Tip of the Month

Gardens Love Compost!

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The  main  idea of  composting  is  that every  bit  of plant  matter,  every  leaf, flower,  fruit,  twig, branch,  tree  trunk,  and so on will  be break down  into  basic  elements,  minerals,  and soil. There are many benefits of composting. For  instance,  it’s  magnificent  in the garden. Adding  compost  to soil,  dirt, and/or  sand  has many  benefits  as  well. Compost  really  helps  balance  out  tough  undesired plant  material.  Like  by  adding  compost to sandy  soil, it will retain more  moisture.  Adding compost  to  clay  helps break  up  the  harsh  dense nature  of  heavy  clay  allowing  for  quicker  drainage,  less  compaction  during dry times and tendency to have a higher pH level. Composite can be broken  down  into  four main ingredients: Carbon,  also known  as  “the  brown stuff”  can  be  dry  leaves, twigs  or  branches,  newspapers,  printer  paper,  and/or cardboard.   Dried Avocado  or  Mango  leaves  are a  great  source  of  carbon here in Hawaii. Nitrogen,  also known as “the green stuff” is simply fresh plant material.  Typical  “green  stuff” consists  of  newly  cut grass,  pulled  weeds,  fresh tree  trimmings,  vegetable and  fruit  peels,  and  leftover  salad.  Gardeners  are encouraged  to  inspect  the “green  stuff”  before  adding  it  to  the  pile  for  any seeds which may cause the compost to sprout weeds. Last  two  ingredients  necessary for  the  compost  pile are  water  and  oxygen,  the  fundamental elements  of  life.  A successful  compost pile  will  have  adequate  moisture  and proper airflow. Gardening  can  be very  expensive  if  all  the soil  has  to  come  for  the home  improvement  store. Composting  is  easy,  cost effective and proven useful in  garden.  Setting  up  a composting  pile  or  composting  system  isn’t  too difficult  and  would  be  a great weekend...

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Choosing a Tree to Plant

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Choosing a Tree to Plant

Selecting a Tree to Plant When choosing the right tree to plant, considering proper placement to prevent future interference with utility lines and buildings while taking into account over all beauty will increase your property value. Here are some guidelines in choosing the right tree for your home or property. Choosing the Size of Your Tree It is best to consider the tree width as well as height to fit the area you wish to plant your tree. A short list of details below will help you make your choice. Wide and Short Trees: A tree that grows above the roof of a one story building being under twenty five feet high and less than forty foot wide. They can be planted under the lines of utilities and next to the street as long as the branches do not inhibit traffic. Skinny short trees: Perfect for planting below utility lines and limited areas under twenty foot high and less than twenty foot wide. Wide and medium height: a tree that grows between 25 to 45 ft. tall and up to forty foot wide. These are great shade trees for single story homes or the windows and walls of a two story house. These trees require more room and will take more maintenance. Medium and skinny trees: Grow 25 to 45 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. They are great for areas near fences and smaller places. Wide Tall Trees: are under 40 foot in width and under 45 foot in height. They are great trees providing shade for houses, driveways, backyards or any other significant areas. Skinny Tall Trees: grow under 20 foot wide and higher than 45 foot tall. These trees are great shade trees for area of limited space. Shape, Colors, and Fruits to consider Trees can be of more use than just for shade and wind breaks. What else to consider? Trees can add more to your home than shade or a wind block. Consider trees for their: Flowers: Flowers add color to the landscape and attract butterflies and other wildlife. Color: Red, orange, yellow and purple are variations of tropical colors that add beauty. Shape: Trees can be oval, pyramidal, round, spreading, vase-shaped or narrow; all add interest to your landscape. Fruit: Many varieties of fruits can be grown in Hawaii, providing food from the garden. Tree requirements and needs: Native trees of Hawaii and other low-water use trees, once established and due to the amount of rainfall, need little or no extra water. Decide whether you have enough room to plant in the areas you have selected. Note that you must stay at least 10 to 15 feet away from the house foundation and at least 5 feet away from fences, patios and other surface...

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Tree Planting Tips

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Considerations before Tree Planting Before proceeding forward with tree planting on your property , there are a few things to consider. With these few steps take care of, you should be able to enjoy the added beauty to your property enjoyment of added shade potential harvest of luscious fruit and added value to your whole property. First Steps in Tree Planting Tree selection:  Each property has different soil and each home owner has a different desire and consideration as to what is expected for future beauty, enjoyment, and practicality. Tree Placement: Different properties and building structures will determine the proper location of use as well as functionality of each different tree type with surrounding vegetation and structures. Tree Planting Principles: No matter what the desire you might have in mind, if you do not follow proper tree planting techniques matched to the particular tree and the soil needs, then the over-all result will not be successful. Almost everyone has an understanding of the value of trees, but becoming educated before initial steps to plant selection and planting will make for a much better end result. Read the few steps here and follow the links we have provided and you will be ahead of the curve in having a successful addition to your trees and landscape...

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Choose a Licensed Arborist

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Choose a  Licensed Arborist

Why Choose a Licensed Arborist It may not seem easy to choose a license arborist. But, with a little research here you will understand a few points to cover if you wish to have a not only a great result in the moment, but protect the viability and health of your property and plants for the future. An arborist is a specialist and knowledgeable in a broad list of areas They are aware of specific needs of individual trees The proper placement and demands in regards to other plants in the area. Proper pruning for health and safety of the tree and surrounding property Certified arborists are trained and equipped to provide proper care and safety during maintain  trees, but as importantly during the normal growth and life of the tree. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees. A check off list of Questions Using a simple check off list to guide you through interviewing and selecting your certified arborist will help to guide you through what might seem a confusing task. But, these few questions will help you keep focused and on point. Check for membership in professional organization Check for Certification such as ISA Arborist certificate Ask for proof of insurance Check for proper permit and licensing Get more than one estimate Don’t always accept the lowest bid Be wary of individuals who go door to door with hard sell...

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Watering Tips

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Watering Tips

Basic Watering Tips Here are a few basic watering tips to maximize your watering efficiency: The best time to water is at first light. Make sure all sprinklers are tight and not leaking water. Make sure to utilize your “Seasonal Adjust” option on your irrigation timer. Frequently observe system to ensure all components are working properly and to look for water runoff vs. absorption rate. Add mulch to planting beds, this reduces watering needs by keeping soil moist. Mulch will also increase microbiological agents in the soil resulting in loose aerated soil to allow water to more readily be absorbed into soil. The Most Common Mistake is over Watering   To check if you are over watering, you can conduct the all mighty finger test! The simplest test anyone can do. If you feel your plant is not doing well and concerned it is due to the amount of water provided, simply stick your finger in the soil. If it comes out muddy, then you know not to water it. If it comes out dry, then it is time to water. The Most Common Gardening Mistake It is the most common gardening mistake for people to think that if a plant is not doing well, or better yet for a plant to be healthier, is to water it more. Contrary to this belief home owners and landscape companies make, there are (4) major necessities:  sun oxygen water nutrients Over-watering induces weeds, increases soil compaction and soil runoff. A Balance Approach to Gardening It is simple, but important to find a balanced approach to gardening. Over-watering and under watering can both produce excessive weeds. Standing water induces nut grass that may or may have not been dormant for years in the soil. Many varieties of nut grass have become known to be the “most difficult weed to eradicate”. Once it begins to grow, it can and will take over large areas. Often times people do not notice it till it’s too late because it looks very similar to grass and by that time it has taken over. The Dangers of Over watering To  avoid the dangers of  over watering and irregular irrigation intervals it is important to understand the concaquences. It can create soil compaction. Standing water breaks up the soil into finer sediment while the organics rise to the top and eventually wash away. Soil compaction then restricts oxygen and nutrient absorption by the plant and ironically enough WATER! The cause of the problem in the first place. Excessive soil runoff can be simply be reduced by education and awareness of the issue. There are a couple of fancy terms to describe why the soil can easily be washed away; Evapotranspiration Rate and the less technical percolation or absorption rate. (If you would like to bore yourself further on these rates, please feel to look them up on the web.) In layman’s terms, water or irrigate the landscape enough to saturate the area though stop prior to visible runoff. This will let you know what the absorption rate of you soil is. Let the water absorb into the soil. Repeat process when you begin to see the least drought tolerant plant in your landscape begin to wilt. Repeat process and then once again slightly prior to wilting of that same plant. That’s all! This way you know that you are not wasting water and that your plants are absorbing the maximum amount of moisture. Given the proper ratio of time/absorptionprecipitation, your landscape will...

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