From the Soil with Sollecito

  • Hosted by Jim Sollecito

Upstate New York offers an extraordinarily diverse panorama of spectacular landscapes. And, creating a personal landscape around the home can bring a deep sense of accomplishment while providing a constant source of inspiration throughout the year.  Whether a patio garden, terrace, flower bed, or simple hedgerow, there are best practices that, when followed, will go a long way to assuring long-term success of any home landscape in upstate New York while protecting the environment.

In this growing series of podcasts, Jim Sollecito of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery on Howlett Hill Road on Onondaga Hill provides a series of helpful talks to help navigate the seasonal shifts that impact plants, shrubs, trees, flower beds, and garden plots.  Jim focuses on the use of natural products and cultivation methods specifically adapted to this region's climate, soil composition, geology, and native ecology.  Sollecito Landscaping Nursery is the first Be Green garden center licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

About Jim Sollecito:

Jim Sollecito graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from Cornell University in 1976 and has traveled to 36 countries studying plants and landscape design.  He has the distinction of being the first Lifetime Senior Certified Landscape Professional in New York State.  Founder of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery 39 years ago, Jim's company has won First Place in the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association Landscape Awards Competition 24 times for residential projects.  Jim owns and operates a six acre garden center and a 170 acre nursery.  Megan Sollecito, Jim's wife and partner in business, is a Senior Certified Landscape Professional in her own right.  The Sollecitos have been loyal supporters of WRVO for many years.

If you have questions about any topic related to landscape management, or if you would like to suggest a topic to explore in a future podcast, please contact Jim at the following URL:  http://www.sollecito.com/contact/

Invasion: Landscapes in Crisis describes the effects of deer-browsing, buck rubbing and other environmental threats to plants and trees in and around Cornell Plantations Botanical Gardens and Arboretum at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Weather or Not

Oct 17, 2012

Did you know a Quaking Aspen, one of the lovliest trees in the fall landcape, can predict the weather? Keen observers note weather changes underway just by listening to trees.  Jim has a better method: he keeps changing channels on the TV until he sees a forecast he likes.  Here are some natural things to look for that may help you predict the weather in your neighborhood.

Dig, Drop and Done

Oct 17, 2012

Jim has a rule when he bites into a really hot pepper sprout in one of Megan's five-alarm hot shot panini sandwiches while lunching out on the job;  'stop, drop, and roll.'  After recovery he then stumbles back to the flower bed to resume planting those spring bulbs.  The rule there is 'dig, drop, and done.'  It's really simple, and guaranteed to bring many springtimes of pleasure.

Love 'em and Leave 'em

Oct 17, 2012

Fall is the time of year you can be a heartbreaker without remorse.  Love 'em, then leave 'em.  Be a landscape Casanova or Cleopatra with a lawn rake and a lawn mower.  Shower those favorite leafy shrubs and trees with your attention and affection from spring through summer and then, when autumn leaves start to fall, mulch them into your lawn.  No tears will be shed and your lawn will love you for it. 

Get the PHD

Oct 17, 2012

And you thought getting a PHD would take years of hanging around the library when all you needed to do was go outside to dig a hole.  For that you DO need a PHD - a Post Hole Digger.  Making that hole productive for a new planting does require a bit of art and a science, but there are no early morning classes or exams to sleep through. So get your PHD and start planting!  Your landscape will be ready to enjoy by spring break.

Needles, Leaves and Lights

Oct 17, 2012

"Lights, Conifers, Action!"  That's what they shouted in Hollywood just before they shot the last scene in 'White Christmas' (well, something like that, surely).  Now you can be the director of your very own holiday special by bringing your home landscape to a dazzle with holiday lighting that repels deer.  Better yet, make it a double feature starting with fall colors that razzle as well as dazzle.

Cutting Edge

Oct 17, 2012

Jim talks about his trip to Washington, D.C. to see the White House Rose Garden and Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden.  Listen to his tale about how he donated his pocket knife to the Secret Service.  Looks like no more mumbly peg for Jim until Santa brings him a new one. 

Angel's Share

Oct 17, 2012

When fruits, vegetables and other vegetation disappear from the landscape, old timers declare that's 'the angel's share.'  Other people blame deer - and they may just be onto something.  Fruits and vegetables will regenerate, but when trees and shrubs are damaged - by mice and other woodland creatures as well as deer - the damage can be permanent.  Jim has some ideas about how you can help protect your landscape from these pesky nibblers. 

Deer Munchies

Oct 17, 2012

Fall is 'bulk up' time for deer.  You think they wreak havoc in spring and summer?  Fall is the peak of chow down time.  But you can do something to pull the plug on the gravy train in your back yard.  Jim has some ideas about how you can turn the herd around and keep them away from your plantings.

Landscapes Alive

Sep 1, 2012

Jim says the best use for landscape fabric may be shower curtains or really unique high fashion ball gowns.  He won't sell it in his shop, and he says you should not use it in your landscape.  Learn why.

Woodsman Pare That Tree

Sep 1, 2012

Why is it that a bird can fly through a tree canopy repeatedly without so much as a ding to a wing but a golf ball will find a limb every time?  No answer here, but Jim has some great tips for pruning your trees to enhance their appearance.  Careful pruning will add elegance to your landscape for years to come.

You Are how you Plant

Sep 1, 2012

Question: which of the following is the most sensible statement?
A) best time to do your landscape chores is on a hot, sunny day at noon.
B) best time to water your plants is on a hot, sunny day at noon.
C) best way to keep your landscape verdant and thriving is to ignore it.
D) best way to keep plants thriving is to place them where the sun and other natural conditions will work to their advantage as they become established.
(correct answer is D, unless you are a mad dog or an Englishman and inclined to take song lyrics by Noël Coward  literally)

Bling Bling Plants

Sep 1, 2012

Bling is all about flash, sparkle, and  impact.  Bling has a place in the garden, too.  Here's Jim's list of 'look-at-ME!-plants.'  Add some visual noise-makers to your landscape.

Dog Days

Sep 1, 2012

The 'Dog Days' of summer.  Not much more to do in the garden, but the weeding goes on.  If your sidewalk or patio cracks are in a weedy pickle, put the gherkin to workin' on the problem.  You will relish the results.

Just Add Water

Sep 1, 2012

Feeling cranky because it's too hot, sticky and uncomfortable to work outside?  Think of it this way: when is the last time you had to shovel sunshine?   To improve your disposition, jump into a cold shower, then go out and water those thirsty plants and trees.  Nothing to it - just add water.

Global Warmups

Sep 1, 2012

What's white and black and red all over? A sunburned polar bear in a black bikini?  Okay, not so funny.  Global warming is no laughing matter.  But for all its negative effects, the extended growing season in this region may not be one.  Jim has some startling news.

Everbrowns

Sep 1, 2012

Have the stars in your landscape turned from evergreen to everbrown?  Here are some ways to determine whether the condition is permanent, and a few suggestions about what to do if it is.

Fall Planting

Sep 1, 2012

It's fall, the time of year we start thinking about closing up the garden shed and moving inside.  Before you put away that shovel, plant a tree.  Fall is the ideal planting season for trees, shrubs and other hardy plants.  Their roots will respond well to the head-start on spring. 

Proper Planting Tips

Sep 1, 2012

Are you developing a chemical dependency as you manage your landscape?  After killing weeds with herbicides, do you try to kill them AGAIN with a second application?  Friend, it is time to enter rehab.  Jim has some tips to help you avoid putting your plantings in harms way in the first place.

Trees are Tribal

Sep 1, 2012

When a breeze blows through the trees is the wind talking - or are the trees chit-chatting? Trees are tribal.  They protect one another from dings and nicks of lawnmowers, and, working together, manage the soil around their roots much more effectively than do man-made lawn chemicals.

Bee Smart or Be Smarting

Sep 1, 2012

Knowledge may be power, but wisdom is the real deal.  Wise weekend warriors read the label - and follow the directions.  In this commentary Jim talks about how we sometimes get in the way of Mother Nature and, that when we need to nudge her a bit, we should do so wisely.

Fruits of Fall

Aug 31, 2012

If you think Weeping Louisa is a character from the board game 'Clue,' think again.  Think ornamental flowering apple tree.  Think pink buds, yellow fruit.  Think how great such a tree would look in your landscape in relief against winter snow.  In this commentary learn how a little planning - and a little tree - can add interest and value to your little piece of heaven through four seasons.

Rachel's Coffee Filter Fixes

Aug 29, 2012

In this commentary, Jim's daughter Rachel describes lots of uses for disposable coffee filters in addition to filtering what she calls her vitamin 'C.'  Rachel will have you asking yourself 'Why didn't I think of that!"  She's a chip off the old block, and serious about taking care of the only planet we have.

Oh Deer

May 25, 2012

Question: Name a woodland creature that will leap a six foot chain link fence in a single bound to get to that luscious-looking vegetable garden on the other side but will not leap a four-foot slat-sided fence through which it cannot see.  If you said 'hippopotamus,' please review your field notes more thoroughly before attempting our next quiz.  If you answered 'deer,' you are correct.  Deer are smart - but you can outsmart them.  Here's how.

Water Those Plants

May 25, 2012

As the summer roles on, landscape and garden soil becomes drier from constant sun at its most intense.  Many plants go dormant, but that does not mean they are dead.  They are very much alive and will appreciate your occasional offer of liquid refreshment.  Water your plants during the cool part of the day to keep them happy.

Light and Shade

May 25, 2012

Which is better, morning sun or afternoon sun?  And where does mid-day sun fit into the growing cycle?  Well... it all depends.  To learn how and why, grab your polarized sunglasses and tune in as Jim sheds light on the many shades of sunlight.

Slugging It Out

May 25, 2012

Slugs.  They creep while you sleep, often wreaking havoc on garden plants along the way.  Fortunately there are ways to fight back.  Maybe a slug mug filled with beer or a solution of ammonia and water that kills slugs on impact while fertilizing your plants at the same time.  Learn how you can slug it out with slugs and snails.

Plastic is Forever

May 25, 2012

Remember that old adage that diamonds are forever?  Well so are styrofoam cups, plastic liners, disposable diapers, even cigarette butts.  Paper and wood products break down in a matter of weeks, returning to the soil from which they came.  Plastics are a different matter.  Here's a sobering commentary on the importance of staying natural.

Garden Gloves

May 25, 2012

That ugly green sheen on your favorite weekend boat shoes... 'grass' stain from walking behind the mower, right?  Not so.  Grass does not stain.  Weeds do.  Here are handy tips for getting gardening stain off your hands.  And, when weeding, be SURE to wear gardening gloves. You never know when you might find yourself pulling pigweed, poison ivy or other noxious plants.

Read The Label

May 25, 2012

Take Control!  Rage against the Machine!  Power to the Peonies! The 'Machine' we refer to is, of course, the lawnmower.  Ever feel like it's holding you down, keeping you from reaching your full potential on, say, the golf course or the trout stream? Here are tips for cutting down on the cutting down and, in the process, bringing a more verdant and sustainable approach to maintaining your landscape.

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