Just what is Mistletoe and why do we kiss when we’re under it?
Botanically, Mistletoe is considered a hemiparasite. That means it’s partly parasitic. While it grows on the branches and trunks of a tree, it also sends out roots into the ground to take up its own nutrients. It’s also capable of growing on its own, but is mostly found in the wild as a parasite.
Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. One belief was that it had power to bestow fertility. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. These are just two of the stories that I found while researching the custom of kissing under the mistletoe.
In any event, don’t eat it. The berries contain toxic compounds poisonous to many animals and to humans.
Surprise! Winter had made an early appearance this year in Ohio! It feels like Winter and from time to time, it has been looking like Winter. This weather has created some challenges for us as we try our best to finish up leaf clean ups. We have found ourselves bouncing between cleaning up leaves and putting down salt. Even with the challenges, we are pushing forward. Rest assured that we are a few days away from finishing leaf clean ups and our final round of fertilizer.
Our plow routes have been finalized, our salt storage area has been expanded, and we have received a few loads of salt. Before you know it, Christmas will be here and we’ll say goodbye to 2018!
We have started our planning for the 2019 home show season. We will once again have one of the featured gardens at the Great Big Home & Garden Show at the IX Center. If you have never been up to the show, it is definitely worth the drive. It’s a great sample of Spring in the middle of Winter. It looks and smells like Spring. Plants and flowers are blooming and you can walk through many different gardens to gather ideas for your yard. This year’s theme is Fairy Tales! Of course, we chose Brothers Grimm for our garden. If you want to know how we include that in a garden, you will have to come see for yourself. We hope to see you there!
The Great Big Home and Garden Show
February 1-10, 2019
Adults (Online) $ 12.00
Seniors (65+, Feb 4-7) with ID $11.00 (Available at door only)
Children Ages 6-12 $5.00
Children ages 5 & Under FREE
Cleveland’s IX Center
6200 Riverside Dr.
Cleveland, OH 44135
As I sit down to write this month’s newsletter, we are experiencing a wonderfully rainy Fall day. The weather and leaves seem like they are teaming up on us this year. Due to the warm and rainy start to Fall, the leaves have stayed green longer than they normally do. Now that the color is finally showing, the rain is working on bringing them down as fast as it can. While this type of Fall can mess with our clean up schedule, we are working on getting through everyone for their first visit. This year, we are focusing on getting the perennials and grasses cut this first visit since the next time we come through will be heavy with leaves.
You may also notice that we are cutting the grass shorter than we normally do. We do this to help reduce the chances of your lawn developing snow mold over the Winter.
We have the schedules for the Akron wards and will be coming through a few days before your scheduled date to get your leaves to the curb. As usual, we are targeting to be completed with our leaf cleanups around Thanksgiving.
If you would like to request an additional cleanup, we will be getting to those after we wrap up our scheduled cleanups.
Our fertilizer schedule is moving along as well. We have finished our Fall herbicide application and are planning our last fertilizer application for the year. This round is a high nitrogen application which will give the grass a good start and nice dark color in the Spring. Our goal for completion of the last round is the beginning of December. Since this round targets the Spring growth, there is not as big a rush to make sure it is down.
It wouldn’t be November without talking about the white stuff that’s coming. We are working on going through our plowing equipment and starting to put routes together. Yesterday, we poured a new concrete pad to add onto our salt storage bin and increase the amount of salt we can store here. With the salt shortages of years’ past and the general uncertainty of the supply this year, we are planning on stocking up to help reduce the stress of making sure we have enough product to take care of our customers.
We want to finish by wishing your family a Happy Thanksgiving. It has been our pleasure to service your properties this year and we are looking forward to another good year in 2019.
Temperatures have dropped here in NE Ohio. While I have not seen as many fungi as I did last month, there is still a fair amount out there taking their last shot at reproducing before the snow flies.
The Eyelash Cup is a very very small fungi we can find around here in the Fall. How small? We are talking millimeters here. The cups run around 3-12 millimeters wide. While it’s a bit challenging to find a fungus that is this small, the bright red-orange color helps it stick out from the wood it is growing on.
It is cup shaped and if you look closely, you can see the tiny hairs that line the rim of the cup, hence the name Eyelash Cup.
Some folks say this fungi is inedible and others argue that we don’t know. But in the end, it is really too small to be of any culinary interest.
Home show planning and preparation has begun in the form of blueprints and plans for our space. In light of this, I want to share with you the dates of the upcoming shows:
Great Big Home & Garden Show
I-X Center, Cleveland, Ohio
February 1-10, 2019
Garden Theme: Fairy Tales
Our Garden: Brothers Grimm
There are 2,000 or more Fungi species in Ohio. With the large amount of rain that we have had, fungi are having a fabulous season. Maybe you’ve seen mushrooms popping up pretty much everywhere. Or maybe you’ve seen a puffball or two? We have a lot of mushrooms at our house and we’ve seen two very large puffballs on the side of the road.
We have a large collection of these yellow mushrooms under our Pine trees in our front yard. There are so many, I thought maybe I had stumbled upon a secret village of Smurfs! They have a white stem with a yellow cap and you’ll see on the yellow cap are little white patches, also known as “warts.” These are left over from the sac like structure that contained the mushroom (called the universal veil). As the mushroom grows, the veil breaks apart and little pieces of it get stuck on the cap. Pretty neat!
So, what are they? The best that I can tell is they are a type of Amanita mushroom, specifically a Flying Agaric. Some Amanita are ok to eat, but since the genus Amanita contains some deadly poisonous mushrooms such as the death cap and the destroying angel, I tend to steer clear of them.
As we watch the beauty of Fall arrive with the leaves turning, we are preparing. Those of you who have already signed up for our leaf removal don’t have to worry a bit. You are on our list and for those of you with city pickup, we are coordinating with their pick up schedule. Our leaf equipment is being examined carefully to make sure it is ready and our crews are prepping for the start of the season. We will be dropping our mower decks soon to start preparing the grass for the final cut. Cutting your lawn shorter for Winter helps keep your grass from developing snow mold through the Winter. We will also be doing a final bag off of your yard to get the debris out.
For those with city pickups, we will be out approximately 1-3 days before your scheduled pickup to make sure we get the leaves to the road in plenty of time. For all our other clients, we will have our leaf trucks running with the crews to suck up and remove the leaves from your property. If you have any question on how things will operate or would like to be added to the list, just give us a call.
The last couple of weeks have been warm ones. As I write this month’s newsletter, it is supposed to be in the 90’s again and there are many local schools closed due to the heat. While the grass is starting to turn green again, we are battling many weed issues in the lawns we fertilize. Our next round of fertilizer will help clear that up due to a change to the herbicides we are going to be using. We will be doing a broad spray of all of our 5 and 6 step fertilizer customers to regain control of the weeds. You can look for us to start this round in the coming weeks.
The next service we are starting to plan on is aeration and overseeding. If you didn’t aerate last year, this is a good year to do it. With the Summer drought, the turf is struggling to recover in spots. Aeration plugs holes in the turf to allow water and air to get into the soil. This helps the turf push roots deeper into the soil which help with drought resistance. While it doesn’t stop the lawn from going dormant in the Summer, it will definitely help it recover faster.
If your lawn is looking a little thin, we can also overseed at the same time we are aerating for you. Doing them together help get good ground contact for the new seed which will help with seed germination. If you signed up for aeration/overseeding on your initial contract, you don’t have to worry. You are on the list and we will be working our way to you sometime during the end of September or early October. If you would like added onto the list, just give us a call. We are more than happy to get you on the route.
Before you know it, we will be getting ready to handle leaf cleanups. Our equipment is scheduled to be gone over and prepared to handle the demands of leaf cleanups. It is still not too late to get on the leaf clean up list for this year. Please keep in mind that once the fall cleanup season is in full swing, it will be very difficult for us to add on extra jobs. With the shorter days and rainy weather that usually accompanies the leaves falling, it’s better to get ahead of it. If you signed off on leaf cleanups on your contract, you are on our roster and all set. If you didn’t sign off or are unsure if you did, just give me a call. I can confirm your spot or get you added on. While we will try to help out where we can, all late calls for service will be put on the end of the route. Just like previous years, once the snow gets ready to fly, we tear down our leaf trucks and concentrate fully on snow.
It’s mushroom season! An interesting fungus we can see this time of year is the Giant Puffball (Calvatia). It ranges in diameter from 8 to 24 inches. That’s diameter, not circumference. When it comes to fungi, that is massive! They can easily reach the size of a soccer ball.
They are found in parks, meadows, pastures, open woods and urban areas from late August to early October.
There is no distinct cap or stem on these mushrooms – they exist as large, white globes, although they may not be perfectly round.
I’ve read that they are edible although I’ve never tasted one so I can’t substantiate that. They say the best time to harvest them for cooking is when the white exterior cracks and the white interior shows through. If you wait too long, it will turn brown and begin releasing its spores.