Thursday, December 18, 2014

Coffe For Your Rhodos?

            Undoubtedly there will be a lot of coffee served up in the next few days, that means there will be a lot of grounds thrown away; and if your trash pick isn’t until Friday… well let’s just say we hope it says real cold outside.

            There is another use for those coffee dregs; your acid loving plants would love to see you put them around their feet.

            Three things happen when coffee grounds are laid in under your Rhodos, Azaleas, Holly, Boxwoods, and Yews; it mulches them, becoming an insulator from the quick freezing and thawing of the soil they are in. It lowers the acidity of the soil, which is always a plus when planted in areas typically higher in Ph, and it’s a food source.

            Keep the depth of pure coffee grounds under two inch, and a couple inches away from the plant’s trunk. The effective benefit range out from the center of the shrub is the width of the bush itself; roots don’t go out much past the leaf canopy of itself.

            So as to not appear odd at the family Christmas get together don’t announce out loud that you would like the coffee grounds, just tell them you’d like to help clean up; then sneak them into the casserole dish you brought. If questioned at the door as to the aroma that is trailing behind you, just bolt for the car.

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info and pictures on the subject check us out at

House Plants

            During the winter months the low humidity levels can be a problem for your indoor “tropical” plants. Yes they are tropical; they don’t call them “house plants” because they like to live in the house. They are “house plants” because they can’t live outside in our neck of the woods during this time of year. To test this hypothesis don your favorite beach wear and flip-flops and go stand outside for an afternoon. Not only will you start looking like someone from Avatar, but you’ll be eager to get back in the house.

            The humidity in our homes can take on all the characteristics of the Sahara in July when the furnace is running. How can that be, you just heard the weather guy say that the humidity outside was 78%; that sounds rather high. But 78% percent humidity in 20 degree temperatures will not remain 78% humidity when warmed up to 70 degrees in your house; it will drop to around 20 to 30%, which if you were a horn toad would make you feel right at home.

            How does this happen? The cold humid air of outside comes in every time you open the door or window, where the furnace warms it up and it expands. The water molecules that were close together, making it 78% humidity in the cold air, are now farther apart and the farther apart they are, the drier the air becomes.

           This is why you see people misting their leaves from time to time; they are actually simulating a jungle environment. One other humidity raising thing you could do is to set your plants on gravel or pebble trays filled with water. The pebbles keep the pot out of the water, but the evaporation of the water up into the plants creates an environment that is more humid.

            Just because it’s warm inside your house doesn’t make it a Tarzan and Cheetah rich environment for your indoor plants. Tarzan didn’t trek back to Jane through the burning sands of the desert; he swung home through the humid jungle on vines.

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info and pictures on the subject check us out at

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mieces, Mices and Your Young Trees

           We hate Mieces to Pieces: at lease that’s what we who are in our fifties were told to do on Saturday mornings. Well, the new trees you planted this year, and last, are hoping you remember that little PC incorrect line; for they aren’t too keen on being a rodent snack this winter.

           Trees about one inch diameter become culinary “ports in the storm” when the snow gets deep enough to hinder Mickey and his ilk from foraging. They will nestle up next to your fine $70.00 specimen and snack on it all winter if need be; it might not be their meal of choice, but it’s a meal.

            Your best defense against these little backyard Disney characters, and their ugly tailless step-cousins the Voles, are tree trunk raps. Be they plastic, or be they tar paper brown, a good rap job will either keep them busy trying to gnaw through the plastic or get a mouth full of tar. Either way your landscape investment is safe.

            What about my 2 inch or bigger trees?

            As the tree trunk gets bigger the bark gets thicker; and as the bark gets thicker the effort it takes to get to the edible part gets greater. You can tell the severity of the winter by the size of the trees nibbled on.

            If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. Like us on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Squirrels on the Feeder

            Looks harmless doesn’t he.

            But he will decimate the contents of your feeder quicker than you can say Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale (bet you didn’t know that was Natasha’s last name did you. I’d also dare say you thought she and Boris were married didn’t you?).

            Squirrels are enviable. In the city they have no predators but the family automobile. They roam free throughout the backyards of your neighborhoods looking for nut and acorn trees, spring bulbs, and the free handouts represented in your bird feeders.

            Unlike the birds they don’t mind their friends sharing in your bounty. Sometimes there can be as many as eight to ten of these moochers scarfing up what the winged slobs above them have tossed out.

            This would be fine but squirrels become discontent with their daily allotment from on high. After a while they become bored with being the vacuum cleaners around the base of the feeder; they begin to look up… and this is where it starts to go very bad.

            At this time I would like to direct you to the article I did on this subject in greater detail. In it I talk about the different ways you can measure the intelligence of the squirrels in your neighborhood, and the different devise to control them. Go to and click on the YouTube Enhanced Garden Articles tab; Scroll down to the article titled Squirrels.


If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info and pictures on the subject check us out at

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Potted Christmas Tree

          I forgot to mention the Potted Christmas tree this year; but most peoplewho go this route don't bring them in until now anyway.  

          For those of you wanting a “Potted Christmas Tree”, there are a few tips in caring for these, both during the Holiday season and planting it when the season is done.

           Transporting and lugging your selection into the house is going to have built-in limitations because of tree and pot size. A potted four foot tree will sport at least a 25 gallon nursery pot. Let’s see that’s 10 to 12 pounds per gallon, so just the dirt alone will weigh at least 250 to 300 pounds. You may want the throttle back the tree size a tad. 

            Once you’ve wrangled it into the house, placement goes pretty much like the real tree situations; keep it away from the registers and sunny windows.

            The one thing you’ll be doing differently when displaying a live tree, is pre-digging a hole for planting it when the season ends; and being that we had a coupke days of "above freezing temps" you can get that hole dug today before it gets freezing cold again. Make sure you fill a couple five gallon pails with the good soil you removed and place them where they won’t freeze. Also gather some leaves into a trash bag if you can.

            Once the season is over, and it’s time to plant your tree, move it out to the garage for a week to get it acclimated to the cold weather. Think about the “Polar People” who jump into the icy water on a put yourself into the scenario... think about the tree who has gotten rather used to your warm digs over the last 20 days.
            As you try and scrape the frozen dirt piled next to the hole to back fill your tree, you remember the two pails you brought into the garage. That was much easier wasn’t it?

            Water it all in; and lastly pile the leaves you gathered under the tree to help insulate the root somewhat.

           When scouting out a location for your little Spruce or Douglas fir, keep in mind they can get 50’ tall by 20 to 25 feet wide. Miscalculate on this and at least you’ve got a home grown Christmas tree to cut 10 years from now.

           If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014


            Mistletoe:  A botanical prop that enables those who are unable to receive a fair maiden’s kiss voluntarily, the access to one through entrapment.

           The history behind this odd bit of greenery dates back to the 13th century a.d. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time.

            Its naming origin is less than flattering. The word in German Mist, stands for dung; and Tang (letoe) for branch, since mistletoe can be spread in the feces of birds moving from tree to tree. However, Old English mistel was also used for basil; so we’ll go with that one for this time.

            But beforehand, according to custom, the mistletoe must not touch the ground between its cutting and its removal as the last of Christmas greens. Why? Who knows, I was not able to nail that down.

            The mistletoe was hung up throughout the house and especially in the kitchen (more girls to kiss in that part of the house I presume) at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases. (key here when buying Mistletoe then is…).

            This plant’s berries are also poisonous and therefore should also be kept up high… Oh, that’s right, they already are up high. Just tell the “kissies” not to put the plucked berries down anywhere near the white M&Ms.

                       If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

    “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly”.
                Whenever I plant Holly bushes for customers I tell them to wait until Christmas time to prune them. Nothing in the botanical world says Christmas like Holly. Whenever Christmas art is out lined with greenery, it’s usually done with Holly. If evergreen sprigs are used, there are a couple of pinecones in there somewhere. But Holly for some reason has the monopoly on all things vegetationally Christmas. And if you wish to purchase some of this nostalgic greenery I’m sure you’ll have to pass the cash through both nostrils at the checkout.  

            You can avoid this rather painful experience by either growing a couple Holly bushes of your own; or offering to prune your neighbor’s.

            If you choose to grow your own you will be confronted with several species, which I won’t go into at this time. But the ones you may want are the ones named “Holly Blue” or just Holly “prince” or ”princess”. The Holly Blue has the darkest leaves; and in my humble opinion is the nicest looking of the two.

        Maybe you’ve noticed that I am using the words “some” and “couple” when talking about holly. This species of Holly is either male or female; unlike all other plants that are both male and female. If you want the red berries you will need a male with in 400 feet of your red berry producing female.

        The leaves when picked will last the Christmas season. They will dry out and become brittle in a couple weeks, but if you don’t touch them they will display nicely. The berries on the other hand will be shriveled up; you will need a couple of cuttings of them to keep a fresher looking display. So pace yourself with what berries are available to you.

        A word of warning; holly berries are poisonous. Not a keel over and die type poisonous, but they will make young children sick if they eat more than five. So you might want to put substantial separation between the red berries and the red M&Ms.      

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info and pictures on the subject check us out at