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The Plant Man Article Archive

Here is an archive of "The Plant Man" columns, written by LandSteward's Steve Jones, published weekly in more than 78 newspapers across America.

SHOPPING INFORMATION: You will find "hot links" imbedded in these columns that will take you to the appropriate page at the website of Greenwood Nursery, the sponsor and underwriter of Land Steward. Click on the links to find descriptions and buying information about the plants and products that interest you.

You can also click on the Greenwood Nursery logo at the top right hand corner of this page to go to Greenwood's homepage. Be sure to join our free Land Steward club and take advantage of a 10% new members discount, too! Click on "Become a member of Land Steward"

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December: good time to transplant trees and shrubs
December is upon us. Our year in the garden is winding down as the temperature drops. But for landscape lovers, there are visions of more than just sugar plums dancing in our heads.

These “shady characters” keep you cool and save some green
Trees keep you cooler and reduce energy bills. And besides... trees are a beautiful part of your landscape!

It’s official: Trees are GOOD for you!
Those of us who enjoy the outdoors have always known that being around trees somehow makes us feel better. The sound of the rustling leaves, the sight of the dappled sun light filtering through the gently swaying branches.

Prepare now for a lush, green, and fragrant spring
If you were ever in the Boy Scouts, or you have a son who is, then you’ll know the famous motto of that organization: “Be prepared.”

Some “new” plant ideas for the new year
A new year... a new planting season just ahead... and some new plant ideas to bestow a fresh new look to your landscape.

Oak trees targeted by voracious caterpillars
A new year is upon us and already landscape and garden enthusiasts are anticipating the coming spring! Here are some recent questions I received from readers of this column.

Garden gifts help cure the winter blahs
You’ve seen the tell-tale signs. The garden lovers in your household stand by the window, gazing out at a barren landscape.

Fallen leaves give reader "natural" way to feed soil
When I get a particularly interesting e-mail I like to share it with other readers of this column. Usually, it involves a question about a landscaping problem, but sometimes it’s a fascinating story, such as this one from Jan Frame...

Tree thieves may be targeting your "growing investment"
Tree thieves are in the news again. A reader recently sent me a newspaper story about alleged thieves targeting hemlock trees. According to the article, park rangers found 2,700 hemlock saplings and seedlings dug from the Grundy Forest Natural Area,

“Sold” on compost? Here’s how to make your pile
Creating a compost pile is one of the simplest jobs you can do around your garden and landscape. However, it is also just about the most effective use of your time because it pays big dividends in the form of vibrant soil and healthy plants.

Compost: the free gateway to super soil
Is it really worth starting your own compost pile? Aren’t you simply creating a smelly eyesore that’s just a glorified trash dump?

Fall garden fix-its now save problems next spring
Here’s what you DON’T want to say next spring: “I wish I’d taken care of that in the fall!” To avoid giving yourself a dope-slap a few months from now, follow this fall fix-it checklist.

“Sickly” soil can be saved!
When you have serious soil problems, it can be almost impossible to grow anything successfully. But when you nurse your sick soil back to health, you’ll be amazed at the exciting variety of plants that thrive in your formerly barren wasteland!

Keep deer and rabbits away from your tender plants
My family and I all love wildlife. It’s a pleasure to take our coffee out on the back deck in the morning and sip quietly as we watch deer (and sometimes more exotic creatures) while they forage.

Planting? Here are some “off the beaten path” ideas
So, for those of you who want a few more ideas that are off the beaten path, here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.

Upgrading your landscape really does “pay”
Does it really pay to improve your landscaping? After all, it doesn’t look TOO bad. What difference could better landscaping make?

Shrubs should enhance, not obscure, your view!
As regular readers know, I try to respond to questions via e-mail within a day or so, because I realize that sometimes you need very prompt answers!

Unusual plants add unique look to landscape
Today, I have a few ideas for you as you begin to think about next season. These plants aren’t particularly exotic or unusual. But maybe they weren’t the first ones that come to mind...

Moist mulch leads to fungus epidemic
QUESTION: “I just laid several inches of fresh, high-end dirt, an inch of shredded hardwood mulch and planted 150 bare root vinca (periwinkle) under a large pear tree in the front yard.

Good news for the American elm... and for its fans
If, like me, you love trees, I have some good news for you. Then maybe some even better news.

These Web sites help you plan, enjoy your landscape
Whatever your interest, it seems that there are at least a thousand Web sites that cater to it. When it comes to gardening and landscaping, it’s more like a hundred thousand with more being added every day.

Trees, shrubs and lawns all have different watering needs
Mature trees look so sturdy and invulnerable, it can be hard to imagine that they need to be treated as delicate infants until they are well established. Several readers have recently written to me with questions relating to tree care...

A dose of Epsom salts can help lilac bush to flower
Time for more questions and comments from readers.

Mornings best for tending summer landscapes
July is here and it can be one of the busiest times of the year when it comes to your landscape. If your outdoor “to do” list isn’t quite full, here a few ideas to keep you busy...

Your young trees will need TLC and water this summer
As spring turns to summer, your trees could need some special TLC. Young, newly-planted trees require attention like newborn infants, but don’t overlook the needs of your mature trees either.

Pruning shrubs will keep them healthy and safe
One of the major causes of anxiety among amateur landscapers is the subject of pruning shrubs.

Use heat as organic way to kill weeds
I have looked all over the internet for information on the effects of Round Up (weed and grass killer), but can't find anything. We are trying to prepare a vegetable garden that's in the middle of the yard.

These four special trees will enhance your landscape
One of the toughest questions to answer is one I get asked quite frequently: “What is your favorite tree?”

Magnificent Black Walnut trees need compatible “neighbors”
“What can I plant near my Black Walnut trees?” That’s a question that I sometimes hear, and it’s a very good question, because not every plant will thrive in close proximity to a Black Walnut.

Five quick tips to enhance your May landscape
If you are like me, you’ve noticed that there are plenty of activities to keep you busy around your landscape right now!

Trees need water... but don’t overdo it!
Gardeners and landscapers have one thing in common with their “big brother” the farmer: complaining about the weather. Ask any farmer about rainfall and you’ll be told that it is nowhere near enough or it is way too much.

Readers need help with prickly weeds and groundcover
You learn something everyday in this business. For instance, I’d never heard of “pricker bushes,” but they seem to be a problem for this reader!

Ornamental grasses enhance and showcase your flowers and shrubs
Your flower beds are finally free of weeds and you want to showcase your annuals and perennials with something special. This could be the perfect place for ornamental grasses.

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