National Pesticide Information Center: http://npic.orst.edu/
Fungicide Resistance Action Committee: http://www.frac.info/
Insecticide Resistance Action Committee: http://www.irac-online.org/
Midwest Invasive Species Information Network: https://www.misin.msu.edu/
Integrated Pest Management Academy: http://www.ipm.msu.edu/agriculture/integrated_pest_management_academy
Asiatic Long Horn Beetle: http://www.michigan.gov/invasives/0,5664,7-324-68002_71241-367887--,00.html
Beech Bark Disease: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/is_it_beech_bark_disease
Thousand Cankers Disease: http://www.thousandcankers.com/
MSU Soil Test Kit: http://shop.msu.edu/product_p/bulletin-e3154.htm
Boxelder bugs: https://bygl.osu.edu/node/1009
Drought monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
MSU Children’s Garden: https://www.canr.msu.edu/hrt/our_gardens/4_h_childrens_garden
MSU Student Horticulture Association: https://www.canr.msu.edu/hrt/students/student_horticulture_association/index
Holly talked about the eight species of owls that breed in Michigan (Great Horned, Eastern Screech, Barred, Northern Saw-whet, Barn, Long-eared, Short-eared, and Great Gray Owls) and the three that winter in Michigan (Boreal, Snowy and Northern Owls). Her presentation included slides and bird calls.
Owl heads can rotate 270 degrees. They have huge eyes, equivalent to human eyes being the size of oranges. Owls have excellent hearing. They are able to detect a mouse moving under a foot of snow. Owls are primarily nocturnal. They have wings designed for silent flight, Owls also have great camouflage that made for the best photographs that the group enjoyed on March 8, 2018. Owls are raptors that eat small mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and smaller owls. Holly offered members sanitized pellets of undigestible material to investigate later.
Outside of habitat loss, predation and ingesting rodent poison, owls are generally doing well in Michigan. If you put up an owl box, the opening should face east and the box should be 15-20' high.
To sign up for the customized interest Michigan Department of Natural Resources weekly email, go to the bottom of http://www.michigan.gov/dnr
To make a donation to the non-game wildlife fund, go to http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79137_79767_81160-44120--,00.html
Volunteers interested in typing and editing quality notes complete with links checked for accuracy are encouraged to send thoroughly proofread, spellchecked, publication-ready text to email@example.com with clear, detailed subject lines (the most valuable real estate in any email).
United States Drought Monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
Flooding damage: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/will_my_turf_recover_from_spring_flooding; http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/flood_tolerant_trees
Gypsy moth: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/gypsy_moth_caterpillars_are_back
Japanese beetles: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/resources/Japanese_beetle_tips_for_your_lawn
Midwest Invasive Species Network: http://www.misin.msu.edu/
Eyes on the Forest: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/eyes_on_the_forest
Spotted winged Drosophila: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/spotted_wing_drosophila_a_serious_pest_for_the_home_gardener
European Crane Fly: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/european_crane_flies_observed_around_lawns_and_homes_in_southern_michigan
Monarch Watch: http://www.monarchwatch.org
Kyle Kandillian's Gardening for Indigenous Wildlife Resources
Sources for Native Plants and Nativars
Hirt’s Gardens, www.hirts.com
Wildthings Rescue Nursery, www.dawnswildthings.com
Prairie Moon Nursery, www.prairiemoon.com
Prairie Nursery, www.prairienursery.com
Resources for Invertebrate Identification
University of Florida Entomology and Nematology, www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures
What’s that Bug?, www.whatsthatbug.com
Resource for Reptile/Amphibian Identification
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, www.michigan.gov/dnr
Search for “Amphibians” or “Reptiles”
Resource for Bird Identification
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, www.birds.cornell.edu
At the well attended April meeting, members gathered to learn about important gardening issues from Dr. Dean Krauskopf. Dean began with a presentation then handled lots of questions from those present.
Dean talked about lead. Lead leaches under acidic conditions. If you ask about lead when doing a soil test, MSU will test for it. Lead paint was banned in 1978. There could be lead in the soil near a house built before then from lead paint. The lead, measured in parts per million (PPM), might dissipate quickly as you move further from the house. Lead is primarily taken up in the roots so do not grow root crops in contaminated soil. It is important to wash all garden produce well before consuming.
Dean pointed out that when a chemical, that is effective when used properly, is effectively eliminated as an option, the absence of a tool might create other problems. People may resort to using stronger or less effective chemicals that might be detrimental to pollinators or beneficial insects or might require multiple applications or more careful timing. One less option means one fewer tool to tackle a problem.
Dean talked about oak wilt, a problem we often perpetuate ourselves by pruning or cutting when beetles are out, which is anytime that the ground is not frozen. There is no cure or treatment except the destruction of infected trees. There is also no chemical control for Thousand Cankers Disease. Dean talked about IRAC, the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee, bees, heating degree days and accumulated chilling hours, that it's okay to prune roses now, how our 2015-2016 temperature swings are problematic for plants, micro environments, the benefits of raised beds, interrupting the life cycle of Viburnum leaf beetle, grass fertilization treatment programs, rubber tire compost, pre-emergent, dogs, peonies and rhubarb. It was a full night of science and sensible information.
Dean provided a variety of links to resources:
Lead levels of edibles grown in contaminated residential soils: a field survey, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.525.4560&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Effects on human physiology, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=7&po=10
NEONICOTINOID INSECTICIDES & POLLINATORS
Insecticide Resistance Action Committee, http://www.irac-online.org/
Thousand Cankers Disease, http://www.thousandcankers.com/
Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, http://www.misin.msu.edu/
Midwest Regional Climate Center, http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/
Calculating degree days, http://fyi.uwex.edu/hort/files/2014/11/Degree-Day-Calculation.pdf
Garden Professors' Blog, GardenProfessors.com
Native Plants & Ecosystem Services, http://nativeplants.msu.edu/
Karen Marzonie helped LeRoy Wolff identify a weed at the MGAWC April meeting. More info on Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/hairy_bittercress_a_weed_to_watch_out_for?utm_source=Home+Gardening+-+MSU+Extension+News+-+04-22-16&utm_campaign=Home+Gardening+04-22-16&utm_medium=email
At the February membership meeting, Pam Palechek Fiani helped combat winter blahs with ideas for different plants to add for color and interest in the garden from March through October. Her presentation included a timeline on the bottom of all her slides indicating the primary month to enjoy each plant's best features. She covered the plants in chronological order and provided a two-page handout that might double as a shopping list.
Between each month, Pam provided a design tip including the value of photographing your garden in spring for some tough decision-making, after the thrill of spring wears off, when you decide that the purple flowers need a light color behind them for contrast and that the pink and orange blooms next to each other are not what you want next year. She talked about the need for focal points, natural or man-made, with man-made focal points such as pots, benches or sundials often overpowering natural focal points such as shaped shrubs, ornamental trees or the tallest plant. Pam talked about the value of putting something behind the focal point and of framing.
As she covered her list of plants, Pam included maintenance tips for plants that bloom repeatedly after haircuts, planting tips for bulbs that get a better start after being moistened overnight, and placement tips for plants that survive rabbits and/or deer. She included information about plants that stay put and those that spread, making a distinction between those that spread enough to share with a few friends and those that will take over the county.
A tiny sampling of items from her suggestions (two pages, single spaced) include:
- MARCH -- Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
- APRIL -- Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), Primrose (Primula x polyantha), and drumstick primrose (P. denticulate)
- MAY -- Summer snowflake (Luecojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant')
- JUNE -- Prarie smoke (Geum triflorum)
- JULY -- Blue globe thistle (Echinops exaltatus)
- AUGUST -- Joseph's coat (Amaranthus tricolor 'Illumination")
- SEPTEMBER -- Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrid, "September Charm,' 'Margarete')
- OCTOBER -- Toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta) and Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Gail Morrell kicked off MGAWC’s 2016 educational programming with an outstanding talk on garden tools. Gail brought her own collection of tools for show and tell. She also offered suggestions from other professional gardeners.
NOTE: Neither Gail nor MGAWC are endorsing specific products. Listed suppliers are provided for reference only. Prices are approximates as of late 2015. All figures are in US dollars.
Hand-held Weeder – Gail loves the Gertrude Jekyll two-pronged container/indoor weeder. Weight matters. Lighter weight tools are easier to use for longer periods of time. Shorter prongs are less likely to bend.
- 4.25 ounce Jekyll weeder $22.50 at LeeValley.com (800-267-8767)
- Soil knife, perhaps a more macho choice, $19 at A. M. Leonard Horticultural Tool & Supply Co., amleo.com (800-543-8955), weighs more than the Jekyll weeder.
Pruners -- A long-time user of Felco products, #2 classic at $54 or #6 for smaller hands at $57, Gail is now using Okatsune 7 1/8" and 8" hand-held pruners for $55 and $64, all available from A. M. Leonard.
Weed Bucket -- Five-gallon buckets are often available for free. Gail prefers a seven-gallon Tubtrug for $13 from Gardener's Supply Company, gardeners.com (800-876-5520). Because the Tubtrug is more flexible, Gail can use it as a watering can to pour water slower to avoid washing away newly planted items and she can carry loads without banging the bucket into her leg. Tubtrugs come in lots of colors so you can color-code your crew and know who left the bucket behind.
Gloves -- Gail is not much of a glove wearer, but her professional counterparts suggest Atlas Nitrile for $9 at amleo.com and Mudd gloves for $10 at various stores. The Atlas gloves are thinner than the Mudd gloves.
Gail buys disposable gloves for $20 (400-count pack from Costco). Disposable gloves are especially helpful when dealing with poison ivy. It can't hurt to put a pair of disposable gloves in your back pocket just in case you need them.
Three-prong Cultivator -- $10 at various stores or a hand hoe/handy weeder for $15 from amleo.com. The handy weeder is hand-specific, designed for either right-handed or left-handed use.
Soil Scoop -- $20 from leevalley.com. The hand-held Soil Scoop is great for detailed digging, especially working around irrigation systems without cutting lines, or planting annuals.
Pruning Saw -- Corona 7" razor tooth folding saw for $20 or Corona 6 3/4" folding saw for $34, both from amleo.com. Gail buys new saws every year and uses old pruning saws to divide ornamental grasses.
Loppers -- Bahco loppers with 1 1/4" cutting capacity and bumpers for $73 from amleo.com
Hedge Shears -- Okatsune 7" blade for $110 or Bahco 9 1/2" blade for $84, both from amleo.com. The Okatsune shears cut hedges like butter but the tool lacks bumpers. Depending on how you are pruning hedges, try using them upside down.
Root Knife -- serrated sod knife for $28.50 (or the discontinued serrated root knife with a curved tip, kinda looked like a kitchen knife on steroids) from leevalley.com
For the larger tools, Gail recommends stainless steel for longer use.
Shovel -- Radius-brand ergonomic stainless steel digging spade, 43 1/2", 5 pounds and 4 ounces, for $62.50 at leevalley.com have the circle on the top instead of the traditional handle. It also has a small ledge for your foot to apply more force when digging.
Bed Edger -- Radius-brand ergonomic stainless steel bed edger, 38", 4 pounds, for $54.50 at leevalley.com
Fork -- Throw away forks with broken tines. Try Radius-brand ergonomic stainless steel digging fork, 43", 4 pounds and 13 ounces, for $109 at leevalley.com.
Rake -- metal tines with a wood handle for most work, around $18, or plastic teeth with a wood handle for some projects, around $15 at various stores, also adjustable tine rakes and/or hand-held rakes
Watering Can -- galvanized 1.5 gallon, for $29 at amleo.com. Galvanized because the plastic ones break. Gail uses watering cans instead of hoses so she knows how much water she's getting on the plant. She recommends watering cans with the rose (sprinkler end) that screws on and off.
Dust Pan -- A large aluminum dust pan, probably larger that you might use in your kitchen, can be useful for a variety of tasks. Various options at stores including Duke's Hardware or one for $18 from amleo.com. For larger dust pans, check that the material is stiff enough that it does not bend.
- Most of these tools are sharp and dangerous and--duh--not suitable for use by children or others who require supervision for their own protection. Please take all appropriate precautions.
- If your tools frequently hide in your garden, you might want to consider painting them a color that will make them easier to find.
- Don't forget to wear sturdy boots or shoes, insect repellant and sun protection including sun screen and hat.
DISCLAIMER: Neither Gail nor MGAWC are endorsing specific products. Listed suppliers are provided for reference only.