Tropical Style

Pheromone Traps for Fruit Trees

One of the basic tenets of organic and sustainable pest control is using organic defenses efficiently, instead of applying synthetic chemical pesticides. Pheromone-based pest traps are utilized to track pest population maturity times in order that the proper therapy can be applied at the ideal moment. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, most fruit tree insect pests have several breeding cycles annually, since warmer climates encourage prolonged pest activity. Tracking the cycles is a powerful way to decrease pesticide usage and to control costs. You can buy pheromone traps at major garden supply centers or from agricultural providers to assist you monitor the insect pests in your home orchard.

How They Work

Insect traps have been lures. They use bait to attract insects to them, and the secret is to find a bait special to a particular pest control. Pheromone pest traps exploit the Sex attractants given off completely by each species to attract mates. Pheromone lures contain replaceable rubber septa that take the pheromone substances. Lures are applied to the trap, which includes a sticky layer. Insects investigating the lure simply stick to the surface and cannot escape. By examining traps about twice a week, you can monitor the developmental progress of the species and track the phases of the breeding cycle. Lures typically need to be replaced about once a month to maintain effectiveness. Remove insects from the traps each time you check them, and stir the sticky layer to freshen it.

When to Use

Really early spring — February through early March — would be the best time to place traps to find out the first breeding cycle in your area. Insects mature in accordance with “level days,” or days the temperatures are warm enough for them to develop. Recording daily high and low temperatures helps you to maximize trap usage. By tracking insects’ development to adulthood, you can disrupt mating during each life-cycle through the season by using suitable treatments, thereby reducing egg-laying and the resulting hatch of larvae.

Trap Placement

Hang pheromone traps at the northeast side of trees about 6 feet from the floor and approximately 100 feet in from the edge of the orchard. Place traps for various insects no closer than 300 feet apart, so that they won’t interfere with one another. Because pheromones are released to the air from the lure, they sink — because they are heavier than air. Placing the traps at the top third of trees takes advantage of the natural dispersal.

Home Orchard Use

If you have only a few fruit trees in your yard, you may not want to have visible traps littering your landscaping. A pheromone lure placed at the corner of a shed or along a backyard wall can capture a sampling of the insects in your yard. After noticing the insects’ stages of development, you can prevent large infestations by applying suitable treatments.

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Tropical Style

Cool Facts About Fruit Trees

Most people recognize the types of fruit they see in their local grocery stores, but just a few would recognize the trees those fruits grew on. Yet in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, around 1 million acres in the USA are planted with bananas, and almost 2 million acres have been planted with deciduous fruit trees. Oranges are the most popular tree fruit in the U.S. Apples are second, followed by grapefruit and peaches.


Most fruit trees are not just planted from seeds, but are grafted. Rootstock is cloned from a mom rootstock and grown to a sapling. The rootstock tree is then topped, and also a branch from an established variety of fruit is grafted to it. Some trees — apples, like — produce seeds that result in trees nothing like the parent tree. If you have the world’s most delicious apple, and you collect and plant its seeds, you get a great chance of receiving an apple tree that produces hardly edible apples. Seeds from some other species of trees that were overgrown — cherries, peaches and pears — may produce offspring that are extremely near the parent. But the parent in this instance is the top half of this tree. The rootstock a tree is grafted to makes a major difference in size and hardiness of both the tree and the fruit. Therefore a tree grown from seed may be genetically identical to the parent but still produce very different fruit if the parent is grafted and the offspring isn’t.

Not From North America

The majority of the fruit trees grown in North America now are not from here originally. Apples come in the Caucasus Mountains that run through Europe and Asia. Apples were brought to America in Colonial times, and initially used mainly to produce hard cider. Pears are native to Europe, the Near East and temperate Asia. The pears on the East Coast of North America were initially brought on by Europeans. Those on the West Coast were brought from China by Chinese immigrants. Peaches come from China and Tibet; plums come in Italy and Greece; apricots come in Manchuria, Siberia and Korea. Oranges are from China. Among the few fruits native to North America is the pawpaw. It comes in the temperate woodlands in the eastern United States.

Dwarf Trees

Very few dwarf trees are dwarfs because they are naturally small genetically. Most trees become dwarfs when buds from full-sized trees are grafted to dwarfing rootstock. M.9, as an example, is a very common dwarfing apple rootstock. As soon as an apple variety is grafted for it, then the resulting tree is approximately 25 percent the height the tree could have been had the scion been grafted to full-size rootstock.

Deciduous Versus Evergreens

The further north a fruit species grows, the more likely it’s to be deciduous. Trees that are native to cold temperatures — pears and apples, for example — are always deciduous. If a tree needs a winter with freezing temperatures, then it will be deciduous. On the other hand, fruit trees that are native to tropical regions — papayas, mango and lychee, for example — tend to be evergreen. They don’t drop their leaves in the winter but stay green year-round. Fruit that is native to semi-tropical places is generally deciduous but may be evergreen.

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Gardening and Landscaping

How to Level Bricks for a Planter

Planters are wonderful additions to landscaping, supplying an increasing area for plants and flowers which is rich with good soil and nutrients in a place where the ground soil may be less than perfect. To build up a planter, you can use an assortment of materials, like cut stone, wood or brick. Many use brick because it is simple to handle and provides a completed premium quality appearance, but if you don’t install it correctly, you might step back to find that the mortar lines are twisted and the top isn’t level.

Dig a trench along the region in which you need your planter to be located. The simplest way is to lay out a layer of bricks to mark the exact place for the planter, and cut to the soil with a scoop. Then remove the bricks and dig into the ground, where you marked it. Eliminate soil to a depth equal to the depth of the brick and 5 inches.

Fill the base of the trench with 5 ins gravel and smooth it out. Check the gravel using a level. If the base isn’t level, none of the rows will be. Tamp the gravel down, and check again. Add or remove stones until it’s level.

Place the first layer of bricks to the trench. Their tops should reach ground level. Secure the bricks with mortar between the ends of the bricks. Spread the mortar with a little trowel.

Spread a layer of mortar on the tops of their very first row of bricks. Work in small sections of 3 feet at a time so the mortar doesn’t dry out. Put another row of bricks on top of the mortar, making sure to apply mortar between the ends of the bricks as you go. Stagger the ends of the brick as associated with the row underneath to ensure a stronger wall. Place a level on top of the bricks to check them. Adjust if necessary by pressing a brick to the mortar, or even removing it to include more.

Insert a third row of bricks as you did the first, and repeat to the height you need for your planter, that typically is no more than two feet. Continue checking the degree as you go and adjust if required.

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Tropical Style

Tomato Cuttings for New Plants

Root cuttings taken out of tomato plants to clone heirloom varieties or to create several more plants in an existing plant. Propagation by seed takes 6 to 8 weeks but cuttings are ready for the lawn in about 2 weeks. If you examine the stem on a tomato plant, then you will notice tiny bumps which protrude all along the stem. When these bumps come into contact with dirt, they develop into roots for the plant. Even though tomato cuttings root in clean water, develop a much healthier plant by splitting it in dirt.

Reducing Selection

Take cuttings from healthy tomato plants which are categorized as indeterminate. Indeterminate plants continue to develop until dug up or they succumb to icy cold temperatures. Determinate tomato plants grow to a particular size and then set fruit. Cuttings from determinate tomato crops may root but may not develop or set blooms. Tomato plants suffer from leaf blight, anthracnose and a plethora of different ailments. Cuttings which come from diseased plants will succumb to the infection and die. Take cuttings which are at least 8 inches long and come out of the tip of the tomato plant. It is also possible to root a sucker division taken from between a lateral leaf stem and the main stem. Take a top cutting from a spent tomato plant that is still alive in the garden. Use a sharp knife which cleanly cuts the stem. The cutting edge requires one pair of leaves to create energy for the plant. Remove the rest of the leaves with a sharp knife.

Propagation Chamber

The propagation chamber used to root the tomato is a expanding container full of a high-quality potting soil. Use a big container for several cuttings or small containers, such as 4-inch pots, for single cuttings. Tomatoes root with no use of a rooting hormone or bottom heat if the soil temperature remains about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil must be moist but not soggy. The growing container should be given a generous quantity of sunlight or be set under a grow light.

Stem-Cutting Care

Make a hole in the middle of a 4-inch garden pot and stick one tomato cutting a minimum of three inches deep into the soil. Firm the soil into place and water the cutting edge. Place the container in a sunny window and wait about ten days for the cutting edge to root. After roots form, accustom the new tomato plant into the natural heat and light of the sun. Expose the tomato plant into the outside atmosphere for approximately an hour the first day. Extend the amount of time outside each day until the plant remains outdoors for the entire day.

Transplanting New Tomato Plants

Transplant the newest tomato plants into the garden once they have been outside for a week. Bury the tomato crops up to the initial group of leaves in the backyard. Over the coarse of time throughout the rooting process and acclimation period, your tomato plant may have developed new leaves. You can bury these new leaves without danger of rotting. The stem sends out additional roots in addition to those currently formed during the indoor rooting process. Protect the plants if there’s the danger of frost. Water the tomato crops daily until they are established in the garden.

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Tropical Style

Sea Grape Bushes

Sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera) are sprawling evergreen shrubs that grow on sandy beaches in Mediterranean and tropical climates. Thriving from the heat and heat of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b and 11, sea grape shrubs spread widely on salty ocean beaches but they also grow as trees in yards. You can eat the fruits raw or utilize them to make wines, jams and preserves. The plants have been drought-tolerant and prefer partial shade to full sunlight.


Sea grape trees have light brown, thin bark and thick, round leaves that spread 8 to 10 inches apartfrom Young foliage is reddish-bronze using a leathery texture. Leaves, with reddish or Scrub veins, turn dark green at maturity and rust-like before falling. Bushes and trees produce little white, scented flowers in spring or early summer. Light green fruit clusters hang from young leaves but the strawberries become reddish-purple when ripe. Each grape is generally less than 1 inch wide.


It is simple to grow sea grapes from seed, but female trees require nearby male pollinators to produce fruit. Fruit production might not occur on its own until trees are 4 to 8 years old, notes the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. However, seedlings grafted by palm on rootstocks or cuttings may hasten the process — enabling for grape crops within the tree’s second season. Although exposure to prolonged temperatures under 32 degrees Fahrenheit may damage young trees, older ones may manage short periods at 22 F. Sea grape bushes and trees prefer sandy, well-draining dirt and are tolerant of ocean air. Landscape trees may grow to 35 feet tall.


Sea grapes are somewhat pear-shaped. They’ve sweet and tangy pulp — each one surrounds one seed. The skins are reddish to dark purple when the fruits are ripe. Sea grapes typically mature in summertime but ripening is sometimes delayed until fall if spring flowers arrive late. Fruits ripen unevenly in separate racemes. Large trees may produce several thousand individual strawberries each season.


The trees should be well-spaced to allow room for spreading heels and roots. Sea grape trees are drought-tolerant when established, but regular watering will help them flower and fruit. Fertilizing shrubs and trees using a 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 fertilizer two or three times annually — less frequently if plants have been established in more fertile soil — will help them grow. Sea grape trees should be pruned sparingly to remove dead branches and damaged timber but more frequently if they’re implanted in a hedgerow. Insect infestation and diseases are minimum issues for sea strawberries, but leaves do attract fungi. Birds and other wildlife enjoy the tree’s ripe fruit.

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My Tomatoes Are Wilting & Rotting on the Vine – What Is Wrong?

Biting into pieces of freshly picked, ripe, juicy strawberries in the garden is one of the great pleasures of life. You can’t help feel depressed and disappointed if your tomato plants wilt and the fruits rot on the vine. Common bacterial diseases, such as early blight, late blight and fusarium wilt, cause wilting and rotting of tomatoes. Tomatoes can also decay as a result of pests, diseases and ethnic problems. A common environmental issue encountered by home gardeners is blossom end rot.

Early Blight

Early blight on tomatoes is characterized by black and brown spots on stems, leaves and fruit. The fungus Alternaria solani causes early blight. The spots often form concentric circles and might develop a yellow surrounding area. Spots first appear on the older or lower leaves. The disease spreads from the bottom to the top of the plant. Overhead watering and cool, humid conditions favor disease progression and might cause severe damage to plants and fruits. To control or slow the disease, remove dead, infected foliage once you first visit it and then mulch around the tomato crops. Another way to control disease is to apply a copper fungicide every seven to 10 days.

Late Blight

The fungus Phytophthora infestans causes late blight on tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables. The Irish potato famine illustrates the serious damage that this fungus may inflict. Late blight on tomatoes causes irregular, grayish green, purple or dark brown spots on stems and leaves. Areas expand and spread quickly and involve the emerging fruit. At times, whitish mould, containing the fungal spores, forms on the underside of infected leaves. Fruits develop brown and black lesions but stay firm. Late blight spreads rapidly during periods of high humidity combined with warm temperatures. The disease can destroy tomato crops within days. Remove contaminated plants and all plant debris near healthy plants to prevent the spread of this disease. Avoid overhead watering since it might help spread the disease.

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt impacts all parts of the tomato plant and is brought on by the soil-dwelling fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The disease starts with yellowing of leaf, usually on just 1 side of this plant. Wilting can spread to the whole plant even when sufficient soil moisture is available. Cutting open infected comes shows brown streaks. The disease blocks the transfer of water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant. Although it is hard to rid the soil of fusarium wilt fungus, then you might succeed in case you solarize the soil. Solarization is a technique that increases soil temperature. It’s best to grow tomato varieties resistant to fusarium wilt if you know your dirt harbors the fusarium fungus. Tomato plants resistant to fusarium wilt are marked with one or more “F” on the tag.

Blossom End Rot

When isolating spots kind on the blossom end of ripening tomatoes, the condition is known as “blossom end rot.” It can start out as a small place, but it soon takes over almost all of the fruit. Blossom end rot is not caused by a pathogenic organism — it is brought on by environmental conditions that result in reduced levels of calcium and water in the fruit and plant. Tomatoes grown in sandy or low-moisture soils are prone to blossom end rot. Blossom end rot won’t be treated with any pesticide since it is not caused by a pathogenic organism. Avoid blossom end rot by checking the soil moisture of your planted tomatoes and water them when the soil gets too dry, but do not overwater. Adding tomato crust can help prevent blossom end rot by keeping your plants free and vigorous of nutrient deficiencies.

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Tropical Style

Instructions for Topsy Turvey Strawberry Planter

Topsy Turvy strawberry (Fragaria spp.; U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10) planters are made to grow plants through holes in the sides. The planter hangs out of a plant hanger or might be suspended from a eye hook in a porch roof or comparable overhead arrangement. If you have had one sitting in your garage for a while or have discovered a single second-hand, hang it up so that you can enjoy a bountiful strawberry lawn that is simple to harvest with plants in eye level.

Mix slow-release fertilizer granules with a bagged potting mix along with a homemade potting blend, such as equal parts peat moss, completed compost and perlite. Topsy Turvy produces a slow-release fertilizer for their strawberry planters, or you can use another similar product. The Topsy Turvy strawberry planter measures 9 1/2 inches in diameter, requiring approximately 3 liters of fluid. Fertilizer has to be reapplied once every few months, depending on product instructions. Skip this step if you use a potting soil mix that already includes fertilizer combined with the soil.

Remove the strawberries from the planter pots or cell packs. Squeeze the soil to loosen the roots in the rootball so that they grow more freely when planted.

Insert the rootball of the very first strawberry plant via one of the underside starburst planting ports. The flaps on the port should shut around the stem to hold the cylinder in place. Repeat with the other bottom starburst planting port on the other side of the planter.

Add potting soil to the Topsy Turvy planter a little at a time to fill just over the plant roots, stopping when you reach the bottom of the following set of planting ports. Insert two more strawberry plants in the following set of planting ports; add more soil to cover these roots. Repeat this process until all of planting ports are planted as well as the planter is filled with soil. Since you fill the bag, then you might find it beneficial to hang the bag in chest level.

Water that the planter thoroughly until the soil is evenly moist and water drains from the bottom of the Topsy Turvy. Watering fills in air pockets in the ground, causing the soil to settle, which means you may have to add more soil to fill the planter into the surface. Water the new soil and repeat until the planter is full as well as the soil is moist. Some soil settling is anticipated when you water, but don’t pack the soil with your fingers, or you risk smothering the strawberry plant roots.

Put in the eye screw — comprised with the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter — in a piece of wood that measures at least 2 inches thick, including a two-by-four. Sink the screw so all of the threads are embedded into the wood, ensuring that the screw is well-anchored and equipped to support the full weight of the watered planter. Skip this step if you prefer to use a plant hanger hook. If that’s the circumstance, hang the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter from the hook. The chosen location should receive whole sunlight, six to 10 hours of direct sunlight each day, for the strawberries to grow properly.

Water that the Topsy Turvy strawberry planter daily to keep the soil evenly moist. Add water until excess water drains from the bottom of the planter. The hanging design employs gravity to guarantee extra water drains freely so the roots don’t rot. This same design feature is also why the planter requires daily watering. Strawberries need approximately 1 inch of water weekly, but rapid emptying means that the planter dries out more quickly than strawberries planted in the ground or in different planters.

Remove the strawberry planter from the hook and then store it — plants and all — from your basement or garage over winter to look after the plants until the following spring. Strawberries planted traditionally in a garden bed can be over-wintered in place with a covering of straw to protect plant roots. In a Topsy Turvy planter, the crops are less protected and require overwintering inside in a cool place.

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Tropical Style

How Tall Will Japanese Cucumbers Get?

Japanese cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) create a long, delicious fruit that works well for cutting and eating fresh. The annual vine-producing plants grow vigorously and require plenty of distance from the garden to stop crowding since the vines can grow 8 feet tall. Understanding the size of the mature plants helps with garden organizing and making efficient use of space.

Plant Height

Japanese cucumbers are vine-growing varieties that need a trellis system for help. This type of cucumber includes a vigorous growth habit with varieties that could reach up to 8 feet tall. Assess the mature height of the plant to the seed container or package to allow for good distance in the lawn. Not all of cultivars will grow to the exact same height.

Fruit Size

Japanese cucumbers make a very long, slender fruit that’s 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The cucumber span varies from a little 1 1/2 inches up to 18 inches long.


Space Japanese cucumbers 1 foot apart at planting when using a trellis for vertical growth. Plants left to grow naturally with no trellis demand a minimum distance of 4 feet to allow room for your vine spread.

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Eclectic Homes

What Can I Use to Cover a Hole in My Ceiling From an Old Light Fixture?

You have more than 1 option for minding the gap it leaves behind, when your renovation plans involve the removal of a ceiling light. Before undertaking any process, it is important to disconnect the wires and pull them out of the electrical box. You may not wish to take out the boxit might be a good idea if your plans include a fixture that is potential sooner or later, to leave it.

Removing the Box

You need to remove the electrical box, if you would like to patch the gap with shingles, that is 1 option for covering the hole. This isn’t hard if you’ve got access to do. Only pull it out with a pry bar, if the box has been nailed in; simply unscrew it if it is attached with screws. The ideal option is to cut out a section of drywall large to access the box if you can not get from the attic. Don’t worry; large holes in drywall are more difficult to repair than small ones.

Patching the Hole With Drywall

Rectangular holes are more easy to patch than irregular ones, which means you have to shape the opening with a drywall saw. To give something to attach the drywall, slide a piece of timber that is 1-by-3 and drive drywall screws through the ceiling to hold it. After attaching it into the wood with drywall screws and cutting the patch to the very same dimensions as the pit and finish the patch with joint compound and drywall tape. It should be invisible, after you feel the patch to match the rest of the ceiling and then paint it.

Using Cover Plates

Two options exist for cover plates. Should you leave the electrical box set up, you may choose a metal or plastic cover plate large enough to conceal the hole and screw it. Use a spring-loaded cover plate if you remove the box. This handy facade has an anchor that crosses the opening and retains against the ceiling. You can paint the paint that you used to paint the ceiling on cover plates, but it will always remain visible. You may want to paint it with a design to take advantage of the fact.

Other Alternatives

Ceiling medallions are decorative discs that adorn the ceiling around a light or fan fixture, and you may buy one that doesn’t have an opening for a fixture. You glue one of these into the drywall, which means that you may use it in order to cover a pit whether you remove the electrical box. You can make your own decorative cover, if you are feeling creative. It may be as long as it is large enough to cover the gap. Glue it or screw it.

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Decorating Guides

What Colour Walls Will Move With a Medium-Blue Comforter?

New bedding often inspires a new style for your bedroom. As the bed is the focal point in the room, it makes sense to build the room’s color scheme around the shade of the bedding. If you’re not certain where to begin, get a color wheel. You’ll find them at most art supply or craft stores, or download a version from the net. This handy tool can allow you to find multiple options to get a wall color for this particular medium-blue comforter.

Monochromatic Hues

Monochromatic color schemes — meaning changing colors and tints of the same color — create a tranquil atmosphere at a bedroom. Open the space up with a lighter shade of blue to the walls. Give your room a tranquil, ocean-inspired texture with hues of aqua, teal or turquoise. Darker shades such as navy blue or heavy blue-gray colors make a nice accent wall behind the bed. A mixture of blues with varying undertones of green and gray supply extra interest.

Cool Partners

Try among blue’s neighbors on the color wheel. Walls with a lavender or lilac tint make a soothing background to get a medium-blue comforter. Go deeper with a gorgeous shade of aubergine. An alternative is light- or mint green walls. If the comforter is much more of a muted medium-blue, opt for olive or sage green. Insert a seat rail for two-toned walls. Duplicate the wall colors in stitch accent pillows or a toss draped over the foot of their bed to help tie the space together.

Complementary Contrast

If you want a look that’s bold and a little daring, go to the other side of the color wheel. Here you’ll find the fiery hue of orange, a color guaranteed to make the blue of the comforter stick out in eye catching contrast. Tone it down to get a more complex look utilizing a dull burnt orange, pumpkin or rust. Go multitonal and insert texture with a glaze or color wash. A complementary hue in an accent wall brings more focus into the bed as a focus.

Beauty of Brown

Brown and blue make a fine couple. These two colors work well together in any shade. Insert a toasty warmth to your room using four walls painted in deep chocolate brown. If natural illumination or space is much more limited, try lighter shades of cocoa, caramel, coffee, nutmeg or wheat. Do a brown and blue color scheme on the walls, vibrant each color with two blue and two brown walls. Mix them up with stenciled patterns, vertical stripes or borders in the ceiling or chair rail height.

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