Question: We have a new cat that we keep indoors and I'm noticing she has a tendency to snack on my house plants! I'm growing concerned because I think some of them might be poisonous. I don't know what to do, How can I deter her from hanging around my plants?
NICK: Firstly; Just so we're all on the same page, Let's agree that people don't own cats, cats own people, but the people own the plants. The best defense to have is to make sure you do your homework to find out which plants have a higher toxicity than the others, if any at all. For instance, A Dieffenbachia is commonly referred to as "Dumb canes", and if you eat it, you can't talk anymore. That's a poisonous plant and you should get it out of the house. The bottom line is do your homework and then you'll know which plants are safe to have.
Question: We just bought a home with a couple of large oak trees in the backyard. The roots of one of the trees are starting to uproot the pool deck. We had a guy come out to see what we should do and he just told us to pull the tree. I’m wondering what your opinion is on that.
NICK: You've got a lot of questions that you have to answer. First, how much damage is actually being done and is there a safety issue? Is it just kind of cracking it or is it really picking it up? Is it concrete? Is it wood? I don't know what kind of material it is. Then you have to decide what's the long-term effect of this. Oak trees are slow growing. Therefore, if you were to just sever the root and install a root barrier would that stop the problem? Ask yourself these questions, and then decide from there how you're going to proceed. I’d also get an opinion from either a tree surgeon or certified arborist. You can get some referrals from the International Society of Aboriculture. That organization has a pulse on the industry like none other.
Question: Hi, I live in North Carolina and we need raised planter beds because of the flooding out here. I have some newly built raised vegetable boxes and when I put them in I started with 16 inches of cedar chips and about eight inches of top soil on top. Then I found out that cedar chips are not good for growing on. So how much of a problem is this going to be? Do you suggest that I rip it out?
NICK: Well, let's not get so hasty over here. If you've got 16 inches as a base, and then you have the soil on top eight inches which is really pretty good for starting a vegetable garden, I think you're going to be okay unless that cedar starts to make its way up. Worst case scenario, you could pull the soil out and then put a landscape fabric, so that the cedar doesn't permeate through. Oh, and did you know cedar is a natural insect repellent. Keep us posted if you end up with a bug free garden.
Below is a sample of what cedar bark can look like. This type is usually placed on top of planter beds. Smaller pieces, called Walk-On Bark, are designed for a bit of foot traffic.
Question: We've got tons of flying gnats. I don't know where they're coming from, and I don't know what to do to get rid of them. But they're driving me crazy. What do you recommend?
NICK: High humidity, wet soil and hot temperatures are perfect for breeding gnats. These are soil borne organisms that come out and they just kind of want to get all on your face when they're there. Oddly enough they are attracted to your breathe. Regardless, we have to ward them off. Probably one of the best ways of doing this is taking them outside into a patio area, and spraying them down with an organic Spinosad. Then water the plants outside, when you don't notice them any longer bring the plant indoors.
In my career I've been fortunate to have done a lot of broadcast ‘firsts.' First and only gardening show to ever get a 9.5 rating in the Los Angeles market (most shows are lucky if they can get a 1.5 in this market). First and only 90-minute live TV show special in the country (that’s as long as a feature film!). First longest consecutive aired specialty gardening program to run in L.A. radio history (and still standing). And the list continues to this day (book forthcoming – be on the watch for it). First ever simulcast of an internet station with an over-the-air broadcast station in Johannesburg , South Africa.
I came across this picture with John Domenici from Southland Sod Farms getting interviewed and landscape contractor extraordinaire, Edward Wallace helping us out by communicating with our station. We started The Green Industry Talk Show, a weekly call-in/interview style talk program. This was the first ever online radio show for landscapers, irrigation specialists, gardeners, landscape architects, etc. This broadcast was done from the Southern California Turfgrass Council Trade Show at the Fairplex in Pomona. Unlike today where you can broadcast from any wireless device we had to order a special telephone line called an ISDN. We’d lug our equipment to the venue then send the broadcast over that special line to our state-of-the-art studio in Whittier. That’s where the engineer would get the show, mix in the music then broadcast it over the internet. We also had a call screener standing by so we can talk to the caller while out and about. It was quite a production. Back in those days computers didn’t have speakers built-in. They were an accessory. It took upwards of 30-minutes to explain to someone you could listen to radio shows through your computers. In fact, we were so trendy we started off with video, too. However, 14k modems were the norm and the video with audio never matched up so we abandoned the idea to focus on the quality of the audio.
I’m reminded of the time we secured a huge footprint at the Orange County Fair. We setup 30 computers to listen to our broadcast from the other side of the grounds which was held in another huge footprint (a whole building). We booked talk shows and bands during all show hours. To our surprise we won a Blue Ribbon for our efforts accounting for another first. We are the first ever legitimate Blue Ribbon Internet Station. You might be asking why the show doesn’t exist and that would be fair. My career in consumer garden communications blew up – in a good way. Our syndicated weekly long form radio show, Nick Federoff on Gardening, and our daily vignette, Things Green Garden Minute took off like wildfire. Keeping up with station relations, personal appearances, writing books and blogs, filming for news and specialty TV shows (like Donny & Marie and others) is time consuming. We blinked our eyes and were hosting 25 specialty shows from credit repair, wedding planning, outdoor adventures, travel and a whole lot more.
I have a Cracker Jack staff fostering and working all those other shows, which were hosted by experts in their fields, there’s only one of me so in order to keep my sanity we had to retire The Green Industry Talk Show. Since I’ve got my bragging hat on we are also the first to ever broadcast a live online programming from the Los Angeles Convention Center, Orange County Fairgrounds, McCormick Center Cow Palace (Bay Area), Pasadena Convention Center, Ontario Convention Center, Orange County Convention Center (Florida), French Riviera, Las Vegas Convention Center and many other public venues, plus the aforementioned Fairplex. The humble part of all of our first is we are in our 35th year in garden communications. Oh, it’s been a wild ride but we’re not done. Stand by for more firsts from Team Things Green!
You'd be surprised how much care is given to a plant before you bring it home from the market or nursery. It may seem like healthy, colorful plants sprout easily at your favorite garden center but in reality they've taken a curious route before they ever make it there.
Many plants go through a complex breeding program before a retail establishment gets them. For instance, a conifer or juniper will take three to four years from the time a cutting is made to the time it even makes it to a one gallon sized container.
Many houseplants like that Pothos hanging in your patio most likely went through a scientific cloning process started in a petri dish of producing individual plants from molecules with identical or virtually identical DNA, either naturally or artificially. This, in turn, makes them like super plants with little change of them getting insect and diseases (kind of scary, isn’t it?). Anyway, 3 years later you end up buying it.
In the first year outdoor ornamental trees and
shrubs go through staking, weeding, irrigation, pest management, regular fertilizing, pruning and frequent inspections for disease and insect problems. Of course every effort to protect these plants from frost, heat exhaustion and all other environmental conditions are taken. So the next time you see a plant in a nursery, don't scoff at the price, it's been through a lot.
2020 Green Industry Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony to Broadcast on PBS Television 9AM Saturday November 7th
Corona del Mar, CA – The Green Industry Hall of Fame (GIHOF) is proud to announce their 2020 inductees to be honored at the first ever televised ceremony from the beautiful Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar. Since 2003 industry professionals have been honored for their lifetime commitment to the green industry. This year the following inductees are acknowledged:
Chris Davey, Toro
Walt Hagen, Hagen Ent.
John Hourian, Hourian Assoc.
John Greenlee, Greenlee & Assoc.
Lebo Newman, Signature Coast Holdings
Don and Dave Hendrickson, Hendrickson Bros.
Kathy Kellogg Johnson, Kellogg Garden Products
“There are so many people in the green industry that have contributed amazing things that get nominated it takes us a whole year to select the inductees” says GIHOF co-founder, Charles Nunley. “By far this was the toughest year selecting inductees and showcasing them. We look forward to seeing our inductees on this special television broadcast ” exclaims co-founder, Richard Daigle.
Traditionally the GIHOF Awards Ceremony traditionally has been a sit-down gala of family, friends and colleagues held at banquet facilities. Due to Covid-19 the pandemic has forced venues to close for an uncertain amount of time. However in the spirit of healthy living the Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar has been open for visitors and welcomes this event open arms which will debut on broadcast television at 9AM Saturday, November 7, 2020 on the award winning program Things Green via broadcast television on PBS|KLCS TV, southern California. In all other areas across the county watch the simulcast via any device on Facebook and YouTube LIVE.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of “firsts” in my thirty-four plus years as a radio and television host but this “first” is special to me because it’s the industry I know the best” says Things Green host, Nick Federoff. “As an inductee myself it’s a badge I proudly carry and am honored to be part of such an esteemed group being inducted this year in spite of the troubling times we have experienced this year – let’s celebrate!” He continues, “Plus cutting edge technology allows us to stream the show online through several platforms at the same time it airs on TV so everyone can watch. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
How to Watch the 2020 Green Industry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony:
About: The Green Industry Hall of Fame (GIHOF) is a non-profit organization with the “Not to be Forgotten” goal to develop an awards ceremony that honors and remembers those who had worked, invented and changed the Green Industry with their contributions. Since 2005 the GIHOF acknowledges those worthy people who have spent their lifetime in service and giving back. To see a list of past and present inductees or if you’d like to volunteer for the GIHOF committee or nominate someone to the GIHOF contact us through the website http://greenindustryhalloffame.org .
About: Things Green with Nick Federoff is a multiple award winning television show broadcasting on flagship station PBS|KLCS TV in all of southern California plus through multiple online platforms such as their Things Green Amazon Prime Channel, YouTube and Facebook. Federoff is a bestselling author, garden communicator and host of the longest running gardening radio show in Los Angeles radio history and is syndicated nationwide. For more information visit http://ThingsGreen.com .
If you're thinking of landscaping take a few precautions before choosing a landscape contractor.
Though I'm not in the business any longer I've had the opportunity to landscape the smallest of yards to more than 28 acre resorts. I asked a few of my past customers what they looked for in a landscape contractor. I think you should do the same - for your protection.
The second someone looses their job, all of a sudden they turn into landscapers. With a pick and shovel in hand they go at it. Some are good, most are bad. Look at a landscapers past work history. Ask for references, call those references up. Ask if they came to the job when they said they would. Did they leave the job every night a mess or was it left in a tidy fashion.
Interview your landscaper a few times before choosing. This way you can get a better feel whether or not the both of you are compatible. Your landscape, when properly done, can increase the value of your property 10-25% or more.
Most importantly you might live in a state where the landscaper needs to be licensed.
For instance in California a C-27 classification is needed for any job larger than $750, including materials. One of the oldest tricks in the book is having you buy the materials and they’ll provide the labor for $750. That’s not legal. If they are licensed they’ll also have liability insurance. Have them give you a copy putting you as an “additional insured.” This does not cost them anything to do. Their insurance company hands them out like candy when the contractor calls.
It’s bad enough you can get a lawsuit slapped on you for making a bad fashion statement, but what rights do you have in the yard and garden?
In some areas, it’s against the law to plant trees that have invasive root systems.
Many states have regulations from pruning native trees and shrubs. Tree limbs hanging on your side of the property are technically yours. Go ahead and prune it. However, if the tree dies you’re liable. Your prolific peach tree drops fruit on your neighbor’s yard – kiss it good bye – you no longer own it. If that peach drops on your neighbors head – your goose is cooked.
The big hoopla involves leaf blowers. Crank a gas powered leaf blower on too early or in the wrong city and you're getting cuffed.
Remember that old saying “leaves of three, let it be?”. Well…DO IT!
Hundreds of plants are poisonous to one degree or another. The most famous of them might be poison ivy, found east of the Rockies and poison oak found just about everywhere else.
Though there’s no cure once you’ve come in contact with these plants, other than smacking yourself in the head for coming in contact with them in the first place, ease the irritation by rinsing with water and seeing your doctor.
The next time around - protect yourself, especially when camping, hiking and gardening by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, cover those knobby knees with long pants, wear gloves, socks and high-top shoes. In fact, you may even want to go to the extreme and wear goggles. Goggles will keep you from touching your eyes. This may seem like dawning a space suit, however, if you’ve ever touched leaves of three, well, you know what I mean.