Thursday, June 16, 2016

Poison Ivy

             If you're anything like me you can't get anywhere near Poison Ivy without spending the next two to three week scratching your skin off. And, I might add, it's not like snake venom, you don't build up an immunity to it. I have come to understand that you become more allergic with each major exposure.

             To get rid of Poison Ivy is going to be a rainless, three day undertaking, but an undertaking that needs to be done none-the-less if you wish success.

            First you need to know what it looks like in order to avoid it in the first place, this is your best defense; and to know what to eradicate.
            Next involves the three rainless days of spraying with concentrated Roundup; yes concentrated Roundup, don’t dilute it. You must then spray every Poison Ivy leaf surface you see, for Roundup will only work if it is absorbed into the leaves of the plant.

             Let me take a moment to say, sometimes other plants will be in the way, plants of a desirable nature……you must choose…….sometimes the good die young so the itchless need not scratch.

             Your mission the next day will be to spray the PI leaves again. And yes you guessed it another spraying the third day.
            I would suggest a fourth day of spraying but the cellular structure of the plant will have broken down to a point where no more Roundup can be absorbed into the plant.
            Now, let me warn you, it will look dead in two week but don’t touch or grab it with your bare hands; the itchy substance of the plant is an oil, and it is still there. And don’t burn it either, the oil will suspend in the smoke; and I don’t think you’ll be able to get your hand deep enough into your mouth to scratch your itching lungs. Just leave it, or, if you must, carefully remove it while wearing a long sleeve shirt and throw away rubber work gloves.

           Please study this picture carefully, cut it out and put it in your wallet or purse get to know this plant, be able to recognize it on the fly. To not be astute in the profile of this harmless looking perennial will cause you great embarrassment in the presents of others, you will feel the eyes of them all as they whisper among themselves, “who’s the leper in the Calamine paint”.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Spirea Whackdown

            The Spirea is one of the few landscape plants that can be rejuvenated by cutting it all the way down to the ground.

            In time a Spirea can get woody and sparse. Branches die, or just get to old to produce much in the way of flowers, or leaves for that matter. Regular pruning just doesn’t cut it anymore; there just isn’t enough at the tips to produce a lush bush. So, more drastic measures need to be employed.

            It’s quite simple; you just whack it down to the ground and start over.

            You must realize at this point you now have a new bush with new growth coming up; it’s not going to be thick and full right off the bat, you will have to train it back to its former glory.

            Let this new growth grow up about a foot and then remove about three inches. This will halt the forward growth and cause the plant to push out side growth. Let this new growth get about six inches long and prune off about two inches. Let this new growth get about six inches in length and prune that back a couple inches. Now, in about four to five months since the whack down, you should have your Spirea back, younger and full of new wood ready to produce a gob of flowers again.  

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

Monday, June 13, 2016

Roses, why are they a pain to grow?

            Why are roses such a labor intensive plant to grow? Seems like they are always putting on bug conventions; bugs are standing around in groups with long straws, sucking the life out of your pride and joy. And if they’re not hosting some insect phylum they’re redecorating their leaves with spots of all kinds.
            The reason is because of our desire for a bigger and more perfect flower.

            You will not see the type of roses your neighbor gros out in the woods, or along some babbling brook. Maybe you’ll see one where an old farm house once stood, but out in the wild, never. The only thing you’ll see are the wild roses, the great great great (add a couple thousand more) Grandparents of the roses that grace the Rose Beds of today.

            But to get to the sizes we like and the quantity of flowers, something gets lost; there is a trade off, and that would be the health of the plant.

            Truth be known, the big Tea and Foribunda roses are always teetering on the verge of death; which means they are always trying the heal themselves, which means they are sending sugar throughout their system, which is ringing the diner bell for aphids and fungus.

            The wild roses are never in this state of decline; they are robust and healthy, they have no need to manufacture sugar. They need only to send bad tasting starch throughout their system; a liquid common to all plants during normal active growing.

            You can minimize the problem associated with growing the roses of today by:

                        * Fertilize them as the bag or box requires.

                        * Spray them with a fungicide at the first sign of spots.

                        * Hit them with an insecticide at the first bug sighting.

                        * Water them from below; try and keep the leaves as dry as possible.

                        * Plant them on the East side of any structure or whatever.

                        * Make sure they can get plenty of ventilation.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Your Yews

            One of the most common of landscaping plants is the Yew. Its ability to grow in both sunny or shady places makes it the perfect foundation plant to backdrop any one's landscaping choices.

            With its home town being Japan it fits nicely into our weather zone; and its need for a dryer situation makes it the perfect plant for “up against the house” planting.

            It could be a very low maintenance plant if people were to wait to prune it until after the 4th of July. But people see the new foliage sprouting out now and feel the need to trim it off now. Unfortunately this plant senses you’ve pruned it off, and is compelled to grow it right back again. It is only when the new growth is allowed to reach maturity (after the last of June/first of July) does it switch off its need to grow new stuff. By waiting until then you can prune it and it will not grow back until next spring. So, by waiting until after July 4 to go crazy with the hedge trimmers you have a low maintenance bush again.

            One more thing about the yew, its pruning’s are deadly to horses. About every twenty years or so you hear of some poor well-meaning dad, or the equine person themselves, losing their pride and joy to hedge trimmer refuse. I don’t know what it is in the yews trimmings; maybe it’s the taxol, good as a cancer fight drug, but evidently deadly to animals. So please, don’t think you are supplementing your horse’s diet with any of your pruning delicacies, they could, and can, prove fatal.  

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tomato Planting Tips

           When you plant your tomatoes strip off a couple of the bottom leaves and plant then deep; the hairs on the stem will turn into roots and give your plant a better, stronger root base.

            Cut Worms take bites out of young seedlings thus ending the plants life. Plastic drinking straws, (bigger the better) will be your answer to this dilemma.  Cuts them a 1 ½” long and slits them up the side. Because they are slit they will not constrict the plant as it grows.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


            Early May in Michigan is always a time for botanical Russian Roulette .We get so sick of the cold weather that when a little warmth comes of way we think it’s here to stay, and off to the flower store we go.

             In all my years as a kid watching Tarzan I never saw him swinging through the jungle wearing a parka and mukluks; he was always sporting a loincloth. He’d swing with Cheetah on his back wearing it, he’d drop down out of the trees to greet passers-by wearing it, and he even went into town with only that on. If you looked in his closet that’s all you would have seen, an array of loincloths; and why? Because it was hot where he was. Sure he experienced 45 degree temperature swings but in his neck of the jungle it went from 120 down to 75; not 75 to 30, like around here.

            The new annuals you bought are plants that come from that part of the world. They watched Tarzan wrestle alligators, they watch him swing over to Jane’s place wearing his new Armani loincloth. And they too haven’t packed any winter wear when taking that trip to your house.

            Our weather zone is 6, and zone 6 puts the last frost date at May 15. As we have seen with this weekend it is “chancy” to plant anything tropical here before that date. Keep those plant covers handy for a while yet.

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

Hummingbirds are back!

Hey! The Hummingbirds are back! First one to get their feeders out wins!! And what do they win Johnny? Well, let me tell you; they win a summer of simple enjoyment as they watch one of God’s truly marvelous flying machines flit from feeder to feeder. Yes “feeders”, the more you put out the more birds you’ll attract.

           Remember also that the “water to sugar” ration is 3 to 1. They will know if you’re being stingy with the sweet stuff; and if you are they will pass you by.

            Let me put this in perspective for you. A Ruby Throat hummingbird must consume 3 to 4 grams of food a day in order to maintain flight and life; and not just any food, it must be high octane fuel food, no fluff stuff. That means if you were this bird, at your size now, you would have to consume 300 pounds of food per day to do what this little bird needs to do all day. That, my friend is a lot of grub. That’s 300 quarter pounders at McDonald’s, bun and all.

             So, don’t skimp on the sugar!

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