Plant a Tree, Stop a Crime

Trees reduce crime. 3 components to planting trees successfully. Watering new trees and shrubs. New butterfly bush!

The U.S. Forest Service recently completed an interesting study showing that trees and gardens are influences on reducing crime. Quoting from the results: ". . a 10% increase in leaf canopy was associated with a 12% drop in crime". "The neighborhoods that had more trees and gardens seemed to have less crime."

The study concluded that the more trees, the more shade . . . the more shade, the more that people want to spend time outdoors . . . and the more people spending time out of doors, the more eyes on the street to deter crime.

Maybe we should start a new local campaign with the slogan: “Plant a tree, Stop a crime”.

Most homeowners recognize the need to remodel the insides of their homes but don't realize their landscape also benefits from an occasional update. A front landscape covered in junipers and rocks screams out: "Look how old and outdated I am!" Remodeling your landscape is quicker, easier, and cheaper than remodeling any other part of your home, and updating is important because the landscaping is the first and the last impression friends and neighbors have of your home.

When remodeling a landscape, keep in mind that some plants can be used to highlight the yard. An excellent plant to fill this bill is the knee high Autumn Sage. It loves our summer heat and thrives with minimal water. Hummingbirds drool over the blazing red flowers and their super sweet nectar. This sage will happily take to the hottest spots in the yard; it also does well in containers, raised beds, and borders. Except for the hummers, it is not attractive to wildlife; even deer do not care for the taste.

Personal Gardens – I just finished a street planting using Autumn Sage and a new variety of dwarf Russian Sage. Blooms are so pretty I shot this video for you:)

Landscape plants occasionally need to be trimmed, shaped up, or cut down. For example, hedges are meant to accent your home, not hide it. Now is a good time to cut back overgrown hedges. If necessary, cut them back by a third. They'll be shorter and look kind of ugly but will grow back quickly. Give them Watters' All Purpose Plant Food 7-4-4 right after pruning, and bright new leaves will emerge within a few weeks.

My loose definition of a weed is any plant in the yard that is unwanted. So, I say don’t be afraid to clear out and replace old tired-looking plants with fresh new ones. That goes for trees, shrubs, flowers, and ground covers. In gardening this is much like an interior designer changing the paint on the walls. Remodeling a landscape refreshes the outside appearance of your house, and it's surprising how much better the gardener feels, too!

A seasonal transition has taken place here at Watters. Spring plants like lilac, forsythia, and quince have been replaced with selections of showier summer shrubs. Butterfly bushes, hibiscus, evergreen jasmine, Russian sage, and native yucca have taken prominence, and all are in bloom. Each loves the warmth of our late spring weather and all transplant well despite our climbing temps.

When planting you will always need three components for success . . . Watters Premium Mulch, All Purpose Plant Food, and Root & Grow. To keep the soil loose and introduce some organic matter, add Premium Mulch to your yard’s soil. Watters' All Purpose Food encourages more growth in the first season, and adding liquid Root & Grow to the first few irrigation cycles reduces transplant shock and stimulates new root formation. Use these three soil additives and your spring planting successes will skyrocket. At your next visit to the center ask for my free 'Planting Guide' for more details and exact amounts to use of each additive.

Many plants sleep through the winter season, don’t respond to the spring season, and much prefer the heat of summer to show their stuff. Such is the way of butterfly bushes. Their blooms fill the air with summer-long fragrance, and are irresistible to butterflies and hummingbirds. Most butterfly bushes are recognized to grow well-past the average gardener’s height, but not anymore.

The Adonis Blue English Butterfly Bush is new this summer. It is half the size, requires haIf the care, yet bears the typical, huge blossoms of full-sized bushes. It is related to the ‘Dark Knight’ variety, beloved for its velvety dark purple blossoms, with a height of over 10 feet. With the Adonis Blue English variety the same flowers can be had on a ball-shaped butterfly bush that only grows as high as a gardener’s hip. This selection from the Compact English Butterfly™ Series is extra-bushy and loaded with fragrant colorful flowers all summer long. It is easy to grow and well-suited to our mountain climate. The compact form makes it a good candidate for a container garden placed in the hotter spots of a patio or deck.

MAY WATERING TIP - Dry native soil can wick away moisture from newly planted trees and shrubs. That's why it's wise to supplement your irrigation system for plants that have been in the ground for less than a year. Once per week hand water your new plants so the surrounding soil becomes saturated. The additional water adds moisture to the soil surrounding the root ball and maximizes your gardening success.

Until next week, I'll see you at the garden center.

Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at www.wattersgardencenter.com

Website: www.wattersgardencenter.com