Category Archives for "Landscaping"

Sowing Grass Seed and How To Stop Birds From Eating Grass Seed

There is very little more rewarding than looking out the window and seeing a wide expanse of brilliant green grass.

stop birds eating grass seed

Sowing grass seed is really pretty simple stuff. Today we will look at how to successfully bring on your seed.

We will also look at two very common questions:

  • Do Birds Eat Grass Seed?
  • How To Stop Birds Eating Grass Seed

Again, this is not a complex issue so we will look briefly at a handful of approaches to limit the attention from unwelcome birds when it comes time for seeding.

How To Sow Grass Seed

how to stop birds eating grass seed

There are 3 key elements required when sowing grass seed:

  • Excellent seed to soil contact
  • Proper moisture levels
  • Even seed distribution

If you deal with these correctly, you should have no trouble even if a few birds decide to eat some grass seed along the way.

Seed to Soil Contact

A good raking is absolutely essential.

Part and parcel of gardening is physical activity at times. If you are not capable of getting the rake out yourself, enlist the help of friends or family. You can always hire a gardener if need be.

However you take care of it, make certain you put in the groundwork with a good dose of the rake.

Put your grass seed in then rake again to start mixing up the seed and soil.

You can finish off this stage but making a couple of passes with a garden roller.


Make absolute certain not to let the grass dry out.

Regular watering and constant moisture is key.

Don’t confuse frequency with being heavy handed, though. A light touch is preferable. Use an extremely fine spray twice daily for a fortnight.

If you water heavily or introduce large droplets, the seed will puddle or move and your even distribution will be wrecked.

During the second two weeks, you can drop watering to daily or even on alternate days. Monitor for any signs of dryness and tweak accordingly.

As you enter month two, you can water more heavily and less often. A couple of times a week should hit the spot.

In the third month, weekly watering is enough but, as always, keep your eyes peeled for any hint of drying out and adjust as necessary. The first six month period is the most critical for grass drying out. After that, you’re pretty much out of the woods.

Aim to sow your seed in spring or autumn if possible. Use the damp conditions to your advantage.

Even Distribution of Your Seed

When it comes to broadcasting your seed, you can choose to sow it by hand or use your fertilizer spreader.

Before you sow the seed, remove some and set aside.

Try seeding in four different directions to promote even distribution.

Be careful when you get to the edges. The last thing you want is to waste your seed on the path or driveway.

You can finish off with a hand spread using the seed you set aside earlier. Pay close attention to any edges and you’re good to go.

We’ll look now at the thorny issue of birds undoing all your hard work…

Do Birds Eat Grass Seed?

In a word, yes!

The good news, though, is that they won’t eat enough of it to cause a serious problem. It’s a simple numbers game and the majority of your seed should germinate just fine.

It always pays to take as much care as possible to maximize the chance of a glorious green lawn so we will look briefly at some simple steps you can take to deter birds from eating your grass seed.

How To Stop Birds From Eating Grass Seed

how to stop birds eating grass seed

A Scarecrow

how to stop birds eating grass seed

For most residential gardens, using an old-fashioned but reliable deterrent like a scarecrow is probably unnecessary.

If you do have a larger garden and a creative streak, there’s certainly no harm in adding a colorful scarecrow to help ward off stray birds intent on munching your precious grass seed.

An alternative to this traditional scarecrow is a mechanical deterrent like this ScareCrow Animal Deterrent. With a few automatic bursts of water, any intruding birds will soon be on their way!

Noisy Devices

Birds don’t appreciate being startled by unexpected noises. You can take advantage of this.

Wind chimes and tin cans can work. You could also buy yourself a wooden duck with wings that clap shut in the wind and frighten off any real birds in the area.


With hydroseeding, a mixture of seed and mulch is used as an alternative to sowing dry seeds.

The mulch and fertilizer can be effective in keeping birds at bay so if you fancy experimenting, try hydroseeding your next batch of grass seeds.

Use a Power Seeder

power seeder

Source: YouTube

If you enjoy indulgences like an ATV, a power seeder is worth considering.

For anyone with a sprawling expanse of lawn to take care of, buying a power seeder is one way to reach for your checkbook and see off any hungry birds into the bargain.

This approach is absolutely not for everyone but for some circumstances, power seeders can be a genuinely useful addition to your garden power tools.


Biodegradable nets certainly do the trick but these are not cheap.

You could be looking at a four-figure investment so ask yourself honestly just what damage you expect birds to do to your grass seed and whether it’s worth exploring the idea of netting.


While you can take certain steps to lessen the likelihood of birds eating your grass seed, it really isn’t a serious snag.

With proper raking before and after sowing and adequate watering in, the law of the jungle should prevail and more than enough of your grass should flourish and germinate successfully.


We hope you have found this look at how to stop birds from eating grass seed has given you some useful pointers.

Please feel free to share any of our articles on your social media. Shoot us a message if you have amy queries or feedback. We are always more than happy to help.

Now watch those birds!

Jack Pine Bonsai

Pinus banksiana or Jack pine is a species of pine tree named for Sir Joseph Banks. Banks was a British botanist who traveled with Captain Cook on his first main voyage in the late 1700s.

Jack pine has around 75 species which are all named for Banks.

It is known by many common names including Black pine, Black Jack pine, Hudson Bay pine and scrub pine.

Pendulous cultivars grow over 2 meters in the wild.

Dwarf and broom cultivars are ideal for making bonsai trees.

It’s a hardy tree so Jack pine bonsais work well even if you are just starting out.

jack bonsai

Source: Things About Trees

Anatomy of Jack Pine

Jack pine are native to the northern US and Canada.

This broad and upright tree grows anywhere from 3 feet to over 75 feet in the landscape. Some of the largest specimens will tower at 100 feet or more.

The Jack pine can cope well even with poor soil. They grow naturally on rocky, sandy hills so they are used to thriving where many other plants simply will not grow.

Growing wild, these trees will live for anything between 75 years and over 200 years.

When they are seedlings, Jack pines grow a taproot which is carried through as the tree ages. This taproot can reach depths of as much as 10 feet. The main part of the root system, though, is made up of lateral roots in the upper part of the soil.

Trunk and Stem

The bark of the Jack pine bonsai is fairly thick and develops noticeable cracks over time.

Branches tend to grow naturally with a somewhat rough and bedraggled appearance.


The twisted pine needles come in pairs. These are known as fascicles. They normally measure 1 or 2 inches but they can be reduced still more using the best bonsai techniques.

Colors are anywhere in the range of yellow through to dark green.

Seeds, Flowers and Fruits

Jack pine are known as monoecious. This means that the male and female segments are on the same plant but different flowers.

Female cones are ovulate and usually occur on the first and second branches in the upper part of the tree crown. These cones are long shoots.

Male cones are called staminate and these are found on the tertiary branches rather lower down. The male cones are dwarf shoots.

Cones will mature towards the end of summer or into early fall.

How To Care For Jack Pine Bonsai Trees

We will have a look now at some key points to consider if you plan to grow a Jack pine bonsai at

jack pine bonsai

Source: Art of Bonsai


Make sure that you have soil that will drain very well. The Jack pine prefers soil that’s either neutral or a little acidic.

You can go for a mix with up to 50% sand.

Another option is a conifer mix:

  • 1 part pumice
  • 1 part lava rock
  • 1 part akadama
  • 1/2 cup charcoal
  • 1/2 cup decomposted granite


You should water plentifully but do not go over the top and allow it to bog down.

Between waterings, you should let the soil dry out almost completely.

While Jack pine are extremely resilient to a lack of water in the wild, when cultivating bonsais you need to keep a far closer eye on watering.


Full sun will give you best results.

Your Jack pine will be very intolerant to shady conditions so give it what it wants most and ensure oodles of sun.


When it comes to fertilizer, you should provide your Jack pine bonsai with a balanced feed throughout the year.

Tail off with the fertilizer towards the fall. Stop completely during the winter.

If you shoot for an acidic fertilizer, this will provide your tree with what it needs most.


The growth of new roots with Jack pines can be pretty slow going.

When repotting, leave in some of the old soil. Mycorrhizal is a beneficial bacteria that the Jack pine needs and this can be found in the soil.

Repotting should be carried out anywhere from every other year to once every five years.

Be sure to use a light touch when repotting your tree and go easy on the roots.

Pruning Your Bonsai

jack pine pruning

With trees, anything that could weaken it is known as an insult. Some examples of insults include:

  • Repotting
  • Drastic reduction of foliage
  • Pruning
  • Wounding
  • Bud removal
  • Heavy wiring

With Jack pine, you should limit these insults to once a year only.

Don’t stagger your pruning over a period of months. Do it once properly then be patient and wait a year. This will be best for your bonsai.

When you see signs of vigorous growth, your Jack pine will be ready for another round of pruning.

Concave cuts should be avoided completely. This plays havoc with the sap in the area and can cause issues further up the tree trunk. Allow plenty of time for any cuts to heal.

Remove any needles from the underside or the top of the branches.

Get rid of any weak buds.

To Wire or Not To Wire?

Restrict your wiring to young and healthy specimens.

While young branches might set in a year, older branches could take considerably longer. As with all elements of growing bonsai trees, patience is essential every step of the way.


You have a wide choice of forms and styles with the Jack pine.

Upright and broom styles, however, don’t work well.

Due to their naturally wild nature, formal styling is also a no-no with this particular tree. Rather than fight against this, embrace it instead.

Pests and Diseases

Look out for aphids, weevils, rust and borers.

Sawfly and budworm can also be problematic.


We hope that you have enjoyed this glance at the Jack pine bonsai.

Forming these miniature trees is time-consuming but extremely rewarding. If you are looking for something different in your garden, consider giving bonsais a try.

If you have any questions at all then don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

Happy growing!

The Mighty Yew Tree and the Hick’s Yew

The yew treeTaxus baccata, resonates with myths.

We will first look take a glance at the yew in general.

After, we will move on to explore the Hick’s Yew (Taxus x media “Hicksii”). This evergreen shrub is perfect for tall hedges. It’s a first-rate landscape shrub ideal for shielding your property from prying eyes.

Background On The Yew

hick's yew

This evergreen conifer grows natively in Europe and North Africa.

From the family Taxaceae, the yew is known scientifically as Taxus baccata.

What Does The Yew Look Like?

  • General Overview: These staggering trees can grow up to 20m high when mature. They can endure for 400-600 years. There are some specimens in the UK believed to date back to the 10th century. Bark is a deep browny red color undercut with peeling and tones of purple
  • Flowers: Dioecious, male and female yew flowers grow on separate trees. You will spot them in March or April. The male flowers are whitish and shaped like a globe. Female flowers resemble scaly buds.  They are green but turn brown with age
  • Leaves: The small straight needles have pointed tips. They are dark green above and lighter underneath. Two rows of them grow on each side of the twig
  • Fruits: Most conifers bear their seeds in a cone. The yew is different. Seeds are instead enclosed in an aril. This is a fleshy, red appendage like a berry. There are highly toxic alkaloids in the seeds. The aril itself is not poisonous. Some enterprising birds have learned how to navigate the toxins and access the nutritious embryo inside

Where To Find Yew

yew tree

Yew is extremely common in southern England and throughout continental Europe. It is also native to parts of North Africa.

Yew regularly forms part of the understory of beech woodland.

It’s prized as a hedging plant and is routinely to be seen in the grounds of churches.

Is The Yew Useful For Wildlife?

In a word, yes.

Dense yew hedges offer birds shelter and protection. It’s also a great place for them to nest.

The firecrest and the goldcrest are the smallest birds in the UK. They make their nests in the yew understorey of woodland.

goldcrest yew tree

Birds and other small mammals like dormice and squirrels feast on the fruit of the yew tree.

Caterpillars munch on the leaves.

All round, the yew is prized for many reasons including the bounty it provides for other creatures.

Symbolism and Myths

There is a lengthy history of yew trees being planted in churchyards. No less than 500 churches in England have yews that are older than the building itself. The reasons for this are uncertain. One theory suggests that they were planted by the graves of plague victims to purify the corpses. Another idea is that the toxic leaves would prevent cows from menacing the graveyard.

Historically, yews have been considered as both omens of doom and symbols of being immortal.

The branches of the tree have been carried for centuries at weddings and on certain religious occasions.

How Is The Yew Used?

The close grain of the rich yew timber is incredibly strong and very durable. This strength means that even trees with hollowed out trunks can still remain standing.

Yew has traditionally been used to make bows and arrows as well as the handles for tools.

One of the most popular contemporary uses for yew is for hedging and topiary.

Certain anti-cancer compounds are extracted from the foliage and used in modern medicine. These are the toxic taxane alkaloids

The yew is a highly versatile tree.


hick's yew is poisonous

The alkaloids harnessed to fight cancer are actually incredible dangerous in their untouched state.

In fact, all parts of the yew except for the aril are dangerous. If a child eats just a few leaves it can have serious repercussions. It could even kill them.


The yew is a mighty tree so how about the Hick’s yew in particular?

A Brief Look At The Hick’s Yew

hick's yew

Source: Okanagan Xeriscape

The Hick’s yew is known as Taxus x media “Hicksii”. This means that it is a hybrid of English and Japanese yews.

It flourishes in colder climates and its popularity is such that it can be often overused in landscaping.

It adapts well to pruning and grows slowly. This makes it an ideal choice if you have a small garden or live in an urban environment.

Hick’s yew will grow up to 12 feet tall and anywhere from 3 to 4 feet wide. It has a low canopy and clears the floor by 1 foot.

The branches grow long and upright making spectacular and effective hedges.

Leaves are dark green. They turn lighter in the spring. Flowers are not especially striking. In terms of fruits, you will witness red drupes throughout the fall.

The yew is one of the very few evergreens that thrive in the shade. It has a much more delicate texture than other less refined foliage.

Hick’s yew is low maintenance with no real downside to it.

It comes highly recommended in several areas of landacaping:

  • General gardening
  • Screening and hedges
  • Topiary
  • Mass planting
  • Vertical accent

How To Plant Hick’s Yew

  1. Look for somewhere with good drainage and partial sun. Although Hick’s yew copes well with the shade, it will flourish with at least a little sunlight. More important is to ensure that the soil drains freely and fully. Steer clear of anywhere that water collects
  2. Measure up the root ball
  3. Dig out a hole that’s 1 foot wider and a few inches deeper than the roots. Set the removed soil aside
  4. Get yourself some organic matter and work it in where the soil has been removed. Chuck in some coarse sand. Make sure you take out any rocks or large sticks you come across
  5. Fill up the hole with the soil you took out. Do this until the yew can sit flush with or even slightly above the surface. This allows plenty of air to reach the roots and stops any chance of the plant suffocating
  6. Fill up the hole with water from a hose. When the soil has settled, add some more. Repeat this procedure until the hole is completely filled

Handy Hint: If you plant your Hick’s yew in the early part of fall, you’ll avoid the first freeze. Water your newly planted shrubbery on a weekly basis. Once fully established, watering can be reduced.


Rich in mythology and well-documented for its toxicity, the yew is a formidable part of our landscape.

If you are looking for a no-nonsense hedge to keep out prying eyes while still looking attractive, the Hick’s yew is well worth looking into.

We always like to hear any feedback so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any comments or questions.

Happy gardening!

Best Fertilizer For Grass 2017

If you properly fertilize your lawn then you’ll enjoy a vibrant, healthy and deep green landscape.

A proper feed schedule means that your grass will grow back rapidly after mowing as well as growing better.

The cornerstone of maintaining a lush lawn, in addition to mowing regularly, is the upkeep of a proper fertilizing regime. Giving the soil a helping hand and adding nutrients as required boosts color and also sees off any intruding weeds.

The critical ingredient is nitrogen although carbon and oxygen also play their role along with other minor nutrients.

Different types of grass require different proportions so it pays to do your homework.

One knock-on effect of a regular fertilizing routine is that you will subsequently need to mow your lawn more frequently. Look at this in a positive light: anything worthwhile demands a certain level of effort.

We will look today at some of the best fertilizer for grass reviews.

These 5 products are all quite widely recommended and are sure to help your lawn to flourish.

1) Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food

Miracle-Gro 1001233 All Purpose Plant Food - 5 Pound

This universally renowned and versatile fertilizer comes packed with 36% nitrogen. A healthy dose of potassium is included to give your lawn the extra boost it needs to realize its full potential.

You can easily dissolve this all-purpose food in water. Be careful to get the correct mixture or you run the risk of burning the grass.

Miracle Gro is equally useful for indoor and outdoor plants.

When you plan to fertilize, you will need a decent window of time before, during and after. Once you are done, make sure that pets and kids stay off the grass for at least 24 hours.

As well as a highly competitive price tag, you’ll also only need to apply this fertilizer once or twice a year. You’ll cover around 5000 square feet with a 5-pound box so it’s cost-effective as well as great at its job.

Take note that this is not an organic fertilizer. This does not detract from its ease of use and affordability but you will need to call for the disposal of any unused feed.

The beauty is that with Miracle Gro, if you have given your lawn enough attention, you can also use the plant food on trees, plants, flowers or shrubs.

2) Scott’s Natural Lawn Food

Scotts Natural Lawn Food - 4,000-sq ft

The beauty is that with Miracle Gro, if you have given your lawn enough attention, you can also use the plant food on trees, plants, flowers or shrubs.

This turf-building natural lawn food is reasonably priced and packs a high nitrogen count. It poses no problems to children or animals so you can use it worry-free.

You will need 12 pounds of this fertilizer to deal with 5000 square feet so bear this in mind when calculating the value for money.

The recommended application is every 6-8 weeks throughout the growing season so you will not only need more initially but will need to fertilize more often than with some alternative plant feeds.

This flexible fertilizer will trap water in the soil to aid the optimum hydration of your lawn.

As with many lawn fertilizers, care needs to be taken when disposing of waste and adequate precautions taken.

With Scott’s, you’ll get no unpleasant smells and can enjoy using a product which is far safer than chemical fertilizers.

3) Milorganite Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer

Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer, 36-Pound

As outlined above, chemical fertilizers are not without their drawbacks. Many people are deciding to move away from this method of lawn care.

The immediate advantage of this organic option is that you will not experience your lawn being burned. OK, when that happens the grass recovers soon enough but it’s handy not to be inconvenienced by this at all.

The heat-dried organic formula poses no threats to people or livestock. This is always important when considering fertilizers. Safety is paramount.

If your grass is tired and needs a real kickstart then Milorganite is a smart choice. You’ll notice a rapid and tangible benefit within weeks of fertilizing.

You can dole out nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to your grass with some iron thrown in to extract maximum greenness. Sulphur, copper, manganese and zinc are also included and valuable nutrients for your lawn.

Milorganite responds well to application at any time during the growing season. It also copes admirably in most climates.

The 36 pound bag will cover 4000 square feet if used 4 times so it’s a budget-conscious and ecologically-sound feeding method.

Milorganite can also be pressed into action for plants, flowers or shrubbery so it’s well worth popping on your shortlist.

4) Humboldt’s Secret Golden Tree

Humboldts Secret Golden Tree

This liquid solution from Humboldt’s Secret is a fantastic consideration for the best lawn fertilizer.

You can benefit from a range of different nutrients in one useful product. Everyone likes to save time and money. With Golden Tree you can do both while treating your lawn in the manner it deserves.

There are no miracle cures for most things but this plant food comes close with results noticeable within a day or two at most.

You can watch your lawn grow more rapidly with lasting results and added strength.

If you go for the 8 oz bottle you can extract 125 gallons of the feeding solution. It’s a professional grade fertilizer which stimulates the development of your plants. Basal metabolism will be increased while nitrogen will be encouraged to assimilate better.

Golden Tree is ruthlessly effective on other garden greenery as well so if you are looking to overhaul your entire yard with a much-needed shot of varied nutrients, this liquid could be just what you have been looking for.

5) Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer​

Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer - 25 Pounds

A final option for you to think about is this efficient plant fertilizer from Safer Brand.

You can enjoy an odor-free nutrient session to promote quick growth with no danger of damage to lawn in the case of over-application.

The nitrogen here is obtained from feather meal while bonemeal acts to aid slow release. Soybean works as a great filler to help balance things out. Not only will this cause the grass to grow nice and thickly, you’ll get the fringe benefit of killing weeds.

There are no manures of other smells to contend with so fertilizing time will not menace your family or neighbors.

With 25 pounds you can cover 5000 square feet. Keenly priced, Safer Brand offers quality without overcharging.

It’s a fertilizer which works very well on all types of grass so if you have been let down with other attempts at feeding your lawn, consider this plant fertilizer. Safer Brand might just deliver where you have been previously let down.


We will look at more facts about fertilizing in a coming article.

Hopefully you can analyze your needs and preferences. One of the above 5 best fertilizer for grass should solve your maintenance needs once and for all.

Once you have found the feeding program that gives best results then stick with it. The only challenge is making sure that you keep to the schedule and in turn mow the lawn regularly to really get the very most from your garden.

Explore the rest of our site for many handy pieces about all aspects of gardening.