Master Gardeners continue growing lingo

Published 12:18 am Saturday, August 22, 2020

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 (Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series.)

 By Sheri Bethard

Texas Certified Master Gardener, Orange County Master Gardeners

This is Part 2 of Growing Lingo which I started last week. Hope this helps you out when you are talking gardening with your neighbors or at the local garden center.

Short Day Plant – A plant that needs a long period of darkness in order to form flowers. Normally when the days are less than 12 hours of light. (Mums, Poinsettias, Christmas cactus)

Long Day Plant – These plants require a short rest period each day (darkness) to produce flowers. (Petunias, Potatoes when they form tubers)

Day Neutral Plant – These plants do not depend on the amount of darkness or daylight hours in order to flower. They respond to flowering based on their age/maturity. (Sunflowers, Tomatoes)

Pruning – Is done to train a plant, maintain plant health, improve the quality of flowers, fruit, foliage or stems and/or restrict growth. Prune broken limbs, weak limbs, suckers, water spouts (branches growing straight up) and interfering branches (those crossing others). Removing these branches will allow for air circulation thru out the plant or tree.

Up Potting – When the roots start growing out of the drain holes is the signal it is time to move to a larger pot. The next size pot should be about an inch larger in circumference.

Bio Char – It is a special kind of charcoal that may have many benefits as a soil amendment. It is supposed to hold water better, increase fertilizer efficiency, remove pollutants and pesticides, mitigate climate change, increase soil pH, increase soil microbe populations and increase cation exchange of soil. While doing all this it is also eco-friendly.

Leaf Mold – Simply put, leaf mold is fully decomposed leaves. Don’t turn up your nose. Leaf mold has a rich, earthy scent and a dark, crumbly texture that could make regular compost jealous. It takes 1 to 2 years for the process to complete.

Compost – Is decayed organic matter from once living organisms and their by-products such as manure. It contains most if not all of the nutrients necessary for plant growth by improving the soil and helps hold in the nutrients reducing the need for additional fertilizers.

Air Layering – A stem or shoot of a plant is wounded with a shallow cut or by removing a ring of bark to stimulate rooting, and a plastic sleeve full of moss or soil mix is taped around the stem. Roots form in 6 – 8 weeks or longer depending on the plant. Once a substantial number of roots have formed the stem can be cut from the donor plant.

Cuttings – are parts of plant stems that have been removed from a donor plant for use as propagative material. They produce roots that grow where they were cut if provided the right conditions. Cuttings take from 6 – 8 weeks or longer to form new roots.

I hope this has given you a guide into some of the terms we gardeners use and you will become familiar with. For your gardening questions, please call our Hot-Line Tuesday and Thursday’s from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 409 882-7010. If after these times you can send your question to our website on our CONTACT page or send it to our Facebook page Orange County Texas Master Gardeners.

Our next Master Gardener certification class will start September 3, with orientation August 27. Classes currently will be virtual with the option of attending online live or listening to the recording. Classes will be each Thursday. Class fee is $150 which will include your training handbook, supplies and speakers’ fees. Please visit our website above and click the link JOIN MG for more information