Native plants create beautiful landscapes that provide native wildlife with the diverse habitat and food they need to survive.
Plants are the foundation of local ecosystems. As such, they maintain the natural heritage of a region.
Native plants form the basis of the food chains that support bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds inhabiting our backyards. Because Pennsylvania’s native plants are adapted to grow here, they thrive with less maintenance, thereby reducing the labor and expense of watering and fertilizing.
Ground-overs are living plants or inert materials that serve to cover and protect the soil.
Plants used for groundcovers include many varieties. Grasses, vines and low-growing shrubs, flowers and herbs add color, fragrance and beauty to the garden. Some are self-seeding annuals. Others are perennials.
They can be deciduous or evergreen, broad-leafed or needle. They can range in size from a few inches to shrubs that reach three feet. Generally, the smaller the plant, the more versatile it is as a groundcover.
Container gardening means just that: Gardening in a container, any kind of container.
Old wash tubs, buckets, laundry baskets, enamel pots, ceramic pots, plastic pots ... virtually any kind of container can be used.
Container gardening is a way for everyone to have plants anywhere. The container can be on your porch, on a windowsill, in your yard, beside your front steps on a deck or patio, any place you can fit a container.
The mosquito (Aedes aegypti) that carries the Zika Virus is not a threat in the Lehigh Valley. It is a tropical species and not adapted to the region’s cooler climate.
We do have the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which is considered a potential vector for the Zika Virus. We also have plenty of Culex mosquitoes, the species that transmits West Nile virus.
Special to The Press
If you are tired of a plain winter landscape, now is the time to check out plants that have a great deal of interesting characteristics that stand out at this time of the year.
Paperbark maple is an ideal specimen tree and is well-suited for use in small yards. It can be grown at the edge of the woods, or possibly planted in small groves.
The paperbark maple, Acer griseum, is native to central China. This lovely small tree has become a favorite ornamental of temperate climate gardeners around the world.
Put out a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) alert for the spotted lanternfly.
No, this is not a TV police drama, but continued vigilance is needed for the invasive spotted lanternfly. It has not been found outside of the six Berks County townships under quarantine (District, Pike, Earl, Hereford, Washington and Rockland) yet. But if it exists outside of that area, everyone wants to know.
The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), an invasive plant-hopper, was discovered in Berks County in 2014. This pest is native to China, India, Japan, Vietnam, and was introduced to Korea.
Perhaps the single most important (and easiest) management tool to control weeds in turf is performing proper mowing practices.
One maintenance practice that most turf has in common is mowing. A common overlooked fact is that mowing plays a large role in the type and amount of weeds present.
You may have heard of the one-third rule, which states to never mow off more than one third of the plant. This is a good rule of thumb to follow, but there is more to keep in mind.
Tree health can be difficult to determine, but checking your tree yearly may help you notice problems as they appear.
Is this year's growth much less than past years' growth? Fast growth does not mean good health, but a dramatic reduction in growth rate may be an indication of poor health.
Here's a tip: Look at the branch tips or tree top. A year's branches will typically be smaller in diameter and a different color.
All recipes are not for the kitchen.
If you're interested in plump, juicy tomatoes this summer, here's a recipe for the garden.
Don't plant tomatoes in the same location year after year.
Plant tomatoes that are disease-resistant. They may be labeled "VFN." If you have space in the garden, plant two or more varieties. This increases your chances of good production.
The calendar does actually indicate winter is officially over.
But, as experience has shown, the weather is very unpredictable. Mother Nature pays no attention to what month it is.
The home landscape this time of year is in need of cheering up. There are better and brighter days ahead even though things look dirty and old. It would be nice to see some color around the yard.
Right now at your local garden center you can have your choice of a host of colors. The greenhouses are full of pansies.