September 2018

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Are Chrysanthemums Annuals or Perennials?

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21/09/2018

Are Chrysanthemums Annuals or Perennials?

One of the first questions people have about mums is whether they are annuals or perennials, and the answer is, they’re both! Mums generally come in two types: florist mums (also known as cutting mums) and hardy mums (also known as garden mums). Both types come from the same original parent—a golden-yellow daisylike mum from China. Today’s hybrids in both categories are the results of endless crosses between several species from China and Japan. The result of such hybridization performed over hundreds of years is different types of mums that perform for two distinct purposes.

Florist mums are large-flower plants with many possible bloom forms, from quilled to pompon to spider and more. Grown in greenhouses and used only as indoor plants, florist mums produce few, if any, underground stolens, which are necessary if the mum is to survive cold weather. Florist mums planted outside are most likely being used as short-term bedding plants that will be removed when the blooms are spent. You can plant a potted florist mum you receive as a gift, and it may grow for the summer, but it will not survive the winter outside, no matter how much protection you give it.

Garden mums, on the other hand, produce underground stolens and can survive cold better. Most garden mums are perennials in Zones 5 to 9 and much tougher than florist types. Some cultivars are less hardy than others and can be killed by an early spring frost.

Pair mums with other cold-hearty plants like cabbages for stunning fall displays.

How Do You Care for Potted Mums?

Both florist and garden mums make great container plants. They’re just right for popping into a clay pot, lining up in a row in a fall window box, or placing in the center of a mixed container with trailing foliage plants all around. Making sure your potted mums thrive starts with picking the right plant. Never buy a mum that’s wilted; you want to start with the healthiest specimen you can get. Look for a plant with more buds than open flowers; it will last longer and the repotting process will be less traumatic for a plan not yet in full bloom.

Speaking of repotting, it’s one of the best things you can do for your mums. Most mums in containers will have very compacted root balls after sitting in store containers, so gently breaking up the root ball and giving the mum a new home in some good, fertilized soil will set your plant up for success.

And don’t forget the water. Chrysanthemums love full sun and all that heat means they also need plenty of water. Give them a good soak after first repotting, then water every other day or when soil seems dry.

How Should I Use Mums in My Garden?

Because of their tight, mounded habit and stunning bloom cover, garden mums are perfect for mass plantings. To get the maximum effect from far away, stick to only one or two colors. Another possibility is to arrange a gradual transition of related colors in an ombre effect. Look around your yard to see what colors would best complement the existing landscape. Many landscape plants can provide a backdrop for groupings of mums. For texture, choose ornamental grasses, berry shrubs, sedum, or almost any conifer.

If you decorate for fall with pumpkins and gourds, choose orange, bronze, yellow, and creamy white mums. If you have a lot of evergreen plants that provide a backdrop of varying shades of green foliage, try bright pinks, lavenders, pure whites, or reds. With such bold colors, a large grouping of mums can excite even the most drab of fall landscapes.

To get the most from your mums, choose cultivars according to their bloom times. It also helps to coordinate bloom time with the length of fall in your location. Most garden mums will withstand a light fall frost, but finding the right cultivars will provide the longest possible amount of pleasure.

When Should Mums be Planted?

Mums aren’t as expensive as many perennials, so if you choose to, you can plant them as annuals without worrying that you’ve spent too much money on something that might not live more than one season. If you’re an impulse buyer, you’ll probably see pots of colorful mums this fall and not be able to resist.

Fall planting lessens the chance of winter survival, however, since roots don’t have time to establish themselves. If you want something more permanent and are willing to provide proper care such as mulching and pinching to encourage compact growth and more blooms, plant mums in the spring and allow them to get established in the garden. This will improve their chances of overwintering and reblooming the next year. Some plants will even produce a few blooms in the spring before being pinched for fall flowers.

How Much Sun & Water Do Mums Need?

Whether in a pot or in your garden, mums like lots of light. Mums thrive in full sun conditions as long as you give them enough water. Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. Plants that don’t get enough sunlight will be tall and leggy and produce fewer, smaller flowers. Just be careful: Light is not the same as heat. Don’t put potted mums out too early in the season when summer’s temps are still in full swing. Plants likely won’t survive well.

Water newly planted mums thoroughly, and never let them wilt. After they are established, give mums about an inch of water per week. When bottom leaves look limp or start to turn brown, water more often. Avoid soaking the foliage, which encourages disease.

What Type of Soil do Mums Like?

Mums thrive in well-drained soil. Heavy clay soil should be amended. If your yard is soggy after the slightest rain, grow mums in raised beds with friable soil for good root growth.

If the soil is too dense, add compost and prepare to a depth of 8-12 inches for best performance. Mums’ roots are shallow, and they don’t like competition. Plant mums about 1 inch deeper than they were in the nursery pot, being careful with the roots as you spread them.

Plants set out in spring should get a 5-10-10 fertilizer once or twice a month until cooler weather sets in. Don’t fertilize plants set out in fall as annuals, but plants you hope to overwinter should get high-phosphorus fertilizer to stimulate root growth.

How Do You Winterize Garden Mums?

Prepare mums for winter after the first hard frost. Mulch up to 4 inches with straw or shredded hardwood. Fill in around the entire plant, spreading well between branches. Pinch off dead blooms to clean up the plant, but leave branches intact. Mums have a better chance of surviving if you wait to prune old stems until spring.

Although garden mums are often called hardy mums, they may not survive the winter if drainage is poor or if you live in an extremely cold climate. If your mums survive the winter, you’ll see new growth developing around the base of the plant in early spring. As soon as the weather warms, pull away mulch to allow new shoots to pop up. The old, dead growth from last year can be clipped away. If nothing develops at the base of the plant, it’s a sign that the plant did not survive the winter.

You can also winterize mums in pots by bringing them inside by first frost and mulching. See Growing Mums in Containers for more info on caring for potted chrysanthemums.

Do Mums Need to be Divided?

Mums grown as perennials need to be divided every couple of years. Divide perennials in the spring after the last hard frost and after you see new growth starting. Dig up the plant in one piece and separate outer pieces from the center with a clean and sharp spade or large knife. Replant the outer portions into a rejuvenated bed, and discard the original center of the plant.

Three to five vigorous shoots are enough to make a showy clump. Once new shoots start to develop, give them a little slow-release granular flower fertilizer and leave them alone. When they are about 6 inches tall, pinch back the tops of each stem by 1-2 inches or so. This promotes compact, bushy growth later on.

Pinching is a grooming practice that produces compact, bushy plants.

What Is Pinching?

The key to those full, rounded domes of blooms that you associate with mums is pinching to create more branching and keep plants compact. Don’t hold back—just a few minutes here and there will reward you with a thick, solid-looking plant.

If you bought large, full plants in the fall, they have already been pinched and are ready for planting. Young spring plants will need pinching for maximum bloom and best plant shape.

Start pinching as soon as you see a good flush of buds. To pinch a plant, remove the growing tip of a stem by nipping it between your thumb and forefinger. Pinch about half of the tender new growth at the top of the shoot; choose some stems with buds and some without. Repeat the process with every 3 to 5 inches of growth (about every two to four weeks) until July 4. Stopping then ensures you will get good bud formation and blooms in fall. Each single pinched stem will divide into two stems.

Do Deer Like Mums?

As a general rule, deer won’t eat chrysanthemums. But it’s really up to the deer. Like people, individual deer have specific tastes. I don’t like sauerkraut, for example, but friends of mine do. Most deer may hate chrysanthemums, but there may be an odd one or two that like them.

When you’re trying to find deer- or rabbit-resistant plants, you’ll need to learn largely by trial and error. (Though deer-resistant plant lists are always a great place to start.)

What are Some Different Types of Mums?

If you think mums are limited to the candy-colored mounded plants often sold in front of grocery stores, think again. There are dozens of gorgeous varieties of chrysanthemums, each with its own unique beauty. Here are a few mum types would look great in any showy front yard display.

Decorative Mums

Also known as florist mums, these chrysanthemums have long, tightly overlapping petals. They can be either incurve (where petals curve up and in toward the flower center) or reflex (where petals curve out and down, away from the flower center). Some of the most common decorative varieties are ‘Coral Charm’, with bright purple, pink, and peach petals, and ‘Fireflash’, which holds true to its name with firey orange- and yellow-colored petals.

Varieties to Try

  • Chrysanthemum ‘Carrie’
    A hard-to-find two-tone decorative flower that is a dark red-bronze in the center with golden-yellow outer petals. This extra-late cultivar shows none of the discoloration of aging petals seen in some older varieties.
  • Chrysanthemum ‘Melissa’
    This extra-late mum blooms through late October and was bred for excellent flower form, flower color, color retention, and growth habit. The bright lavender-rose flowers combine beautifully with ‘Erica’, ‘Ingrid’, and ‘Taffy’.
  • Chrysanthemum ‘Vicki’
    Another bright “wow” of a plant, these decorative blooms are rich orange with a darker orange center. They have awesome color and a full spreading plant habit.
  • Chrysanthemum ‘Zesty Jean’
    An unusual pastel peach-coral color, the early decorative flowers are more fully petaled and retain their color longer than others of this hue.

Pom Pom Mums

Also known as button mums, these fluffy mums produce masses of small, petal-packed blooms in an abundance of colors. Some common varieties of the pom pom chrysanthemum are ‘Tinkerbell’, ‘Barbara’, ‘Patriot’, ‘Ruby Mound’, ‘Garnet’, and ‘West Point’, all possessing small, spherical flowers from summer to frost.

The Pyrethrum or ‘Painted Daisy’ is classified as both Tanacetum coccineum and Chrysanthemum coccineum.

Single and Semidouble Mums

You may often mistake single and semidouble mums for daisies because they look so similar. These mums have one (single), or two to three (semidouble) outer flower petals, growing very close together from the center disk. These type of mums grow a stunning 1 to 3 feet tall, perfect for growing along a garden fence. Some of the most common single and semidouble varieties are ‘Single Apricot Korean’, with shades of peach, and ‘Crimson Glory’, with shades of deep, crimson red.

Varieties to Try

  • Chrysanthemum ‘Blizzard’
    This extra-late variety offers the largest (2-1/2-inch) and whitest flower available in a daisy garden mum. It develops into an almost ball-shaped plant covered with bright white blooms over extra-dark green foliage.
  • Chrysanthemum ‘Bold Felicia’
    The early blooms are an unbelievable neon-hot pink daisy with a bright yellow center disk.

The petals of Chrysanthemum ‘Kimie’ Spoon Mum resemble long-handled wooden mixing spoons.

Spoon Mums

The name truly fits this type of mum, which sprouts beautiful spoon-shaped petals. These flowers only grow about 4 inches in diameter, making it a petite mum to add to your garden that won’t take up too much space. The most popular of the spoon mums is ‘Kimie’, showing off golden yellow petals in a single row around a tight center disk.

Brie Williams

The Chrysanthemum ‘Lava’ Spider Mum looks resembles a firework caught mid burst.

Spider Mums

Spider chrysanthemums look a lot like the quilled and anemone mums. The only difference is in their thin, spider-like petals! Some of the most common spider mums are ‘Western Voodoo’, sprouting colors of orange and yellow, ‘Yellow Rayonnante’, showing off curvy petals, and ‘Seiko Fusui’, containing long, yellow, spider-like petals.

Quilled Mums

Quilled mums resemble the single daisy type, only with the tubular petals. This is different from the full quill flower form, which is almost always seen only in florist, or decorative, mums. Some of the most popular varieties for quilled mums are ‘Mammoth Yellow Quill’, spikes of yellow, and ‘Seatons Toffee’, with red spikes resembles sparklers on the Fourth of July.

Anemone

Resembling the long petals of ‘Spider’ and ‘Spoon’ mums, ‘Anemone’ has long petals, just more flat than it’s semi-twin. This mum has one or more rows of single flat petals topped with a raised center of tiny disk florets. The florets are usually a darker color. These cute little flowers only grow about 4 inches in diameter, just like ‘Spoon’ mums. The most common anemone varieties include ‘Dorothy Mechen’, showing off light purple flowers, and ‘Adrienne Mechen’ a close cousin sprouting a pink center, trailing into bright white flowers at the tips.

Begin Your Fall Seeding Projects With The Right Products

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Seeding Guide

Why should I overseed my lawn?

Overseeding is planting grass seed over an existing lawn.  Overseeding is usually done to correct thin lawns that have been damaged by environmental stresses.  The results from overseeding will only be maximized IF new and improved turfgrass varieties are seeded into your lawn.  Black Beauty grass seed guarantees your success!  Black Beauty will fill in bare spots quickly and create the green, lush, healthy lawn that you’ve always desired.

The best time for overseeding is in the late summer or early fall.  The seed will germinate better because temperatures are cooler, rainwater is plentiful, the ground is warm and weeds are less active.  You will also have several weeks for the grass to germinate before tree leaves start falling.

Begin your seeding project with the right products!

Before you begin preparing the seed bed, make sure that you have the following products:

First, as stated above, choose Black Beauty grass seed mixtures when seeding for a beautiful, dark-green look that will also give you outstanding drought, disease, and insect resistance.

Second, IF you have a pH that is low (below 6.2), then be sure that you have Mag-I-Cal to adjust it.  Your lawn’s pH should be between 6.2 and 7.  A pH tester, found in most garden centers and hardware stores, is an easy way to figure out your soil pH.  If you pH is fine, then skip to the next step.

Third, IF the soil is very hard, then be equipped with Love Your Soil to loosen it.  To test for soil compaction, push your finger into the soil.  If the soil doesn’t come up to the first knuckle, then you have a compaction problem.  Growing a lawn in such an area will be difficult because water and air will not be able to penetrate the root zone.  Of course, Love Your Soil will correct the problem.  If you soil is not hard, then skip to the next step.

Fourth, Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding is a lawn food that is specially formulated for seeding and sodding.  It is rich in potassium, an essential nutrient needed for grass seed to develop deep and dense roots.  You will use Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding with Black Beauty grass seed ON THE SAME day that you are seeding.  Of course, if you have a soil problem (pH and/or compaction), then you will use Mag-I-Cal and Love Your Soil ON THE SAME DAY, as well.  Let’s get started.

How do I plant and grow grass seed?

First, rake the soil with a metal tine rake to remove any dead grass, thatch, or residue build-up.  If you have a large area to rake, then a thatching rake (or “power rake”) can be rented from a tool rental center.  It is very important to create grooves in the soil for the grass seed to properly lodge into.  This is known as “seed-to-soil contact”.  Such contact is critical to achieving the maximum germination.

Second, apply the grass seed (Black Beauty) with a spreader.  Use the settings on the back of the bags for ALL products – grass seed, lawn foods, or soil conditioners – to secure the proper rate. If your spreader is not listed on the bag, then simply visit the Jonathan Green website (www.jonathangreen.com), click on the “Spreader Settings” icon, locate your spreader, and use the rate listed for it.

Third, apply the seeding lawn food (Green-Up for Seeding & Sodding).

Fourth, if your soil needs a pH adjustment, then apply Mag-I-Cal.

Fifth, if your soil is hard and not crumbly, then apply Love Your Soil.

Watering the lawn of a private house with the help of irrigation sprinkler

Last, keep the seed bed moist.  The seed bed should be wet for a few weeks while the grass seed is germinating.  Light waterings, 2 to 3 times per day (early morning, early afternoon, late afternoon), are of benefit during the early days when the newly sown seed is establishing.  Within a few weeks, after the newly formed grass is mowed, you can decrease the watering schedule.  NEVER water it at night.  Excessive moisture on established grass leaves can lead to fungal problems down the road.

When will my grass seed sprout?

Black Beauty grass seed takes about 10 to 14 days to germinate.  As a general rule, perennial ryegrass germinates the quickest (about 7 days).  Fine fescues – including the creeping, chewing, and hard types – usually take about 10 to 20 days. Tall Fescue usually takes 10 to 14 days, but can be slow to establish under very cold temperatures.  Kentucky bluegrass is the slowest germinator, usually in 20 to 30 days, but even longer with cold temperatures.  Remember, “germinate” means a start to grow.  You can’t expect a filled in lawn in 10 days!

Mow the new grass once it reaches a height of 4”.  Keep the mowing height at 3”, except for the last cut of the year which should be 2 inches in height.  This is very important for your lawn during the winter months. The shorter mowing height helps the grass plant roots survive winter stress.

With Daniel’s Lawn & Garden Landscaping services we can help you create your ideal outdoor living space. Let our expert staff show you how!

SAVE 10% OFF YOUR FALL LANDSCAPE SERVICES FROM DANIELS!

Our Landscaping Service includes:

  • FREE ESTIMATES – CONTACT US TODAY
  • Residential and Business Projects
  • Creation and Installation of Garden Beds, Walls, Walkways, and Patios.
  • Installation of Trees, Shrubs
  • Grading, Seeding, and Installation of Lawns
  • Above Ground Pool Installation

We are ICPI certified, fully insured, and offer FREE ESTIMATES. References available on request.

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If you are interested in developing a ‘do it yourself’ project, then consider our new in-house landscaping design program. We’ll provide you with the guidance and direction to do it right the first time. Contact our staff to schedule a 30 minute in-store consultation. We also offer other home improvement project services…please inquire and we can help you with your needs.

Our landscaping services are available throughout Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Lehigh and Berks Counties and not limited to the following areas: Harleysville, Skippack, Trappe, Collegeville, Perkasie, Souderton, Telford, Vernfield, Schwenksville, Red Hill, Green Lane, Pennsburg, Sellersville, Dublin, and Quakertown.

Our finished project gallery will be available on our website in the near future.

Lawn Seeding Tips

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Even in well maintained lawns, spot or general lawn seeding is sometimes needed. Lawns can thin because of weather, a result of damage caused by insects, or grass diseases. Some badly damaged lawns need to be completely “rebuilt” before regular maintenance can do much good.

There are three general categories of seeding: spot seeding, lawn renovation and overseeding a lawn, and renovation. What type is right for growing grass on your lawn depends on the condition of your turf. Spring-Green professionals can help with all of your lawn seeding questions and needs.

Whatever type of seeding is done, there are three important rules to follow when seeding a lawn:

  1. High quality seed should always be used
  2. The seed has to make good contact with the soil
  3. Enough water has to be supplied to assure germination and establishment.

Tip #1: Choose the lawn seeding system that’s right for you and your turf.

Spot seeding is a quick and easy way to repair things like ruts along driveways, areas worn by foot traffic, and small areas that have died for any reason. When spot seeding a lawn, use a stiff rake or potato hoe to cultivate the soil and break open the surface. Apply seed to the open seedbed and gently tamp down.

Overseeding a lawn broadcasts the seed over a large area. This works well when the lawn just needs a general “thickening up.” Overseeding can be done along with lawn aeration or by itself, but doesn’t work too well when there is a heavy thatch layer.

Lawn renovation is for lawns that have excessive thatch, or are so thin, that only a complete rebuild will get the lawn back on its feet. Lawn renovation can be done several ways: old sod can be removed with a sod cutter; the lawn can be de-thatched and seeded; or slice-seeding can be used. Slice-seeding (or verticut seeding) is probably the best for growing grass because it “drills” the seed into the soil without having to remove a large amount of thatch.

Tip #2: Before you begin seeding a lawn, consider the current season.

It’s true that seeding can be successful any time of year, but spring and summer lawn seeding require more care and water, and weeds and crabgrass cause a lot more competition. Seeding a lawn in late summer or fall is ideal. Early fall is preferred because seeds can germinate faster in the warm soil and continue to establish itself through the cooler weather of fall and winter. There’s also more natural water in the fall so less sprinkling is needed.

Tip #3: Whatever time of year you choose for seeding your lawn, remember to keep the seed moist until you have good germination.

Tip #4: Sprinkle lightly several times a day during hot weather until the grass is 1” tall.

Tip #5: Avoid any type of weed control until the new grass has been mowed 4 or 5 times.

Why Fall Is An Excellent Time To Mulch Your Flower Beds

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Some of the main reasons to mulch is reducing water loss in soil, suppressing weed growth, and protecting plants from the temperature extremes of Pennsylvania weather. Our professional staff will assist you by delivering your mulch or you can pick it up at our garden center in Harleysville or have it delivered free (5 yards or more).

Fall mulching will protect your plants from the temperature extremes we live with in Pennsylvania. Mulch protects your plants on the final warm October days and the sporadic wintry November nights. Often an overlooked benefit, mulch is an insulation that keeps roots cooler on warm days and warmer on cold night. Which is especially important during rapid temperature changes.

Mulch’s ability to conserve soil moisture has long been is most recognized feature. While test results differ, it is apparent that moisture evaporation from soil covered in mulch is reduced in the range of 10 to 50 percent. It also plays a key part in retaining dew and water drawn up from the subsoil from escaping. The water conserving value of mulching can’t be overemphasized, especially with times of water restrictions and shortages.

Studies show that weeding time is reduced by almost two-thirds through the use of mulches. Proper mulching can mostly eliminate the need for weeding and cultivation. It is important to make sure the much is weed-free, also the mulch must be deep enough to prevent existing weed seeds from germinating. Tougher weeds may find a way through your mulch, but it will be easily plucked when growing in a mulch bed.

As we have shared the added benefits are not only in the appearance it will bring to your landscape but how it will effect your plants. In St. Louis mulching is key to keeping a properly designed landscape. Daniel’s lawn and Garden center is specializes  in landscaping design and offers free landscaping design consolations. Visit our location in Harleysville and our professional staff will assist you in what mulch will fit your needs and teach you more about why mulching is so important. Also, our assortment of colors will ensure we match your landscaping design needs.