Salisbury Press

Monday, April 6, 2020

Growing Green: Heavenly hellebores include the Lenten Rose

Friday, March 20, 2020 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Winter-blooming hellebores have extensive, woody root systems that enable them to thrive and bloom in freezing temperatures.

The earliest blooming hellebores (Heleborus foetitus) in the Lehigh Valley can bloom as early as December and may continue into April. In a cool spring, some species will continue blooming into May, by which time they will set seed and stop producing flowers.

Growing Green: Deep in winter, plan for spring

Monday, February 3, 2020 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

The days are shorter (albeit getting slightly longer minute by minute), the wind is cold and plants are dormant. Even so, this is one of the best times to start planning for spring.

During winter, we should be preparing for another successful season of gardening. Here are some tips to make your garden a success.

Check out the landscape for signs of insects and diseases. Be on the lookout for spotted lanternfly egg masses. For information on what to look for and how to destroy the eggs: extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

Growing Green: The logarithms of fireplace logs

Friday, January 17, 2020 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Choosing firewood to burn in your fireplace or wood-burning stove is much like selecting any favorite item.

The fuel-wood connoisseur will want to choose his or her wood carefully and weigh his or her needs and tastes before building a fire.

Softwoods, like pine, spruce and fir, are easy to ignite because they are resinous. They burn rapidly with a hot flame.

However, since a fire built entirely of softwoods burns out quickly, it requires frequent attention and replenishment.

Growing Green: Try indoor gardening

Friday, January 3, 2020 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

The weather may be cold, but your green thumb is still itching.

What can you do? You can still do some gardening, even at this time of the year: indoor gardening.

We see amaryllis being sold every fall in the local grocery store or garden center. They look great, but are they easy to grow? As with any plant, give it the right conditions and some TLC and you’ll reap the rewards.

Care to make holiday plants last

Friday, November 29, 2019 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

The holiday season is made more alive and enjoyable by the flowering and fruiting plants associated with it. You can enjoy these plants long after the holidays have become a memory, if you are willing to administer a little sensible care.

The favorite is the poinsettia, available in varying shades of red, pink, white and marbled. Exposure to freezing temperatures, to overheated or drafty rooms, or to several days of drying may cut short your enjoyment of a poinsettia, regardless of how much or little tender loving care you lavish on it.

Growing Green: Some perennials make the cut

Friday, November 15, 2019 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Most of the perennials in the garden are finished blooming and it’s time to throw in the towel for the growing season.

Some perennials, however, can be left standing and this begs the question, “to cut or not to cut?”

It’s easy to make a decision with annuals. After the first frost when they are blackened and looking ugly, pull them out and throw them in the compost bin.

Likewise, clean up plant debris from the vegetable garden.

When asked what to do with perennials, as with many gardening questions, the answer is: “It depends.”

Growing Green: Stopping Spotted Lanterfly

Friday, September 27, 2019 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

It unfortunately was a productive Summer of 2019 for the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest present in Pennsylvania and some other eastern states.

The SLF threatens grape production, tree health and can damage high-value ornamentals in home landscapes.

At stake are Pennsylvania’s grape, tree-fruit, hardwood, nursery and landscape businesses, which generate agricultural crops and forest products worth nearly $18 billion annually.

Native to parts of Asia, the SLF was identified for the first time in the United States in Hereford, Berks County, in 2014.

Growing Green: Home is where mosquitoes are

Friday, September 6, 2019 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Mosquitoes are small, primitive flies that breed in standing water.

During their life, they pass through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

The eggs, which are laid in or near water, hatch into larvae (wrigglers) within a few days. In many cases, the eggs are laid in bunches in distinct, raftlike structures, but they also may be laid singly.

Growing Green: Tips for propagating native plants

Friday, June 14, 2019 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Choosing plants native to the Lehigh Valley can improve gardening success since many of these plants have adapted to the region over hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

However, not all plants native to the region will thrive in the garden. Like any other plants, some natives have very exacting requirements for moisture, soil, and even microscopic fungi. Native orchids, such as the lady slipper orchids, are one such example usually best left to be enjoyed in their natural forest environment.

Growing Green: ‘Mulch volcano’

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Overmulching landscape trees is common.

This is most obvious when mulch extends up the trunk, smothering the root flare and root zone.

This practice, known as “volcano mulching,” results in a “mulch volcano,” and is never recommended and should not be utilized.

As beneficial as mulch is, too much mulch is harmful.

Deep mulch may suppress weeds, but it wastes time and money and can cause major health problems that lead to tree decline and possibly death.

There are many problems associated with overmulching.