Saturday, December 16, 2017

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.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Car Exhaust Damage to your Shrub

            Chivalry: Going above and beyond in caring for the needs of a fair maiden.

            Question: Is it still chivalry if the maiden is drop dead gorgeous? Or is this just reserved for the “fair” maidens?  If so, is it then and act of “Super Chivalry” if her appearance is less than fair? This has been pondered since the days of Arthur.

            Anyway, warming up the car for your damsel would be considered a modern day act of chivalry. Most men will back out the car a bit so as to not fill the garage with noxious fumes. Unfortunately this puts the tail pipe on most cars directly across from the Dwarf Alberta Spruce you’ve got planted in that little 2x2 spit of dirt next to the garage door.

            To give you an idea of what it’s like to be bathed with the warmth of the internal combustion engine. Stick you face in front of the tail pipe for a while; you will soon get the hint that maybe you should back the chariot out a little further when gaining the affection of the beauty you are looking to be chivalrous toward.

            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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bird Baths, in the Winter?

            There is another Avian lure you can employ to get a wing up on the neighbors; the bird bath.

            I don’t really know how much bathing birds do in the winter; and frankly if the circumstances were the same how many times would you  have chipped a hole in the ice and jumped in.

            What is a necessity, regardless of the season, is drinking water.

            Birds don’t eat a lot of snow; instinct tells them that’s a bad idea. One’s core temperature drops like ice cubes in a glass of water when something is consumed that is colder than one’s innards; and if one is not wearing enough “outers” hypothermia sets in. Yes, birds are wearing down jackets, and they are adequate for our climate, when water is available. But if they were supposed to eat snow they would have been endowed with a full length polar suit like their penguin cousin.

            So they search; looking for that yard that has it all, seeds and libation.

            Maybe you’ve got a bird bath out there already, still in use. I’m guessing you haven’t cleaned it in a while. Hey, if you’re bathing in it that’s one thing; but when it’s your sole source of drinking water you’d like its quality to be a tad better than the Ganges downstream.  So give it good scrub; it will be the last time you’ll have to all winter.

            One more important bit of info. Unless you are one of those that likes to see the birds come in for a landing only to find themselves slipping and skating over the ice, hitting the rim and toppling off into the snow. (that does sound kind of funny)

            No! That isn’t funny
            (well, maybe a little funny)
            No! it’s not.
           (well I guess not)

           You can buy a bird feeder heater. A little disc you plug in to keep the water from freezing. Key words “not freezing”. You won’t be creating a Turkish bath situation where the steam rises and obstructs your view of the party going on out in the ornithological hot tub. No it just keeps it from freezing.

            This does raise an important thermal dynamic concern; if the water is not freezing it is evaporating. Please make sure you are filling it as needed. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming up to the pop machine parched, only to find all the pop’s gone. Birds have their ways of getting back at you. You don’t think it’s just a coincidence that there are a lot of birds hanging around the car wash stores do ya?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


            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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Monday, December 11, 2017

Poinsettias Poisonous: fact or fiction

                Poinsettias hail from the land of sombreros and cacti, a far cry from the wintery context we see them in this time of year. And while vacationing at your home up here in the “winter wonderland” it would be wise to keep them away from window sills and cold drafty places.
            Watering can be over done, but don’t let them get too dry either; pick them up to see if a drink is needed or not, you’ll know by its weight if it’s thirsty.

            A lot of people think the red leaves are the flowers; the leaves are the leaves, and the flowers are those little unimpressive things call bracts in the center of the red leaves.

            But once again, like with other Christmas greenery, a warning to small children should be stamped across its foliage. It is not harmful in a deadly sense, but it will cause you to call the evening up short if little Gertrude polishes off a sizeable display.

            I’m sure that what I’m saying is not news to people; we’ve heard it for a long time that poinsettia leaves will make you sick, to some even deadly. Truth is a 50 pound child would have to graze on 500 leaves before that would happen. 500 hundred leaves! Take a nibble of one, it’s a fight to get your kids to eat their broccoli, I can’t imagine them wanting to wolf down a fist full of poinsettia leaves.
But anyway, keep them away from the buffet table, and save yourself the embarrassment of your little Einstein mistaking them for a colorful salad.

            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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Thirsty Tree

            Just reminder to all you real Christmas tree people out there; have you been making sure your tree’s water bowl is filled?

            I am always amazed at the amount of water that gets sucked up during its stay here on Perry Street. In the beginning we’re filling the bowl with two quarts in the morning and two at night; about a week later once a day seems to quench its hydration needs. I figure that at least fourteen gallons have left the bowl since we’ve set it upright.

             Keeping it watered is to keep open the cambium tubes that suck the water. If for any reason it goes dry after that, it will stop, those tubes shut down. If that happens try this; pour hot tap water into the bowl, maybe it will soften up that which has stuffed it up. I’m not making any guarantees, but it’s worth a try.


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