Another year has passed us by. Many of our friends and customers have moved away from Dallas in search of new jobs and beginnings. We, too, have gone in search of new frontiers. This year we will be expanding Green Sense Natural Garden Product awareness by offering more educational material to our existing dealers and expanding the number of retail outlets that offer our Green Sense products.
Many of you have known that Rohde’s owns Green Sense Natural Garden Products- and those who don’t, now do. It is with the help of our longtime customers that changes have been made to improve our line of organic products. For those of you who were nice enough to share constructive criticism: Thanks.
If everyone that reads this newsletter would help us by spreading the word “Green Sense” around different nurseries and stores that sell garden products, I would appreciate it very much. Please let them know that Green Sense Natural Garden Products line has over 30 all natural items that will help improve the soil, combat fungal and other plant problems and soon Green Sense will even have biologic control agents for insect control. With over 50,000 readers on average going into different stores and asking for Green Sense products, maybe-- just maybe, we can make Green Sense easier for all to find and use.
For those of you who have helped us grow in the Dallas area and now have relocated to other areas of the United States, please continue to support us by word of mouth. Do not be shy - ask for what you want at your local garden supply store. Green Sense can grow with your help and for that I would like to say: “Thanks for your continued support”
Things to Do in January
Most of this month’s article will be about trees.
Howard Garrett had an article in the Dallas Morning News Garden Section on Friday November 15, 2002, titled “Ivy is hazardous to tree’s health.”
For the last several years I have seen a very large Cottonwood in our neighborhood become more and more entangled by the ivy growing up the tree, and out on the limbs. With each year that passed, the ivy became thicker and the leaves of the tree became scarcer. One day while I was walking with my fat hot dog dog, Alfred, I knocked on the door of my neighbors and tried to express my concerns concerning his vine-covered tree. I pointed out that not only was the tree showing fewer leaves, but also thought that the tree may be leaning towards the south. He said that the tree was not leaning, but because there was so much ivy on the south side it appeared to be leaning in that direction. I expressed my concern that the tree had few leaves on it due to the ivy blocking the light, and not letting the tree create more foliage. He told me that the tree had been like this for several years and that the tree was one of the reasons they bought this property. They loved the shade provided by the tree and really loved the draping ivy on the branches. A few weeks passed and we had a heavy storm. A few days after the storm, I drove by the house with the tree with the ivy. The tree was leaning so far over that the trunk of the tree was resting against the ground and the roots were completely exposed. I stopped my car and walked up to the neighbor’s house and rang the doorbell.
“Oh, it’s you again”, came the answer as the door opened. “Are you going to ask me if you can remove the tree?”
“No sir, I just stopped by to offer my condolences”, I responded.
“Do you think that the tree would have survived if we had cut the ivy back last week?” Asked my neighbor.
“No, I do not, more then likely the tree would have fallen because its roots were rotted, weakened or diseased from all the ivy growing around it”, was my response.
Mr.Tyson Woods manages the tree care division at Lambert’s Landscapes in Dallas. For several years I have consulted with him on tree issues that have puzzled me at some of the homes that Rohde’s maintains. Tyson has been nice enough to share some of his knowledge with me and has tackled difficult jobs that I did not feel comfortable with, because heavy equipment was needed for particular removals or other tasks.
Anyway, Tyson has talked to me about trees that were covered with English Ivy or other prolific vines that were growing into the canopy of the tree. Tyson pointed out that in homes were ivy grows on brick walls its roots eventually grow into the cracks of bricks and mortar. If ivy is strong enough to damage mortar and fired brick, imagine what it can do to the softer wood of trees.
As the roots penetrate the bark of trees, and sort of drills into the wood, it may allow insects easy access to the interior of the tree. NOT GOOD!
But, that is only the beginning of the problems. For a vine to climb a sixty-foot tree there must be a massive root system to support the vine’s growth. Go to any tree in question and look at the base of the tree, what do you see?
I am sure that you will find a tangle of vines at the base that spreads out into every direction before starting to climb. These vines can become tight as the tree trunk continues to grow outward.
I remember one girl I dated that was so slender she seemed to weigh no more then 120 lbs. Well, after several months of dating we went to Trader Vic’s for dinner and drinks and after that we went to my house. I was pleased at the way the evening was progressing. We decided to get more comfortable. Off came her girdle, followed by a sigh of relief from her and a gasp of surprise from me. After the initial shock and a few more months of dating, I married her any way.
How did I get onto that subject? Oh yeah, Girdle. Anyway the roots can prevent the proper flow of nutrients, the first sign of distress can be seen in the amount of foliage produced from one year to the next. Unfortunately many people do not have photographic memories, and cannot remember how full the canopy was in previous years. If you have a tree with ivy or other vines growing on it, take pictures of the tree from year to year and to remember try to review these periodically.
Have you noticed that most wood placed in direct contact with the soil will rot? Tyson pointed out that many trees are improperly planted and usually have an excess amount of soil built up around the base of the tree. I went out and saw several trees where Tyson’s crews had removed soil from around the flare of the tree trunk.
Around several of these trees, groundcover had been planted ten or more years ago. As the leaves fell from the tree and decomposed and as dust blew in and settled in and around the groundcover, the ground cover started to root out and makes its way up the side of the tree. At one house where Monkey Grass was the ground cover used around a live oak, grass actually started to grow up the side of the tree. The monkey grass and the excess soil was removed, leaving the bark of the tree exposed and proof that the soil was rotting the base of the tree, and causing the bark to be soft to the touch. As a matter of fact, we saw some indication of termite activity, as well as roaches scurrying around.
We have now gone to several of our customers homes to inspect trees with ground cover growing around the base of trees and have removed groundcover and soil from around the base of trees to expose the flair of the tree in hopes that the tree will prosper. We will be paying more attention to this matter as we complete landscape installations in the future.
Live and learn.
At this time of the year this would be a good project to work on. My recommendation is to cut vines that are growing up the side of the tree. You will be surprised that most of the vines will die, but some will stay green if left on the tree, more proof that roots of the vine have found moisture under the trees bark. Some of you impatient people will want to use a saw to sever the vines, especially the thick ones. If you promise to be careful and not cut into the bark of the tree, I will let you use a hand held saw, but if I catch anyone using a chain saw, why I, why I….you don’t want to know! After cutting the vines, you can let them dry up and pull them off a little easier. If you have nothing better to do, then just pull them off. It may take a little bit longer, but you can complete the job once and for all.
Is this not enough for you to do in January? If not...
Trees: While we’re on the subject of trees, let’s work on them a bit more.
If a tree branch is growing toward the house, driveway, sidewalk or any area where it may damage property or injure someone, remove it now.
Make sure you find the collar at the base of the branch and the tree trunk where you are going to make the cut. Cut on the outside of the collar. If you’re removing a very long and heavy branch, make sure that you cut the branch into sections so that the weight of the branch does not tear at the bark at the base of the branch connected to the trunk.
Use Green Sense Tree Goop to protect the fresh wound from insects.
Apply Green Sense Mycor Root Builder during the winter months. This will help by transferring water and nutrients to the trees roots. As the tree roots absorb more water they will grow longer and wider, enabling them to gather more nutrients and water. There are two kinds of Green Sense Mycor Root Builder; one is a granule for dry application and the other is a water soluble best applied through deep root injection.
Spray Pecan and Fruit Trees with Dormant Oil now; reapply in February. Read the directions on the bottle. Remember that the best time to apply is when temperatures are between 40 and 70 degrees F. Apply on a day when the wind is at a minimum and apply enough product to allow coverage in crevices and cracks. This is best done when the tree does not have leaves on it and before buds begin to swell. The reason to apply is to smother over- wintering pests, so complete coverage is required. If you cannot spray the highest points of the tree, hire an applicator. ROHDE’S!
If you have Dormant Oil left over from last year, you should still be able to use it as long as you shake the bottle vigorously (better than stirring).
Last year we had some customer’s say that the added Streptomycin to their Dormant Oil for Fungi control. Two different customers said that they sprayed apple and pear trees with a combination of the two products with great results.
Now, I must remind you that there are some things that you should not do.Do not spray every plant and tree on your property. You will kill all insects good and bad. Try to remember which plants gave you problems last year.
Dormant Oil can burn tender foliage of Pansies, Snapdragons and other flowers so cover them up.
Rake up fallen leaves of plants that had heavy insect or fungal infestations.
Thoroughly compost these leaves before using them in your garden.
And, do I really have to tell you to use caution so that the oil does not spray back on to you? It’s not toxic, just not a good idea.
Reprinted from Issue #14
We bring bareroot trees into our nursery during the month of January and hope to sell out by March 1st. This time period is excellent for buying and transplanting bare root trees. The price is normally three times cheaper then buying a container grown or balled and burlap tree or vine. The selection is great, but it is first come, first serve. To be honest, there is very little difference between one tree or the other, leading you to believe that these trees are cloned. I do not want to reveal my sources, but these trees come from one of the oldest and most respected growers in the US.
Here are some tips to planting and caring for growing bare root trees.
The most important thing to remember is that you must not let roots of bare root trees dry out even for a short while. That does not mean that you should break a hole in the bag that they came in and fill them with water, like we did. Duuuuuhh! Before we realized what had happened we noticed that the trunks of 6 six tree where turning black. Upon inspection we noticed that someone had filled the bags that the bare root trees had come in, and were full of water. Keep them in moist, (not wet) organic matter or dig a shallow trench and bury the roots temporarily before planting. Try to keep them upright so that the sun does not burn the exposed surface. Do not lay them flat!
Never plant in soils that are so wet that the water runs into the hole as you dig.
Plant high; keeping the crown area above the original soil line, this is a transitional section where the trunk develops into roots. This area should be kept as dry as possible, especially in the spring when the tree is leafing out. If you take time to look, you will see that there is a different color between the lower section of the tree (root) and the trunk.
All fruits, nuts and berries will benefit from mound or raised bed planting. When you plant in a mound you prevent puddling near the trunk and crown of the tree.
Make sure the roots of the tree are going in the proper direction. Big roots should go downwards for anchoring, small hairy roots should be planted spread out and not in a clump, so make sure that the hole is deep enough for the tap root and wide enough to permit all the hair roots adequate separation, so that roots do not become twisted in the hole, and grow in circles.
Apply Green Sense Mycor Root Builder during the winter months. This will help by transferring water and nutrients to the trees roots. As tree roots absorb more water they grow longer and wider enabling them to gather nutrients and water.
Add rock phosphate to the soil, so that it is in direct contact with the roots. If you use rock phosphate, do not use a root stimulator (like Green Sense Kelp).
Back fill the soil adding some organic matter (Green Sense Cottonburr Compost) to the same soil that you dug out.
Prune any broken branches near a bud. Do not over prune.
Never forget to mulch over the root zone and as leaves come out spray with a mild solution of Green Sense Fish and Kelp.
Buy your trees from Rohde’s.
There have been several phone calls and emails from customers wanting to know if I had gone on some wild adventure this year. The answer to that is it was wild and it definitely was an adventure, but not as educational or memorable as last years trip to Peru.
My daughter Assisi is graduating from Plano High School in the Spring of 2003, because of that I thought she should pick the vacation spot. Being a teenager, her pick was nowhere near where I wanted to go. I suggested Rome with a side trip to Assisi and Venice. Japan would be nice at this time, with fewer tourists and fairly comfortable walking weather. No and NO!
Amsterdam! She wanted to go to the Rijksmuseum and see paintings by Rembrandt and the Van Gogh Museum with all of his self-portraits and cornfields.
There was nothing more important to her than the canals that criss-cross this beautiful city. She wanted to see Ann Frank’s house and find out how she and her family were able to hide from the Germans for so long. She also hoped they would divulge the identity of the traitor that turned her family in.
Assisi had read about the Amsterdam Arboretum and knew that I would love going through the different greenhouses and gardens looking at plants from all over the world. Assisi wanted to see a working windmill to discover how these contraptions worked to keep lowlands from flooding. She seemed to have done some travel homework and knew a lot of places that would be of interest to Sandra and me.
We arrived in Amsterdam afternoon and went directly to our hotel - Holiday Inn. After putting our bags away, we immediately left to discover the city and the coffee bars. Funny thing about the Amsterdam coffee bars, there is hardly any coffee consumed there. But the coffee bars are full of young people of all ages, the young at heart having a great time taking up the smells of the various aromas wafting through the small, smoky joint.
Of all the joints in the world why would Assisi want to go in here?
Wait a second, did I say joint? Yes. These coffee bars are known for their marijuana tolerance. I immediately left this place with Victor and Sandra behind me.
But were was Assisi? She wanted to buy t-shirts and gag gifts just so she could tell her friends that she had been there, done that.
I was not mad, but I felt that this could not be the only reason we had gone to this amazing city. Later that afternoon, we took a canal cruise that took us through many interesting areas of Amsterdam. After the cruise we were hungry so we walked for a while, a very long while arguing about what foods we should eat. Victor wanted to eat at McDonalds, I was looking for typical Dutch food, Sandra was looking for the famous pancakes, and Assisi was looking for space cakes. My God, what has happened to this innocent young girl? We did settle for Dutch food, some stew filled crusty rolls. And then went to McDonalds so that Victor would eat something. We made it back to our hotel and with full stomachs slept from 9:00 pm until 11:30 the next morning.
Hungry, we went out looking for more food and found pancakes for Sandra. Not just any pancake, mind you, we are talking about the best pancakes in the world. Well, that is according to Sandra and believe me,she knows her pancakes. After this late breakfast, we spent our only rainy day in the museums and at Ann Frank’s house. After leaving Ann Frank’s house we were all feeling depressed, so Sandra suggested that we go eat more pancakes,-- to help lift our spirits at a place called The Pancake Bakery,just a block away. We were headed back to the hotel until I noticed that we were in the Red Light District. Yummy, I mean, oh my! How did we end up in this such a sinful area?? And how did we manage to stay in this area for over three hours? Some of you may think that I should not be in such an area, but, every year they go to Cancun where women wear fewer clothes than these girls in the window. Actually, the Red Light District was funner because of the way the workingwoman were flirting. Cancun is more risqué, women on vacation compete with each other as to who can show more skin.
The next morning, we were in search for another pancake house- this one called the Carousel, located conveniently across the street from the Heineken Museum. After finding out all but the secret ingredients for brewing this magnificent beer, we were given samples to enjoy! After that we decided that for sure our next stop was breakfast! These pancakes were so good that we all took our time to enjoy every bite. I must admit that this was the first time that I actually chewed thirty eight times before swallowing my specially prepared mixed fruit pancake (berries, banana, pineapple and apple). With every bite, I had fresh fruit. I am talking about one pancake that was 18 inches across filled with tons of fresh fruit. Now we had energy to go explore the countryside. We hopped on a train and traveled to a working Windmill. To our delight the Windmill was about a mile away from the our stop and we walked through a residential area with manicured lawns with plenty of color, many textures of leaves and varying height of plants giving the impression of a very large garden, when in fact they were no larger then a pick up truck. One lady who was working in her garden noticed that we were inspecting the landscapes on her block as we approached her house, she brushed the dirt off of her apron, tidied her hair and invited us to walk into her garden. Beautiful indeed, but as we turned around to walk out she motioned for us to look through her front window and gaze all the way towards the back of the house at her secret garden. Vines growing onto her fence with a multitude of colors appeared as a backdrop to her front yard.
We finally made it to the Windmill where we stayed for about an hour, even though it was interesting to see how it worked, we were all more excited about our walk back through the quaint neighborhood.
When we made it back to Amsterdam there was a fairly constant rainfall, so we went into Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum and spent the rest of the afternoon before heading out to enjoy the street entertainers. That night we ate at a Mexican restaurant making Victor very happy, again with a full stomach we went back to our hotel and packed our bags for our return trip the next morning.