The Dog: Not Always a Tree’s Best Friend June 16, 2010
There is a dog in our neighborhood. He is an old golden retriever who is never on a leash. When other dogs pass by, he lets out weak barks - more like huffs, actually.
Johnny Utah is his name. He's a sweet dog with a bit of a sad, wise face that usually wears a red bandana. In fact, he reminds me of a friend of his name sake - the character Keanu Reeves plays in 1991's hit "Point Break." Like Patrick Swayze's Bodhi, he's like an old surfer dog.
But unlike Bodhi and his gang, he is never suspected of mischief. Yet I know he causes death and destruction in front yards up and down the street. I have seen him commit countless murders … and I suspect his involvement in others even though I haven't been an eye witness. Mark my words: Soft, fluffy, golden-haired Johnny Utah is a killer.Read More
Rain, Rain, Go This Way June 1, 2010
It's been raining a lot this week. And my kids have been singing, "Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day."
But sitting here I realize that rain is the ultimate sensory experience - a melodic drip-drop-drip-drop. I listen to the trickle of the rain as I read a story on the Web about how emergency water restrictions can become permanent in San Diego.
Water - in some places in North America there is too little and in others there is too much. And when there's too much in the wrong spot, water can collect and sit stagnant as a mosquito breeding ground or runoff into places where you'd least like it … like the basement.Read More
Holes May 27, 2010
I was folding my lace tablecloth that I air-dried outside after washing out a stain as a result of coffee spilled during a weekend get together. And as I was bringing two ends of the fabric neatly together, the sun shone through my back patio doors and beamed through the holes in the lace.
If you've ever seen these neat pinpoints of light come through the intricate shaped holes in this delicate fabric, then you have an idea what viburnum leaf beetle damage looks like on the shrub's velvety emerald leaves. The reason it's on my mind lately is because the pest is particularly bad this year, according to Greg Mazur, one of our many arboricultural gurus (or officially, technical service advisors) at The Davey Institute.
The term used to describe this damage done by the beetle larvae in spring is skeletonized. Then irregular holes are chewed into the leaves by the beetle adults in summer. Unfortunately, branch dieback follows the rapid defoliation. In one to three years, viburnums are toast.Read More
A Matter of Life & Death May 24, 2010
The first time I really noticed, it was a week before Mother's Day.
Every year we invite the moms over for a brunch of crepes, fruit salad and mimosas. We were hoping for decent weather to enjoy the festivities out on the patio, so we were cleaning up the yard in preparation. We snagged those early weeds that sprouted, spread some new mulch in our flower beds and prepped our vegetable garden, including planting green beans, spinach and sugar snap pea seeds with the kids.
By then, most of our trees had stretched and opened their leaves. In the front, the red maples and the oaks were full of green leaves, and the weeping cherries and crabapples were in bloom with white and pink flowers. The 'Cleveland' pears that line the street were also showing their tiny white blossoms.Read More