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Planting trees the right way and a story of one thought to be extinct

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog planting treesIn the foreground is a dawn redwood seedling. Behind it is a mature specimen which is over 100 feet tall. Dawn redwoods were thought to be extinct. When planting trees, be sure you take into account their full size when mature. Photo by Doug Oster

This is the perfect time of the year to plant trees. I'm often asked, "doesn't it make more sense to plant them in the spring?" No, it doesn't actually. The reason we plant in the fall is to take advantage of fall temperatures and light conditions. Both combine to encourage root growth in the tree as opposed to top growth.

I plant trees in the spring, but would prefer to do the job in the fall. A spring planted tree needs water all season. It's putting on root growth, top growth and maybe even flowering too. That's a lot of energy  to expend after dealing with transplant shock.

Probably the biggest mistake made by gardeners when planting a tree is to ignore the planting tag which lists the height and spread of the plant at maturity.

A tree will always try to achieve its genetic size and should never be topped. Cutting the top of a tree off will change the growth habit forever. Usually, the tree will just send out sprouts around the cut in an attempt to reach it s mature height.

I cringe driving by new developments freshly planted with an instant landscape which will be overgrown and problematic in only a few years.

Choose the tree carefully and think long and hard about where it will be happy for the next 50 years.

When choosing a site for planting also look for decent soil. The conventional wisdom these days is to plant the tree without soil amendments. Theoretically
the roots of the plant will search out nutrients in the original soil. If the planting hole is filled with compost, the roots act like they are in a pot and will circle around, becoming root bound.

If the soil is pure clay, there's no sense in planting there, not many plants can survive in those conditions. When the soil is less than ideal, I'll mix some compost with the back fill from the planting hole and also mulch with compost. Some plant experts disagree with this technique, but sometimes as a gardener, you have to do what makes sense to you.

Dig the hole two or three times as wide as the root ball and never plant a tree deeper than it's original planting depth.

The photo above is of a dawn redwood seedling in front of a mature tree. The full grown specimen is 100 feet tall. I've found the perfect spot in the woods to plant the tree. A large oak fell, leaving space for a new planting to take its place.

Dawn redwoods (metasequoia) are beautiful, fast growing, deciduous trees which were once thought to be extinct.

During WWII a group of dawn redwoods were discovered in China. The valley is still a source for the trees today.

The brownish orange exfoliating bark and wonderful pyramidal shape make it the favorite tree in my garden. In fall the green, needle like foliage turns bronze and falls to the ground.

If you've got the space, try one in your garden, you'll be glad you did.

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Fall fashions on full display at Pittsburgh Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Fashion shows sometimes prompt people to ponder: How could I ever wear that?

At Pittsburgh Fashion Week, many of these worries were washed away with clothes that almost any fashionista (or fashionisto) could wear from day to day.

Looks for fall available at Pittsburgh malls and retailers were abundant, as well as tips for how to transition a look from day to night. Below are some photos for style inspiration from the "Classic Fall Fashions for Pittsburgh Professionals" runway show earlier this week at Macy's, Downtown, photographed by the Post-Gazette's Bill Wade.

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The faces of Pittsburgh Fashion Week: Meet founder Miyoshi Anderson

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Pittsburgh Fashion Week comes to a close today with the annual Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame inductions at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown.

In addition to the honorees, another woman of the hour is Miyoshi Anderson, Pittsburgh Fashion Week's founder and director. She is responsible for overseeing the week's festivities and leading the way when looking ahead to next year. A former dancer and model, she created the annual event four years ago to help bring more work and networking opportunities to the area for Pittsburgh-based models, designers and stylists.

MAndersonMy favorite part about Pittsburgh Fashion Week is ... everything. But if I had to pick one, being at the Fashion Hall of Fame reminds me that this is what brought us through the week. The luncheon solidifies it.

My favorite part about Pittsburgh Fashion Week is ... keeping the full week organized. Now that we are four years in, we've got a handle on it. It is like organizing seven weddings in one week.

One of my proudest moments at Pittsburgh Fashion Week has been ... accomplishing the inaugural week and watching the fashion industry wake up from being dormant.

My Fashion Week survival tip is ... praying. It keeps me at peace.

If I could feature any designer from any place at Pittsburgh Fashion Week, it would be ... many designers we would like to highlight. We would bring back Zang Toi. Being a high-profile designer he took a chance on a new company. Most of all, he helped make our first year top notch and almost effortless.

My three wardrobe must-haves are ... my very own creation, a peplum belt. It is an accessory that can be added to just about anything: shorts, a dress, slacks, jeans. [Other must-haves are] my latest lip color, pale pink with a light gloss, and my large crystal stud earrings.

To me, fashion is ... a painter's paint palette. You never know what you can create until you step into your closet.

Anything special planned for the fifth anniversary you can give a hint about now? The creative minds are always firing. Nothing can be revealed at this point. We plan to always bring something we never have before, whether it's a new concept, new partnership or new locations.


 

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Clothes from casual to classy featured at Pittsburgh Fashion Week Pink Partini & Fashion Bash at Tanger Outlets

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

From pink drinks to rosy rugs, it was a colorful night of fashion on Day 4 of Pittsburgh Fashion Week at the second annual Pink Partini & Fashion Bash at Tanger Outlets.

The event to benefit the American Cancer Society showed off styles for fall, from daytime wear to cocktail dresses. KDKA-TV anchor Kristine Sorensen served as master of ceremonies.

Post-Gazette photographer Rebecca Droke captured some of the fashion on camera. See her photographs from the event below.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week picks up again Saturday with back-to-back student runway shows at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown.

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Plant pansies and flowering kale now for color through winter (with video)

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog pansies in watering canBlack and gold pansies in an old watering can replaced impatiens which were fading. The dusty miller has been growing out of the spout for months. It's another cold tolerant plant. 'Accord Black Beauty' are planted together with an unnamed yellow pansy. Photos by Doug Oster

As night time temperatures plummet, the tender annuals start to fade. Once frost hits, they will be gone.

blog flowering kale 0926This flowering kale isn't too colorful now, but when it gets cold the color will be vibrant.I want color in the garden for as long as possible. I'm planting some mums, but they will probably be short lived. Pansies and flowering kale on the other hand could make it all the way through the winter.

These cold loving plants will provide beauty at least through Christmas.

Pansies come in a rainbow of colors, I found some nice looking black and gold varieties to plant in containers. I'll also be adding more colors as the season progresses. As soon as frost wipes out the annuals, pansies will be planted in their place.

The trick to keeping pansies happy for winter is to be sure they get the water they need before the ground freezes solid.

Flowering kale is another tough plant which will get more colorful as the days grow shorter and the temperatures fall. Planting them in a container which can be seen from the house will make you smile when the snow falls.

Here's a video of an appearance I did on Pittsburgh Today Live which shows some of the plants which love cold weather.

 

 

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