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By Ellen Nibali, Special to The Baltimore Sun | November 22, 2011
Is there such thing as leaf-cycling? I grass-cycle. Do leaves add fertilizer to lawns like grass clippings do? How deep can I make the shredded leaves? Green organic materials are high in nitrogen. Grass-cycling can add as much as half of your lawn's yearly nitrogen fertilizer. Brown organic materials, such as leaves, improve soil structure and add some nitrogen, though not as much as is added by the same weight of grass clippings. By all means, leaf-cycle by mowing your fallen leaves and grass.
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By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun | April 4, 2013
I'd like to grow carrots, but I hear it's tricky. Any tips? Because carrots are roots that need to push through soil, having light loose soil is a big determiner of success. For carrots, a depth of 12 inches is ideal. Add compost to your soil structure. It is the Year of the Root Crop on Grow It Eat It, our all-vegetables. all-the-time site. Find us at our new url: extension.umd.edu/hgic. Our online newsletter starts off the year with a great article providing many tips for growing root crops in Maryland.
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FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun | April 4, 2013
I'd like to grow carrots, but I hear it's tricky. Any tips? Because carrots are roots that need to push through soil, having light loose soil is a big determiner of success. For carrots, a depth of 12 inches is ideal. Add compost to your soil structure. It is the Year of the Root Crop on Grow It Eat It, our all-vegetables. all-the-time site. Find us at our new url: extension.umd.edu/hgic. Our online newsletter starts off the year with a great article providing many tips for growing root crops in Maryland.
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2013
I'm losing one blue spruce after another. Branches die at the base near the trunk, though tips stay green at first. Then it works its way up until the entire tree dies. It takes a few years. I don't see any signs of insects. They're planted on a hill in clay soil. Cytospora canker disease is extremely common on blue spruce. This fungus targets blue spruce stressed by drought or poor site conditions. Spores invade through openings such as mower wounds. Older (lower) branches are more susceptible than younger ones.
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2013
I'm losing one blue spruce after another. Branches die at the base near the trunk, though tips stay green at first. Then it works its way up until the entire tree dies. It takes a few years. I don't see any signs of insects. They're planted on a hill in clay soil. Cytospora canker disease is extremely common on blue spruce. This fungus targets blue spruce stressed by drought or poor site conditions. Spores invade through openings such as mower wounds. Older (lower) branches are more susceptible than younger ones.
NEWS
By Dennis Bishop and Dennis Bishop,Special to the Sun | March 7, 2004
During the last week's warm spell, I began preparing a flowerbed, but the soil was still very wet. Should I till it now or wait for the soil to dry out? Aside from the weather, the one factor that limits gardeners more than all others is poor soil. To improve poor soil, you have to work with it and that typically requires digging or tilling in lots of organic matter. When organic matter is worked into dry soil, it can be thoroughly mixed in and breaks up the clay. This improves the overall soil structure.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | February 26, 2009
The fruit trees in the catalogs look great, but the companies ship the trees "bare-root." Will those trees grow well, since they have been out of the soil so long? They'll flourish, provided their roots are not allowed to dry out. It is standard practice to ship young fruit trees when dormant. Trees are packaged carefully to keep moisture around the roots. Time the shipping for a good time to plant. If your soil is unworkable (frozen or too wet) when the trees arrive, and you can't plant right away, keep the roots moist and store the trees in a cool location.
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali and David Clement and Ellen Nibali and David Clement,Special to The Sun | February 10, 2007
Can you suggest a small tree for full sun under power lines? I'd prefer a native tree, trouble-free and not susceptible to insects and disease. Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), Choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) and sassafras are possibilities. For additional information and a list of native plant nurseries, go to the Maryland Native Plant Society Web site, mdflora.org. I should have aerated and over-seeded in the fall, but I missed the time frame. Is it OK to aerate and over-seed in spring?
FEATURES
November 30, 1997
I want to improve my vegetable garden soil this fall. A co-worker has offered me some horse manure. Is this going to be safe for my garden? I'm a little worried about E. coli and other diseases.Horse manure and other farmyard manures are excellent for supplying nutrients to soil and improving soil structure. Yes, there are risks, but they can be minimized. First, select manure that has been composted and aged for three to four months (harmful microbes are killed by the composting process)
FEATURES
March 9, 1997
Can I grow tomato seedlings in a sunny window and get good results?A window with an unobstructed Southern exposure may give you sufficient light. However, vegetable and flower transplants grown windowsills are subject to drafts and temperature extremes. Often the result is a spindly plant.It's best to grow transplants under 4-foot-long "shop lights," fitted with cool, white fluorescent light tubes. Run the lights 14-16 hours each day, keep the tops of your seedlings only 1-2 inches from the light tubes and don't overwater.
NEWS
By Ellen Nibali, Special to The Baltimore Sun | November 22, 2011
Is there such thing as leaf-cycling? I grass-cycle. Do leaves add fertilizer to lawns like grass clippings do? How deep can I make the shredded leaves? Green organic materials are high in nitrogen. Grass-cycling can add as much as half of your lawn's yearly nitrogen fertilizer. Brown organic materials, such as leaves, improve soil structure and add some nitrogen, though not as much as is added by the same weight of grass clippings. By all means, leaf-cycle by mowing your fallen leaves and grass.
FEATURES
By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI and JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 25, 2006
We have 8-foot-tall ornamental grasses planted too close to a fence. Now they grow on both sides, with the center of the 2-to-3-foot root balls under the fence. Any suggestions on how to divide them? A shovel's not doing the trick. You'll need to ratchet up your tools. Mature ornamental grasses make incredibly dense crowns and root balls. People have been known to chain or rope the root ball to a truck to pull them out of the ground, then divide it with a chainsaw. We don't recommend that approach.
FEATURES
February 22, 1998
We have hundreds of strange-looking insects that just appeared inside and outside our home. They are brown in color, nearly an inch long and have back legs like a grasshopper. What are they and should we be concerned?You are describing the adult leaf-footed bug. It feeds on some vegetable-garden plants but otherwise is harmless. The bugs over-winter in sheltered locations and emerge in the spring. This winter they have been stimulated by mild weather to move about with their other insect brethren.
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