Always Learning

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I added the information sent from Jeffries Nursery about the problems they have faced with the Swedish Aspen.  I hope that you aren't plagued by the disease. 

Our oldest daughter, Janelle, is attending Olds College.  I have asked her for some information that she would like to share with you.  She is passionate about this topic.  Please enjoy.  

 Growing Your Trees and Shrubs

information from The Healthy Garden Guide.

Soil considerations- before planting, soil improvements will need to be done.  Planting directly into clay without soil improvements is like planting a tree in a pot.  Roots may not extend out beyond the "clay pot" and may girdle themselves.  A hole, twice the size of the rootball should be dug, organic matter and topsoil should be incorporated into the soil at the bottom of the hole, and used to fill in around the sides of the new plant.  When the tree or shrub is removed from the container look for any girdling roots.  If there are any they should be cut or loosened.  When planting make sure the plant is not placed too deep in the ground.  It must be at the same height it was growing at in the nursery or pot. 

Watering- Water when needed.  A new plant may need daily watering.  However, if the soil contains a lot of clay, watering daily may be too much.  Use a hand trowel to dig into the soil near the plant to determine the moisture level in the soil.  When the top 7-10 cm of soil is dry, it is time to water.  Of course, if the plant looks wilted or the leaves turn from a lush green to a dull grey-green or blue colour, it is time to water.  The soil should provide a good supply of nutrients for the plant.  Using a root boost fertilizer initially can help the plant get established, but the correct amount of water at the right time is more important. 





APPLES (malus) & PEARS (pyrus)

Both apple and pear require a second tree for cross-pollination – ideally, within 500 feet. In most prairie

cities & towns of 7,500 or more, a single tree in a yard will probably suffice. But to be safe, a second

(alternate variety) is suggested. Ideally, when planting 2 or more pears or apples, try to select different

varieties. Another option, if there’s only space for one tree is to select a Combination Tree – where 4 or

more varieties are grafted on to the same tree.

In general, these are the conditions that work against fruit production:

1. Cool, rainy weather conditions during flowering season.

2. Old, unproductive trees that do not flower. Apple and pear trees have a

productive life span of 40 years. Replace trees that are older.

3. Many apple varieties have a tendency to perform biennially, with a great

crop one year, not much the next, alternating annually.

4. Lack of pollinating insects, such as bees. Plant more flowers in your yard

to attract more bees. Some suggestions: Borage, Monarda, Marigolds,

Pansies, Euphorbia, Trollius, and Arabis.

Did you know?……. pears can cross-pollinate with apples, as long as both trees bloom at the same time.

APRICOTS (prunus)

European Apricots are self-pollinating, so only one tree is needed for fruit production. Manchurian and

Siberian apricots fruit more dependably when other apricot varieties or Nanking cherries are nearby.


Sour cherries are self-pollinating; so again, only one tree is needed for fruit production.

This includes NorthStar, Evans and the Romance series (Cupid, Valentine, Juliet,

Romeo & Crimson Passion).

For edible, prairie-hardy Plums to cross-pollinate and bear fruit, it is essential that the varieties bloom at

the same time. Varieties that bloom mid-season will cross-pollinate both early and late-blooming varieties,

as well as other mid-season bloomers. Chokecherries will also aid in cross-pollination.

GRAPES (vitis)

Grapes are self-pollinating. Cross-pollination is not essential, but some hybrids may have non-viable

pollen. Because of this, it is recommended to plant 2 or more varieties. Remove all suckers from the base

of leaves after the end of June. Remove ends of canes two to three leaves past the last fruit cluster. Also

prune out emove all non-producing canes.

BLUEBERRIES (vaccinum)

Blueberries are self-pollinating, but two or more varieties will result in better yields and larger berries.


Currants and gooseberries are self-pollinating. Excellent fruit production can

be obtained with just one plant. If currants are grown near gooseberries or

jostaberries however, yields can be even better!


SASKATOONS (amelanchier)

Strawberries, raspberries and saskatoons are all self-pollinating. Only one plant

is actually required …. But they taste so good, so why stop there? However,

they do not cross-pollinate each other.


Generally, they are self-pollinating plants. However, it has been found that planting one

Polar Jewel variety amoung Tundra & Borealis will greatly increase fruit production.

An Article from Garden Shed Advisor Newsletter:

How to create an Eco-Chic garden

An eco-friendly garden does not have to be overgrown and wild, by making a few simple changes you can really make a difference. Creating an eco-garden is simple and the beauty of it is that recycled materials do not cost much money, saving you pennies too.

So why should we have an eco-friendly garden? We all watch the news and are exposed to the fact that people living on this earth are draining it of it natural resources. Now we may not be personally able to change the drilling of oil or the cutting down of rainforests, but making a small change in your garden can make a huge difference to your surrounding environment.

Making a garden eco-friendly does not mean having to rip out everything and start again; you can start with small changes. A great step to take is to stop using compost with peat in it. Compost can be made out of many materials but peat has been a favourite of manufacturers. Peat holds water very well and this is a great benefit in gardens as soil needs to hold moisture to feed plants. Peat can only be made naturally and it takes millions of years to form. Peat is being made at a rate of 1mm a year which makes it a non-renewable source.

Around the world peat is being harvested very quickly and if this isn’t stopped or slowed, peat could soon disappear from our world, dramatically changing the wildlife in those areas. There are many types of compost available which do not use peat; they have a clear label on them which says ‘Peat Free’. They are usually more expensive but in the long run will serve your garden better.

There are ways of making your own peat substitute; Organic Gardening Pioneer Lawrence D. Hills said “Peat is an expensive alternative to leaf mould [which], with enough time to decay, could all serve the same purpose”. It is very easy to make your own peat substitute and it is really inexpensive too. It is best to do this in the autumn, when the leaves have died and fallen off trees.

Firstly you will need to collect leaves; you can do this from your own garden. If you don’t have a large enough garden or enough trees you can ask your local park gardener, usually leaves are blown up into a pile and burnt. You shouldn’t raid local forests as this could mess with the local ecological cycle.

Once you have collected the leaves you can then put them in a black bin bag. Wet the leave inside and pierce the bag all over. Then leave the bag at the back of your garden for two years, after this you will have a mush which you can add to your compost as a peat substitute, very simple. It will act in the same way and help your soil retain moisture.

When buying fencing or any other timber products, always try and source FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood. The FSC is an International organisation which monitors the supply of the World’s wood. They monitor all parts of the supply chain to ensure that all wood is being cut down and manufactured responsibly. By buying timber products for your garden which are FSC certified you ensure you are buying responsibly. FSC timber can be made into any product from sheds to fencing and even garden furniture.

Another way of being really eco-friendly is to try and save rainwater. In the UK we complain about the weather almost daily, but by saving water you’ll never have to use your hose pipe again. It is simple to set up a water barrel and once your start collecting you won’t want to stop.

The easiest way to set up a water barrel is to attach guttering to a garden building like a shed or a conservatory. You can buy guttering for a small fee at garden centres and DIY centres, plastic guttering is easy to attach to existing buildings and snaps together. Once you have attached guttering you can then attach it to your water barrel, you will need a fine wire mesh (like chicken wire) to filter out any leaves or rubbish. You will then have clean, fresh water to keep your garden going.

Eco gardening is not about sacrificing parts of your garden, it’s about adding new features. The technology surrounding the environment is evolving everyday and helps people make small changed that will make a big difference. By spending a little bit of money you can save yourself hundreds of pounds in the long term. Becoming eco-friendly has also become fashionable, world famous Fashion Design Philippe Starck has designed has designed and created a small wind turbine designed for homes. It can create enough energy to power 60% of small homes electricity.

Making your garden eco-friendly does not have to cost the earth, a few simple steps make a world of difference. Try and choose products that are environmentally responsible and try and recycle pots in your garden. Cans and yogurt pots make great pots for seedlings to grow in. A few simple steps can make your garden into an eco-friendly haven.