Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Steps to Building Your Own Pond and Waterfall

Here are more steps to follow in building a pond or waterfall.

1.     Now you need to determine the size of your pond or water garden.
The best way to do this is to use a rope or water hose and lay out the shape on the ground. A pond for goldfish or water lilies need be only about 2 feet deep for zones 5 or greater. Ponds built in colder areas may need more depth to keep the pond from freezing solid. Ponds built for koi should be close to three feet or deeper to allow these larger fish enough space. The biggest mistake that most people make is building the pond or water garden too small. A larger pond is more stable and easier to maintain. Keep in mind that a finished pond or water garden will be about 30% smaller than you visualize it. After you have laid out the shape, measure the maximum length and width. Add the depth twice to these measurements plus a foot or two for overlap and this will give you the pond liner size.

2.     Dig the pond or water garden to the desired shape.
If keeping plants dig a shelf around the perimeter of the pond about one foot deep and one or more feet wide. Dig the remainder of the pond with a slight slope to the end opposite the waterfall if one is included in the design.

3.     Position any external pond filters and/or pond skimmers and level these in their proper location.
Pondskimmers should be buried to the proper level beside the pond. A ditch should be dug for the plumbing from the pond to the waterfall or external pond filter. If a pond skimmer is being used, dig a ditch to the external pond pump and from the pump to the external pond filter or waterfall. If you are using a submersible pump in the pond skimmer then the ditch will be from the skimmer to the external pond filter or waterfall.

4.     Line the pond or water garden excavation with Pond Underlayment.
This can be cut with scissors or a utility knife. You may want to tape any small pieces together to keep them from moving when the pond liner is placed.

Here are more steps in pond building. Refer to our previous blog for the initial steps. Click Here to contact a professional, Cascade

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To Build a Pond in Your Backyard

Steps for Building a Pond

1.     The first step to consider is to decide what type of pond you want to build. You should consider what type of aquatic life you want in the pond. Is it going to be a home for goldfish or koi? Or is your main concern for the aquatic plants? Perhaps you only want the pond for the sound of a waterfall. Each type of pond will need to be planned for its specific features. Keep in mind that the most common mistake water gardeners say they made when building their first pond was making it too small. A small pond limits the number of fish and plants you can add.

A koi pond is different from a water garden because koi limit the amount of plant life available to be grown. Simply put: koi eat some plants. A koi pond should also be larger because koi get quite large despite the size of the pond, it is recommended that a koi pond be no less than 1000 gallons in volume, the bigger the better. It also needs to have an area of the pond at least 3 feet deep, 4 - 5 may be better.


A watergarden typically contains both goldfish and a variety of aquatic plants. Water gardens in moderate climates usually need for an area of the pond to be at least 2 feet deep. Colder climates require a depth to provide at least 12" to 16" of water below the freeze zone.

 The second step in establishing a new pond is to select the proper location.
Most ponds will be enjoyed more if they are installed close to the home. Select an area where you can see the pond year round. Ponds are great attracters of wildlife including birds and butterflies. Position the pond where runoff from rain will not flow into the pond. This may carry fertilizers, chemicals, and organic debris into the pond. It may be necessary to alter the terrain to accommodate this. Avoid placing a pond too close to trees. Falling leaves and other debris will need to be removed from the pond. You will want to place your pond where it will receive at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sun if you want to grow water lilies. Shade is fine for fish-only ponds. Water circulation is not essential but the use of a pump will allow you to keep more fish, it will keep your plants healthier. A pump is required to run a filter, fountain, or waterfall. The sound of running water adds greatly to the enjoyment of the pond. Most ponds will benefit from the use of a biological filter. This is essential if you are keeping koi or more than a few goldfish. We have several types of biological filters to choose from.
These are the first steps in pond building. Want more in building a pond, check out Cascade
Need a professional to help you? Click HERE  for the expert Cascade

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Fertilizer for Lawns

When to Apply Spring Fertilizer

When to Apply Spring Fertilizer

Do you really need to fertilize the lawn in the early spring?

Although spring fertilization is recommended as part of a complete lawn care program, applying it too early could throw off the whole program.

When cool season grasses “wake up” in the spring, they enter a natural growth cycle where the root system begins growing and building carbohydrate (energy) reserves. Additionally, if you fertilized in the late fall, the slow release function of the fertilizer will still be lingering, providing extra green up in the spring. Fertilizing in the early spring is often encouraged by fertilizer companies and lawn care services but not by agronomists and turf specialists.

When is the right time to fertilize?

Rather than fertilizing in the early spring, it is better to wait until the late spring, (late May/early June) just before the heat of summer begins. This is preparing the grass for summer when it slows down carbohydrate production and begins utilizing the reserves.

A substantial feeding of 3/4-1.0 lb of slow release nitrogen will allow the plant to re-build it’s energy (carbohydrate) reserves and ward off the stresses of summer like drought, heat, traffic, disease and insects. An IBDU or polymer coated slow-release fertilizer can feed the grass for up to 12 weeks.

What about the fertilizer in crabgrass control products?

Pre-emergent herbicides (which are applied in the early spring) usually contain fertilizer, however, it is only a small amount, and not considered a full “feeding”.

The fertilizer in a pre-emergent herbicide is added to maintain or slightly boost the growth in the grass while the herbicide restricts seedling development. Some pre-emergent herbicides have an adverse affect on the grass and the inclusion of fertilizer helps the grass stay strong while the herbicide works.

It's best to coincide any fertilizer application with a rainfall of at least 1/4" to water-in the product. A lawn fertilized with a slow release fertilizer will not need to be fertilized for up to 12 weeks. A noticeable slow down in growth and vigor should occur in early September.

Warm season grasses thrive in the heat of the summer and can be fertilized throughout the growing season. Cool season grasses are in a survival mode during the heat of the summer and the flush of top growth that fertilizing provides should not be encouraged when the lawn is stressed and vulnerable.

 A cool season lawn should need no further inputs other than water and Integrated Pest Management until September.

Contact Cascade Gardens to get profession help on fertilizing your lawn.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

Spring is a good time to fertilize young trees and shrubs
Trees and shrubs often are forgotten when it comes time to fertilize the yard in the spring. Young trees, especially those with a trunk diameter of less than six inches, can benefit from regular applications of fertilizer.

"When young trees soak up nitrogen fertilizer, they grow quickly, develop a dense canopy and stay green into the fall," said Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. "It might not be necessary, however, to fertilize large, established trees or shrubs in or near lawns or groundcovers that are fertilized regularly."

Tree root systems extend for a long distance and they absorb nutrients when the area around them is fertilized. Additionally, as trees mature, their roots develop associations with fungi called mycorrhizae. These beneficial fungi help the tree utilize minerals and elements in the soil.

Before you fertilize, take a look at your trees and ask these questions to help you decide if your trees need additional nutrients:

How much annual growth do you see? Most young trees average about 12 to 18 inches of new shoot growth each year; older trees have less.

Is your tree growing less than expected?

Has the color, size or amount of foliage changed over the past few years?

Has the tree recently had disease or insect problems?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the tree might benefit from fertilization.

"The best time to fertilize is in the spring," Penhallegon said. "If you fertilize in the fall, you run the risk of shocking the plant into becoming metabolically active right when cold weather hits." Plus, a lot of the fertilizer will leach into the groundwater due to the excessive rain.

Most woody plants begin the new year’s growth with elements stored from the year before. An application of fertilizer in the spring gives an additional boost to this new growth.

Garden references vary about how much fertilizer to apply to trees and shrubs. Penhallegon has a general rule for fertilizing trees and shrubs — use 1/4 to 1/2 pound of nitrogen per inch of diameter for trees six inches or more in diameter at breast height. Use 1/4-pound actual nitrogen per inch on smaller trees. This is roughly two to four pounds of complete fertilizer per inch diameter on the larger trees and half that dosage on smaller trees. In most cases use the lesser amount.

"As time goes on, you will be able to tell by the condition of tree or shrub, whether or not it needs more fertilizer," Penhallegon said. "Typically, healthy trees and shrubs have 12 to 18 inches of branch growth per year. Their leaf color should be dark green, with lighter green on new growth."

Apply the fertilizer along the drip line of the tree, the area with the majority of the roots. If the fertilizer is applied to the soil surface only, much can be washed away or will not filter into the soil to the root zone. Water the fertilizer or allow the rain to keep the fertilizer from washing away.

For quicker absorption, use a punch or probe to make holes 12 to 18 inches deep, and then fill the holes with fertilizer. Then be sure to water deeply.

Another way to fertilize is to "pepper" the ground with fertilizer as you walk around the drip-line of the tree. This method should also provide an adequate amount of fertilizer. Apply fertilizer in this manner right before it rains, so it will be washed into the root zone. Or water the fertilized area for an hour after application.

Another way to determine fertilizer needs is to do a soil test.

Learn more, click HERE to connect with Cascade Gardens

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prepare for Spring with Proper Pruning of Grapes and Fruit Trees

Spring chores for yuour fruit trees and grape vines.

We’re not done with winter, but we do have garden chores to do this month. Outdoor tasks center mainly around pruning fruit trees and grapevines. This is the month we prune table grapevines in the Valley and begin pruning fruit trees.

Why should you prune grapevines? If they’re left unpruned, they’ll set too many flower-fruit buds, reducing the quality of the harvested grapes. When the vine blossoms, the food (carbohydrates) available will be diluted over the length of the vine, resulting in some bunches not filling out properly, other bunches never maturing and some having an insipid or sour flavor when ripe.

If you don’t prune a grapevine, it also may delay fruit’s ripening past the first frost, which will destroy your crop and put the vine at risk for freezing damage, since it didn’t have chance to prepare for winter dormancy. Annual pruning prevents a tangled mess of vines, too.

If you have a young table grapevine, three years old or younger, leave from 10 to 20 fruiting buds per vine. If the vine is older, you may leave 40 to 60 buds. There should be twice as many bunches of grapes on the vine as the fruiting buds that are left.

June is the proper month for fertilization. A good application of well-rotted compost should be sufficient, and preferable to synthetic chemical fertilizers that may attract harmful insects. If you’ve bought bulk compost, try to make sure it doesn’t contain herbicides.

Pruning fruit trees requires that you first prune out the damaged, dangling and dead limbs and twigs. Then go after crossing branches and twigs that, when wind blows, movement can damage the adjacent branches or twigs.

Prune 1/3 off the new top growth, and 2/3 of new growth on the laterals. The purpose of fruit tree pruning is to open up the crown to admit sunlight and air movement to all branches, reducing fungal infections.

Heed too her other advice: If a ladder is required, make sure a second person is at hand to call an ambulance if needed. Also have a designated caller on hand if you’re using a chain saw.

Pruning stimulates vegetative growth (more limbs) when spring and summer come around. “Water sprouts” or twigs rising vertically from limbs will appear and they should be removed. No flowers/fruit form on vertical limbs, only on horizontal limbs. The closer to horizontal, the better a limb will fruit, but unless you keep that limb cut back and fruit thinned in June, heavy fruiting will break the branch.

If a branch looks to be in danger of breaking, prop it up. Breaking large limbs tear bark from the trunk, putting the tree in danger of infection.

Want to learn more, Click HERE for Cascade Gardens web.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Leaf Curl for your Citrus Trees, Treat Now!

Leaf curl is a plant disease caused by a fungus (Taphrina deformans,[1] genus Taphrina) or virus (especially genus Begomovirus of the family Geminiviridae) and characterized by curling of leaves. Although all leaf curl occurring in different plants (usually only citrus plants) is relatively the same,[clarification needed] one of the most notable types is peach leaf curl, caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. Taphrina deformans belongs to the subclass Protoascomycetes. Leaf curl is found in America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.[2] It was first introduced in America in 1852 and has now spread all over the country.

'Leaf curl has caused a lot of damage over the years. It makes the amount of leaves and fruit produced by trees significantly lower. It has caused many trees to die. The disease also costs the United States 2.5 to 3 million dollars annually. However, it is believed that the effects of the disease are preventable. If the correct sprays (usually lime sulfur) are used correctly, a 98% yield of healthy fruit is obtained. If trees are not sprayed with specific chemicals early enough, and if the tree is treated after the host tissue is infected, treatment is ineffective.


Leaf Curl has characteristics that are very differentiating and easily noticeable. Diseased leaves can usually be picked out early after leaving the bud due to their reddish color and arched shape. As the leaves develop, they appear distorted and fold their tips backwards. Diseased leaves are usually thicker and softer than the normal, unharmed leaves. The colors of the leaves are also unique. Instead of the normal green spring leaves, the colors turn yellow, followed by purple, until finally a whitish bloom covers each leaf. Twigs may show signs of sickness, such as being black in color and swollen. Fruit can be affected, showing a reddish color. Infected leaves fall early. The tree may produce a second crop of leaves that is never diseased, because the fungus cannot survive at the higher temperatures in late spring and early summer. The fungus prefers the high humidity in the early spring because it permits spores to germinate. If the tree is infected for consecutive years death may occur.

Causes of Leaf Curl

When a virus is the cause of leaf curl in a plant, usually an insect will carry the virus to the plant. This is such the case in sweet potato leaf curl, carried by the sweet potato whitefly . The whitefly also has been found to transport the leaf curl virus to tomatoes. This has been seen since 1997 in Florida, and has since spread to other southern states. The virus was recently seen in South Carolina, and with the abundance of whiteflies in the state, has the potential to spread out of the southeastern United States. The Geminiviridae virus has also been seen to spread by the transport of nursery soils. The virus appears to stay in soil, and when a new crop is planted, affects the new host.

When a whitefly (and some other carriers of viruses) eats leaves on an infected plant, the virus enters its saliva and is spread when the fly eats at a healthy tree. This explains the rapid amount of trees infected in a given area.

When a fungus causes the sickness, a different process occurs. The fungus (Taphrina deformans) causes the whitish bloom that covers each leaf as infection progresses. This color is made of asci that break through the cuticle of the leaf. One asci consists of eight ascospores that create conidia, which are ejected in early summer and moved by methods of rain and wind. It is believed that this fungus survives the winter by staying on the surface of the new host plant, such as on bark or buds. In the spring, new buds are affected by the conidia as the leaves come out of the buds. The fungus produces the ascospores on the surface of the already infected leaves. Often the disease does not occur every year due to the variances in temperature and weather from year to year. The fungus has higher infection rates following cooler winters, has optimal temperatures for infection, and requires rain.

Control of the Disease

Although other methods are under investigation, spraying the leaves with fungicides is the most common and efficient control of the disease. It is important for spraying to occur well before budding. Different areas in climates depict the type of fungicide used and how often, since experiments have shown that the fungi are temperature dependent. Some fungicides commonly used include, among other things, copper based mixtures and lime sulfurs.

If a plant appears to have symptoms of leaf curl, precautions can be taken to maximize the crops for that spring. The trees are often treated with nitrogen and excess water to minimize stress on the tree. So the tree can focus on producing good peaches, thinning the tree out might also help. It would be advantageous to take away the infected leaves and fruit after they fall to the ground so that next years tree might not get infected. Fungicide might also be used before winter on the tree .

 Future of the Disease

Scientists are on a mission to stop leaf curl infections. There have been observations that some crops have certain characteristics that make them not susceptible to the virus or fungus, even ones of the same species that are infected in other parts of the world. Experiments are being conducted and hopefully less susceptible crops will be able to be produced and stop the infection.

Due to millions of dollars of debt in the U.S. Agriculture Department in 1992, universities, state departments, and the USDA adopted a national plan of research and action against the silverleaf whitefly. Since then, crop damage has been somewhat reduced, but the researchers are still hard at work and the degree of debt is steadily increasing. The harm to the agriculture does not rest solely on the leaf curl disease when regarding the whitefly. It even carries the viruses to cause immature ripening in tomatoes, lettuce chlorosis, processing problems in cotton, and blotching in squash plants. In fact, every tomato field in Florida has been infected with a geminivirus.

The researchers are just trying new things and hoping that they move in the right direction. For example, breeding the lines of crops that are less affected by whiteflies would be more beneficial, but the issue of time is a problem. Another option is the introduction of wasps into environments. Researchers found that female exotic wasps deposit eggs under whitefly larva, which emerge from the eggs and destroy the larva. This is still being explored because introducing exotic species into new environments can have severe implications to the new environment and its members .

Want to learn more about when and how to treat your plants and trees, click HERE to see more from Cascade Gardens,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Autumn Flame Red Maple

 Autumn Flame Red Maple

One of the best aspects of the Autumn Flame Red Maple (Acer rubrum "Autumn Flame") is that, as a native to North America, it thrives in most continental climate zones. This means that just about everyone in the United States and Canada can enjoy this maple's amazing autumn leaves. The star-shaped leaves of the Autumn Flame maple burst into a yellowish red hue in the fall, and have a way of seemingly lighting the area around them.

Even once they've fallen, the leaves of the Autumn Flame maple manage to color the ground for several days. Since some varieties of the tree can grow to heights of 60 feet (18.3 meters) and spread as wide as 50 feet (15.2 meters), this beautiful carpet of leaves can be substantial. Even better, this type of red maple tends to hang onto its leaves longer than other maples, so you'll have more time to watch them fall [source: University of Florida]. Be sure to plant the Autumn Flame maple in a part of your yard that gets lots of rain, as these trees love water. They're worth any extra irrigation you may have to undertake.

Want to see more ideas for planting in the flall and winter, click HERE for