summer newsletter 2013

2013 Summer Newsletter

Aaaahhh Summer...

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new, created in all the freshness of childhood.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Day in the Life of a Ladybug

ladybug IPM

Want a toxin-free garden for your family and pets? Start using biological controls like Ladybugs.

Ladybugs can consume up to 50 - 60 aphids per day. A single ladybug may consume as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. They can also eat a variety of other insects and larvae including scales, mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, mites, and various types of soft-bodied insects.

Release lady bugs just before dusk. Make sure the plants have water on their foliage as the ladybugs will be thirsty when they are released from their containers. It’s a good idea to make multiple small releases rather than one large release.

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Dirt, Soil, What's the Difference?

organic soil

While many of us may think the terms are interchangeable, dirt and soil are in fact very different.

Dirt is dead. Compaction has destroyed the soil aggregation, and encourages run-off as well as erosion. There is no natural layer of mulch, which further promotes run off and does not allow for nutrient cycling. The shallow anaerobic dirt means plants have shallow roots. There are very few microorganisms or organic material (humus) in the soil, which means there is no soil generation and very low water holding capacity. Plants in this environment are stressed; disease and pests thrive. A regular regiment of irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers are necessary to maintain the appearance of a healthy landscape.

Conversely, soil is alive. It has a well formed layer of natural mulch and compost, a deep aggregated layer that allows for fast water infiltration, a large water holding capacity, and a deep aerobic root zone populated with diverse soil ecology. Plants growing in this soil benefit from abundant stored water reserves, symbiotic fungal relationships, nutrient cycling, and disease suppression. Slow healthy plant growth discourages large pest and disease outbreaks, and if plants are climate –appropriate, they may not need irrigation.
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Organic Fertilizer

organic fertilizer

In 2013 we are transitioning to organic fertilizer for the majority of our customers. This year, we will replace approximately 82-tons of synthetic fertilizer with organic fertilizer. We will save approximately 2,706,000-cubic feet of natural gas by using organic fertilizer.

Organic fertilizers produce slower, healthier, more disease-resistant plant growth, resulting in less pesticide-use and sometimes fewer maintenance hours.

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California Oakworm (Phryganidia californica)

california oak moth

The California Oakworm is one of many caterpillars that feed on Oak trees. Insect damage is most common in Live Oaks. The Oak Moth lays eggs on the underside of leaves, which will hatch hundreds of Oakworms per tree. Oakworm populations vary from year-to-year, so the severity of outbreak is difficult to predict.

During normal years, trees can tolerate Oakworm feeding and typically does not harm most trees. During heavy outbreak years, trees can be completely defoliated. Oak trees that have existing health issues such as Sudden Oak Decline, root damage from construction, or prior poor pruning practices are at risk to be further stressed from extensive Oakworm-leaf feeding. Trees at risk should be reviewed for insect control and fertilizing.

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Plant Spotlight - Beautiful, But Deadly

plant spotlight

The lovely Oleander plant, which is used widely as an all purpose landscape plant, is toxic in all of its parts.Nerium oleander does not require much water or good soil. It is grown all over the world, so much so that its origins are unknown: could be from Morocco or Southeast Asia. Primarily a tropical plant it does not like a hard winter

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