How to Force Blooms on a Lime Tree

There are two main species of lime trees, the Mexican lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), commonly called key lime and the Persian lime (Citrus latifolia). Although each species possess their particular varieties, there isn’t much variation between them. Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 9 through 11, the lime tree is best produced in at least 8 hours of sunlight exposure every day, planted 15 to 20 feet away from buildings or other trees. Lime trees are very irritable and many common conditions induce the tree to never blossom, including over-pruning, substandard water drainage and lack of sunlight. Proper care is the main key when pushing a lime tree to blossom.

Water the lime tree to a depth of 18 inches throughout the growing season during periods of drought, as a great watering regimen is essential to an effective bloom production. Use a watering hose that’s put on a slow trickle. Begin watering at the back of this tree, slowly moving outward to the dripline.

Apply an even 6-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree, starting 3 inches from the back and extending into the dripline. The mulch helps to conserve moisture and smother competitive weeds.

Fertilize the lime tree once a month from spring through fall with a 12-0-12 granular fertilizer, high in nitrogen and phosphorus. Hand spread the fertilizer around the base of this tree, following all package instructions. Nitrogen will encourage healthy green growth, while phosphorus will encourage flower production, forcing the tree to blossom on time.

Remove fragile or damaged divisions in the spring. Use pruning shears, which makes a 45-degree angled cut just above the leaf node or posterior division. If the branch is to be completely eliminated, make the cut flush with the back of this tree.

Remove suckers that originate in the tree trunk as soon as they form, as they deplete energy the tree would normally put toward thriving and finally producing fruit. Use pruning shears, making the cut just over the enlarged area where the sucker and the back match. Cut suckers growing in the ground across the back using a sharp shovel, which makes deep plunges to the ground Working in a circular motion.

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Most Effective Way to Rid Yard of Squirrels

Squirrels are agile climbers that are difficult to exclude from an area. The best way to keep squirrels out of your yard is really a blend of traps and habitat modification. This plan eliminates food resources and habitats that squirrels find attractive while permanently removing any squirrels that frequent your yard. Many species of tree squirrel require a license before you can legally remove them, and certain species are protected under law.

Squirrel Removal

In California, native species of tree squirrels are subject to regulation under state fishing and hunting laws. Only the Eastern fox squirrel could be killed without a license. It is lawful to get rid of ground squirrels that are damaging your house with no permit. The exceptions to this rule would be the Mohave ground squirrel and the San Joaquin antelope squirrel, which are protected species. Ask your fish and game department to ascertain what restrictions on rodent control methods are enforced in the regional area.

Tree Squirrels

Traps are an effective method for controlling small populations of squirrels. Placing, draining and checking traps is a more labor-intensive process than using poison baits, but it’s not as likely to harm other types of wildlife. Placing your traps in the ideal areas ensures that the squirrels in your yard encounter them. Traps for tree squirrels work best in elevated regions. The branches of trees, the tops of fences and rooftops are common areas to locate traps for tree squirrels.

Ground Squirrels

Placing your traps from the region for several days without placing or baiting them enables squirrels to become used to their presence. Unlike tree squirrels, ground squirrels inhabit burrows in the ground. Placing your traps at the entrances of ground squirrel burrows provides effective control. Search for burrows that are free of debris having newly disturbed dirt around the entry. Placing your traps within a box with a entry 3 inches in diameter helps soften animals other than squirrels and small rodents.

Squirrel Habitat

Ground squirrels prefer regions with debris and brush that offer cover. Removing brush and leaf piles from your yard makes it less desirable to ground squirrels. Use a rototiller or scoop to turn the dirt around any burrows in your yard to a thickness of two feet. Filling in the holes doesn’t prevent other squirrels from opening and inhabiting old burrows. Trimming trees with branches that overhang rooftops, fence rows or electricity lines limits the paths available to tree squirrels and rendering it more challenging for them to get around.


Killing endangered rodents or mammals is a crime that could lead to criminal and civil penalties. Determine which species of squirrels are in your yard and avoid using control methods that may harm endangered species before you begin a control program. Speak with the regional fish and game department to find out whether there are some other threatened species living in your area before you set traps. In California, it’s illegal to transport and release eastern fox squirrels that you’ve caught employing a nonlethal trap with no license.

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Can Birdseed Start Weeds in Your Yard?

If you’re inviting flocks of birds to go to your yard by enticing them with birdseed, then you could also be inviting weeds. When seed falls from the feeder into the ground there is potential for germination. This is not a issue with all kinds of bird food. By being a conscientious shopper you can enjoy the birds while avoiding extra weed growth.

Contents of Birdseed Mixes

All weeds are annoying, but some packages of birdseed are identified as having numerous varieties of invasive weed seeds. When these seeds are scattered from a feeder and spread in the yard, they could quickly become a maintenance nightmare. To avoid purchasing bird seed containing noxious weeds, then read the label or contact the seed manufacturer and find out what was done to make sure the contents are not invasive weed seeds. Birdseed which contains a great deal of filler seed like red millet may result in more bud growth since birds do not tend to like this type of seed. Rather than eating the stitch, they push it aside and induce more to drop to the ground as they hunt for the seed they need. Know what kinds of birdseed you’re purchasing in a mixture and if it’s desired to the birds you want to attract.

Kinds of Bird Food

When seeds are baked, then they lose the ability to germinate. Some birdseed manufacturers offer baked birdseed. This type of seed won’t cause weeds to grow in your yard but will still attract birds. Other kinds of bird food, like sunflowers hearts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworm and suet cakes, won’t sprout if scattered around your yard by messy eaters.


Keep in mind the birdseed will not grow weeds in your yard if it doesn’t get to the ground. Placing a tray under your bird feeder to catch overflowing seeds can prevent the issue of weed growth. Although birds may be messy eaters, squirrels are occasionally a larger issue. If you discover squirrels scattering seeds from your yard, consider another type of feeder which will prevent the squirrels from obtaining the seeds.

Managing Weeds

Weeds will be an issue in any garden. Regularly monitoring your yard will provide you a good idea about what maintenance has to be done. By doing this you can see where weeds are popping up and remove them before they flower and spread into other areas of the yard. They’re also much easier to remove when they are small.

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How to Stop a Washout on a Hillside Landscape

Sometimes the hillside of a yard develops problems with rainwater. If the hillside’s grass isn’t healthy or is exposed to lots of foot traffic, then over time it may develop washout places or ruts where the soil erodes. Avoid that from occurring, or prevent it from getting worse, by arranging landscaping plants to split the rainwater’s path.

Plant several trees around the hillside, spacing them to account for the spread of their limbs as they mature. The trees will pull in some of the rainwater that lands around the hillside and redirect other rainwater in different directions. A variety of trees may add firmness, including tulip tree magnolias (Magnolia x soulangeana), which prefer partial sunlight and grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, and flowering plum trees (Prunus cerasifera), which enjoy full sunlight and grow well in USDA zones 8 through 10.

Set rocks along the hillside to reroute rainwater and also to split it into smaller, less damaging streams. Dig out some of the hillside’s soil so the stones can place without the potential for rolling. Place several medium-size stones, 12 to 24 inches in diameter, in groups to make their look natural, or form a small rock garden. Using rocks bigger than 24 inches in diameter can also be powerful, but these stones are a bit too difficult to maneuver up a hill without help or equipment.

Place small plants, such as rose impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), and ornamental grasses, such as mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), between the stones to fill the spaces and make the landscape look natural, like the stones were there all along. The plants will hold dirt in place also, raising your chances of preventing additional washout. Rose impatiens function well in USDA zones 4 to 10 and prefer shady locations. Mondo grass does best in a sunny place in USDA zones 6 through 8.

Dig out dirt to create ledges if the washout is a significant issue and the hillside is too steep that you often trees and plants. Scoop the soil out to form flat surfaces or tiers, and contain the fronts of the tiers with landscape timbers or large rocks. Add trees and plants on the respective ledges, making a fully landscaped space. The rainwater will fall upon the flat surfaces and also be drawn more readily into the dirt than it would on a hillside without ledges. Plant examples for your ledges consist of sun-loving creeping zinnias (Sanvatalia procumbens), which can be annuals that grow well in most of USDA zones, ornamental grasses, such as mondo grass, and also Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia), which prefers partial sun and grows best in USDA zones 9 through 11. Flowering plums are among trees that can be implanted on the hillside ledges.

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Periwinkle as a Ground Cover

Gardening with periwinkle (Vinca spp.) As a ground cover provides your yard a visually gentle, tidy look, due to the glossy foliage and tiny flowers that bloom in many different gentle hues. Become knowledgeable about the periwinkle ground cover that is most appropriate for your landscape and pay attention to any adjustments to prevent disease damage.


Choosing periwinkle ground cover might lead to confusion because of distinct species referred to by exactly the same name. Known as creeping myrtle, common periwinkle and dwarf periwinkle (Vinca minor), this smaller of the periwinkles is the proper choice because it isn’t considered invasive. Take steps to prevent planting the bigger, invasive species occasionally called big periwinkle (Vinca major). The ends of bare big periwinkle stems root when they contact the ground, which makes this an aggressive species that might wreak havoc in your garden and on native plants in your town.


Common periwinkle is an evergreen perennial ground cover that exhibits glossy, deep green contrary leaf. This plant is prized because of its 1/2-inch diameter, spiral, five-petaled flowers in a light blue-violet hue. Diversify your lawn using periwinkle cultivars, like “Variegata” which has variegated yellow leaf or “Alba,” which has white flowers. Common periwinkle grows to a height of up to 6 inches with a spread of about 3 ft, rapidly growing using a matting habit.

General Care

Common periwinkle ground cover thrives in regions of the garden that provide partial sun to shade. These plants may experience burned leaves when exposed to full sunlight. Common periwinkle tolerates most soil conditions but it thrives in moist, well-drained soil, rich in organic content, with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. Fertilizing periwinkle using a 10-10-10 complete fertilizer during the spring promotes healthy development. Common periwinkle performs best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8.

Stem Blight

Though common periwinkle is susceptible to many different issues, the ailment to be concerned about is vinca stem blight. This fungal disease is caused by the pathogen Phoma exigua var. Exigua and leads to the death of sole stems. Symptoms first appear as dark regions of dying tissue on stems, followed by wilting and foliage death. The illness may spread quickly, leading to the death of large regions of the ground cover. The standing water produced by overhead watering creates an ideal environment for the development of fungi. Water at the base of the plant to lower the probability of infection. You can impede this illness by removing and destroying dead plant parts. Control methods include copper-based fungicide sprays.

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How to Plant Tomatoes in an Greenhouse

Tomatoes keep fruit prolifically and need very little care, so they’re one of the most popular vegetables for house gardens. Adequate warmth and long, sunny days are necessary for the plants to bear fruit, therefore they are only productive during the summer and fall months within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10. But planting tomatoes within a greenhouse will effectively expand the growing season and permit the plants to keep year-round, if they’re supplied with the appropriate light, dirt and temperature conditions.

Plant determinate, or bush-type, tomatoes in greenhouses rather than indeterminate varieties since the latter develop very large and will take up too much space. Choose cultivars such as “Legend,” “Patio Hybrid” and “Cherry Grande Hybrid.”

Plant greenhouse tomatoes in fall or early spring for a late or early return. Start the seeds indoors four to six weeks before transplanting them into the greenhouse to ensure they are older and hardened-off.

Ready the greenhouse before planting the tomatoes. Hang 10-percent shade fabric along the southerly wall of the greenhouse to prevent sun scald. Place a garden bench along the wall. Position a thermometer near the garden bench to track the temperature.

Pot the tomatoes in 5-gallon containers filled with a soil mixture of 3 parts loam, 2 parts compost, 1 part coarse sand and 1 part perlite. Plant the young tomatoes so the foundation of the stem is 1/2-inch below the surface of the ground to help produce sturdier, stronger plants that are mature.

Place the tomatoes on the garden bench near the thermometer. Supply water when the soil mixture feels dry at the upper inch. Feed the plants using low-nitrogen, 5-10-5 fertilizer one month after planting. Apply the fertilizer at half-strength. Feed once a month and water thoroughly after each feeding.

Preserve a constant daytime temperature of 70 to 80 F and a nighttime temperature of about 65 F. Do not allow the temperature to drop below 65 F at night since the fruit will become mealy and unpalatable. Do not let the greenhouse heat over 85 F since the fruit is going to be discolored.

Open the ventilation conduit to circulate the warm air and eliminate excessive moisture, which helps prevent leaf spot and blight. Turn on an oscillating fan if the temperature rises above 85 F or if relative humidity shirts 70 F.

Provide supplemental light using greenhouse lamps with fluorescent bulbs. Position the lamps approximately 3 feet over the tomato plants. Angle the lamps so the light glances off the tops of the plants. Turn on the lamps through the winter months when there is less than eight hours of direct sunlight.

Watch for signs of diseases such as leaf spot and blight, which are especially common in greenhouse conditions. Start looking for small lesions on the leaves or wilted foliage. Remove and destroy the afflicted plants to prevent the illness from spreading.

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Backyard Water Feature Projects

A backyard water garden provides a peaceful oasis for you and also for the wildlife it beckons, but occasionally even tiny ponds are labor-intensive. In case you’ve got a little backyard, you may not have the ability to fit a full pond. Try some small water feature projects to add movement without taking up a great deal of room.

Rain Chains

Rain chains divert water more beautifully than utilitarian downspouts while making falling and plinking sounds that are easy on the ear. As rain falls on rooftops, it is collected in gutters, where it conducts toward rain chains you install at the corners of your residence. Some rain chains are built of large chain connections, while other styles feature a string of cupped collection vessels in varied shapes, like flowers. You can boost this water feature by placing decorative urns or basins at the base of rain chains to collect water.

Fountains and Bubblers

Small fountains and bubblers mimic the sounds of larger waterfalls. These projects can be any size, from a tiny tabletop feature to a massive freestanding or wall layout. Ready-made, wall-mounted fountains decorate a fence or boost a patio. If you wish to design your own project, you can transform a large watering can or a glazed terracotta pot into a little bubbler. All you require for an instant water feature is a recirculating pump that’s small enough to fit within your water-filled container along with a nearby electrical outlet.

Pondless Waterfalls

Pondless waterfalls disappear into underground catch basins where hidden recirculating pumps move collected water into the peak of the waterfall. These projects require less maintenance and are easier to install than traditional waterfalls. They are also safer for children and pets because there is no freestanding water to present a potential drowning hazard. You will need to excavate a hole into which you put a tiny molded pond or an aquatic lining to your catch basin. After putting your recirculating pump into the catch basin, then you simply backfill using pea gravel until it is at soil level. After drawing the rubber tubing in the submersed pump into the top of stacked rocks or other waterfall construction, you can tuck it behind the fall or mix it with trailing leaf.


You have to put rain chains far enough under eaves to store the water and chains off your residence. Wall-mounted fountains require strong support walls and decent hardware to support the burden of a water-filled fountain. You’ll have simpler work digging a catch basin to get your pondless waterfall if you choose an area away from tree roots. Placing your own water feature at a shady place slows evaporation, which means you won’t need to refill it too frequently. You can prevent the additional expense of installing an electrical receptacle if you construct your water feature near an existing outlet or use a solar-powered Water pump.

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Safe Ant Killers to Spray from the Yard

Ants are among the most common insects that you’ll see in your own backyard. While they serve a valuable function by cleaning up dead bugs and organic waste on your landscape, some ants may also cause difficulties. For instance, certain ants may attack your plants while some may sting or bite you and your family. Before turning to toxic pesticides, try out some organic or organic sprays that can help control and kill ant populations in your garden.

Soap Spray

Liquid dish detergent is very good for more than just scrubbing oil and food off of your own pots and pans. When combined with water, then it makes a potent spray that kills ants on contact. It’s also successful at killing other common garden pests, such as aphids and whiteflies. For your best results, use a spray that has a concentration of just 3 percent less or soap, to help reduce the risk of harm to your crops. To achieve this concentration, mix 5 to 8 tablespoons of detergent in a gallon of water and spray it everywhere in your yard where you would like to kill ants.

Hot Water Spray

Hot water quickly kills ants when sprayed on their trail, and when pumped straight on an ant hill, it may also eliminate an entire ant colony on your garden. Hot water is so lethal that it can also kill many types of weeds as an all-natural herbicide. This option works best when attempting to remove ants in regions of your landscape that have no desired plants, such as on a trail or on your terrace.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is lethal against ants and a lot of other bugs. It relaxes the ants by scratching their entire body, which in turn dries from the insects. It functions best in enclosed pieces of your lawn, such as in the nooks and crannies of a garden shed. But it also works on flat surfaces such as on your lawn. To earn a spray, then simply join a 1/4 cup of diatomaceous earth with a gallon of water and spray it where ants are found. Wear a dust mask when applying diatomaceous earth.

Boric Acid

Boric acid ranks as the best natural treatment for ants. You’ll find this substance, which can be created from a natural mineral, in aerosol type. Some gardeners also use it by blending it with sugar or comparable sweet foods and spraying it where the ants are. Attracted by the apples from the spray, the ants will eat the sugar, and the boric from the mixture will poison and destroy them.

Organic Pesticides

If home spray remedies do not work, gardeners can turn to several commercially prepared, natural and organic sprays made out of plant and herbal extracts. Examples that are effective at killing ants include sprays made from pyrethrins and rotenone. Use the spray according to the manufacturer’s labeled guidelines, as toxicity varies widely by item.

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Early Cascade Tomato Plant

The massive popularity of strawberries makes it no surprise that there are many available varieties. When preparing for next season’s garden, then it can be fun to explore tomatoes you’ve never grown before. Rumors such as “Early Cascade” are not as widely grown as they once were, but still play their role in the garden.

Historic Butt

An extremely early-season maker, “Early Cascade’s” fruits begin ripening 55 to 65 days from planting. Its capability to place fruit so early in this season makes this tomato a good choice if you live in an extreme climate, of if you just want to have a jump on the growing season.


The fruits of “Early Cascade” are small to medium and produced in clusters. Fruit weight varies from about 2 1/4 to 4 oz, measuring about 2 inches across. “Early Cascade” is an indeterminate type, fruiting gradually during the growing season. The company, red fruits of “Early Cascade” often have green shoulders.

Disease Wallpapers

“Early Cascade” is an F1 hybrid plant, carrying several in-borne disease resistances. In particular, it is resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilts, both soilborne fungal diseases. These wilts are damaging to tomato plants, in addition to being incurable. The fungi responsible grow into a contaminated plant’s water and mineral transfer tissues, eventually clogging the tissues up completely. “Early Cascade” can continue to thrive and produce despite growing in soils infested with fusarium or verticillium fungi.

Growth Habit

One of the most unusual features of “Early Cascade” may function as its growing habit. Instead of growing fully or partially upright, “Early Cascade” tends to trail, which makes it an intelligent choice for hanging tomato planters. When grown in containers or in the garden, “Early Cascade” will require ample support and training to overcome this unusual feature.

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What kind of Wood is required to Build a Planter Box?

The wood used to construct a planter must have certain characteristics that make it long-lasting, such as insect and decay resistance, and it has to appear appealing in your landscape. Many wood planters may also be sealed or treated to prevent fading or greying of the wood, so nearly any sort of wood may be utilized to construct a planter. But there are a handful of common woods that supply the all of the characteristics essential to make a permanent, attractive planter.


Teak is a commonly used wood for outdoor furniture and planters. This honey-colored wood is highly resistant to rot and decay, which makes it ideal for your moist environment required to develop plants. Teak produces natural oils that protect it from the elements, but it will turn into a weathered grey color if it isn’t sealed about once each year. Some gardeners prefer this aged look and it does not impact the integrity of the wood.


Cedar is a planter material indigenous to North America that shares several attributes with teak. It is a lightweight, durable wood that resists splitting. Western Red Cedar is ideal as a planter wood, since it’s thermal coefficient, meaning that even on hot days, it’s cool, which is good for plant origins. Cedar can be naturally fungal and bacterial resistant and includes natural oils that preserve the wood even in humid climates. Cedar planters require little upkeep. A coat of sealant or stain will preserve the shade, but when left bare, cedar planters typically weather to an attractive silvery grey patina.


Redwood is a fast species of wood, which makes it a readily available planter material. This wood is durable and resists weathering and rot, but requires redesigning to avoid splitting. Like cedar and teak, redwood left unsealed will also turn a grey color. In case your redwood planter has weathered, the rich red colour may be restored using a coloured redwood sealer. Clean the wood with soap and water and rinse thoroughly before applying sealers into redwood planters.


The Cypress tree creates cypressine, which is a natural oil that serves as a preservative, which makes cypress planters durable and resistant to harsh weather conditions, insects and fungus. The shade of the wood varies, with hues of light to dark honey, and when planters are left outdoors, the wood takes on a light pewter shade over time. Cypress is lightweight, such as cedar, and it resists warping, splitting and splintering. Cypress heels match nearly any exterior fashion, and they require very little maintenance to keep on looking their finest. To keep the honey colour of the wood, seal it at least once each year using a product labeled for use on exterior cypress furniture.


Pressure-treated pine can be commonly utilized to construct pavers, but it has some drawbacks that natural woods don’t. Pressure-treated lumber is treated with chemical additives to make it rot, insect and weather resistant, but these are not ideal for vandalism which contain edible crops such as vegetables or herbs. Pressure-treated hardwood also tends to shrink over time and it doesn’t take paint or stain well unless the wood has dried out. Natural, untreated pine may also be used to construct pavers, but it has to be sealed to make it resistant to weathering, rot and fungus. Pine can also be soft, making it vulnerable to nicks, gouges and other damage.

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