. There are about 125 species.

These flowering plants are mainly native to parts of Africa and Madagascar.

Calandiva is formally known as Kalanchoe blossfeldiana “Calandiva”. This cultivar was developed in Holland.

For a closer look at calandiva vs kalanchoe, check out this great article.

This plant will flower for 6 weeks. This takes place towards the end of winter or the start of spring. It grows outdoors if the conditions are right.

Growing calandiva indoors is a breeze. It demands precious little care and will flower in the middle of winter.

Leaves are substantial and scalloped. You’ll be rewarded with clusters of blooms that double-flower. You can sometimes find more than 20 petals on just 1 bloom.

Colors vary wildly.  From white and pink through to orange and red, these awesome succulents will brighten any home.

How To Grow Kalanchoe Calandiva

Equipment

  • 6-8 inch pot
  • Bypass pruners
  • Perlite
  • Sphagnum peat
  • Compost or fertilizer
  • Plastic bag

Calandiva Propagation

  • You use calandiva cuttings to grow this succulent
  • Choose a 2 or 3-inch stem. Make sure there are 2 sets of leaves. Remove the bottom 2 sets of leaves
  • Pop the cutting in your pot. A mix of perlite and sphagnum peat works well
  • Moisten the pot but go easy on the water. Do not drench it. Less is more with calandiva
  • Place a transparent plastic bag over the pot. This will give your plant the humidity it needs
  • Position the pot so it gets full sunlight for 21 days while the cuttings put down roots
  • When watering, just moisten the soil. Allow it to dry it before wetting again
  • A complete 10-10-10 fertilizer is a smart choice. Feed monthly. Compost works as an alternative
  • If you want to take your calandiva outside, the weather needs to be right. Kalanchoe needs temperatures of 50-0 Fahrenheit during the day. At night, 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit is an acceptable range
  • For the first 6 weeks, 15 hours of complete darkness each day enhances flower growth
  • Deadhead lightly to keep your calandiva looking resplendent. This will also lengthen the blooming period so it’s a win-win
  • Once your calandiva is done blooming, you can move it to a larger pot
  • You can take cuttings after the second year of blooming

Handy Hints for Growing Succulents

While they are remarkably straightforward to grow, there are a few pointers to watch out for when you are growing succulents…

  • Use a pot that drains well: Succulents dislike wet soil. In their natural habitat, they are used to minimal moisture and soaring temperatures. Think deserts and steppes. Overwater your succulents and you invite disease, rotting and possibly death. Drainage slots in your planter lessen the chance of excessive moisture
  • Water heavily but seldom: Put simply, if you water your succulents every day and leave the soil saturated, your plant will die. Don’t go to the other extreme and settle for misting. This will leave your plant parched. Instead, water heavily perhaps once a week. Allow the soil to dry out. Repeat
  • Use well-draining soil: Getting the soil type right will help your succulents to flourish
  • Keep things warm: Try to replicate the native climate of succulents. 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit over the winter and 70-80 degrees in summer is ideal
  • Go for plenty of sunlight: Most succulents, including the calandiva plant, enjoy full sunlight. Over winter, they are likely to be dormant. In the warmer months, allow anywhere from half a day to a full day of sun

Calandiva: Common Problems

Although they should present you with very little hassle, there are a handful of issues when growing calandiva.

Stem Rot

The roots of your kalanchoe are prone to rotting indoors or outside. Avoid overwatering at all costs.

Water thoroughly then let the soil dry out properly. Ease back further during early growth and over winter.

If you find the soil holds water, use lighter soil. Perhaps add some sand.

With full sun and proper watering, there’s less chance of stem rot.

Pests

Indoors, you won’t face any problems at all.

Outside, it can be attacked by mites, mealybug or scale. One solution is to spray. You can use insecticidal soap, oil or a synthetic control. Another option is to introduce predatory bugs. Wasps or ladybugs work wonders.

Lack of Flowers

When it comes to flowering, your calandiva needs plenty of sun but also dark days. This helps it ease into dormancy.

Is The Calandiva Plant Poisonous?

Some kalanchoe can be harmful to animals. Be careful if you have this plant outside and your cat likes to chew on things.

As far as humans are concerned, the plant is perfectly safe. In fact, some species of kalanchoe are used in traditional medicine.

Wrap-Up

Hopefully, this article will inspire you to add a touch of color to your house with some succulents like the mighty calandiva.

Here are a couple of calandiva images to tempt you further…

calandiva 1

Source: Permies

calandiva 2

Source: Pinterest

If there’s anything you’d like us to cover here, just drop us a line. We welcome suggestions and we’re always delighted to hear from our readers.

Now go and get some great indoor plants to liven up your home!

Many Mint Flowers

Mints are perennial herbal plants and belong to the lamiaceae family.

They are considered among the hardest herbs to eliminate because they are so invasive. They can literally overcome other plants. It’s tough to get rid of them. You’ll need to locate them one by one.

It is best to plant mints in pots or containers. This will prevent it overpopulating your garden.

mint

These mint flower plants are very beneficial to your overall health. There are many varieties. Each one has its own specific health benefits, both for humans and animals.

Mint, like all herbs, can be ingested whether as a tea or a garnish to any dish.

Mint is grown easily and rapidly. It can be found all over the world. Plants sprout practically anywhere.

Read on for a detailed look at the types of mints, their uses and benefits to our bodies.

Types of Mint Plants

Apple Mint (Mentha Suaveolens)

apple mint

Source: Gardening Know How

Apple Mint is a perennial herb. It has large, bright green, oval shaped leaves. These have hairs all over.

Flowers are purple-pink colored.

It grows as high as 3 feet and towers over other mint varieties. It smells and tastes a bit like apples thus the name apple mint was given.

Health Benefits

  • Use apple mint to alleviate skin irritations brought about by insect bites. Crush the leaves and rub onto the affected areas
  • Apple mint flower tea offers great relief for stomach aches, indigestion, bloating and stress
  • Apple mint tea also helps to reduce fats in your body. It can regulate your metabolism
  • Powder the leaves. Use the paste to whiten teeth
  • Oil extracted from apple mint leaves can be used to treat headaches, stress, acne, pimples and gas pains. It works to stave off dizziness, muscle and stomach cramps
  • Apple mint leaves also have vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium. They have anti-carcinogenic properties

Apple mint is generally a kitchen herb. Here’s a tasty recipe that might tempt you to try growing some…

Apple Mint Strawberry Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ pack Oreo cookies
  • 1 pack fresh red strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 3 tablespoons apple mint (chopped thinly)
  • ½ cup non-fat strawberry yogurt (frozen and cut 2 inches thick each piece)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees C
  • Rub oil onto a baking dish
  • Blend Oreo cookies and melted butter into the food processor
  • Pour the mixture. Press it firmly onto the sides and bottom of the dish
  • Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove when done. Let cool for 30 minutes
  • While waiting for the cookies to cool down, blend honey, strawberries and apple mint in the food processor until a perfect puree is achieved
  • Place the frozen yogurt into another bowl. Pour the strawberry puree onto it. Press gently
  • Transfer the mixture onto the cookie crust
  • Leave inside the freezer for 2 hours
  • Serve after at least 20 minutes out of the freezer

Chocolate Mint (Mentha x Piperita f. Citrata ‘Chocolate’)

chocolate mint

Source: Agrowtopia

The chocolate mint plant is a perennial herb that smells like chocolate. It has beautiful brown-purple pointy leaves and purple flowers.

They are best planted in pots. They grow only 15 inches high.

Health Benefits

  • Chocolate mint can be used as tea. This eases indigestion and gas pains
  • It also soothes respiratory issues like asthma, coughs and colds
  • It has anti inflammatory, anti viral and anti-allergy properties
  • Chocolate mint strengthens the bones
  • Boosts the immune system and slows down the aging process
  • Aids in regulating blood pressure

Uses of Chocolate Mint

Like its mint siblings, chocolate mint can also be ingested as tea.

It can be added to various sweet dishes like ice creams and pies.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chocolate mint leaves (freshly picked)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 oz chocolate chips

Directions

  • In a mortar, pound mint leaves with a pestle
  • Heat the pan. Add 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk along with the sugar and salt. Whisk together
  • Remove the mixture. Add the chocolate mint leaves
  • Cover the mixture for an hour
  • Remove the mint leaves. After 2 hours, set aside
  • Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl
  • Add the other cup of cream and whisk
  • Pour this mixture into the pan. Cook and stir
  • Add the vanilla
  • Transfer the custard into a bowl and cover
  • Refrigerate overnight
  • Remove from the refrigerator the next day. Add the crushed chocolate chips
  • Mix again then place in the freezer for about 5 hours
  • After 5 hours, you’re good to go!

Ginger Mint (Mentha x Gracilis)

ginger mint

Source: Plant Zero

Ginger mint has spicy, oval shaped leaves. Other names

Other names include Scotch mint, golden apple mint and red mint.

They are perennial herbs with short, slender stems. The stems are a distinctive dark red.

These plants love to sprout in old and abandoned places. They spread rampantly through runners.

Ginger mint is the product of Corn mint and spearmint. It smells much like spearmint.

A spread of these mint plants can be seen on the border of Sweden and Russia.

Ginger Mint Health Benefits

  • Ginger mint tea relieves nausea and motion sickness
  • It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Improves food absorption

Ginger Mint Uses

  • Often used as a beverage enhancer
  • These mints are also made into marinades and sauces
  • Used along with butter and sandwich spreads
  • They make a beautiful landscape plant attractive to birds and bees
  • Fresh ginger mints are also used in jams and jellies

Ginger Mint and Cucumber Lemonade

mint lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch ginger mint leaves
  • 1.5 liters water
  • 1 medium sized cucumber (peeled and sliced thinly)
  • 1 lemon

Directions

  • Boil the ginger mint leaves in 1 cup of water
  • Put the cucumber slices into the blender. Blend thoroughly
  • Squeeze the lemon into a pitcher of the remaining water. Cut some lemon zests
  • Pour in the boiled ginger mint along with the boiled water
  • Add the blended cucumbers
  • Refrigerate or serve as is

Orange Mint (Mentha x Piperita Citrata)

orange mint

Source: California Tea House

Orange mint is also known as lime mint, yerba buena, bergamot mint and eau de cologne mint.

Orange mint was named for its leaves’ spicy orangey smell when crushed. It produces pink flowers.

It grows as tall as 61 cm. Green leaves rest on burgundy stems.

The orange mint’s flavor is particularly strong.

This mint is best used fresh but can also be taken dried or frozen.

Health Benefits of Orange Mint

  • The leaves and blossoms of orange mint are used as painkillers and antiseptic
  • Orange mint extracts can relieve palpitations and calm the nervous system

Uses of Orange Mint

  • Dried orange mint leaves make great potpourris
  • Its essential oils are used to make perfumes. It has a strong minty-citrus scent
  • Chopped orange mint leaves are used for garnishing dishes, salads and desserts
  • It blends well with lemonade and cocktail drinks
  • Can be added to ice creams and sorbet

Orange Mint Passion Fruit Juice Recipe

orange mint passion fruit juice

Ingredients

  • 2 passion fruits
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ cup orange mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  • Scoop passion fruit meat
  • Put the scooped fruit meat into a blender along with the seeds
  • Add orange mint leaves, ice cubes and water and blend together
  • Juice the oranges
  • Pour the blended mixture into a glass
  • Add the orange juice extract
  • Refrigerate or serve at once

Pennyroyal (Mentha Pulegium)

penny royal

Source: The Toast

Among all the herbs in the mint family, pennyroyal is the most controversial due to its toxicity. Several women have overdosed on this plant.

Pennyroyal smells like peppermint but its oil is fatal for both humans and animals.

Pulegone is the active content that brings about this poisonous effect. Its oil can cause cancer and multiple organ failure. Pennyroyal is a water mint which is also called Mosquito plant, Pudding

Pennyroyal is a water mint which is also called mosquito plant, pudding grass and pennyrile. This mint plant has glossy green leaves and mauve flowers.

Health Benefits of Pennyroyal

  • Pennyroyal tea eases headaches and fevers
  • The leaves are a beneficial cure for flu, small pox and chickenpox
  • Induces menstruation and sweating
  • It is said to help treat tuberculosis
  • Aids with all stomach diseases

Uses of Pennyroyal

  • Due to its toxicity, it is used as an insecticide and pest repellant. These mint plants can kill even snakes or rats that attack the crops
  • Pennyroyal is also used as an abortifacient. It can induce menstruation and cause miscarriage
  • Crushed pennyroyal leaves rubbed on clothing can ward off mosquitoes and fleas

Pennyroyal is no longer used today in food due to its toxic effects.

Pineapple Mint (Mentha Suaveolens Variegata)

pineapple mint

Source: Specialty Produce

Pineapple mint is a member of the apple mint family. It’s a hybrid of grapefruit mint.

It has variegated green leaves with white edges and creamy white flowers.

This mint is an ornamental plant that smells distinctly like pineapple. It’s best grown indoors.

Health Benefits of Pineapple Mint

orange mint passion fruit juice

  • Pineapple mint essential oils have antiseptic properties

Uses of Pineapple Mint

  • Its pineapple scent makes it a great potpourri product
  • Ideal as an ornamental wreath and bouquet
  • Used as garnish for dishes, especially in Polynesian and Caribbean cuisines
  • Great for cocktails and dessert
  • Its fragrance serves as an air freshener
  • Leaves can be used as a marinade or flavorful syrup once boiled
  • Its fruity smell attracts bees and butterflies to your garden

Pineapple Mint Salsa

Ingredients

  • ½ pineapple fruit (diced)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 pineapple mint leaves (chopped)
  • ½ lime (juiced)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss.
  • Best served chilled

How To Grow Mint From Cuttings

mint

  • The soil should be moist with good drainage
  • Cut a healthy green, vibrant sprig from a mint plant about 10 cm long
  • Place the mint cuttings in a glass container half filled with water
  • Place the container near a window. Mint enjoys indirect sunlight
  • Replace the water every 2 days. Keep the soil moist
  • Transfer the cuttings to a pot or garden soil once it has produced roots about an inch long. Give extra care to the newly sprouted roots
  • If planning to keep it indoors,use a pot about 5 inches wide and long
  • Fertilize with water-soluble fertilizer (optional)

How To Grow Mint From Seeds

  • Plant seeds on moist garden soil in spring. For pots indoors, go for late winter
  • Mint plants are very hardy. They can grow with or without fertilizing
  • Mint loves partial shading and indirect sunlight but full sun won’t kill them
  • Water the plants when the soil has dried up
  • Do not cover indoor mint as it needs sunlight to grow
  • Outdoor mint should be spaced about 30 to 47 cm apart
  • Pinch off stems from the tip to accommodate bushier growth
  • Mints grow rapidly. They should be given their own space away from other plants or they will dominate the spaces provided for the others
  • Harvest mint leaves in the morning. Their flavors and aromas are strongest at that time

Wrap-Up

Mint is one of the most popular herbal plants. It has both medicinal and culinary uses.

Be careful, though. However useful it can be, ingested excessively, mint can be harmful. Menthol and karvol, the nutritious contents of mints, are also poisonous if taken too much.

These herbs are not advisable to be taken by pregnant and nursing women. Mint is not ideal for babies or children.

The versatility and flexibility of mints make them a top choice for potting, especially indoors.

So…

Why not try growing them yourself?

We hope this article has widened your knowledge on a range of mints. Any queries and suggestions are always openly accepted.

Happy planting!

Cherry Bomb Pepper

The intriguingly named cherry bomb pepper is an annual plant. Annuals germinate and die within a year.

Cherry bomb pepper is also known as capsicum annuum and hot chili cherry.

This is a product of a U.S. hybridization to produce a bell pepper that looks like a cherry but is not as explosively hot as the other chili peppers.

It has a very sweet taste and its thick flesh is suitable for making it into pickles.

Cherry bomb peppers are members of the nightshade family (solanaceae). They grow up to 61 cm tall and are only available for harvest during the summer season.

These peppers are commonly used in stuffings, baked goods, salsa, salads, pizza, barbeque and sandwiches.

A Few Facts about Cherry Bomb Peppers

cherry bomb pepper

These hybridized genuses which originated from the US produce plump, globular pepper fruit 1 to 2 inches long. They produce about 15 pods per plant.

Cherry bomb peppers can be harvested when their colors are green, orange and fiery red. Their chili pods are hotter than their flesh, though.

The cherry bomb pepper has a moderate heat rating (2,000 to 5,000 SHU) from the Scoville Heat Unit.

SHU is a method of measuring the capsaicin (heat chemical) content of a chili pepper.

This rating places the cherry bomb pepper as hotter than a regular bell pepper like pimento but slightly lower than the Serrano and habanero chili peppers. Their heat rate is the same as jalapeños but their taste is totally different.

This hot pepper plant is rarely found sold fresh in regular groceries or stores. Most often, you can find them in bottled form as pickled cherry bomb peppers.

The best place to buy fresh cherry bomb peppers is at a farmer’s market. Hunt one out in your area if possible.

If not…

How about growing your own?

How to Plant a Cherry Bomb Pepper

To achieve the best from this hybrid fruit always buy your seeds from a reputable source.

Cherry bomb peppers are very easy to grow. You simply plant the seeds in moist garden soil. This should be done in the spring.

Preferably pot them or encase the soil in a small, black plastic bag.

Once the tiny stems start to sprout, transplant them into the ground or into a bigger container to allow them room to grow.

These peppers enjoy plenty of full sunlight.

Water the plant sufficiently but not too often. The soil should be kept dry in the winter season.

Fertilize the plants once a month using a non-burning soluble fertilizer.

The cherry bomb pepper grows abundantly and is also highly disease resistant.

The pepper fruits are ready to harvest after 65 days or when the fruit has turned to orange or bright red in color.

Few plants could be easier to grow!

5 Awesome Cherry Bomb Pepper Recipes

Once you’ve harvested your cherry bombs, how about a few ideas to bring them to the table?

Check out 5 great cherry bomb pepper recipes here…

Pickled Cherry Peppers

Ingredients

  • 2kg cherry bomb peppers (stems removed and cut in halves)
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely crushed and chopped)
  • 5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups distilled water

Directions

  • Put all cherry peppers inside a clean jar leaving at least ½ head space
  • Combine last 3 ingredients in a saucepan
  • Bring to a boil until thick
  • Simmer and remove the garlic
  • Pour the hot liquid into the jar with the peppers inside. Leave at least ½ inch space from the jar lid
  • Discard all air bubbles. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes
  • Refrigerate when done right after the jar has cooled down

Cherry Bomb Hot Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 kg cherry bomb peppers (finely chopped, stems and seeds removed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic (thinly chopped and smashed)
  • 1 ½ cups white vinegar

Directions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and make a puree
  • Drain the puree to leave just the juice. Transfer to a medium-sized jar
  • Refrigerate to have a delightful hot and cold taste combo!

Cherry Bomb Cocktail Drink

cherry bomb pepper

Source: Media Cache

Ingredients

  • 4 cherry bomb pepper slices
  • 1 cup cubed ice
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce syrup
  • 2 ounces apple juice

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients
  • Put 2 slices of cherry bomb pepper in each glass. Pour in 2 glasses You may adjust the ingredients if you have to serve more guests with these deliciously, hot drink

Stuffed Cherry Bomb Dish

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces cherry bomb pepper (2 inch pieces) sliced near the stem
  • 2 ounces small shrimps (shells removed, deveined)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 lbs bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl except the breadcrumbs and cherry bomb peppers
  • Roll a handful of the combined ingredients into the breadcrumbs. Stuff them inside each cherry bomb peppers
  • Place on a baking dish. Bake at 250 degrees C for 20 minutes
  • Makes 6 servings. Eat while hot

Cherry Bomb Salsa

cherry bomb pepper salsa

Ingredients

  • 3 cherry peppers
  • 6 pcs cherry tomatoes (minced thinly)
  • ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon ground paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small white onion (chopped)
  • 3 stems cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions

  • Mix tomatoes, peppers and onions in a bowl. Blend them in a food processor
  • Pour back into the bowl. Add cilantro and lime juice. Season with black peppercorns and salt
  • Put all the remaining ingredients in and mix thoroughly
  • Refrigerate before serving. Enjoy!

Wrap-Up

Growing plants is never easy. That’s why gardening is challenging and rewarding. It would help, though, to pick something that isn’t only beneficial but also requires minimum effort and tending.

Choosing a cherry bomb pepper to plant is a smart choice and fits the bill perfectly. In only 2 months you can expect to reap the fruits without much hard work on your part.

We hope that you think about growing some cherry bomb peppers and perhaps trying one of the recipes.

As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or feedback. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers.

Happy planting!

Bonsai Tree Care

The art of bonsai continues to be a popular form of gardening all around the world.

Check out our bonsai tree series for a snapshot at several different types of bonsai.

Today, we’ll take a look at bonsai tree care so you can cut through the confusion and confidently take on what can be a very rewarding project.

bonsai

Watering

You’ve got to keep your bonsai properly watered. Dehydration can kill your tree so get this part right.

In general, make sure the soil never gets dry.

Check the soil daily to monitor things.

For a variety of reasons, watering early in the morning works best.

Bear an old Japanese saying in mind when it comes to watering your tree…

“With the bonsai, it rains twice.”

This means you should water until it runs from the holes in the pot. Hold fire for 15 minutes then repeat.

You can mist your leaves to help keep them breathing and free of dust.

Never water your bonsai with a hose that’s been laid in the sun. Let the water run through for a few minutes so it cools down.

If your bonsai has flowers, do not water them.

In summary, you should strike a delicate balance and give your bonsai just enough moisture for its needs without going over the top.

Feeding/Fertilizer

Feeding your bonsai on a regular basis is essential for healthy growth.

Bonsai fertilizer contains the following:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

These elements will have numbers to indicate the proportion of each in the fertilizer. There will also be some inert filler.

With bonsai, you’ll want a balanced fertilizer.  Whereas for some plants and trees a 15-0-15 fertilizer works wonders, bonsai call for a 20-20-20 mix. This has even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with 40% filler.

Always water your bonsai thoroughly before applying your fertilizer. Never feed it when it’s dry.

Do not fertilize your bonsai if it’s in poor health. Rather than overcompensating with feed, wait it out until your tree improves before fertilizing.

Don’t keep using the same brand of fertilizer. They all contain slightly different nutrients so it’s worth mixing it up.

Always exercise a light touch. Over-reliance on fertilizer can be damaging for your tree.

Soil Mix

bonsai

 

Bonsai trees have different needs. It pays to be familiar with the type of soil preferred by your bonsai.

Some people swear by pre-mixed soil but this is an expensive approach. Mixing your soil at home is a far more economical solution.

It’s crucial that the soil has good aeration. The roots of your bonsai need to breathe easily and produce food.

The soil must also be able to drain effectively. Too much water not draining can lead to suffocated roots.

You also need to be sure that the soil can retain enough moisture so it’s a fine line to tread.

There are 2 principal types of bonsai soil:

  • Conifer mix
  • Tropical/Sub-tropical mix

As long as your soil has the attributes above, you can then tweak and fine-tune it to your requirements.

Location

bonsai

You owe it to yourself to choose the best environment for your bonsai to grow in.

They need to receive plenty of sunlight and air with a well-maintained temperature. It should be between 50 and 70 degrees at all times. Monitor this with a small thermometer.

If you are growing your bonsai indoors, place it in the brightest window as long as it’s not next to the fireplace.

Grow lights are a great solution if you can’t provide your bonsai with the natural light it demands.

As well as lighting, you’ll also need to think about proper air circulation. Poor quality air can lead to the photosynthesis process in the bonsai being messed with. Sufficient movement of the air can also help keep pests away. Good air circulation also helps transport essential moisture to the leaves and promotes the evaporation of surplus water.

Take action to crack the windows and door allowing some breeze through. Consider purchasing a fan if necessary.

Pots and Containers

bonsai tree care

When you are re-potting your bonsai, opt for a pot that’s slightly wider than your tree. Smaller pots force you to prune more frequently and you will need to re-pot more often. With larger pots, the soil might not dry out properly and in turn the roots can rot. Take your time and get the size right.

There are 2 main styles of bonsai pot:

  • Training pots
  • Display pots

Training Pots For Bonsai

While your tree is in the training phase, keep it in a special training pot made from mica, wood or plastic. You need adequate room for the roots to take and the trunk to settle. Large drainage holes ensure there’s no saturation of the roots leading to rotting.

Display Pots For Bonsai

Once you are up and running, you can re-pot to a ceramic display pot.

These pots are much easier on the eye and come with a variety of finishes. They are available in a wide range of colors and often feature striking designs.

Bonsai pot selection is all part of the fun so embrace it and make sure you get the best pot for the job.

Re-Potting

It’s crucial to re-pot your bonsai. The roots grow and need increasingly more space. The soil also hardens so it’s a smart move to replace it.

Failure to re-pot your bonsai at the right time can cause it to wither and subsequently die.

When you’re re-potting, it’s a good chance to prune the roots and conduct some general reshaping.

If the roots of your tree are outgrowing the pot, it’s time to give it a new home. Another sign is water remaining on the surface of the soil. This shows that the soil has hardened and the water is not permeating properly.

Young evergreen conifers should be re-potted every 2 or 3 years. This can slide back to once every 5 years for adult trees. With young deciduous trees, re-pot annually. When they are adult, you can move them every 2 to 3 years.

Re-pot either in spring before the buds start growing or in early fall when they have matured. Carrying out your re-potting at these times will help with rapid root growth.

In the lead-up to re-potting, allow the soil to dry out somewhat. This helps lessen the chance of root damage.

  • Remove and replace some of the old soil. With conifers, replace half the soil for young trees and one-third if they are fully grown. Young deciduous trees need two-thirds of the old soil removed while you can take away half with older trees
  • Clean the old soil from the roots
  • Prune the roots next to stimulate growth. Prune the thinner roots first then the taproot
  • Cover the drainage hole and add wire
  • Put down a layer of coarse soil then some planting soil
  • Place your bonsai tree on top of the planting soil and fix in position with wire
  • Add planting soil until level
  • Flush your soil with water
  • For 2 or 3 weeks, keep your bonsai in a light but shaded area. Keep it clear of wind or direct sunlight
  • Do not let it dry out
  • Do not fertilize until the roots have taken

Tools and Bonsai Supplies

You don’t need much by the way of tools to enjoy the art of bonsai.

Bonsai Wire

Bonsai wire is available in an assortment of shapes and sizes.

Copper is extremely strong but can be unwieldy to use.

1-2mm wire is a sensible starting point. As you practice, wiring becomes easier.

Bonsai Wire Cutters

These cutters are expressly designed for cutting bonsai wire. Don’t be tempted to use regular wire cutters instead. With proper bonsai cutters, you can prevent any damage to the trunk or branches while still enjoying enough jaw pressure to cut evenly.

Consider a good pair of bonsai wire cutters as a sound investment.

Bonsai Shears

These large-handled shears are a fundamental tool for bonsai growing.

You can trim roots, branches, buds or leaves. These shears are very versatile. The blades are sharp and tailor-made for dealing with bonsai.

Japanese Saws

These saws are the size of a large knife with handles for precise movement.

They cut effectively but using relatively little force. Use these saws on branches but not on the roots of your tree.

Root Rake

This is superb for disentangling roots. You can use a root rake safely without worrying about damaging the rest of the true while rescuing the roots.

Pests and Diseases

Bonsai trees are liable to be attacked by a fairly wide number of pests and diseases.

  • Powdery Mildew: This often happens if you water your tree in the evening. If you notice any tiny white granules, remove them. Switch to watering in the morning
  • Thrips: These tiny pests feed on woody plants including the bonsai. Use traps or insecticide depending on what plants you have nearby
  • Spruce Spider Mite: These mites bite into bonsai trees and eat the sap. Although the mites are usually too small to be seen with the naked eye, check for any signs of yellowing on the needles. Spray with insecticidal soap to get rid of the infestation
  • Red Spider: This common pest also eats the foliage of your tree. Since they are resistant to insecticides, introduce predatory mites to kill them off
  • Root Aphids: These aphids attack bald cypress bonsai. Check the outer branches for any signs they are dying off. If these attacks are left untreated, the entire branch can die
  • Caterpillars: Several types of caterpillar feed on various bonsai trees. Remove by hand where possible
  • Snails: Snails can plague tropical bonsai. Use predators rather than chemical treatment. Try to remove them by hand if you catch them early enough

Wrap-Up

We hope you’ve enjoyed this glance at bonsai tree care.

If you have put off taking on a bonsai for fear of it being too complicated, hopefully now you’re ready to give it a try and armed with plenty of valuable information.

Please contact us any time with your queries or feedback. We love to hear from our readers.

Go and try a bonsai for size. They make a perfect conversation piece either indoors or in the garden. Keep coming back as we will continue our bonsai tree series over the coming months.

Now happy planting!

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews

Rolling green lawns set off any garden perfectly.

Keeping up with the maintenance can seem like hard work, though.

Once the seed is sown, you need to make sure you give your grass plenty of water. Whether you use a hose or a sprinkler, adequate moisture is absolutely essential.

Fertilizing is also key. You can choose to do this by hand or with a spreader. Whichever method you use, take steps to feed your grass regularly.

How about mowing? Does it have to be such hard work?

Today, we’ll look at some self-propelled lawn mower reviews.

These nifty appliances don’t cost as much as a full-blooded riding mower but they will save you a huge amount of effort.

So…

Before we walk you through top 5 self-propelled lawn mowers, we’ll take a look at what they are and what to look out for when buying one…

What Is A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

A regular gas mower simply generates the power to cut your grass. It does one job and it does it well.

With self-propelled mowers, as the name suggests, the mower will also power itself around your yard. Where a standard mower only powers the blades, these models divide the power between the blades and the wheels.

Rather than a vertical shaft over the blades, with self-propelled mowers there is a drive train and gearbox so each wheel is powered while the remainder affects the blades.

If you struggle with mobility or lifting heavy weights, this is a superb way to take the sting out of garden maintenance. Self-propelled mowers also work well on any uneven lawns or in gardens set on a slope.

Why Choose a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

These mowers are not for everyone.

It pays to take a look at the good and bad points before launching in. You can then decide whether or not you would benefit from one of these nifty labor-saving appliances or if an alternative would better suit you.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Pros

  • Weight: When buying a normal mower, the weight is important. Will you be able to manage it? Although heavier than a regulation gas-powered mower, self-propulsion renders the weight irrelevant
  • No pushing required: All you need to do is guide your mower. No real effort is involved
  • Great for beginners: Mowing the lawn can be tough when you are just starting out. Self-propelled mowers are so user-friendly, even a kid could use them with proper supervision
  • Perfect for hills and slopes: If your yard is hilly, mowing can be a real grind. A gas-fueled mower is too heavy and a zero-turn mower can be volatile, even dangerous. Opt for a self-propelled model and it’s a win-win!

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Cons

  • Extra maintenance required: More moving parts leads to additional maintenance. Expect this before buying a self-propelled unit. With the clutch and gearbox, brake and drive train, there’s more to keep on top of
  • Cleaning the deck can be awkward: Where these mowers are very weighty, lifting them can cause problems. Make sure that you’ll be able to cope with cleaning the deck when you need to
  • Handling issues: Depending on the model, self-propelled mowers can be less than smooth. This is why it pays to take your time researching. Don’t end up buying a mower that will be more hassle than help
  • More care is needed in operation: While there are safety measures in place – the drivetrain needs to be engaged via a handle – you must exercise extreme caution when using a self-propelled mower. Don’t let it run away and cause mayhem

OK…

You should now have a decent idea whether or not this type of mower would make a good fit for your needs.

What about the different types of self-propelled mower?

Gas or Electric?

While self-propelled mowers differ in many ways, there are 2 main choices:

  • Gas Self-Propelled Mower
  • Electric Self-Propelled Mower

Gas Self-Propelled Mower

Gas-powered self-propelled mowers are heavy and feature-rich.

Most of these mowers come with 4-stroke engines. These deliver enough power for both the blades and wheels. You do come across some 2-cycle engines. These are noisier and less efficient. You will also need to add oil to the fuel.

All gas models come with a clutch and brake.

On the plus side, you’ll get ample power, a mower that’s built to last and with the ability to cut large gardens fuss-free. They also maintain a consistent blade speed.

The principal drawback of gas-powered mowers is the noise coupled with the fumes it gives off. You also be limited by the amount of gasoline you have to hand. You’ll also need much more maintenance. Winterizing it for the first year is sufficient. From that point on, service the drivetrain, gearbox and blades regularly to avoid problems.

The benefits outweigh the disadvantages with gas self-propelled mowers. For this reason, our self-propelled mower reviews focus entirely on this type.

Electric Self-Propelled Mower

Electric self-propelled mowers are powered either through a cord or by battery. They are quiet and come with either single-speed or variable-speed transmission.

Operating in silence and requiring no fuel, you can cut your grass without disturbing the neighbors. There is almost no upkeep required. You can stash your mower away in a limited space with ease.

Whether it’s the length of the power cord or the run-time of the battery, you will be rather restricted with an electric mower. They are also more expensive than gas alternatives.

So…

Now you have a good overview of these awesome assisted machines, it’s time for our self-propelled mower reviews so you can choose the best mower for your circumstances…

5 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

First up in our look at the best self-propelled mowers is a rugged and affordable 4-stroke from the industry titan Husqvarna.

The 22-inch steel deck boasts 3-in-1 functionality. You can choose to mulch or bag your grass clippings. You can also opt for side discharge. For most reasonable cutting, a single pass is all that’s required.

The capable 4-cycle motor displaces 160cc. There’s no messing around with oil and it fires up immediately thanks to the automatic choke.

Although it’s a hulking beast at 100 pounds, the self-propelled system means you can work for hours without straining yourself. Since it’s rear-wheel drive, it works brilliantly on slopes and inclines. The large wheels cope with uneven terrain admirably.

You can flick the handle through 3 different positions to find one that works best for you.

Height adjustment is where the Husqvarna really scores. There is a single lever rather than the pair featured on many models. This makes life easier. With 9 cutting heights varying from 1 to 4 inches, you’re spoiled for choice.

If you want a durable and affordable self-propelled mower that offers outstanding cutting power with minimum effort, the Husqvarna 961450023 is a smart choice.


Pros

  • 160cc 4-stroke motor is extremely powerful and easy to start
  • Self-propelled mowing so you can cut large areas without undue effort
  • Adjustable ergonomic handle to take the sting out of mowing
  • Jumbo wheels handle all terrain with ease
  • 22-inch deck offers wide cutting path
  • Totally flexible: side discharge, bag or mulch your grass as you see fit

Cons

  • Extremely bulky at 100 pounds

Next up in our look at the best self-propelled mowers is a consistent best-seller from Lawn Boy, the 17732.

Although the 144cc engine is not the most powerful on the market, it copes well with most normal gardening duties. Since it’s rear-wheel drive, you’ll have no snags working on a slope or even a steep hill.

You won’t get the same degree of height adjustment as you find on the Husqvarna. Nevertheless, you can tweak the cutting height from 3 ¾ inches right down to a close 1 ¼ inches depending on your needs.

A superb touch with the Lawn Boy is the innovative Tru-Start guarantee. If you can’t get your mower fired up first or second time, you can get it fixed courtesy of the manufacturer without spending a dime.

Whether you roll with side discharge, bagging or mulching, you’ll enjoy a commendable cut quality even if the grass is wet.

For a cost-effective and environmentally sound cutting solution, think long and hard about the Lawn Boy. It’s a rising start in the world of self-propelled mowers. Snap one up before the prices increase!


Pros

  • Lightweight for a gas self-propelled mower at just 66 pounds
  • 21-inch cutting deck is long-lasting and gives you a wide cutting path to lessen your workload
  • Rear-wheel drive system works well on steep hills
  • Fantastic 3-year Tru-Start guarantee: if you fail to start your Lawn Boy by the second pull, get it fixed free of charge
  • 144cc engine has plenty of torque and enough power to churn through even large lawns
  • Adjust cutting height from 3 ¾ inches down to as close as 1 ¼ inches for complete flexibility
  • CARB-compliant and eco-friendly

Cons

  • Some users complain that there’s not quite enough power so make sure this size engine is a good fit before buying
  • Maintenance can be tiresome: be prepared

Honda has a reputation for first-class products in many different industries. From cars to motorbikes and through to lawn mowers, this Japanese multinational rarely disappoints.

While this mower is not cheap, you get a winning combination of performance, longevity and ease of use from a brand you can rely on.

With a solid 22-inch cutting deck, you can mulch, bag or discharge as with most self-propelled mowers. You’ll be able to work on larger areas of grass without needing to make constant return passes. The dual blades deliver an incredibly close cut. Choose from 6 cutting heights to get the job done right every time.

With a patented Start Safety System, you can lessen the chance of any accidental fire-up.

Although gas-powered mowers have a heavier environmental footprint than electric models, the Honda complies with both CARB and EPA so it’s a notch above most of its competitors.

At 84 pounds, this is not the lightest mower on the market but the self-propulsion makes it seem light as a feather.

For a dependable and precise self-propelled lawn mower that punches above its weight, pop the Honda on your shortlist. It might not be cheap but the best things in life seldom are.


Pros

  • Extremely user-friendly unlike some self-propelled models
  • Potent 160cc motor equipped with variable speed for your convenience
  • CARB and EPA-compliant so do your part for the environment as well as your lawn
  • 6 cutting heights from 4 inches down to 1 1/8 inch allows for maximum versatility
  • Start Safety System kills the engine as soon as you release the flywheel so very little chance of an accident
  • Adjust cutting height from 3 ¾ inches down to as close as 1 ¼ inches for complete flexibility
  • Mulch kit and rear bag thrown in free of charge

Cons

  • More expensive than much of the competition

As we near the end of our look at these reviews, up steps a superb 21-incher from the highly reputable Snapper.

Powered by a potent 163cc engine, you can work quickly without any drop in cutting quality. You can choose between 6 different heights so you can get precisely the finish you want.

With 8-inch wheels out front and 11-inch wheels behind, you can maneuver over even rough and hilly terrain in complete comfort and safety. At just over 85 pounds, it’s reasonably lightweight for a self-propelled model.

When it comes to washing the deck, a port is included to make this super-simple.

The superb 3-year limited warranty means you can buy without the headache of wondering what happens if things go wrong.

For a powerful and reliable mower that will keep your lawn looking immaculate, test-drive the Snapper today. It might be just what you were hunting for!


Pros

  • 6 cutting heights so a highly adaptable mower
  • 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine extremely powerful with no need for choke or priming
  • Perfect for small or large gardens: copes with up to 1 acre with ease even if it’s hilly and uneven
  • 3-in-1 cutting deck is 21 inches to give you a nice wide cutting path
  • Handy port to enable you to easily wash the deck
  • 3-year limited warranty for peace of mind

Cons

  • No electric start
  • Can be slightly jerky as with most self-propelled units

Finishing up our reviews is the TB330 from the heavyweight Troy-Bilt.

Powered by an outstanding 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine, you can take advantage of the single lever to mix up the speed. Some users have reported build quality issues with the plastic lever so use a light touch.

As with almost all self-propelled mowers, you have a 3-way choice… You can discharge the clippings out the side, mulch or bag them instead.

Comfort is uppermost with the Troy-Bilt. The wheels are designed to handle questionable terrain. The handle is exceptionally comfortable. Troy-Bilt even has you covered when it comes to washing your deck. There’s an integrated cleaning system so you can keep things looking tip-top.

Weighing in at 80 pounds, although the Troy-Bilt is reasonably lightweight for a self-propelled mower. Guiding the mower around on its high-performance wheels is a breeze.

For a solid and efficient self-propelled mower that’s built to stand the test of time, you could do far worse than the Troy-Bilt TB330. The 2-year limited warranty is the finishing touch.


Pros

  • 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine packs a real punch
  • Variable-speed control thanks to 1 simple lever so versatile and user-friendly
  • 21-inch deck with deck wash built in
  • 3-in-1 discharge with a large bag included if you prefer to bag your clippings
  • Superb wheels and an adjustable handle so you can work in comfort for prolonged periods

Cons

  • Plastic rear-wheel drive levers are flimsy
  • Does not work well if the grass is wet

Wrap-Up

We trust you found some useful snippets in these self-propelled mower reviews.

Rather than looking at garden maintenance as a chore, try to focus on the relaxing benefits instead. If you invest in the best self-propelled mower, you can take the strain out of cutting the grass without necessarily spending a fortune.

Feel free to share any of our articles on your social media.

Contact us any time with any queries or feedback. We are always delighted to hear from our readers.

Happy mowing!

Japanese Maple Bonsai

Gardening takes on many different forms.

From raising strawberries or potatoes in your vegetable patch through to pretty flowers in the garden, you are spoiled for choice.

Bonsai trees are an interesting way to inject a bit of variety into your foliage.

We have recently examined the rosemary bonsai, juniper bonsai and Jack pine bonsai. Today, we’ll continue our look at these miniature trees with a glance at the Japanese maple bonsai.

First thing’s first, a few simple facts about this striking tree.

Some Japanese Maple Bonsai Basics

 

Japanese Maple Bonsai

Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple, is a deciduous tree native to Asia.

The leaves on this beautiful tree turn magnificent shades of red, orange and gold during the fall. If you want a wonderful injection of color into your garden, think seriously about one of these maples.

These bonsai require very little by the way of care and maintenance. They make a great starting point for anyone interested in the art of bonsai but concerned about the difficulty level.

You can keep your Japanese maple indoors if you have an apartment in need of livening up.

With over 300 types of Japanese maple tree, you really are spoiled for choice.

How To Choose a Japanese Maple Bonsai

There are a few simple things to take into account when looking for a Japanese maple bonsai…

  • Climate: When you are choosing a bonsai, you should opt for one that can tolerate 2 zones colder than the one you live in. It pays to be cautious. The Japanese maple works best in USDA zones 5 and 6
  • Position: Think about where you will be planting your tree. Will there be plenty of direct sunlight? How about shade? The ideal set-up for these bonsai is a burst of sun in the morning followed by a shaded afternoon. They do not respond well to full days in the sun
  • Size: These Japanese maple come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. If you are committed to pruning perhaps twice a year, keeping these bonsai down to size is not a hassle. If you prefer a less hands-on maintenance routine, go for one that will grow to the space provided
  • Coloring: One of the key attractions of the Japanese maple is the way in which the leaves are colored. If you live in a hotter climate with lots of direct sun, the green leaved Japanese maple would be the best fit. Those with red or variegated leaves will  be far less tolerant of prolonged heat and uninterrupted sunlight

Caring For Your Japanese Maple Bonsai

 

Caring For Your Japanese Maple Bonsai

Where To Put Your Japanese Maple Bonsai

Japanese maple prefers to be positioned in plenty of sun and air.

Be careful, though. These trees are intolerant to direct sunlight during the hotter summer months.

The occasional touch of frost won’t be a disaster but protect your tree when the temperatures start to dip below -10 degrees.

Fertilizing

Solid organic fertilizer works best with the Japanese maple. This is slow-release and contains all the valuable nutrients your bonsai needs. If you want to encourage more vigorous growth, introduce a liquid fertilizer alongside.

You should feed your tree every couple of weeks through spring and summer. When fall comes around, switch to a liquid fertilizer. Cut the feed entirely in winter. Your bonsai will be dormant.

You should steer clear of fertilizer that’s too rich in nitrogen. This causes the leaves to grow excessively.

Watering

The Japanese maple cries out for soil which is nice and moist.

Over the course of the growing season, you’ll want to water pretty much daily. It’s not a disaster if you skip a day but you should stick to a regular schedule as much as possible.

During the hottest months, you might need to water your tree several times a day. This is particularly true if your soil drains well and your bonsai is in peak health.

When the tree goes dormant over winter, water just often enough to keep the soil sufficiently damp.

Potting Medium and Repotting

Japanese akadama clay is the best bet when it comes to growing medium. You can mix in some lava rock or pumice if you like. You want a mixture that will drain effectively.

With younger trees, you should re-pot them each year. Drop this to once every 3 years once your tree hits the age of 10.

Re-pot in spring just before the buds start opening.

Pruning

pruning bonsai

Source: Garden Walk Garden Talk

Root growth is strong with the Japanese maple so you should keep on top of pruning roots. Consider this ongoing maintenance.

You can also trim the twigs and shoots around the year.

Pruning leaves during the period of active growth will help to reduce their size. Pruning like this will also enhance the colors when fall comes around.

The main branches should be pruned in winter. Attack strong branches in the fall.

It’s a smart idea to use cut-paste after pruning. This tree can be prone to fungal diseases entering through any cuts.

Wiring

The best time to wire your tree, if necessary, is during the summer when all the leaves are in place.

Restrict any wiring to a maximum of 6 months.

Raffia is a neat way to safeguard the bark.

Pests and Diseases

Although the Japanese maple is quite a resilient tree, aphids can become a menace. Use a regular insecticide to kill them off.

Verticillium wilt can be catastrophic for these bonsai. If you see black spots on fresh cuts, your tree is probably infected by this nasty fungal disease. Destroy your tree and sterilize all your bonsai tools. The wilt can easily spread through contaminated tools.

Wrap-Up

We hope you have found this glimpse at the Japanese maple bonsai to be interesting and informative.

Get in touch any time if you have any feedback or any questions at all. We’re more than happy to help you and love hearing from our readers.

We’ll continue our journey into the world of bonsai with a look at how to care for your bonsai.

Come back next week for some handy hints!

Juniper Bonsai Tree

The art of bonsai continues to grow in popularity.

Check out our previous article on the rosemary bonsai for some background information on the history of the intriguing art of growing miniature trees.

Some Juniper Bonsai Basics

Scientifically known as Juniperus chinensis, the juniper bonsai is a member of the Cypress family.

These coniferous trees vary greatly in terms of growth. They range from pretty low-slung shrubs through to 15-foot trees.

The hardness of the deep red wood makes it ideal for cabinet making.

Juniper berries are used for spices and also for gin.

The Benefits of The Juniper Bonsai Treejuniper bonsai

Source: Pinterest

Bonsai in general can be pretty tricky to grow. Fortunately, juniper bonsai are one of the easiest types to bring on successfully.

They are highly durable in the sunlight and extremely versatile. Unlike most other bonsai trees, the juniper bonsai can grow equally well indoors or outside. They favor outdoor conditions.

If you take them out in the garden, it’s best to just plant them in regular garden soil. If you use containers, you are likely to restrict growth.

One of the key advantages of the juniper bonsai is that it can cope with neglect. It’s not going to die off if you forget to water it. Indeed, over-watering can be fatal so go sparingly.

Your juniper bonsai will be dormant over water. You can go easy on the watering during these months but don’t forget to give it some sunlight. If you live somewhere with a particularly cold climate, you’d be advised to bring  your tree indoors over the winter months.

Caring For Your Juniper Bonsai

juniper bonsai tree

Source: Bonsai Empire

Where To Put Your Juniper Bonsai

Place your juniper bonsai anywhere it will get at least 4 hours of sunlight.

Opt for soil that is slightly dry if possible. Your tree will appreciate it.

Fertilizing

You should use a half-strength liquid fertilizer on a monthly basis in fall and spring. Look for a fertilizer that is particularly rich in nitrogen in spring. Use feed with lower nitrogen levels in the fall.

There is no need for any kind of feeding regime in the summer.

Your tree will be dormant over winter. All it needs is water and a little light.

If you re-pot your juniper bonsai, leave it a while before introducing fertilizer.

Watering

Many bonsai trees are thirsty. The juniper bonsai can tolerate being fairly dry in between watering. They actually prefer drier soil but don’t overdo it and keep them too dry.

It’s good practice to monitor the soil daily so you can add moisture when it’s called for.

Make absolutely certain that the water is able to drain. If not, the roots are prone to rotting.

Keep a spray bottle handy to mist the leaves. Spraying the leaves helps them to breathe. This is doubly important for any re-potted juniper bonsai. The roots will need to settle in. Misting keeps dehydration at bay without menacing the roots as they adjust.

How Do You Tell If Your Juniper Bonsai Needs Watering?

Simply stick a chopstick a couple of inches into the soil. Leave it for 10 minutes then remove it. If the chopstick is damp, you’re all good. A dry chopstick means it’s time for watering.

Potting Medium and Repotting

Growing juniper bonsai directly in the soil is by far your best bet. They will perform in containers but they are likely to be stunted and retarded.

If you choose to use pots, make sure you re-pot every other year. Follow the guidance above regarding watering and fertilizing as your tree gets used to its new home.

Once your tree hits 10 years old, you can dial back the re-potting. For these older trees, changing pots every 3 to 4 years is about right. It’s a smart idea to prune the roots each time you re-pot.

Humidity

All bonsai thrive on humidity. It forms an important part of their growth cycle. Indeed, if the environment becomes too moist, they will wither up and potentially die.

Take steps to ensure that humidity levels are sufficient for your tree’s needs. If you don’t, you could end up disappointed.

Sunlight

Although you can keep juniper bonsai indoors, they would rather be outside enjoying natural sunlight.

They can deal with direct sunlight but it’s advisable to position them somewhere tht benefits from afternoon shade.

If you do choose to keep your tree indoors, opt for somewhere light with plenty of air.

Pruning

If you need to do any pruning, take care of it during the spring or summer. Pinch any new shoots back as soon as they get an inch long.

Tail off with the pruning in September.

Wiring

bonsai

Source: Pinterest

You’ll have no problem at all wiring your juniper bonsai.

You should always use wire cutters and work with care to avoid damaging the tree.

What To Do With a Sick Juniper Bonsai

bonsai watering

Source: Dengarden

One problem with juniper bonsai is that can appear outwardly healthy when they are, in fact, struggling. Often, by the time you notice that something is amiss, it’s too late.

If your tree is looking a little brown and withered, there are a few things you can do to step in…

  • Scratch your fingernail on the trunk. If it’s green, there’s still some life left in your tree
  • Check the roots. They should be firm and white. Any sign of mushy or darkened roots suggests rotting
  • Trim away any potentially rotted sections of root
  • Make sure the soil is sandy enough and that it’s draining properly
  • Monitor the way you care for your bonsai. Avoid overwatering and use an appropriate fertilizer. Those fertilizers meant for evergreen trees are ideal
  • Prune any areas of dead foliage

Wrap-Up

We hope you have enjoyed this look at the striking juniper bonsai.

Please feel free to contact us any time if you have any questions. We are more than happy to help.

If you fancy getting started in the world of bonsai, the juniper bonsai makes a very wise starting point.

Give it a go!

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