Fall Color Calendar

On the Topic of Turn… The coming of fall brings on all kinds of changes, back to school, back to work, cooler temperatures, sweaters and boots, and trees turn. People flock from miles around to places known for their breathtaking fall foliage. “Leaf-peeping” is so popular there are tours available, special getaway packages and towns…

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Xeric Gardening Gains

Xeriscaping or xeric gardening is a concept first developed in Colorado with the idea of creating gardens that are both water use efficient and attractive. The actual word “xeriscape” comes from the Greek word xeros meaning dry and scape which literally means “scene”. Although this requires utilizing plants that are drought resistant, or adapted to naturally…

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Shifting Soil Sites

When we think of soil we all picture what is beneath our feet, but researcher Camila Tejo Haristoy is studying soil that forms in forest canopies, referred to as canopy or arboreal soil. Canopy soil develops when epiphytic plants(a plant that grows above the ground, supported non-parasitically by another plant or object, and deriving its nutrients and water from rain,the air, dust, etc.; air plant; aerophyte) begin to decompose. The formation of these soils, as with ground soils, is also aided by bacteria…

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Aspen Adjournment

In Idaho and several other western states the iconic stands of aspen trees are disappearing. They also happen to be the most widespread tree in North America, you can still see the unmistakable groves, especially in the fall, only now some conifer species are moving in. Normally this wouldn’t be cause for alarm, it would…

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pH Presence

Soil pH is an indication of the level of acidity or alkalinity present in soil measured in pH units. Technically defined soil pH is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 where 7 is considered neutral pH, below 7 (7-0) the soil is becoming more acidic and…

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Pachysandra Plight

During the recent boxwood blight scare the Plant Diagnostics Lab at Rutgers University was flooded with samples of possibly infected boxwood awaiting their final word, but along with those specimens came bits of diseased pachysandra. The fear, they supposed, was that homeowners and arborists thought the pachysandra were suffering from some disease that could possibly…

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Disease Detection

Beech bark disease has been causing mortality of American and European beech (Fagus grandifolia and Fagus sylvatica, respectively) trees since its discovery prior to 1849 in Europe, although until 1914 beech scale was solely being blamed. We now know that the cause is a combination of scale damage and fungal infection. Beech bark disease is caused when…

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Bee Bots

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been receiving a lot of press due to its potential to wreak environmental and economic havoc in this country and around the world. This is the phenomenon that has resulted in dramatic reduction of honeybees worldwide threatening agriculture and ecosystems to be left without pollination. Honeybees pollinate approximately one-third of…

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