Garden Talk: June 16, 2011

From NGA Editors

Stop the Emerald Ash Borer by Educating Kids

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The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an introduced pest that is devastating our native ash trees. First discovered in Michigan less than a decade ago, it has killed tens of millions of trees so far in sixteen states. Many more trees are at risk if this invader is not contained.

While it is thought that the borer arrived in wooden packing materials brought in by ship or air, its spread within this country is usually the result of human activity. One important way the borer can be introduced to new areas is when people unwittingly move infested firewood to their property or to campgrounds, fishing spots, and parks as they enjoy these natural areas.

Educating the public about how to prevent the spread of this beetle is vital to protecting ash trees from destruction. Educating youth about this problem has a double benefit. Kids learn what they can do and can then take those lessons home to spread the word to their families, friends, and neighbors.

To help, the USDA has prepared educational materials specifically for summer camps and programs, scouting organizations, schools, and environmental education organizations working with youth from ages 8-12. The materials are ready to use, fun, engaging, and free!

At the Kid's Corner of the USDA's Stop the Beetle website, you can order a free Leader's Kit (or print it as a PDF) that includes a four page leader's folio and creative activities, including an origami-style trivia game to make and a group-oriented outdoor activity. Also available on the site are an animated video describing the EAB life cycle, an on-line memory game, and more printable activities. Other sections of the site include lots more adult-oriented information.

To print or order a free leader's kit and find out more about ways to stop the EAB, go: Kids' Corner: Stop the Beetle.

Black Spot Resistant Roses

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The Earth-Kind® program was started at Texas A&M University to support environmental landscape stewardship. Part of this program includes research and trials to identify regionally adapted cultivars of roses that will thrive without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and that tolerate reduced irrigation.

One of the most difficult problems for rose growers to deal with is black spot, a fungal disease that causes black spots on the upper leaf surfaces, progressing to yellowing and dropping of infected leaves. Untreated infections gradually weaken plants, resulting in fewer and fewer flowers.

Recently, as part of this program, researchers evaluated 73 rose cultivars for susceptibility to three races of Diplocarpon rosae, the fungus that causes black spot. Young leaves were inoculated with the fungus and susceptible reactions measured. Nine cultivars were identified as being completely resistant to all three races of the fungus. These were Brite Eyes™, 'Grouse', Home Run® (pictured), Knockout®, Paprika™, Pearly Cream™, Pink Knockout®, Rainbow Knockout®, and Yellow Submarine™. These cultivars are all good choices for gardeners interested in growing roses sustainably.

To read an abstract of this research, go to: HortScience. To find out more about Earth-kind® Roses, go to: Earth-kind Roses.

Avoid the Top Ten Landscape Mistakes

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Good landscaping can add beauty and value to your home grounds and make them easier to care for. Poorly done landscaping not only can cost you a lot of wasted dollars and effort, it can create an unappealing and hard to maintain yard and garden.

How to get things off to a good start? Avoid the "Top 10 Landscape Mistakes" and you'll be on your way to healthy, attractive plantings. Compiled by Paul Pugliese of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, this list of landscape "no-nos" contains good advice, no matter where in the country you garden.

For example, mistake number one is leaving burlap, ropes, or wire cages on the rootballs of newly planted trees or shrubs. The root restriction they can cause may result in "pot-bound" plant in the ground or a girdling root slowly killing a tree years after it goes in the ground. Number five on the list is one of the most common mistakes -- not taking into account the mature height and spread of a tree or shrub and placing it where it doesn't have sufficient room to develop. Or how about piling up mulch "volcanoes" around tree trunks, which can lead to rot, or applying too much fertilizer, which can harm plants, contribute to water pollution, and waste money?

Pugliese doesn't just tell you what not to do; he also gives suggestions for correct landscaping practices. Don't plant too deep; instead look for the root flare on the trunk and set the plant so the flare is level or slightly above grade.

To read about all of the top ten landscaping mistakes, go to Georgia Faces.

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

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Ancient specimens of trees are the largest and oldest living things on earth. To help keep these survivors from being irretrievably lost, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive was founded to save the genetics of these trees in a living library both for future scientific use and for functional reforestation.

This non-profit organization collects, archives, and propagates what one member refers to as "giant healing structures." They have collected 55 separate genotypes of old growth coast redwoods and have even rooted sprouts from the enormous Fieldbrook Redwood stump. When it was standing, this tree, of which only the stump remains, was over 32 feet wide at breast height, larger than any redwood left standing today. Archangel has also archived 14 separate genotypes of old growth giant sequoias, as well as oaks, hollies and birches from Ireland and native American species such as green ash, American beech, and white oak.

Currently, black willows and red osiers from their collection are being offered for sale as WaterWayTrees™. These plants are suited for use in watersheds, riparian zones, bio-swales and other areas that collect runoff to help clean the water and soil and stabilize lake and river beds. More species of trees will be offered for sale beginning in 2012.

For more information on how to support the gathering and regrowing of ancient trees and sign up for their online newsletter, go to: Archangel Ancient Tree Archive .

 
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