…don’t miss out — come see us this weekend!
2015 — Mid-May is here, and its time to start monitoring your viburnums:
May 2014: Yesterday I had a sample come across my desk (not on Fraleighs stock) that proved to be Viburnum Leaf Beetle in Washtenaw County:
This does nothing to make me happy, as this is yet another new damaging invasive pest that targets our native plants, in this case many native Viburnum species including Arrow-wood Viburnum (V. dentatum) and American Cranberry Viburnum (V. trilobum, aka V. opulus var. americana). My strong advice is for all Viburnum owners to monitor their shrubs carefully for the characteristic feeding patterns, and treat as necessary if evidence of the pest’s presence is found.
Here is a good article from Michigan State University Extension, describing the pest’s life cycle with more photos:
Here’s a link to less-toxic VLB control alternatives:
If anyone needs further advice regarding this pest, please contact me at (734) 426 5067 x14
–Dan Sparks-Jackson, Nursery Manager
UPDATE 5/25/2014: I had the opportunity to do a quick walk through UofM’s Nichols Arboretum this morning, and found large amounts of skeletonization on the naturalized and planted Viburnum trilobum & Viburnum dentatum populations.
UPDATE 6/1/2014: A sample came in last week from the west side of Ann Arbor. That’s the progressively bad news. The better news is another trip to Nichols Arboretum this morning showed that while the V. dentatum and V. trilobum are ravaged, the native Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry) was unscathed, at least thus far. Now if only I can find some available from my growers…
Fraleighs 2015 crop of fruit trees has started to arrived. The trees in stock now are from a Michigan source, and are on ‘Michigan time’ — they’re safe to plant out now, even with the chilly weather. Double check your choices with our nursery staff to ensure pollination (and hence fruiting). Our staff would also be glad to assist in the layout of any home orchards and devise individual plans for the maintenance and protection of bearing trees. Our fruit trees have historically sold out quickly, so shop early for best selection.
Apples: Honeycrisp, Fuji, Liberty, Red Spy
Apricot: Chinese Mormon
Sweet Cherry: Stella
Tart Cherry: Montmorency
Peaches: Red Haven, Reliance, Contender
Pears: Anjou, Bartlett, Kieffer
Plums: Methley, Toka
Please call (734) 426 5067 x14 for further information, or to reserve your trees today.
Fraleighs Landscape Nursery is currently seeking candidates for a full-time seasonal Nursery Operations Associate position. Responsibilities of the position are multifaceted with emphases on retail sales, horticultural operations, and nursery upkeep. Compensation is competitive and will be commensurate with candidates’ qualifications and experience. Scheduling will be somewhat flexible, but the ability to work weekend hours is a must.
Duties will include such items as: providing customers with personalized shopping experiences, application of horticultural problem-solving for clientele landscapes, operation of point-of-sale, word processing, and database software, plant stock maintenance, integrated pest management scouting, perennial propagation & potting-up, retail display creation and maintenance, tractor and loader operation, and inventory management tasks.
Preferred candidate qualifications:
Must be able to engage and sell to customers & clients
Must be a self-starter, able to initate many tasks without prompting
Must be both detail-oriented and task-completion-motivated
Must be familiar with landscape plant materials — e.g. right-plant-right-place knowledge and at least some facility with scientific names
Must be able to work weekends.
Fraleighs is also interviewing for several part-time seasonal Retail Nursery Sales Associate positions. These positions have many of the same responsibilities listed above (with emphasis on sales) but have a lower hours-per-week commitment and more flexible scheduling.
Please stop by the office or contact our office staff to start the application process.
Remember, Fraleighs recommends an application of HollyTone fertilizer twice annually to maintain and enhance your gardens and landscapes. Halloween and April Fool’s Day are the approximate dates we set to help folks to remember to feed their plants. HollyTone is a great organic low-analysis (4-3-4) acidifying fertilizer well suited to our alkaline soil types. The HollyTone formulation also contains beneficial organisms — helper microbes — that complement and enhance healthy root systems. Perennials, shrubs, ornamental grasses, evergreens, and trees can all benefit from a twice-annual application. Stop by today — our staff would be glad to help you calculate how much you need, explain the simple application process, or arrange for our crews to make the application for you.
Beginning in 2012, Espoma tweaked the formulation of HollyTone. The product is now an even better soil acidifier with 5% instead of 2% Sulfur. That’s great for most of us contending with high soil pH. Most ornamental plants prefer a neutral-to-moderately-acidic soil, and HollyTone is now an even better way to mildly acidify gardens. Likewise, their new production method is providing a more ‘crumbly’ texture to their fertilizer, and this means less dust and hence a little less of HollyTone’s characteristic organic ‘aroma’.
Click here to learn more about the product.
‘April showers’ may mean ‘May flowers’, but ‘March in Michigan’ just means ‘Anticipation of April’ for our nursery staff! We eagerly await our first shipments of plant material, and are gearing up for another great season working with our customers. We will post official hours of operation in Early April as dictated by the weather; but before then, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or email to inquire after specific plants you are looking for, or to schedule a consultation at the nursery to discuss your project!
Our landscaping crews are already out working on clients’ early spring maintenance projects. Get a jump on your landscape this season by contacting Doug Fraleigh (734.426.5067 x12) to schedule your pruning, mulching, bed-edging, garden clean-out, or new bed creation projects. Doug is also setting design appointments and scheduling installation projects in the upcoming months. Now is a great opportunity to get a handle on how your garden grows for the rest of the year — don’t wait for *all* the snow to melt — CALL TODAY!
Spring 2015 will mark the end of Dan Sparks-Jackson’s tenure as Nursery Manager at Fraleighs Landscape Nursery. We wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors. Dan wanted to take the opportunity to share the following message with Fraleighs’ customers and clientele whom he has worked with over the years:
“Accepting a position as a Sales Representative at a local wholesale horticultural supply company was one of the most difficult decisions of my career. The decision was not difficult because of any attribute of my new job — it promises to be a rewarding opportunity with many new challenges — but rather because of the roots that I have established at Fraleighs over the past seventeen years. The folks I have worked with and the customer relationships that have developed have become an integral part of my life. It is my hope that some aspects of those relationships will continue to grow even after I have left Fraleighs. I am also pleased to have the opportunity to work with customers one more time this spring season, and look forward to introducing you to the dedicated colleagues I have been privileged to work with — you are in good hands moving forward. I am very grateful for the wonderful work experience I have had over the years at Fraleighs. In years future, perhaps you will find some of element of beauty or humor in your landscape that we had discussed. If you do, I hope you think kindly of the heavyset, big-hat-wearing, pony-tailed nurseryman who suggested it!”
Dan will be on staff most Saturdays this spring, and is eager to help customers find ‘the right plant for the right place’ one more time, as well as introduce you to his coworkers.
Fraleighs Gift Certificates are an easy choice for those ‘difficult to buy for’ folks on your list. Our gift certificates can be used in a number of ways: Your gift can be used to buy plants from the retail nursery with the help of our expert staff, used for an on-site landscape consultation, or applied towards our professionally installed design services. Fraleighs Gift Certificates are issued on artfully hand-stamped card stock, and never expire.
After the rigors of last winter the question above is a concern on a lot of minds in Michigan. I am quick to quip: “I don’t know, but one thing is for certain: we take what we get!” After all, we have no real choice in the matter. We do however have a choice of how we can prepare our landscapes for whatever winter throws at us, and now is the time to plan and act.
Fertilization: Many folks think of spring as the time to fertilize, but its not the *only* season to nourish your gardens. A late fall application of a low-analysis organic fertilizer such as HollyTone or one of the Dr. Earth formulations not only stockpiles nutrients into the tissues of evergreens, trees, shrubs, and perennials, but those same nutrients are held as solutes in the plant’s sap. These solutes act as a natural antifreeze that can potentially limit freeze-damage during the depths of winter. Halloween — or any time after the first good frosts of autumn but well before ground-freeze — is a good time to make such a fertilization.
Muching: Getting a fresh layer of mulch laid down in the autumn as opposed to the spring can be a benefit to the overwintering landscape — not only can you cross off one more thing to do next spring, but your plants will benefit from the soil-temperature-stabilizing effects that a well maintained 3″ layer of organic mulch can provide. Freezing and thawing repeatedly at either end of the winter is brutal on root tissues, which are typically not as cold hardy as above ground tissues to begin with. Give your landscape’s roots a blankie; it won’t necessarily keep them warm, but it will even out the stresses of freezing and thawing.
Browse-prevention: Browse was a huge problem last winter. We had reports of starving deer eating Blue Spruce and even Boxwood. If the local herd is that desperate, equally desperate measures may be necessary to counter the damage. Rodent and rabbit browse beneath the snow (oftentimes girdling small trees) was also a problem. In all cases, there are methods to reduce or eliminate browse: repellent sprays (e.g. I Must Garden All Season Deer Repellent) can be effective if applied in a regular timely fashion. This can be a challenge when we have a long period of sub-freezing temperatures. An alternative is to use scent-based granular repellents (e.g. I Must Garden Animal Repellent) — these can be sprinkled around the would-be-tasty-morsels in your garden after snowfalls or even hung in sachets from branches to keep it above the snows and ‘active’ for a little longer. If voles and mice have been consuming the roots of your perennials in winters past, you may want to apply some systemic repellent (e.g. Repellex Systemic Tablets) to head off a recurrence. Lastly, it should be noted that in many cases only exclusionary measures will provide relief in high-pressure browse areas. Fencing, netting, and wraps may be the only answer in some cases. If, after last winter, you think that this may describe your situation, we encourage you to contact us to formulate a exclusionary strategy ASAP. Such measures are best and most easily effected before the onset winter.
Watering: The heavens have provided ample moisture thus far, but lets plan to water our newly installed plants — especially the evergreens — at least once more late in the fall; after Thanksgiving but before the ground freezes is ideal. The moisture that is in the plant’s tissues just prior to ground freeze has to keep the plant hydrated until the thaw. The less established a plant’s root system, the less moisture it will have in reserve, so a late fall drink can make a big difference. Also, if you had plants that showed signs of ‘winter burn’ coming out of last winter, these would be good candidates for a late fall irrigation as well.
All of the above measures are ones that won’t really cause any harm if we have a mild winter (fingers crossed!), but could make the difference between life and death for some elements in your landscape. Its all simple stuff that can act as relatively cheap ‘insurance.’
If you have further questions or would like to formulate a strategy to prepare your landscape for winter, please contact us before the snow flies!