Protect your garden during the warm winter

seed pods frozen in winter

Because of climate change, we’re looking at an unseasonably warm winter. This affects many things about the coming season: your wardrobe, outdoor activities, and yes, even garden upkeep and care.

 

Warm winter and weed growth

reeds

Many gardeners agree that winter weeds are relatively easier to control than those that grow in other seasons. Autumn is the best time to treat weeds since September to October are the peak months for their germination period. Neglecting to treat them could mean a garden overrun with weeds come springtime. It’s best to avoid this, since it’s harder to get a neglected garden back in shape than if you actively try to keep it weed-free before the winter.

 

In the cold, weeds hardly germinate and most die once chill sets in. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security that you will find your garden weed-free come springtime, though. With a warm winter, expect the weeds to act as they would in the spring and summer. Not only will they germinate and spread in the same manner as summer weeds – you can also expect other types of weeds to find their way into your garden if you aren’t careful.

 

Weeds to watch out for

grass

Winter weeds come in two general types: grass and broadleaf. Grassy weeds are distinguishable by their longer leaf blades and parallel veins. They can be annual like bluegrass, or perennial like quackgrass.   

 

Broadleaf weeds also have annuals and perennials. They come from seeds that have two leaves, and are identifiable by veins that look like nets. Some broadleaves have distinct flowers like dandelions. Annual broadleaf weeds exist in twelve-month periods – meaning they germinate, grow, and then die within a year. Some winter annuals include chickweed, deadnettle, white clover, and bluegrass. Perennials are those that grow for two years or more. They’re the products of tubers or bulbs, and rarely, seeds. They’re harder to control, so take extra care to look out for their kind: white clover, dallisgrass, and buttercups in winter. However, because of the unseasonable warmth, there could be dandelions and plantains – typical summer broadleaf weeds – in the mix.   

 

How to arrest weed growth

plants getting overrun with weeds

Temperature plays a big role in weed management. Never neglect to mulch as it helps insulate roots and keeps nourishment where it’s needed while protecting from the onslaught of seasonal weed. Mulching also helps soil temperatures remain even during frost or heat, but always check soil temperature to determine the depth and amount of mulching needed. You may have wintertime mulching scheduled, but unpredictable weather could change some of those activities.

 

In normal winter seasons, a herbicide typically takes two to three weeks to be effective, as opposed to just a week during summer. With warm winters becoming more apparent, it only makes sense to constantly check the temperature to determine the proper application and timing of weed killers. You can hand-weed recognizable weeds first.

 

You might need to introduce watering to your gardening itinerary for a warm winter. The soil will be thirsty, and so will your plants’ roots. Irrigate properly and regularly (every three to five days, again depending on the temperature) to keep roots properly moist and nourished.

 

Ten Great Water-Saving Gardening Ideas

picture of a dripping sink in a garden

In these times of drought, we all need to be smart about keeping our plants healthy – and not waste water at the same time. A thriving garden doesn’t require tons of water. It simply needs a smart gardener armed with practical ideas and frugal techniques.

 

To retain water, add compost to your soil

Organic composting helps amend your garden soil with nutrients so it can be fertile. It also traps moisture to help plants take root. Composting can be done even without an expensive bin. As an example, you can collect food scraps from your kitchen and take them straight into a compost pile.

 

Apply mulch to your soil

Mulch provides a protective layer that can prevent up to 70% of moisture from evaporating, especially on a hot day. After composting, apply an adequate layer of mulch to avoid water runoff. Mulching also keeps weeds from taking over precious soil space and vying for water and nutrients, which your growing plants badly need.

picture of brown rubber mulch

Have a strict AM and PM watering schedule

Keeping to a fixed routine can help you save water while optimizing root and plant growth. Gardens are best watered from early morning up until temperature begins to rise before noon because there is less evaporation then. If your plants are in pots and containers, they tend to dry out quickly so water them at noon and into the early afternoon.
Avoid watering at night – this can cause fungal growth because there is no sun to help evaporate excess moisture.

watering plants when there's sunlight

Know which plants to water at specific times

Of course, observing your plants for any sign of drought stress means you have to customize your watering schedule specifically around it. Knowing the types of plants and their developmental stages can also help you incrementally reduce watering. For instance, squash, melons, cucumbers, and other vine crops only need ample watering during their flowering and fruiting stages. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants also do not need excess watering as they love the heat, and tend to bear more fruit in warmer weather.

 peppers

Avoid “thirsty” plants

If you’re starting a garden from scratch, it’s wise to go for plants that don’t “guzzle” water and require a lot of maintenance. Low-maintenance plants like succulents are ideal because they thrive in drought-like conditions, such as in deserts. Go for small plants and those with narrow leaves instead (ferns are a good example).

If your garden already has established plants that are slow-growing, fret not because those don’t require a lot of watering, either. Thirsty plants include big-leafed ones, ones that need constant fertilizing, and those that grow at a rapid rate or are newly-planted.  

 

Save kitchen and fish tank water

After boiling vegetables, don’t throw away the water in your pot. Let it cool before using it to water your plants. There are added vitamins and minerals in this water that can help nourish your plants. The same goes for water from your fish tank- it’s rich in phosphorous and nitrogen that can aid plant growth.

water in a pot

Choose drought-tolerant plants

In times of drought, think small. This means the smaller the produce, the bigger its chance of surviving hot weather. Think miniature bell peppers, eggplants, cherry tomatoes, and other vegetables that are tiny yet rich in nutrients, and actually flourish in heat.

someone holding cherry tomatoes

Other tried-and-tested drought-resistant produce include okra, Swiss chard, legumes like chickpea, lima beans and cow beans, mature rhubarb, chiles, cantaloupe, and herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and lavender.

 

Collect rainwater in your garden

You can harvest water when it rains by using a plastic or metal barrel to collect roof runoff. You can place the barrel directly beneath a downspout so it collects most of the water and fills up quickly. Use a dipper to water the plants with, and keep the barrel covered to prevent insects and debris from getting into it. Doing these can significantly reduce your water bill, as opposed to relying on a garden hose for regular watering.

rain barrels collecting water

Select practical plant containers

The kind of pot or container you put your plant into can have a great effect on its growth and your gardening habits. Avoid metal containers because they will just take away the moisture from the soil in the container and create an overheated environment. Use them as decorative outer containers, instead.

 

Go for glazed pots. If you choose unglazed terra cotta ones, chances are the soil will dry faster in them because they’re porous. If you need to transplant seeds and starts outdoors, you buy coconut husk pots that decay when roots start taking hold, or biodegradable plant pots that allow you to bury them whole into the ground without replanting.

 

Group plants with similar water needs

In a drought, it’s no longer practical to plant in rows. It makes better sense to do block and grouped planting. The logic behind this is that the plants provide much-needed shade and nutrients for each other without competing for moisture and nourishment. A water-efficient garden layout can have blocks of similar-needs produce like cucumbers, squash, and zucchini – these vegetables require the same amount of watering. It may be tempting to add some cauliflower or broccoli into the mix, but as they need more room and are thirsty plants, they will create a problem with watering and nourishment.

 

How To Apply Mulch

landscape with rubbermulch

Whenever people talk about gardening basics, watering, fertilizing, and weeding instantly come to mind. Today, mulching has become an integral part of it. Its benefits go beyond prettifying a garden, because it offers significant reduction in weed presence, unparalleled moisture retention in soil, and keeping erosion at bay.

Of course, these benefits are present only if mulching is done right. If it’s your first time to mulch, here are some important steps to take.

First, choose the right mulch for your gardening needs. Some gardens need a lot of “movement”, as with vegetable patches and perennial plants. If the soil needs to be regularly composted, you will do best with organic mulches like grass, bark, and leaves. A semi-permanent gardening set-up can benefit from inorganic mulches like stone and shredded rubber.

It’s also a good idea to take weather conditions into consideration. For instance, windy days can blow away light pine needles, sawdust, and straw and make a mess instead of a neat garden.

Secondly, weed. Pull out all visible weeds, and take extra care not to scatter any spores from unwanted plants. Rake the area carefully, then spread a weed barrier over the soil to further prevent weeds from penetrating the mulch.

Next, calculate how much mulch you will need. You can avoid overspending or running out of mulch too soon. The appropriate mulch depth is at two inches, so if you’re mulching a six-feet by three-feet flower bed, you will need around three cubic feet of mulch.

Label newly-planted seeds. Use popsicle sticks with the names of the plants on them.This will keep your garden organized and easier to maintain should specific plants have special gardening needs. You would also want to avoid mulching over the seeds because they need space to grow.

watering plants

Then water all plants prior to mulching. All the plants, young or old, that you want to protect with mulch need to be watered before applying mulch on their bed. This is also the best time to add fertilizer.

Apply mulch carefully over the soil. Let the mulching begin! Take a trowel and carefully spread mulch in a two-inch depth over the weeded area. Take extra care not to pile up mulch at the base of plants because it can smother them. If mulching near fully grown trees, leave at least a diameter of three feet around the base mulch-free. If you want to smoothen out the mulch further, use a garden rake.

Now you have a garden that retains moisture and fertilizer in the soil and roots where it needs them most – and you won’t have to worry about replenishing mulch everyday!

Resources:

http://northcoastgardening.com/2009/06/organic-gardening-101-mulch/

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/mulch/how-to-mulch/

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/lay-down-mulch-48172.html

 

Natural Beauty is Tough to Beat

green moth

 

Even though we all see red/orange wood mulch seemingly everywhere and at times it can be a bit garish, the good news is there are other options for mulch colors.

One of our favorite rubber mulch colors is our Southern Cypress.  This color hides leaves and is very natural in appearance.  Many of our customers have sprinkled a bit on their red or brown rubber mulch if they are installing the product under trees that spew a ton of leaves.

brown rubber mulch with stone and flowers.

Top 5 Rubber Mulch Facts

Top 5 Rubber Mulch Facts

brown rubber mulch with stone and flowers.

  1. Everlast Rubber Mulch does not float.  Our tire rubber mulch has a specific gravity greater than 1 so it is heavier than water!
  2. Everlast Rubber Mulch weighs approximately 26 pounds per cubic foot.  Our “value sized” bags of rubber mulch at 1.15 cubic feet weigh approximately 30 lbs. vs a .8 cubic foot bag (30% smaller) weighing less.
  3. 23 bags of Everlast make 1 cubic yard vs 34 bags of .8 cubic foot bags equal a cubic yard (27 cubic feet).
  4. Everlast holds water.  Let’s say a pile of rubber mulch gets wet via a heavy rain. The rubber in the middle of the pile will be wet no matter how much time goes by or sun shines on it.  The water is trapped due to condensation.  Rubber mulch has a high R value and the center of the pile stays too cool to evaporate-too cool!
  5. Everlast rubber mulch nugget pieces do not hold water individually.  Therefore the top layer of the mulch stays dry and acts as a weed barrier.  Weed seed that falls into the bed simply dehydrates before germinating.  With Everlast you can save your money and not buy weed block.

Mulch For the Holidays and Spring

With the holiday season quickly approaching, who doesn’t want their property looking great for their in-laws and guests?  Now that the summer heat has let go it is a great time to mulch and save some money going forward.

Just think, you can make your home more attractive than ever and know that when the snow melts it will look just as great!  Everlast Rubber Mulch looks great year after year. Available in 7 rich and vibarant colors…colors that last.  Remember the old adage “the only thing you get with a pile of wood mulch is a coupon to go back and bet more”.  Mulching once with Everlast Rubber Mulch not only reduces weed growth but also keeps your landscape budget working for you.  Next spring you can buy more annuals and perennials, enjoy your weekends by not having to mulch, and forget about lugging bags or wheelbarrows once or twice a year across the lawn!

We can ship direct via our online store or find a dealer near you.

Don’t forget that every bag of Everlast Rubber Mulch reduces landfill use…recycling at its best!

red landscape rubber mulch in garden

Colorfast Over a Decade and No Weed Block Expense!

Why Rubber Mulch is Colorfast

Red Wood Mulch After  Rain

Wood Mulch After a Rain

One of the best characteristics of rubber mulch for landscapes and playgrounds is the way it is colored.  Various companies use different methods but the general concept is the same.

Mulch colorant 101……

Wood mulch is colored using a colorant that is more like a stain than a coating.  Wood mulch absorbs colorant based on how dry it is, how open the cells are, how much colorant is applied, and how long it is allowed to soak.

Wood mulch can only hold it’s color as long as the wood fiber is there to hold it.  In other words, as the wood mulch continues to decay, the color leaves with the wood fiber that falls away.

Everlast rubber playground mulch is coated with a colorant that includes a binder.  Since rubber will not absorb anything due to it’s closed cell nature, a binder must be used to adhere the pigment to the particle.  Everlast Kids Rubber Mulch utilizes automotive grade pigments with a world class binder to coat the rubber particles.  The color will last as long as the binder adheres to the rubber mulch and our products last up to 15 years in most weather conditions.  Everlast Rubber Mulch has been used from middle eastern desert environments to near tundra conditions and our products perform year after year.

Rubber Mulch doesn’t float either making sure your money stays put…..

Red Rubber Mulch in Landscape Bed

Colorfast-Won’t Float-Weed Resistant

Here in our nursery I like to say “at the bottom of every wood mulch pile is a coupon to come back and get more”.  If you are tired of mulching take a look at our products and find out why we are the “nearly world famous” rubber mulch.

Rubber Mulch and Water Retention

landscape rubber mulch saves waterAsk any gardener or landscaper for mulch recommendations and you will certainly get an answer with some conviction and seldom will opinions match.  There are some universal truths to mulching though and general observation can tell us one universal truth.

Wood mulch that is applied year after year becomes rotten underneath and matted on top.  This leads to water shedding; water is directed away from the root zone and aeration of the root zone is greatly impacted.  Water simply can not penetrate a thick layer of matted wood mulch and therefore this is certainly a bad mulch practice.

Rubber mulch never mats or rots and is always permeable.  Therefore, all water runs straight through with no water shed.  Rubber also holds moisture in the ground.  If we have a semi load of rubber mulch that is soaking wet and leave it on a concrete pad in the hot Florida sun the material will never dry out.  The water will remain trapped in the rubber because rubber is an insulator.  The top is warm and the middle is cool so the water doesn’t escape.

Years ago we were presented with an opportunity in Dubai.  No matter what the customer tried they could not hold moisture in the ground until they top dressed with Everlast Rubber Mulch.  The rubber mulch allowed all of the irrigation to flow through to the plants and held the water in the ground.  The soil temperature was only 2 degrees warmer than the wood much beds due to the insulative nature of rubber mulch.

This is exactly why rubber mulch acts as weed barrier.  The rubber stays dry so weed seed dehydrates before it reaches the soil.  It is just that simple!

For more information on our landscape rubber mulch and playground rubber mulch please visit our websites Everlast Rubber Mulch or Playground Rubber Mulch.

Gardening and Rubber Mulch for Mental Health?

I just read a great article in American Nurseryman magazine by the editor Sally Benson who was paraphrasing a radio program she heard recently.  The discussion revolved around the fact that our daily lives are immersed in rigid geometric shapes….from the TV, cellphone, computer screen, rooms in our homes, offices, SUV’s, etc.  Seems like everything around us is just another box.

stress relief through gardening

Stress Relief

I believe that second only to pets, gardening can provide a fantastic outlet and stress reliever for those of us living in a busy and urgent world.  Every morning I look forward to checking on my gardenia’s progress from the day before.  My home landscape is covered with blooming beauties and of course a few different colors of my “Nearly World Famous” Everlast Rubber Mulch.

I love to landscape due to the fact that my mind relaxes while I check on the progress of all my favorite plants and I am constantly expanding my plant varieties.  I thoroughly enjoy mixing colors and creating refreshing contrasts to my world which is full of black bordered monitors and sterile websites and data streams.

I am extremely busy but still make time for my landscape in part because I don’t have to spend my time weeding my beds….I am lucky because I get to focus on the fun side of gardening-the sensory experience that doesn’t involve sweat!

Do yourself a favor and take a good look at our low maintenance rubber mulch products….the dividends can be life changing.

Playground Rubber Mulch Testimonial-Brand Comparison

It is my pleasure to recommend Everlast as a company with integrity and quality a product. I received our shipment of Playground Mulch and all I can say is that “I absolutely LOVE it!”. I can certainly say this was the quickest turn around I have ever had with a company. I truly appreciated the representative professional manners and I really felt like they cared and enjoyed actually helping me make my decisions regarding our playground. This is not my first experience with a major purchase of mulch and indeed we will be return customers. I value this company so much, I have recommended our state resource department to use Everlast and to stay away from the company ********, who still owes me mulch and money to this day. In fact there is no comparison to Everlast. I have never seen mulch so rich in color and chunky as it is. I already know it will be around for along time. The ***** looks like pea gravel and it stands out in a bad way on the playground after it was put down. I wish I had found Everlast first. I wish you continued success with your company as you supply our children with the safest fall protection they have ever had.
Thank you,
Peace and Sparkles ,
Ms.U