Watering 101

on Friday, 29 May 2020. Posted in Drought tolerant, Fruit trees, New Plants

Watering Guidelines for the Rogue Valley

soaker hoseWith the temperatures rising and summer right around the corner, we thought this would be a good time to give you a little “Watering 101” overview. Watering problems are behind the overwhelming majority of the garden-related concerns we deal with here at Shooting Star. We’d love to help you avoid some of those problems this summer! Let’s start with a few basics:

--- Even if it is 100 degrees out, do not water twice a day - or even every day! Your plants can’t take up that much water; they actually shut down when it gets very hot. In addition, most plants actually need a period to dry out between waterings.

--- Frequent, shallow watering (e.g.: 10 minutes a day, every day) only encourages shallow root systems in perennials, shrubs and trees, which makes your plants even less drought tolerant!

--- Ideally your yard should have multiple irrigation zones, to accommodate different plant needs.
      • Trees should be on their own watering schedule, separate from shrubs, perennials, and lawns
      • Drought tolerant areas should be a different schedule than areas that need more water
      • Lawns should always be on their own separate watering schedule

One of the trickiest things about watering is that everything happens out of sight – under the ground – where you can’t see what’s going on. Here’s a quick little exercise that can help you get a better understanding of what’s going on below the surface. Pick an area and water on your regular schedule. Wait for about an hour after watering (to let your water soak in), and then dig down to see how far down your moisture zone extends. In general, the roots from lawns will penetrate about 6-8” into the soil; most perennials will go 2-3’; shrubs will go anywhere between 3-6’ down; and a tree’s roots are often as big below the ground as your tree is above the ground. In order water effectively, you want your water to penetrate all the way down to where those roots are. What did you learn?

Woman Watering Garden Hose.jpg.653x0 q80 crop smartSo what are our recommended watering strategies for different kinds of plants? For most perennials and shrubs: water deeply every 2-3 days for first 2-4 weeks after planting, then switch to every 3-4 days. After the first year, drought tolerant plants can usually get by with a weekly deep soak of an hour or more during the growing season. Once established, non-drought tolerant plants will generally need an hour-long deep soak twice a week. If weather is cooler, or if you have heavy clay soil, your plants will need water less often. Trees need a good deep soak upon planting, and then on average a deep soak for an hour or two once a week through the first summer. Once they are established, trees will be fine with a long, soak every two weeks. If you are watering trees with drip, consider placing multiple emitters in a ring around the tree.

Finally, retrofitting your irrigation system might sound overwhelming, but it is actually pretty easy. If you are the DIY type, the folks at Grover’s and the Grange do a good job of walking you through the process, answering your questions, and making sure you have the parts you need. If DIY just isn’t your thing, there are a number of irrigation specialists here in the Rogue Valley who can install a system that does what you needed to. Rest assured that the money you spend upgrading your irrigation system will be more than made up for by the money you save when you don’t have to continually replace dead and dying plants!

Want to learn more? Check out our Watering Guidelines for the Rogue Valley handout here.

 

Beneficial Insects in the Garden

on Friday, 29 May 2020.

Getting to Know Your (Six-Legged) Neighbors

soaker hoseOf all the different insects you find in your yard, what percentage to you think are actively harmful to your plants: 30%? 50%? 90%?

The actual answer might surprise you. According to the National Pesticide Information Center at OSU, “out of nearly 1 million known insect species, only about 1%-3% are ever considered pests.” That means that between 97%-99% of the insects you encounter every day are either harmless, or are actually beneficial to your plants.

So who are all these beneficial insects? Beneficial insects fall into four basic groups: predators (ladybugs, mantises, green lacewings), pollinators (bees, wasps, butterflies), parasites of garden pests (tiny braconid wasps, tachinid flies), and decomposers (pillbugs, mites, millipedes).

Bee and pollenSummer is the perfect time of year to get to know some of these six-legged garden allies, and learn how to attract them to your garden. There are some great books out there that can help you get started. You can find links to a few of our favorites here, here, and here. Even better, bring one of these books out into your garden with you, and spend some time just watching all the different insects (and other creatures) who you are sharing your garden with!

AphidLadybugEven if you do see an insect that qualifies as a “pest”, there’s still no need to panic. Start by noticing what that insect is actually doing. Does it seen to be causing a problem? If you observe the insect eating one of your plants, is the damage minor (a few holes in the leaves) or is there a serious problem? Do you have any garden allies in the vicinity? One single ladybug can eat 50 or more aphids a day, and most songbirds feed their young an exclusive diet of insects!

In this time of social distancing, why not spend some time getting better acquainted with your non-human neighbors? Chances are, you’ll develop a rich appreciation for the thriving and diverse little ecosystem you are creating in your yard – and you’ll become a better (and happier) gardener in the process!

Covid-19 Update

on Tuesday, 24 March 2020.

We Are Open - With a Few Changes!

nursery smShooting Star Nursery is committed to doing everything we can to keep our staff, our customers, and our community safe and healthy during the Covid-19 outbreak. As a result, we are making the following changes to the ways we serve our customers, effective immediately.

          Online orders are the best way for us to get our plants to you! You can check our retail availability on our website, email your order to us (please include a phone number where we can reach you), and we’ll call you to get your credit card number and confirm your order. We will then pull your plants and have them ready for you to pick up, along with a copy of your receipt.

          We can deliver! We offer free delivery for orders of $100 or more that are within 10 miles of our nursery. Our normal delivery charges will apply to any extra-large plants (requiring multiple staff) or locations that are more than 10 miles from Shooting Star. Delivery times will be subject to our nursery schedule, and we are unable to promise specific times/days.          

          At this time, onsite shopping is by appointment only. We are unable to accommodate drop-in shoppers. To set up an appointment, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a call at (541) 840-6453. Please note that it may take us awhile to get back to you if you call. Email is probably best if you are hoping for a quicker response.

          We will keep everyone updated on any changes via social media. If you don’t already follow us on Facebook or Instagram, please consider doing so!

          You can purchase a gift certificate for a friend, family member, or yourself to use at a later, healthier date. We are offering $15 off every $100 in gift certificates purchased during this quarantine time.

We do ask that you stay home if you are sick, and to please help us observe the 6-foot social distancing recommendation at all times. No customers are allowed in the nursery office at this time. Your cooperation is key to our being able to remain open!

Thank you all so much for your patience and flexibility during these challenging times. By making these temporary changes, we will still be able to keep you supplied with beautiful, healthy, and hardy plants to brighten your yards – and your hearts – as you remain at home to help “flatten the curve.” This is definitely not the spring any of us wanted – but on the bright side, it does give you a great excuse to spend more time outside in your garden.

From all of us here at Shooting Star – be well!