Tag Archives: water

Garden Myths & Facts Article By Horticultural Professionals

Two horticultural professionals took some of the most popular garden myths into the university laboratory to prove or disprove the accuracy of these myths. Dr. Linda Chalked-Scott from Washington State University and Dr. Jeff Gilliam from the University of Minnesota tested these myths under controlled conditions to determine if they really work.

The Myth
For years we’ve been told that if we water plants on a hot sunny day the sun reflecting through the water droplets will burn the foliage.

The Facts

We are constantly being warned in books, magazines, and various websites that if we water on a sunny day we will burn the leaves. The premise behind this is the water drops that accumulate on the leaf surfaces act as tiny magnifying glasses, focusing the sun’s energy into intense beams that burn leaves. We’re told that since water conducts heat, wet leaf surfaces are more likely to burn than dry ones. This is one of those myths that refuse to die. Although most of the university web sites dispel this myth, hundreds of other web sites keep the misinformation alive.

If your plants are showing signs of water stress in the middle of the day, by all means you should water them!

Delaying irrigation until the evening (not a good time to water anyway, as this can encourage fungal diseases or the following morning could damage your plants and open them up to diseases.

There are many causes of leaf scorch, but irrigation with fresh water is certainly not one of them.

So remember:

Wet foliage is not susceptible to sunburn

Analyze site conditions to ensure optimal root and shoot health and prevent drought problems

Any time plants exhibit drought stress symptoms is the time to water them

Ideal watering time is in the early morning; watering during the day increases evaporative losses, and evening watering regimes can encourage establishment of some fungal diseases

Do not overuse fertilizers and pesticides, especially those containing sodium or other salts

If using recycled or gray water, consider running the water through a filtering system before applying it to plants.

The Myth

Using nursery tags is an accurate method to determine a plant’s final size.

The Facts

Fall is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. Selection can be a tricky practice, especially when site conditions limit size of plantings. Small landscapes require small-scale plantings.

At the nursery, one can be overwhelmed by the variety of deciduous trees and conifers, and even within a species there may be several cultivars from which to choose.

Without any prior knowledge of these plants, gardeners resort to nursery tags to determine mature heights and widths. Armed with this information, one can select those trees and shrubs whose size is appropriate to the site. But does this approach really work?

Many factors determine the mature size of any tree or shrub. The most obvious on plant size is genetic makeup – you only have to look at cultivar names like ‘Midget’ or ‘Giant Candles’ to understand this component.

Geographic location also plays a role in determining height. For instance, trees tend to grow taller in areas where temperatures are more moderate; trees in coastal areas are generally larger than these same species in more interior regions. Within a geographic area, local climate will further influence final size: rainfall and temperature can vary widely within a region. The microclimate of a site will influence tree size due to differences in environmental factors such as drainage, and soil type.

Competition for water, light, and nutrients, will affect not only growth rate but final height as well.

1.  Nursery tags most likely contain species information relevant to that nursery’s geographic location
2.  Genetics, geography, climate, and plant competition will all influence the maximum height any specimen will obtain
3.  To determine the most likely height range for a tree in your landscape, observe how that species performs elsewhere in your area
4.  If no local landscape specimens exist for a particular plant, look to the internet for plant performance information from similar climates elsewhere in the world.

The Myth

Landscape fabric provides permanent weed control for landscapes

The Facts

Concern over the use of herbicides has caused landscape professionals and gardeners to look closely at non-chemical methods of weed control. Mulches are increasing in popularity as weed control measures and have a number of additional benefits, including water retention and soil protection. Mulches may be organic, inorganic, or synthetic. Synthetic mulches, including geotextiles, are of interest to many consumers and professionals because they are perceived as nonbiodegradable, permanent solutions to weed control.

Developed for agricultural use, geotextiles have found their way into ornamental gardens as landscape fabrics. These fabrics, a vast improvement over the impermeable black plastics still (unfortunately) used for weed control, are woven in such a way that water and gas exchange can occur but light penetration is significantly reduced. Hence, they are effective in reducing weed seed germination in areas where soil disturbance would otherwise induce germination of weeds. Such fabrics have been so effective in reducing weeds in vegetable and ornamental crop production that they have been applied to more permanent landscape installations.

Like the dieter searching for a permanent weight loss pill, so we as gardeners continue to seek permanent weed control solutions. Unfortunately, there is no such permanent fix.

We must remain ever vigilant in our battle with weeds and cannot rely on a product to do this. The fact is that weed control fabrics are not permanent and will decompose, especially when exposed to sunlight.

For permanent landscapes, they are not a long term solution and in fact can hinder landscape plant health.

Some of these facts are listed below.

Any organic matter or soil on top of the fabrics will hasten their colonization by weeds; this precludes covering the fabric with anything but inoert mulch like pebbles. It also requires continual maintenance to keep the fabric free of debris. Weeds will eventually grow on top of and through these fabrics, making their removal difficult.
Geotextiles degrade in the landscape in as little as one year if unprotected from sunlight.
The aesthetic quality of landscape fabrics is minimal; it becomes worse as the materials begin to degrade.
Personally I had a situation where field bindweed grew some 25 feet under landscape fabric before emerging at the edge of the bed, seeking sunlight.

In closing, I expect some of you might disagree with some of these findings. However remember that this research was done in reputable university labs under controlled conditions. Each of us will draw our own conclusions.

Article Taken From Dave’s Garden Website
By Paul Rodman
October 29, 2012

To Purchase Your Native Wildflowers & Prairie Plants Visit Our Website at Ion Exchange, Inc.

Email:  hbright@acegroup.cc

Phone:  800-291-2143

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Fire & Water Article

I have thought about natural events such as fire and water.  I believe that these two elements are written into the genetic code of humans.  Just think about the mesmerizing effect that these two natural elements have on us.  There is something deep inside of us that attracts us to fire and water.  Think about sitting around a campfire or staring into the fire burning in your fireplace.  Isn’t it hypnotic?  The same is true about water.  Whether it is the violent action of waves pounding the beach or a calm smooth lake in the morning fog, our minds seem to go into a meditative state.  Why is this?  I think that it has to do with survival of our species.  We were driven to set fires to perpetuate the native environment therefore we are a part of nature.  Water certainly is number one for human survival.

I think our basic instincts regarding fire and water have been masked and suppressed by our modern culture and it fades out our awareness.

Howard Bright http://ionxchange.com/

Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture Article

Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture

Help UCS Set the Record Straight by Sharing Our New Ad Campaign

Monsanto’s advertisements tell an impressive tale of the agribusiness giant’s achievements: Feeding a growing population. Protecting natural resources. Promoting biodiversity.

It sounds wonderful, but unfortunately, there’s a catch: These claims are often exaggerated, misleading or downright false. Monsanto’s products—and the practices they promote—may sustain the company’s profits, but the evidence shows that they stand in the way of truly sustainable solutions to our food and farming challenges.

In the ads below, we counter Monsanto’s feel-good rhetoric with some facts gleaned from UCS analysis. Share them with friends, and spread the word: when it comes to healthy farming, Monsanto fails!

(Click on the images to see full-size versions.)

#1: More Herbicide + Fewer Butterflies = Better Seeds?

Monsanto Says: “In the hands of farmers, better seeds can help meet the needs of our rapidly growing population, while protecting the earth’s natural resources.”

In Fact: Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, genetically engineered to tolerate the company’s Roundup herbicide,increased herbicide use by an estimated 383 million pounds between 1996 and 2008. And Monarch butterflies have laid 81 percent fewer eggs thanks to habitat loss since Roundup Ready was introduced.

#2: A Bumper Crop of Superweeds

Monsanto Says: “Our rapidly growing population is putting limited resources–such as land, water, and energy–under increased pressure.”

In Fact: The challenge is real, but Monsanto’s products aren’t the answer. UCS analysis shows that GE crops have so far done little to improve yields in the U.S. Meanwhile—speaking of rapidly growing populations—overuse of Roundup Ready crops has spawned an epidemic of “superweeds,” causing huge problems for U.S. farmers.

#3: All Wet on Drought Tolerance

Monsanto Says: “With the right tools, farmers can conserve more for future generations.”

In Fact: If farmers want to conserve more water, Monsanto’s DroughtGard corn isn’t the right tool. A recent UCS study found that DroughtGard won’t help farmers reduce water use—and its engineered drought tolerance will likely only be useful in moderate drought conditions. (Research has shown that organic farming methods could improve drought-year yields by up to 96%.)

Article Taken From Union Of Concerned Scientists Website

http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/impacts_genetic_engineering/monsanto-fails-at-improving.html

http://ionxchange.com/

Celebrate the Dreamer in You.

Floating Islands for sale

Floating Islands

Floating Islands are relatively new to the market and we would love to get the word out about them. They are a natural habitat for wildlife and clean the water at the same time, the Floating Islands work great on retention ponds, rivers and other waterways.  A comment from one of our customers. Thanks, Ion Exchange Inc.

Good Morning Howard and Donna.
It sounds like you had a wonderful vacation to East Tennessee.
Probably wasn’t easy getting away during this busy time of
year, true?

I had never heard of the floating islands so I checked on
the website below. What a unique idea!

(our site – Bio Floating Islands)

Agree about making this world a better place and ‘dreaming’.

Most of us gardeners feel blessed to have this ‘passion’ for growing beautiful flowers. I can’t imagine life without all these gardening projects. Sometimes I stand and stare at a flower bed and think of what I want to add or change: a hidden garden area for our granddaughters to play; a moonlit white flowers garden with just a splash of red; a trellis covered with blue morning glories; what to do with an old wooden gate from the family farm, perhaps an old chair beside it with purple asters, yellow gloriosa daisies and orange mums. (Gotta think ahead to the fall garden ‘now’.)

I had told you a while back that I write monthly articles for our
local newspaper and this was my first paragraph:

To have lived a good life: “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” From the book: “Miss Rumphius” (The Lupine Lady who planted 5 bushels of lupine across the countryside!)

From Janie T.

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The Joy of Letting Native Plants Take Over Your Yard.

 by: desmoinesdem Sun May 24, 2009 at 00:48:56 AM CDT Richard Doak wrote a great piece in last Sunday’s Des Moines Register urging readers to “plant the seeds of a more eco-thoughtful Iowa.” Seeding native plants along roadsides has helped the state Department of Transportation save money and labor while user fewer chemicals. Highway officials cite a long list of other benefits, such as controlling blowing snow, improving air quality, reducing erosion, filtering pollutants and providing wildlife habitat. They’re even said to improve safety by reducing the effects of highway hypnosis, delineating upcoming curves and screening headlight glare. Doak wants to see much more native landscaping in Iowa: To set the example, let’s have every school, every courthouse, every park, every hospital, every library set aside at least a patch of space for wild indigo, prairie sage, golden Alexanders, blackeyed Susan, pale-purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, prairie larkspur, shooting star, compass plant, partridge pea, spiderwort, ironweed, blazing star, smooth blue aster or any of hundreds of other flowering plants that were native to the tallgrass prairie. […] It’s estimated that up to one-third of residential water use goes to lawn watering, and lawn mowing uses 800 million gallons of gasoline per year, including 17 million gallons spilled while refueling. Some 5 percent of air pollution is attributed to lawn mowers. Native plants require no fertilizer or herbicide, no watering and only enough mowing to mimic the effects of the occasional wildfires that kept the prairie clean of trees. Interest in reducing pollution and conserving water and energy should be reason enough to switch to native landscaping. About ten years ago, our family stopped trying to grow a grassy lawn in our shady yard. After the jump I’ve listed some of the benefits of going native. desmoinesdem :: The joy of letting native plants take over your yard We have a beautiful yard. While some people might not appreciate the collective of native Iowa plants (weeds) in our yard, we would never trade it for a monotonous expanse of grass. A decade into our experiment, we have more than 15 types of wildflowers on our property. The landscape changes throughout the spring, summer and fall. Our kids enjoy exploring the yard and get excited whenever a new type of plant starts blooming or getting tall. They love seeing butterflies or other pollinators on the plants too. We save time. As Doak writes, our yard requires almost no maintenance. It needs mowing about three times a year. We save water. We have never watered our lawn since deciding to go native. The plants in our yard tolerated a long dry spell a couple of summers ago very well compared to the grassy lawns in the neighborhood. We save money. We don’t buy grass seed, fertilizer or herbicides, and our water bills are lower than if we were trying to maintain a grassy lawn. We don’t use chemicals. The only time I can remember using herbicides in the last decade was when we had a small patch of poison ivy sprayed near our front sidewalk. We can let our dog and kids run around the yard without worrying about the chemicals they will track in the house afterwards. I’ve never understood why so many Americans spray their lawns and then encourage children to go outside to play there. Kids put their hands in their mouths frequently. Ditching our grassy yard was easy. We are fortunate to live near woods, so we didn’t incur any “start-up costs.” We just stopped trying to grow a grassy lawn and let nature take over from there. Gradually plants from the woods covered almost the whole yard. Most homeowners would have to spend some money for native landscaping, but reduced maintenance in subsequent years should compensate for the initial cost. For Iowans who want native plants on their property, Doak passes along this advice from Loren Lown, natural-resources specialist with the Polk County Conservation Board. -Talk with people who have prairie plantings. They can steer you to sources of seed and expertise. Attend workshops. – Choose plants adapted for your site. There are 1,500 native species of vascular plants in Iowa, but not all will thrive in all locations. You’ll need different species for a sunny hillside than for a soggy low spot. Species for a rain garden would differ from species for a butterfly garden. – Use native plants for accent or a centerpiece, but not for the entire yard. Keep mowing the turf around the prairie plantings to establish a border for them and to make it clear the native patch was deliberately planned, not just lawn gone wild. – Be patient. Most native plants are deep-rooted perennials. They will spend a couple of years establishing roots before they blossom. After that, said Lown, people will have a planting that requires no spraying, no watering and no maintenance except cutting once a year -“and it will live longer than you will.” My advice is to make that native patch as big as possible. Once you get used to the variety of shapes and colors outside your window, you won’t miss your Kentucky bluegrass at all.