A Greener View from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:25:38 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss A Greener View from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/a-greener-view-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg abdc4d917ce6b290ce800f12578fbe02 A Deeper Look at Daylilies for 07/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/07/19/a-deeper-look-at-daylilies Wed, 17 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The botanical name for daylilies is Hemerocallis. It comes from two Greek words: Hemera is day, and kallos is beauty. The beauty of a daylily flower does last only one day. Thankfully, a mature plant may have over a hundred flowers. Daylilies come in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes.</p> <p>The smallest daylilies are under a foot tall, and the largest can be nearly 5 feet tall. A miniature daylily has flowers smaller than 3 inches across, but the plant may be any height. Large daylilies have flowers bigger than four-and-a-quarter inches across and can be carried on plants of any height.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 17, 2019</p> 60bd73aae0f6e0d62da4533d89c10b4c Types of Plant Problems for 07/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/07/19/types-of-plant-problems Wed, 10 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Are you a plant-watcher? It may sound boring, but it can be interesting &#8212; especially when something begins to harm your plants. <span class="column--highlighted-text">If you pay attention to how your plants are growing on a regular basis, you will notice plant problems as they begin to develop.</span> You will also have a better idea of how the plant is supposed to look when it is healthy and doesn't have any problems.</p> <p>Insects come in three major plant-damaging groups based on the way they eat. There are the chewers, the suckers and the borers.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 10, 2019</p> 4041e5079b351390da41f327c90ed43b Problematic Pollarding for 07/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/07/19/problematic-pollarding Wed, 03 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I've got two trees in my yard that were pruned years ago &#8212; before I bought &#8212; by someone who had no idea what they were doing. The result is large branches that look like "clubs." All new growth comes from the end of the clubs. Imagine your forearm as the branch and your fist as the end, with a branch or two growing in every direction. What is the remedy?</p> <p>A: There are two types of pruning that can produce what you have described. Neither is particularly good for the tree's health, and both are expensive to maintain. Let's take the worst case first.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 03, 2019</p> 2487e2ae1c4960b9de79c09063960b75 Ant Invasion for 06/26/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/06/19/ant-invasion Wed, 26 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Our landscape has been invaded by ants. Actually, the ants aren't out in the landscape but instead are in all the flowerpots on the patio, in between the patio bricks, in the shed, on the tree trunk next to the patio and, unfortunately, coming in the kitchen. We don't see any out in the garden or lawn. Bait traps seem to be starting to work, but it is hard to tell. Why are they suddenly taking over the patio but not the yard?</p> <p>Most of the potting soil in the flowerpots is the same brand as always, and most of the flowers are ones we have planted in the past. Some of the ants are big, and some are small. Are they different kinds, or will the small ones grow up to be bigger ones?<p>Updated: Wed Jun 26, 2019</p> 6e4d04fb756255b42ffc4e920dd63a03 Flood Mosquitoes for 06/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/06/19/flood-mosquitoes Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Many areas have continued to experience heavy rains recently, and a number of places are still flooded from previous storms. This will lead to the next natural phenomenon: mosquitoes. Of course, mosquitoes occur every summer, but there are some things you can do about them.</p> <p>There are about 200 species of mosquitoes in North America. The biggest problem is not that they are annoying, but they can transmit many deadly, viral diseases and parasites to people, pets and livestock. Great strides have been made to reduce some diseases such as malaria. Other ones like the West Nile virus have moved from Africa to the United States. Mosquitoes also transmit several varieties of encephalitis and the nematode that causes heartworms in dogs.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 19, 2019</p> 37277a1e7cc25fbe33af000ddcf3ae1e Koi Pond Fish Kill for 06/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/06/19/koi-pond-fish-kill Wed, 12 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I was gone for most of Memorial Day. When I got home, something strange was happening in my pond. Many of the goldfish and some of the koi were behaving abnormally. They were lethargic, and some were staying directly under the waterfalls in an apparent attempt to get more oxygen. Before the next morning, a 21-inch-long koi, a foot-long koi and seven large goldfish were dead.</p> <p>I had to be part historian, part detective and part coroner to try to figure out what happened. The historian in me determined that there were no sick fish or signs of trouble before Memorial Day. However, a severe thunderstorm did move through during the afternoon, with rain, high winds and marble-sized hail. A lot of shoreline plants and nearby landscape plants were damaged. Lots of leaves and parts of plants were floating in the pond.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 12, 2019</p> 58fa16465a421eec95dbbe613aa31f56 Plums, Slugs and Tulips for 06/05/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/06/19/plums-slugs-and-tulips Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have a plum tree with little holes in the leaves. This happened last summer and again this spring. Can you tell me again what the cause could be and how to treat it? </p> <p>A: Plums, apricots and peaches all get a bacterial disease called "bacterial leaf spot." <span class="column--highlighted-text">It is also commonly called "shot hole disease," because it looks like someone stood back and shot the leaves with a shotgun.</span><p>Updated: Wed Jun 05, 2019</p> df049115993150858b36bd273dd9834f Pruning Details for 05/29/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/05/19/pruning-details Wed, 29 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: In last week's article, you commented that one of the factors of plant deaths over the winter is the timing of fall pruning. I thought we were supposed to prune our trees and shrubs in the fall: Can you go into more detail on when we are to prune trees and shrubs?</p> <p>A: Since we are still in spring, let's start there. We prefer to prune spring-blooming trees and shrubs in the first few weeks to two months after they bloom. We can prune them while they are blooming, and in some cases, a few branches can be pruned early to allow the flowers to open up indoors in a vase.<p>Updated: Wed May 29, 2019</p> f972cc0ec859503ed758cfd94e4f96be Winter Damage for 05/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/05/19/winter-damage Wed, 22 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Apparently the polar vortex last winter killed several of my trees and shrubs. I had carefully selected the plants based on the hardiness zone maps in plant catalogs and on plant tags. I know it was cold, but shouldn't the plants have done better? Some of the trees were planted five to 10 years ago, but some of the shrubs were planted last summer and fall.</p> <p>A: There are a lot of factors to look at when trying to determine why plants die over the winter. These include the coldest temperature; the change in temperatures over a short time; the genetics of the plant; the growth phase of the plant; wind; microclimate in the landscape; soil moisture; soil depth; plant cell anti-freeze; timing of fall pruning; and more.<p>Updated: Wed May 22, 2019</p> 2aa76487073352f0cb6dd53f2fe4162d Buying Fruit Trees for 05/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/05/19/buying-fruit-trees Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I need to replace a pear tree. The first one was planted in the fall; last spring, it didn't bloom, which is normal for a newly planted pear. However, what wasn't normal was that the tree started dying from the top down. It was exhibiting the symptoms of fire blight, which, as you know, is a quick-acting and deadly disease in pears. Fire blight is often spread by bees to the flowers on the trees, but this one had not bloomed. I don't know how it got fire blight, but I need a new pear that is resistant.</p> <p>I already have a Summercrisp pear from the University of Minnesota that is self-fertile and resistant to fire blight, but it will bear more fruit if another kind of pear is nearby. I have read about so many pear varieties that I am lost on which one I should choose. Do you have a preference for what kind of pear I should try?<p>Updated: Wed May 15, 2019</p> bc15884d36bc1773491d463e80aceebd Pesticide Breakdown for 05/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/05/19/pesticide-breakdown Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I have several apple and pear trees that I have treated with the fungicide Captan for several years to try to prevent fungal disease problems. It doesn't seem to work. Last year, I specifically didn't treat some branches of the trees to see if I could tell the difference. There was no difference. What can I do to protect my fruit trees?</p> <p>A: Captan is a fungicide that is used commercially on many fruit crops, and it is used in landscaping for flowering plants, such as azaleas and roses. It is also used on lawns to treat fungal diseases. It is probably the most common fungicide used in the landscape and found in many products. But it has a dark secret that I have not seen mentioned on the product labels: It becomes ineffective if the pH of the water is too high. Many companies have their product labels on the internet; I checked a bunch of them, but I didn't find any reference to the need to check the pH of the water used in mixing the product.<p>Updated: Wed May 08, 2019</p> ac552f415cb5192fd3364bb2959e958b The Pine Cone Zone for 05/01/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/04/19/the-pine-cone-zone Wed, 01 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I would like some suggestions for what to do with all the pine cones that fall in my yard from the pine trees (other than just burning them, which so far, I have never done). I don't want them to make more trees. Have you got any suggestions? These are not the really attractive cones that can be used decoratively. They are just ordinary, tight cones.</p> <p>A: Pine cone is the generic term for the female seed-bearing structure of many evergreen conifer plants, such as spruce, hemlock, redwood and others. The male structure is often called the male or pollen cone, but it isn't a cone. The male structure dries up and falls off the tree within a few weeks of releasing pollen.<p>Updated: Wed May 01, 2019</p> 3cb84f775865518feb7b61003679b173 Sweet as Honey for 04/24/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/04/19/sweet-as-honey Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I am sure you have heard the saying "stop and smell the roses." Well, let's say that we traveled 55,000 miles and stopped at over two million flowers. What would we get? Tired from bending over, for one thing, but if we were honeybees, we could have made some honey. It takes that many flowers and that much work to make only one pound of honey! I doubt Winnie-the-Pooh has any idea how much work it takes to create what Aristotle called "the nectar of the gods." When a land is described as "flowing with milk and honey," it is not only a bountiful place but also a beautiful one. </p> <p>An individual worker bee can visit as many as 5,000 flowers in a day. <span class="column--highlighted-text">In its entire lifetime, a single honeybee will only be able to produce roughly one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.</span> Not only does the hive produce enough honey for itself to survive the winter, but it produces extra honey that the beekeeper can harvest. An amazing 50 pounds or so of surplus honey each year! Now that's a lot of frequent flyer miles.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 24, 2019</p> 970f5a2652ce4c73de2af755ecf5531d Too Much Pollen for 04/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/04/19/too-much-pollen Wed, 17 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: On the news, I have seen amazing pictures of the clouds of pine tree pollen in North Carolina. Why is there so much this spring? Is there something wrong with the trees? Why are the trees producing so much pollen?</p> <p>A: There is nothing wrong with the trees. There are many cycles of growth in nature, and sometimes they overlap. Seven years ago, I was in North Carolina in mid-February, and the cars were covered in pollen. From what I have read, this year's pollen clouds are only as bad as the ones six years ago, so it is a common occurrence that we just don't remember or hear about very often.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 17, 2019</p> a70d30f49ee7e796c6abe0e2e3df9a39 Layering Techniques for 04/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/04/19/layering-techniques Wed, 10 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: We don't have a lot of money for landscaping, but we want to propagate several shrubs in our yard. We want the plants to be the same kind and have the same color leaves and flowers. We figured that collecting and using seeds would potentially give us different colors. We don't have a greenhouse or any way to grow cuttings. What would be an easy way to get more plants?</p> <p>A: I think you can get the plants you want with a propagation technique called layering. It is easy to do, and the new plants are clones of the existing plants so everything will be identical. The new plants are actually created from the branches of the old plants.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 10, 2019</p> 6395e5f6362812ebed2e84afb345a40d Clover and Weed Control for 04/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/04/19/clover-and-weed-control Wed, 03 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: There is an outbreak of clover on my lawn and in my flower beds. It has been spreading for several years. I tried a pre-emergent weed killer, and it didn't help. What do you recommend to prevent it from taking over the whole lawn?</p> <p>A: There was a time when the pre-emergent weed killer may have helped, but that time is long past. Clover is a perennial plant, and it won't be affected by the pre-emergent once it has started growing.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 03, 2019</p> d504c28bbca4cd90d1cf163f8d368fbf Mulching Your Garden for 03/27/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/03/19/mulching-your-garden Wed, 27 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: Our flowerbeds need mulch. We have seen mulch that is colored red or black. The black mulch looks nice, but we are concerned that the coloring may not be safe for our dogs, and for any vegetables we plant.</p> <p>A: The dyes used to color wood mulch are primarily carbon-based and iron oxide-based. Iron oxide (rust) is the most commonly used dye. It is simply a compound of iron and oxygen. The rust decomposes, and iron is released into the soil, but it is not considered to be toxic. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 27, 2019</p> ab516914b6a2333c8c5972ca2e58f135 Spring Gardening for 03/20/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/03/19/spring-gardening Wed, 20 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Believe it or not, spring is coming. It has started in the south and is moving north. Spring is an exciting time to be a gardener, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Sometimes the whole yard and all its many nooks and crannies can seem overwhelming.</p> <p>It does not matter if your yard is new or old. Planning is one of the most important steps. The camera on your phone can help. Take "before" pictures of different spots throughout the property. You can track the improvements and feel good about your progress.</p> <p>When you are out shopping, find plants on sale that will fit an area. Expert advice from the stores will be much improved if you have photos, measurements and notes handy. Do the landscaping with a plan, but do not be afraid to change what does not look right to you. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 20, 2019</p> a36b6d1732e3576090e0e739bd620931 Creating a Habitat for 03/13/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/03/19/creating-a-habitat Wed, 13 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I am often asked how a landscape can be changed or added to so that it will attract more wildlife. Usually, this means birds and butterflies and not pesky mammals.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Birds and other wildlife live in areas that give them the proper food, water and shelter. </span>We call these areas habitats. Ducks live in lake habitats. Squirrels live in forested habitats. Bison live in prairie habitats, and so on. When different habitats come together, they create a hybrid habitat called an edge habitat. Edges have some animals and plants from each of the contributing habitats and some that live only in that edge habitat. Edges with large areas of pure habitats on either side have the largest number of species.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 13, 2019</p> 060ba368aa0c89036bcd60d2eaf0821d Robin Migration for 03/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jeff-rugg/03/19/robin-migration Wed, 06 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Have you seen your first robin yet? How about your first grackle or red-winged blackbird? Spring is slowly arriving, as seen in the slow accumulation of signs for the nature observer. These early-arriving migratory birds will soon be followed by many other neotropical migrants.</p> <p>Some robins stayed in the northern states all winter, but most of them have been moving up from south of the border for the past several weeks. Some birds slowly migrate north across the continent, taking a couple of months from when the first ones arrive until the last ones move in. Some species migrate quickly and cover the thousands of miles in just a few weeks. Usually, the males migrate first to establish territories, and the females come up last when the territorial battles are over. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 08, 2019</p>