Covering Ground

Urban Forestry book Book Review: Urban Forests: A Natural History

I was researching the history of a centennial elm on Old Saybrook's Main Street when an acquaintance suggested I pick up a copy of "Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees in the American Cityscape" by Jill Jonnes. The cover looks like a textbook and the title is almost as exciting, but never judge a book by its cover.

Witness Tree by Lynda Mapes Book Review: Witness Tree by Lynda V. Mapes

Fast moving and not overly technical, the tale of "Witness Tree" takes us down the path of bio-geographic research, particularly as it pertains to trees. Long-lived as they are, today's trees are likely to encounter unprecedented conditions as they age. The story takes place at Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA, one of the most studied forests in the world.

Book Review: The Hidden Half of Nature

David Montgomery and Ann Bikle peer into the scientific community's current understanding of the microbial world and its interactions with plants, insects, animals, and people. The writers, a husband and wife team, also bring a personal angle to their motivation for digging into the fast-emerging field of microbial medicine.

Rhododendron planted in the wrong place, results in poor plant health "Bring Me a Shrubbery!"

In the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his band are blocked by the dreaded Knight Who Says “Ni!” in an enchanted forest.

“Bring me a shrubbery,” demands the giant Knight, adding, “One that looks nice...And not too expensive.”

Seeds germinate in the top three inches of soil. Avoid stirring soil to avoid weed seeds near the surface. Let sleeping dogs (and weed seeds) lie

For many of us, May seems like the very beginning of the growing season. The tomatoes are still in the greenhouse and squash seeds still in the packet.

But by May 15, many weedy plants are already dropping the year's first crop of viable seeds. To reduce future weeds, we need to pull or dead-head seedheads before they can spread.

Baby girl visits a container-grown raspberry. Photo by Don't contain your enthusiasm when it comes to container growing

When it comes to container gardens for the home grower, what's not to like? 

Container-grown plants can live close to the kitchen door, convenient to watch, water, and harvest. They are easier to protect from deer and other critters. They largely avoid the weeds and diseases that often visit in-ground gardens.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Plan an Herbicide-Free Attack on Landscape Weeds

(See the complete article at The Day.)

There are no weed-free landscapes, but luckily there are good alternatives to herbicides for some weeds. But we need a plan. 

Japanese barberry thorns Beware the first leaves of spring

Think of them as bait-and-switch artists. They're among the first to leaf out in the shade of backyards, street edges, town parks, and forests.

But take a closer look.

Winterburn on boxwood Early spring is a great time to assess health of shrubs and trees

Have you seen trees and shrubs turning brown or ashen gray on one side at the end of winter? You may be looking at winterburn. It's a condition that usually occurs on the south and southwest sides of needled and broadleaf evergreens when winter sunshine heats one side of the plant above the ambient temperature and wrecks havoc on the plant's internal moisture system.

Gardening Under Lights by Leslie F. Halleck Shedding some light on the latest in grow lights

I have long wished I could find horticultural lighting that didn't cost a fortune to operate. For several years, I've revisited the topic of LED lights for indoor growing. At last, their day has arrived.