Horticulture January 2024 Newsletter

Horticulture January 2024 Newsletter

Horticulture January 2024 Newsletter

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Bird Feeding by Kara Back
Winter snow days are just around the corner and many people have already started feeding the birds. As you remember it wasn’t too long ago when songbirds were mysteriously dying. Proper sanitation and methods of feeding can help keep disease pressure low. When you clean your bird feeder you are eliminating any birdseed that has become wet. Wet birdseed can be a suitable environment for bacteria, which can be easily ingested by a songbird. Also, cleaning your bird feeder and moving the location of it will keep feces from continually dropping in the same place.
Just as chronic wasting disease in Western Kentucky can be slowed in deer by not feeding them corn or salt; using different feeding methods for songbirds can help with the spread of diseases. Having multiple feeders in different locations can help. I personally only feed the birds during snow fall when it is more difficult to find food. Join us on Thursday, January 11th at 5:30 p.m. or Tuesday, January 23rd at 1:30 p.m. to learn how to make some birdseed “cookie” feeders to keep handy for snowy days.
Sometimes birdfeeders attract some unwanted guests. Rodents also love birdseed. Some songbirds are picky and will move aside bird seed they do not like. This birdseed will fall to the ground and be food for rodents or become contaminated and risk spreading disease to songbirds that eat it. Sunflower seeds are often the first seeds to be eaten by songbirds, so consider feeding just them to your birds to eliminate waste.
Lastly, please remember the natural way birds feed during the winter. Consider planting native plants that will provide a strong food source for the birds. This will allow the birds to be spread out as they feed. Some top flowers are: Goldenrod, Joe Pye Weed, Asters, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Black-eyed Susan's, Purple Coneflower, Zinnias, and Coreopsis.


String of Buttons by Jennifer Tungate
Crassula Perforata which is considered a succulent; also known as a String Of Buttons is a fairly fast-growing, shrubby, and sprawling succulent with stems and leaves that appear stacked on top of each other. The gray-green leaves can take on a pink hue when exposed to sufficient light.
String of Buttons is a great plant to stand the neglect often suffered with an inexperienced plant owner due to the fact that it can handle less than ideal light, water, and extreme temperatures. This is due to the fact that the plant’s native area is South Africa where it grows among the craggy flora. This plant will do better if it has plenty of indirect sunlight; if not it will lose the coloration of the plant’s foliage.
Crassula Perforata needs a well-draining mix of sand, pumice and bark or a ready made cactus mix that mimics its natural habitat. It’s not recommended to frequently repot succulents because they do not like disruption. Repot in warmer months if necessary using a slightly larger pot. Gently take the plant out of its pot, tap away the dirt and inspect for root damage. If the roots are wet, let the plant dry out for a day or two in a brighter spot with harsh light before replanting. Do not water the plant for a couple of days to give the roots time to settle.
Fungal disease and root rot may develop due to overwatering, leading to death of this versatile plant. Overwatering will cause the leaves to become mushy, and under watering will cause the leaves to shrivel. Simply soak the soil, drenching it until water runs out of the bottom of the pot. The leaves of succulents store water so be careful not to get the leaves wet when watering. This plant does not need to be watered often unless kept in more elevated temperatures.
String of Buttons makes an elegant plant for a container plant or hanging basket. This plant can be planted in the ground in the correct temperatures but needs to be protected from frost or temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The hardiness zones for this plant are 9-12. The mature size of the String of Buttons is one to two feet tall and two to three feet wide. The String of Buttons flower during the spring and summertime, though they rarely bloom indoors. The flowers are small and inconspicuous. The plant sends out tall stems with small tubular flowers at the tips.
String of Buttons does not attract many pests with the exception of scale, spider mites, and mealybugs, all of which can be effectively eliminated with the use of neem oil. This plant can be toxic to humans and pets.
String of Buttons can be propagated by dividing the plant, stem cutting or a whole leaf. To propagate from stem cuttings, cut off a healthy stem and let the end heal before replanting, keep away from direct sunlight, and water soil every few days. In about two weeks, you will notice new roots growing and in about four to six weeks the cuttings should be fully rooted and you will see new growth for the tops or the sides of the stem.


Upcoming Events Flyers:

Busy Bloomer Garden Club

Bird Seed Cookies

Basic Plant Botany & Plant Identification