Kit Smith

Grow For It! Poison oak

Spring is approaching and that means poison oak will start growing. Poison oak is not a pest but rather part of the plant community. It thrives in all temperatures, types of soil, moisture and light. Its botanical name is Toxicodendron diversilobum. Poison oak that thrives in the sun is a dense, deciduous woody shrub that […]

Grow For It! Year-round blossoms for the garden

For those who prefer gardens full of color, here are a few suggestions of plants and trees with extended flowering times. The white spiky gaura, sweet alyssum, Scabiosa columbaria — the pastel colored pincushion flower and hybrid gazania can bloom all year long. So too, can the Gerbera daisy. Its color really peaks in early […]

Grow For It! Check the roots first

Roots are the first place to look when diagnosing a plant or tree problem. Roots are very important to plants. They uptake nutrients, oxygen and water and transport those to the rest of the plant. They produce essential compounds and store food. Roots support the structure, so give them plenty of room to develop and […]

Grow For It! Drought tolerant California native plants

The definition of a drought tolerant plant is one that has adapted to dry conditions by changes in its stomata, water storage or root systems. These adaptations have produced plants that can survive and thrive in the present conditions. A California native plant is one that grew here before European explorers arrived, has evolved over […]

Grow For It! Answers to farmers market gardening questions

By far the majority of questions asked of UCCE Master Gardeners at the farmers market booth concern water use and irrigation. Here are a few of the suggestions we make. Consider having lawn only where desired, for entertainment or play. Drip irrigation is one way to get water deep down to the roots of plants […]

July 16, 2014 | Posted in Prospecting | Tagged ,

Grow For It!: County fair: show off your garden bounty

It is time to think about this year’s El Dorado County Fair, set for Thursday, June 12 through Sunday, June 15. The fairgrounds are located at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville, north of Highway 50. Ample parking is available. The Master Gardeners are managing the flowers and plants department and have lots of exciting things […]

Grow For It!: Gifts for the gardener

Here is a list of gifts a favorite gardener might want to receive. • Gloves and another pair of gloves • Bird feeder • Hand tools such as bypass pruners or loppers (Bypass tools use a scissor action to make a clean cut that does not crush the stem.) • Spading fork and trowel • […]

Grow For It! Saving and storage of plant seeds

In growing plants from seed, it’s important to understand the difference between open-pollination and heirloom seeds and seeds produced by hybrid plants. Open-pollinated seeds are as nature created them, and they are pollinated by insects, birds and butterflies. The openly pollinated seed will produce a duplicate of the plant that produced the seed. An open-pollinated […]

Grow For It! Plants for privacy

To create your own space consider the following evergreen trees and shrubs to plant a screen. Popular and easy to grow is photinia, which is a dense growing shrub of bright green and red leaves that matures to dark green. It blooms summer white flowers and fall berries. Prune to shape the photinia before spring […]

Grow For It! Late summer garden spruce ups

Here are some late summer flowers that will rejuvenate the look of the garden and lift any gardener’s spirits. Summer hyacinth (Galtonia candicans) is a perennial bulb; plant it now for next year’s bloom. It has a blooming funnel-shaped flower and the plant wants regular water during spring and summer growth and bloom. Like the […]

Grow For It!: Helping plants through the heat

Plants show stress due to inadequate water in a number of ways. They wilt, their leaves turn brown and crisp around the edges and drop, branches die back and blooming stops or blossoms prematurely drop. Chlorophyll production starts to shut down and leaves lose their green color because plants are trying to conserve water. In […]

Grow For It! The perils of over-fertilizing plants and trees

Understanding the difference between fertilizers and amendments is important in plant care. Fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants in the form of soluble salt compounds and directly affect plant growth. Soil amendments indirectly affect plants by improving the physical or chemical properties of soil. When applying fertilizer, always read and follow all label directions carefully […]

Grow For It! Shade gardening

As summer brings in warmer temperatures and the stresses of heat become apparent on some plants in gardens, a look at some plants and trees that grow well in partial to full shade can help spruce up the yard or garden. Ferns prefer no direct sunlight. The ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) needs rich soil and […]

Grow For It!: How past weather affects today’s garden

Gardeners may notice the effects of last year’s unusual weather on their plants now. El Dorado County gardeners experienced many very hot days, a hard freeze, an inordinate number of windy days, heavy rain over a short amount of time and then a rather dry winter. Very high temperatures and dry air late last summer […]

Grow for it! Cutting gardens

Cutting gardens can have perennials and annuals — and they can be both a beautiful addition to any yard, as well as a way to save money by making your own floral arrangements. Plant flowers that will be cut for inside enjoyment in well-drained soil amended with compost and keep in mind most like full […]

Grow For It!: Geraniums and pelargoniums

Geraniums and pelargoniums are easy to grow perennials and familiar to both gardener and flower lover. The most common geraniums are pelargoniums. True geraniums are called geraniums or cranesbills. Both geraniums and pelargonium are in the Geraniaceae family, but each is a different genus and with hundreds of species. The cranesbill name comes from the […]

Grow For It! Plant fungal diseases

Plant diseases are generally defined as disorders in plants caused by pathogens like fungi, bacteria and viruses. However, environmental factors such as the excess or lack of water, fertilizer, and light can also affect plant health by producing symptoms of disease. Diseases caused by pathogens can spread to other plants. Disease-like symptoms caused by environmental […]

Grow For It!: Lawn alternatives

There is much discussion these days on eliminating grass lawns, and unless your lawn gets a lot of use for play by kids and pets, it’s definitely something to consider. Grass lawns are heavy consumers of water and fertilizer and often require pesticides and fungicides to keep them looking their best. They are also maintenance […]

Grow Fot It! Gardenias

Is there anything more gloriously fragrant than the lovely gardenia? Here are a few tips to keep your gardenias thriving throughout the year. Gardenias are evergreen and thrive in full or partial sun. Gardenias need heat to bloom and will bloom from May until the end of the warm weather. Plant the gardenia high, as […]

Grow For It! Summer garden chores checklist

June 21, was the official start of summer. So on that note, here is a list summer of garden chores to get started for the season. Walk the yard to assess if it is thriving or just surviving in the summer heat. While out there, check the watering system for clogs. Is it putting out […]

Grow For It: Getting started in the garden

Are you a novice gardener? Do you need a plan to get started in your garden? Here are some ideas and information to get you started on the right track this spring. To start the planning stage, take a look around and note the following in your garden: the elevation, slope, soil, sunlight, water availability, […]

Grow For It! Dormant sprays

Dormant sprays are a generic term for the application of pesticides — including fungicides, highly refined horticultural oils, and oils in combination with a pesticide — applied to trees during the fall, winter and start of spring. Dormant sprays provide efficient and economical treatments for a number of diseases and over-wintering pests, such as; scale, […]

Grow For It! Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are easy to grow and produce long lasting blooms and beautiful garden color. There are 160 species of “mums” with diverse blooms, sizes and foliage textures. Chrysanthemum blooms are composed of many individual flowers or florets. At the center are the disk florets. Ray florets are found on the perimeter. One of the most […]

Grow for it: Greenhouse — Things to consider

Are you thinking about getting a greenhouse or building a cold frame or a “lean-to” that attaches to the side of the house? There are many types and styles on the market. You’ll find ready-made structures, kits to build your own, and Websites with detailed step-by-step instructions; you might even build your structure by recycling […]

Grow for it: Aggressive garden plants

Sometimes the home gardener selects an attractive plant for the landscape only to find out later that it is aggressive, and, if left untended, takes over more of the planting area than was intended. These plants do not fall within the definition of weeds, because they are wanted in the garden but, like weeds, they […]

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Master Gardener: Trees to avoid planting

There are a number of trees to avoid planting because they will grow too large for the space at hand, are messy or are too thirsty. Consider the climate, soil, space, sunlight and available irrigation water when deciding whether and where to plant a tree. A tree can be a lovely and important addition to […]

Flowering plants add beauty and scents to yard

UCCE Master Gardener El Dorado County Before planting any plant, think about what it needs in terms of irrigation, soil nutrients, sun, air and space. There is nothing more delightful than fragrance in the garden. Most recognize roses and honeysuckle for their fragrance, but did you know that there are many plants that have wonderful […]

Nature has an influence on plant reproduction

UCCE/El Dorado County Master Gardener Nature has a big hand in plant reproduction and any article about this would not be complete without a discussion of dormancy. Most of us recognize trees in their dormant state. But did you know that a seed is considered to be in a dormant state as well? Dormancy Seeds […]

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