Thursday, August 31, 2006

Worms Really Do Eat Garbage!

About 2 months ago, our office bought a worm bin, complete with worms and Mary Appelhof's book Worms Eat My Garbage. I've always liked worms -- you can ask my sister, who didn't share my enjoyment as a kid -- but never thought about cultivating them on a small scale.

Our worm bin sits outside our office and quietly, organic materials are digested. In 2 months time, I have deposited about 13 pounds of scraps. I've probably kept the worms on the lean side since I probably could have put twice that amount in the bin in those 2 months.

I compost at home, but those cold trips to the compost pile in January and February could be history if worms were in the basement. I could throw in all the dead crickets too.

Having this worm bin has really opened my eyes on how much work a small amount of worms can do. Just something to think about. Happy Labor Day everyone!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Know Your Plants!!!

I shouldn't, but I do get a little aggravated when someone has a problem with a plant and I ask what I think is a pretty simple, straight-forward question -- what's the name of the plant?

I think that if you care about the plants in your realm, you should have the wherewithall to find out what you have, what its requirements are, and then proceed to give it the care it needs. Of course, if you don't care, then just skip to the next post.

I had a visitor drop by the other day and ask 'Why isn't my lilac blooming?'. I ran down the list of the reasons why I thought. He said 'Just go out and take a look at it'. So I did.

He didn't have a lilac on site.

Not to ramble on, but I do think that knowing a scientific name every once in a while is not plant snobbery. It just shows you've taken the time to find out and that you care. If I hear 'Hy-geranium' one more time, I think I'll have to go prune something.....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trees and Construction don't mix

More often than not, I am amazed by people -- around this area we have many people buying lake lots and proceed to build a new home. They intend to nestle this home among the large, old, mature trees and enjoy their new 'country life'.

A few years later, the trees die and they wonder if some disease or insect has killed them. Well, the disease is called bulldozer and backhoe disease (my term, not UK's). What amazes me about people is they don't realize that half the tree is under the soil. And this half is equally as important as the part they see above-ground. It may even be 'more equal' to quote another.

Plant roots need oxygen in order to survive. When a dozer makes hundreds of passes over a tree's root zone (which does not stop at the drip line), the soil is irreparably changed for the worse -- compacted, compacted, compacted. With no pore space for oxygen, the roots will die. When the roots die, the top starts dying back. The tree will eventually die.

If you claim to care about trees, think about the whole tree, not just the part that you can see.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


It doesn't matter how long you work in a certain field, there are always things to learn. I'm showing my ignorance, but today I had my first experience with Mimosa Wilt. This is a soil-borne disease which only affects mimosa trees.

Leaves will begin to yellow, wilt, and then drop off the tree. On the one I saw today, sap was oozing out of the tree where it made 2 foamy puddles at the base of the trunk. There was a definite fermenting odor, not pleasant-- and June bugs, yellow jackets, and flies were eating up the exuding sap.

When I got the call, my first reaction was 'someone actually wants one of these invasive plants to live?'. Most of the calls I get concerning mimosa are 'How do I kill it?'. I wasn't prepared. But come to find out, this disease is very common.

Maybe I've never gotten a call about this since anyone with an ailing mimosa tree wanted it to die anyway.