Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What to do with a Dead Tree?

Trees in urban areas suffer from hard surfaces blocking roots and water, abuse from passersby, bumps from cars, and pollution. When they finally die there is no chance they can fade back into the ecosystem. Most of the time they get the chainsaw and chipper treatment, but sometimes they just get left.

Maybe it is because of cost, maybe it is the lost hope of the tree recovering, and maybe it a plan to give the tree one last bit of glory.

I can't say this ivy treatment works for me, but for others it might. What do you think?


Friday, August 16, 2013

Vote Local!

I get stares for wearing election day stickers,
but any little nudge to get people working for
their communities is well worth it.

The most ignored part of gardening is voting in your local election. So often I hear about some poor soul being halled away in chains because her (it always seems to be female) zucchini plants offended the neighbors. But I rarely hear about those who support gardening taking things into their own hands by taking it to the ballet box.

While many of us are tired of the national, and even state, political messes. Local politics, however, can be refreshing. I have never had a city politician who was too busy to make time for me. I have never had one who could hide his flaws well enough that concerned folks couldn't run a successful campane against him.

The real truth of it is we forget how local politics can improve our real, everyday lives. Go ahead, talk to the candidates and tell them what is important to you.

Then, go vote in November!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mowing Your Lawn for Drought

A lawn repair at Lehi city hall. Repairing turf is very water
costly and should be avoided durring water restrictions
and hot periods.

With the ongoing drought in Utah I thought a little advice on preventing mowing from damaging Kentucky bluegrass is in order.

Most folks understand that drought causes stress on turf grass and many other plants. What they don't realize is that their weekly ritual of mowing and trimming can be just as damaging to their lawns. When these stresses hit a lawn it needs more water to help it recover from the damage.

So what to do to reduce lawn stress and damage? Try these tips:
  • Set the mower height to 3" or more. This gives your grass more sun energy to heal and to send roots down deep to find deep water.
  • Drought stressed bluegrass will grow more slowly, so it does not need to be mowed as frequently. As long as you take off one third or less of the grass leaf when mowing, it won't hurt to mow every two weeks. Mowing even less frequently may be possible.
  • Keep your blade sharp. A dull blade shreds the grass and requires more water for the grass to recover. If the blade is checked every time the mower is used it never becomes a problem.
  • Get a mulch mower and use the mulching feature. The small grass clippings will break down and add carbon to the soil. The carbon will help slow down evaporation so water can go to the lawn instead. Mulch mowing does not create a thatch problem, it actually helps solve it.
If this list looks familier, it should. These are the same recommendations that everyone should be familier with for creating a healthy strong lawn in normal years.

It is also never too late to look at reducing or eliminating turf!