Blog
Posted on September 26, 2019 10:54 AM by The Cameron Wood Communications Team
Categories: Gardening
Written by: LeAnn Swieczkowski, Eighteen-years happily gardening in Cameron Wood 
 
Why is fall tree planting season? Because the October through December moderate N.C. temperatures allow the tree roots to become established before the ground freezes (if it does freeze at all here).  
 
I’m recommending if you have cut down some trees in your Cameron Wood yard, consider replacing a few with trees that are native to this area and are fast growers, averaging about 30 feet tall, and give spectacular fall color. 
 
Several trees that Dr. Larry Mellichamp, the recently retired director of the North Carolina Charlotte Botanical Gardens and author of Native Plants of the Southeast, recommends for our area are the Southern Sugar Maple (Acer barbatum), the Chalk Maple (Acer leucoderme), the Red Maple (Acer rubrum), and the Pawpaw (Asimina triloba). If you want even smaller, fast growing maples, go to the website of North Carolina’s premiere Japanese Maple growers, mrmaple.com. I have four of their maple trees. They are relatively inexpensive, are shipped well-packed, and are mostly deer resistant. Happy planting!
 
 
Posted on February 27, 2019 8:37 PM by LeAnn Swieczkowski
Categories: Gardening
Writte by LeAnn Swieczkowski, 17-year CW Resident and Gardener Hobbyist
 
 
It’s spring and you are beginning to plan for the rebirth of your landscape. There is a cost to implementing your landscape plans and one of the greatest costs is mulch. So why not spread the right kind of organic mulch for your plantings?
 
You want to get mulch that will provide added nutrients and help maintain moisture, control soil erosion, inhibit weeds, and reduce fluctuation in the soil temperature. A 2-3-inch layer of mulch is desired (not 4-6 inches). You must allow for water and air to penetrate the soil easily, and thickly laid mulch prohibits this. Also, mulch placed too thickly may provide habitat for voles and moles, cause plant rot, and attract pests.
 
A rule of thumb before applying new mulch is to remove the old mulch. Old mulch may contain weed seeds, mold, or other non-beneficial materials. There are many kinds of mulch to choose from...so what type should you use? Here are
some options: 
 
  • pine-bark nuggets (size matters - don’t get the largest because it will float away during a heavy rain)
  • shredded hardwood (decomposes quickly and must be reapplied often)
  • grass clippings (use only dry grass and beware of using it if you had your grass treated with herbicides or you have more weeds then grass in your clippings)
  • pine needles (great on slopes but can stunt plant growth and is highly flammable).
 
If you are buying at a big box store, I recommend Cypress mulch because it can be effective in resisting insects and
fungus, is weed-seed free, and generally does not float away.
 
Another mulch source is Mecklenburg County’s Compost Central located at 140 Valleydale Road in Charlotte. The county recommends compost on its website saying it “is beneficial for the land,” is a “soil conditioner, a fertilizer” and “a natural pesticide for soil.” Their stock is tested regularly to ensure it is “weed seed and pathogen free.” For more county information visit www.mecknc.gov or call 311. They deliver for a fee and offer several options for pickup – see their website for details on pricing.
 
Finally, never allow your mulch to mound up to tree trunks. This will prevent bark decay and insects from attacking the tree. Keep mulch 6-12 inches from the trunk and place 2-3-inch depth of pebbles in that area or leave it uncovered.