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Thank you for visiting our blog!  As we continue to add articles, you will find information on plant care, gardening tips and tricks, gift and celebration ideas, and more.  We appreciate your patience as we add to this page. We hope you find information that is both practical and helps you to Enjoy Life. It's Time!

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June 2020 - 5 Tips to Repel Rabbits
July 2020 - How to Plant Trees & Shrubs
 
August 2020 - Back to the Basics: Fertilizer Numbers - What They Mean


blog post image with text 5 tips to repel rabbits

5 tips to repel rabbits

It's Time to Protect Your Garden

June 5, 2020


While a rabbit may be undeniably cute, one in your garden is undeniably a nuisance - and likely devastating to your plants - vegetables, herbs, and flowers alike.  Try one or more of these 5 tips to help make your garden less-rabbit friendly!

1) Repel with Smell – Rabbits are instinctually afraid of unfamiliar animal smells that may be predators - sprinkle human hair or dog hair around your garden as a deterrent.  Certain flowers have also long been hailed as natural rabbit repellants - marigolds and geraniums are two of the most commonly recommended.

2) Add a Barrier – Of course, the most common barrier is a fence (just make sure it’s at least 2-3 feet tall and buried at least 6 inches deep - those critters can jump and dig).  You can also put chicken wire around your garden or individual vulnerable plants, like young trees.  Finally, draping your garden with netting is another option - and can help keep birds out as well.

3) Scare Them Away – The presence of a predator encourages rabbits to avoid the area - these can include hawks, snakes, and foxes.  Of course, if you've taken steps to protect your yard from natural predators, a domestic one works just as well - let your cat or dog regularly hang out near the garden. Even adding fake predators, like rubber snakes or plastic owls can have some effect, but like ultrasonic devices and pie pans, rabbits often get used to them after time and are no longer frightened by them.

4) Don’t Provide Cover – Rabbits will gravitate to areas that provide protection for them.  Low bushes and shrubs, wood and brush piles, and tall grass can all offer these furry foes a shield from predators.  Do your best to avoid having any of these near your garden.

5) Use a Commercial Repellant – Most commercial repellants use either smell, taste, or both to deter rabbits from your plants. We recommend Liquid Fence® Deer & Rabbit Repellant.  Liquid Fence® uses scent to repel with ingredients like garlic and thyme, so pesky deer and rabbits don't even have to take a bite to stay away from your precious plants.  Gardeners Tip - be sure to just spray around your edible plants/garden as a barrier to keep rabbits (and deer) away, not the plants themselves - otherwise the repellant's smell and its accompanying taste can remain on your food.  Using the granular formula makes avoiding getting any on your vegetables and other edibles even easier.

Pick up your Liquid Fence® in store today - during the spring/summer, we are open 7 day/week, from 9am-6pm Monday-Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sundays.

We'd love to hear from you! Are there tactics you use to deter rabbits that we didn't include here? Post a comment on our Facebook post for this article - together, we can all garden better.

Sculptured Gardens
15614 E Sprague Ave
Spokane Valley, WA 99037
509-290-6866

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How to Plant Trees & Shrubs image of text and tree with roots

How to plant trees & shrubs

It's Time to Plant 

July 7, 2020

1) First, select the proper tree or shrub for the location you want to plant.  Be sure to check the tag before purchasing and confirm whether your tree or shrub needs full sun, part sun, or shade.  Full sun is 6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day, part sun is 3-6 hours.

2) Call before you dig! Gas and electrical lines are often buried – check with your local authorities to ensure it is safe to dig.

3) Identify the trunk flare of your plant – this is where the trunk begins to flare out and become wider than the rest of the trunk.  The flare should be just above soil-level when planted – planting the flare below soil can result in rot.

4) Dig a hole that is 2-3x as wide and just as deep as the pot your tree or shrub is in.  Test your depth by placing the plant, still in the pot, in the hole and checking that the flare is going to be just above the soil once you backfill the hole.
Gardener's Tip: As you dig, create a pile of soil on either side of the hole. This will make backfilling the hole easier.

5) Remove your tree or shrub from the pot by gently squeezing and turning the pot to loosen the root mass, or use shears to cut the pot away from the roots.

6) Examine the root mass – if the roots are tightly wound, you will want to loosen them to encourage growing out into the surrounding soil.  This can be done by hand on the bottom and sides. For especially pot-bound plants, you can even cut vertically up the sides and slightly pull apart the root mass.  This will encourage new root development and push the plant to grow roots out from the root mass, instead of continuing circular development.

7) Place the tree or shrub in the hole once the root mass is prepped. Confirm that the trunk flare will be just above ground once planted.  If needed, dig more soil or add some back to achieve the right depth.

8) Only lightly amend your soil - IF at all.  While it used to be recommended to add organic material, time has shown that trees often do not extend their roots into the native soil from the amended material in the planting hole.  Using your native soil helps encourage the plant to establish long, strong roots.  Of course, your plant is being grown in nursery-soil in its pot, so you can add bagged/nursery soil, up to a 50/50 mix, with your native soil if you would prefer.  This can help baby-step the tree or shrub from gorwing in more rich nursery soil to unaltered native soil.

9) Backfill the hole with the soil you dug, making sure to tamp it down.  If left loose, soil around new plantings will settle, and can result in a bowl-shape that holds too much water and threatens to drown your new plant.
Gardener’s Tip: Use a root stimulator – we recommend Root & Grow from Bonide. It helps reduce transplant shock and stimulates new root growth.  Follow the directions on the container – you will dilute the solution, then pour it over the roots as you are backfilling.

10) Add mulch! Spreading 2-3 inches of mulch over the entire root-area will help preserve moisture and reduce the risk of under watering.  It also helps insulate the ground, and your tree or shrub’s roots, over winter.

11) Wait until next season to fertilize.  Fertilizer, while a necessity for many plants, must be applied at the right time.  When a tree or shrub is already experiencing transplant stress, adding fertilizer can overtax the plant.  Once your plant is established, it can better absorb and use the nutrients.

12) Water deeply! Your new tree or shrub needs plenty of water to become established – long, slow watering is best.  A drip hose is a great option, laid in a spiral pattern that covers the root-area.  The amount of water your new plant needs depends on its size – monitor the soil and your tree or shrub as you begin watering and adjust as needed.  You want the soil to be moist, but not soggy.
Gardener's Tip: Using a timer with auto-shut-off along with a drip hose saves time and effort, plus helps protect against over or under watering.

13)  Adjust watering as needed.  Water your tree or shrub every day for the first week, and then adjust to every-other day for 1-2 weeks.  From there, you will have to water based on your observations – what the weather is like, how quickly the soil is drying out, how your plant is performing, etc. If your tree or shrub is losing more than half its leaves, this can indicate over-watering.  If leaves are dry or browning at the edges, this usually indicates under-watering.
Gardener's Tip:  When in doubt, dig into the soil and assess how wet it is – the top soil can be deceiving, so be sure to dig about 6 inches down.

Sculptured Gardens
15614 E Sprague Ave
Spokane Valley, WA 99037
509-290-6866

Additional Sources:
https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/how-to-plant-a-tree/ 
https://www.provenwinners.com/learn/planting/how-plant-shrub 

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Blog Post Image: Back to the Basics, Fertilizer Numbers and What They Mean

Back to the Basics:
Fertilizer Numbers – What They Mean

It's Time to Feed

August 14, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused a long list of negative effects, one of the positive results to emerge is a huge growth in first-time gardeners.  Many people have been inspired to get their hands in the dirt, be it to combat food-shortage worries, fill extra time at home, or take the home school lesson outside.  At Sculptured Gardens, we have been thrilled to see new faces in the garden center, and want to help you all be successful.  So, we decided to share a Back to the Basics lesson on fertilizers and their nutrients. August is a great time to fertilize perennials again, and to continue fertilizing annuals & veggies.  We hope this is helpful for all our new gardeners out there!

Those-Three-Numbers
Fertilizer containers show three numbers, 8-10-6 for example. Each one gives you information about the basic nutrients in your fertilizer, how much of each, and thus what that fertilizer formula is designed to do.  

The three numbers represent the percentage of three key plant nutrients in that particular formula – nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P, as phosphate), and potassium (K, as potash).  They will always be in this order, which is why this number is also called the N-P-K number. So, a balanced formula of 10-10-10 contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorous, and 10% potassium.

Phosphate simply means an organic compound derived from phosphorous. We find a similar situation with potash – it is a compound of potassium carbonate and potassium salt.  But for the home gardener, all you really need to know is what each nutrient does for your plants.  

Nitrogen
Nitrogen is responsible for making plants greener and for healthy, leafy growth. Many lawn fertilizers contain high amounts of nitrogen to achieve the desired emerald color. This one is easy to remember – it’s the only one of our three main nutrients with a “G” in the name – G for Green.

Phosphorous
Phosphorous assists your plants at both ends – it encourages both healthy root development and more profuse blooms and fruits.  As such, you will see many annual and vegetable fertilizers with a higher ratio of phosphorous.

Potassium
Potassium helps with the overall health and resilience of the plant.  Potassium helps plants be less effected by drought and disease.  Because most soil naturally contains potassium, this number is often the smallest (but not always, especially in balanced fertilizers, like a 10-10-10).

A soil test is the best way to know what nutrients may be lacking in your home soil.  Of course, we know many of our new gardeners are purchasing quality gardening soil and growing in raised beds or containers.  In this case, a soil test isn’t necessary.  You can simply apply a fertilizer when planting, and then fertilize throughout the season with a formula recommended for your plant type.  The label will say what plants it is designed to feed.   But remember - by next year, the soil composition will have changed. Container and raised-bed gardeners will want to amend their soil, most likely with some new soil and some organic material – like compost. 

Some fertilizers are slow-release and need only be applied every 6-8 weeks (these are often granular).  Others have the nutrients immediately available, and are applied as often as every-other watering (these are often liquid).  Just check the packaging, apply as recommended, and then watch your plants.  How they respond will tell you a lot about what they need.  Have large green annuals but no blooms? Pick up a high-phosphorous fertilizer, like Tiger Bloom or Jack’s Blossom Booster.  Both are quality fertilizers you can feel confident applying to your plants.  Both are also available at Sculptured Gardens, along with a wide selection of other fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, and more.

At Sculptured Gardens, we know that growing a plant cultivates hope and blooms happiness.  We hope you have all found joy this year in spending more time outside – Enjoy Life. It’s Time!

Additional Sources:https://www.ncagr.gov/cyber/kidswrld/plant/label.htm#:~:text=All%20fertilizer%20labels%20have%20three,)%20%2D%20potassium(K)).
https://www.almanac.com/content/npk-ratio-what-do-numbers-fertilizer-mean

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