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Using Epsom Salts in your Garden

Epsom salt – also known as magnesium sulfate – helps seeds germinate, makes plants grow bushier, produces more flowers, and deters pests, such as slugs and voles. It also provides vital nutrients to supplement your regular fertilizer.

Plants will have visible signs that they are starved for a particular nutrient. If a plant’s leaves turn yellow all over the plant, it can be a sign they need more sulfate. If lower leaves turn yellow between the veins (and the veins stay green), they may need more magnesium.

Epsom Salt is recommended by Master Gardeners and used regularly by commercial growers around the world. Tests by the National Gardening Association confirm that roses fertilized with Epsom Salt grow bushier and produce more flowers, and it also makes pepper plants grow larger than those treated only with commercial fertilizer.

Here are some other tips for using Epsom salt in the garden:

Houseplants: 

– 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly.

– Frequent watering for indoor plants can cause a buildup of salts in their pot. A tablespoon of Epsom Salt sprinkled on top can aid in flushing the salt buildup out.

– Spray leaves of houseplants to increase their green color, just combine 2 tablespoons of Epsom Salt and a gallon of warm water in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the leaves of the plant.

Roses: 

– 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new canes. Soak unplanted rose bushes in 1 cup of Epsom Salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of Epsom Salt to each hole at planting time.

Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 

– 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks.

Lawns: 

– Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.

Trees:

– Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually.

Garden Startup:

– Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.

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When Should I Take Down My Hummingbird Feeder?

This is a question that has 2 very different and distinct answers:

  1. Take the feeders down by mid-September
  2. Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall.

Which is right? That is for you to decide for yourself, but here is the thinking behind each one.

Take the feeders down by mid-September so the hummers will leave on their migration and not stay too long because there is still an adequate food source. 

This theory is based around the birds leaving due to a dwindling food source. When the summer flowers begin to wane and there is less nectar for them to eat it triggers them to start their migration. 

If feeders are left out, this continues to give them a food source that they will rely on too long resulting in a late start to migration or worse yet not migrating at all. Birds who stay don’t make it through the winter since there is no natural food source for them.

Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall so migrating birds can stop and refuel on their migration.

Scientists say that the birds leave not because of a lack of food source but because of their internal biological calendar. The shortening length of daylight in autumn triggers the hormones that cause hummingbirds to migrate. The birds become restless and the urge to migrate becomes too strong to ignore.

By leaving out feeders through September it gives them “refueling stops” on the way south.What to do? That depends upon who you talk to and what makes the most sense to you. Weigh in on your perspective, send us your thoughts by replying to the email.

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Man’s Best Friend: In The Backyard

Tips & Tricks for a Dog-Friendly Yard

Landscaping while keeping your furry-friend in mind, isn’t, and shouldn’t be hard! It’s easy once you decide what your little friend’s needs might be, i.e. room for running, a place for digging, a shady spot to sit in, etc. rs=w_400,cg_true

Some of the BEST features to include for your four-legged friend are soft foliage plants and smooth landscape stones. A place for them to drink, such as a water station, is a fantastic addition too.

  • Pick materials that are paw-pad friendly. Anything spiny, prickly, or sharp you might want to skip out on in your landscape. Use mulch, and designate safe-spaces for your dog to play in. We can help you pick out a mulch that fits your needs!
  • Do you have an ever-digging doggie? Try landscape gravel instead of mulch as your top-dress for your beds — it makes for a great deterrent!
  • Get rid of any potential hazards. Having a completely paved backyard area may make it uncomfortable for your animal’s paws during the summer months. Check fences for holes or weak areas.
  • Create an easy way to access water. A healthy dog drinks about a half to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day — so a 50 lb dog will need 5 cups (or more!) of water daily (depending on how active they are). A water element such as a pond or waterfall can do the trick, or just make sure there’s a water bowl that’s always filled.
  • Designate a shady spot for cooling off. In Texas, the hot summer months can make for an uncomfortable doggy if they’re spending most of their time outside — make sure there’s a nice, shady spot under a tree or bush. Installing a doggy door or just putting up an old-fashioned dog house in the shade are great for your friend Fido, too. A plastic wading pool is also a great thing to have for your friend to cool off in!
  • Make sure they’re warm for the colder months! Rain and cold weather call for a heated space — a small heater is a great solution for easy warmth. Thick, cotton blankets are another great addition to Fido’s doghouse so they can cuddle up when it’s chilly out.

Contact us for more solutions! 903-753-2223 OR email@thgc.net — 7 days a week!

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