Laportes Nursery is Ottawa's premier garden centre selling plants, tools and landscaping supplies

FAQ

Send your gardening questions to info@LaporteGardens.com

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for answers to common gardening queries. Still can’t find an answer? Contact us by phone or email, or visit us in person.

Organic pesticide recipes

How can I prevent powdery mildew on plants during damp weather?

How can I get rid of earwigs in my garden?

How can I protect my hostas from slugs?

My houseplants have been outside all summer. How can I rid them of insects prior to bringing them back inside?

Question: How can I prevent powdery mildew on plants during damp weather?

Answer: Try this organic pesticide recipe:

Mix together

  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid soap
  • 16 cups water

Spray susceptible plants weekly during humid or damp weather.

While this is an effective preventative measure, it may burn the leaves of some plants. Test the mixture on a small area prior to spraying the entire plant. Never spray in full sun or when temperatures go above 24 degrees Celsius. Do not store the unused mixture.

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Question: How can I get rid of earwigs in my garden?

Answer: While they are not the most attractive insects, earwigs are not directly harmful to humans and, in fact, are often beneficial in the garden as they feed on insect larvae, slug eggs, aphids, and other garden pests. At some point, however, earwigs might start eating your plants.

Get rid of earwigs by trying this organic pesticide recipe:

Using tuna cans or pie plates, put the following in each container

  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 1 cup water

Another trick is to set out a damp newspaper in the evening. In the morning, grab the newspaper and dump it in a tub of soap and water.

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Question: How can I protect my hostas from slugs?

Answer: If your hostas are being attacked by slugs, try this organic recipe:

Mix together

  • 50 ml (3 1/2 tablespoons) of aluminum sulphate (available at Laporte’s)
  • 16 cups water

Saturate the soil at the base of the plant, being careful not to splash the foliage.

Apply this in the fall, just after the leaves have died. Repeat this procedure when the tips of the plant start to emerge in May or June and, if the problem persists, at two-month intervals after that.

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Question: My houseplants have been outside all summer. How can I rid them of insects prior to bringing them back inside?

Answer: Here’s an organic insecticide recipe that is easy, effective, and environmentally friendly:

Combine 1 tbsp. of liquid soap and 1 cup of vegetable oil in a jar and shake vigorously until the two are well combined.

Take 2 tsps. of this mixture and combine with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.

Spray the infested plants.

Store the soap and oil mixture in the jar and shake before each use. Remember to always test a small area of the plant and wait 24 hours to check its reaction. If there is no leaf burn, it’s safe to spray the entire plant.

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Soils and fertilizers

What is the difference between garden soil and top soil?

Why should I use bone meal?

Question: What is the difference between garden soil and top soil?

Answer: Both are quality soils but with different purposes. Top soil is a clean soil made up of 50% black soil (humus) and 50% sandy loam. It’s ideal in content and consistency for lawn applications such as seeding.

Garden soil contains black soil and sandy loam as well, but with the added bonus of manure (comprising one-third). This soil is used for planting trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and vegetables.

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Question: Why should I use bone meal?

Answer: As a 100 per cent natural source of nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium, bone meal fertilizer 2-14-0 promotes plants’ root development while also stimulating blooming.

It is essential for planting and transplanting all plants from bulbs to trees. For best results, apply your bone meal directly into the soil when planting.

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Trees and shrubs

I have a small backyard and would like to purchase a tree to have more privacy and add shade. What would be some of my options?

Question: I have a small backyard and would like to purchase a tree to have more privacy and add shade. What would be some of my options?

Answer: There are a few options to consider for your yard. Here are some suggestions for trees you could purchase, along with their measurements (height by width):

  • Serviceberry – 20’x18′
  • Japanese lilac – 20’x14′
  • Globe maple – 20’x20′

Columnar trees can also give you height, but take up much less space widthwise:

  • Columnar oak – 30’x9′
  • Columnar maple – 35’x12′
  • Columnar mountain ash – 25’x8′
  • Columnar crabapple rinki – 15’x4′

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Annuals and perennials

What is the difference between annuals, perennials and biennial plants?

Should I plant annuals or perennials?

When should I plant annuals and perennials?

Question: What is the difference between annuals, perennials and biennial plants?

Answer: An annual is a plant that lives for only one growing season that flowers all season.

A perennial is a plant which lives for more than one growing season but flowers at specific times during summer.

A biennial is a plant that takes up to 2 years to complete its life cycle. First year it grows leaves and the second year it will flower. Sometimes re-seeding itself.

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Question: Should I plant annuals or perennials?

Answer: For very low maintenance, perennials are the way to go. Plant once and these plants usually come back from year to year. However, perennials only flower at certain times during the summer which means you must carefully plan out your garden so that you have flowers at all times.

The benefit of planting annuals is that they flower all summer long. The disadvantage of annuals is that you have to plant every year.

The ideal garden is a mixture of annuals and perennials. This gives a very good show for the gardener.

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Question: When should I plant annuals and perennials?

Answer: Plant when all chance of frost is over. Not before the long weekend in May.

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Lawn Care

Why and how should I top dress the lawn?

How can I repair lawn damage due to grubs?

Question: Why and how should I top dress the lawn?

Answer: It builds up the quality of the soil over a period of time. It helps to even out bumps in the lawn. By over-seeding every year, your lawn becomes thicker which means less room for weeds to grow.

Come in for our special recipe on how to top dress.

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Question: How can I repair lawn damage due to grubs?

Answer: Come in for our special recipe on how to repair lawn damage due to grubs.