Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dogwood bush

Growing a red twig dogwood is a great way to add spectacular color to the winter garden. The stems, which are green in spring and summer, turn bright red when the foliage drops off in autumn. The shrub produces creamy-white flowers in spring and berries that ripen from green to white by the end of summer. Both fruits and flowers look good against the dark background of the foliage, but pale in comparison to the brilliant winter display.

Growing a Red Twig Dogwood

Don’t confuse red twig dogwood trees with other dogwood trees. While both the tree and the shrub belong to the Cornus genus, red twig dogwoods never grow to become trees. There are two species of Cornus called red twig dogwoods: Tatarian dogwood (C. alba) and Redosier dogwood (C. sericea). The two species are very similar.


Red twig dogwood is one of those plants where more is better. They look fantastic when planted in groups or as an informal hedge. When planting red twig dogwoods, give them plenty of room. They grow up to 8 feet tall with an 8 foot spread. Overcrowding encourages diseases and causes less attractive, thin stems.

Red Twig Dogwood Care

Red twig dogwood care is minimal except for pruning. Annual pruning is essential to keep the brilliant colors of the twigs. The primary goal of pruning red twig dogwoods is to remove the old stems that no longer show good winter color.

Remove about a third of the stems at ground level every year. Cut out old, weak stems as well as well as those that are damaged, discolored, or growing poorly. This method of pruning keeps the color bright and the shrub vigorous. After thinning you can shorten the stems to control the height if you’d like. Cut back the entire shrub to 9 inches above the ground if it becomes overgrown or out of control. This is a good way to quickly renew the plant, but it leaves a bare spot in the landscape until it regrows.

Water weekly in the absence of rain for the first couple of months after planting red twig dogwoods, and cut back on the water once the shrub is established. Mature shrubs only need watering during dry spells.

Feed the plant once a year with a layer of compost or a sprinkling of slow-released fertilizer over the root zone.


Monday, August 1, 2011


- Posted by The Zeal Group

What is composting?
Composting is nature’s own recycling program. In time, organisms will break down the ingredients listed below into rich, dark crumbly compost - nature’s own nutrient-rich fertiliser.

How does composting work and how long does it take?
Natural composting, or decomposition, occurs all the time in nature. Home composting generally takes two months or more. The more you turn and mix the contents - adding air in the process - the more rapid the composting action will be.

The right conditions include
the right ratio of nitrogen to carbon - equal amounts of ‘greens’ (kitchen scraps) for nitrogen and ‘browns’ (fallen leaves and woody material) for carbon
the right amount of water (feels like a damp sponge)
good drainage (to remove excess moisture)
enough oxygen (turned often)
What can you compost at home?
Vegetable and fruit scraps
Fallen leaves
Grass clippings
Finely chipped branches
Used vegetable cooking oil
Tea leaves, tea bags
Coffee grounds
Vacuum cleaner dust
Egg shells
Sheets of newspaper
Paper bags
Shredded paper
What can’t you compost?
Metal, plastic, glass
Meat and dairy products (attract rodents)
Large branches
Plant bulbs (need specialised treatment)
Droppings of meat-eating animals (e.g. dogs)
Grubs in your compost?
Sometimes in compost bins there are many segmented brown grubs. These are the larvae of the beneficial Soldier Fly. They are not pests, nor will they cause health problems.

Mulches can prevent up to 73% evaporation loss and they are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make the most of water in the garden.
The best mulch is a well-rotted compost which will also improve the soil structure and stimulate the biological life of the soil. Place the mulch away from the trunk to prevent collar rot.
Do not apply mulch more than 75-100 mm in thickness or water may not easily penetrate into the soil.