Sustenance from Soil

Soil is one of the four elements upon which life on earth depends; soil, water, air and sunlight. 2015 has been declared the International Year of Soils (IYS) by the U.N., and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has organized themes for each month in an effort to further highlight the need for soil preservation…

Plant Perspicacity

A species of pitcher plant growing in Borneo has been found to strategize its prey catching capabilities in order to maximize the windfall. This pitcher plant, Nepenthes spp.,  is able to  adjust the slipperiness of its characteristic pitfall trap in response to changing weather conditions so as to dine on large number of ants at…

Rainforest Retention

A recent NASA study has found that tropical rainforests are increasingly absorbing more carbon dioxide in response to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the environment. These forests are acting as a sink for 1.4 billion metric tons, a little more than half of the 2.5 billion metric tons absorbed worldwide. This NASA study also…

Horticultural Head Count

In mid-December the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS) launched its horticultural census of 2014. The goal of this census-taking is to provide a comprehensive illustration of the country’s horticultural sector. This survey is the sole source of information regarding production and sales data for U.S. floriculture, nursery and specialty crops,…

Perennial Positives

Nutrient enriched agricultural runoff can be severely detrimental to surface water quality, aquatic life and human health. Localized surface water will eventually reach and discharge into larger water bodies, meaning changes in water quality in a stream will affect the watershed which will eventually affect other watersheds. For instance; nitrates from cultivating soybean and corn…

Karner Blue Butterfly Bulwark

In a dramatic, but satisfying, twist of fate, the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) has almost recovered from the brink of extinction. Named for its initial location of discovery and beautiful coloration the Karner blue butterfly relies on unique inland wetland pine barrens found east of Minnesota and along the eastern seaboard. Historically the blue’s range was a…

Extant Plants

The term “living fossil” was coined by Charles Darwin to describe plants still surviving today that were known to be thriving millions of years ago. Primitive spore and seed-bearing plants which flourished in the ages of the dinosaurs are still found on earth today. When dinosaurs roamed the planet, 65-225 million years ago,  was a…

Fruits Vs. Vegetables

While this  may not seem like an argument, suspend disbelief for one second and indulge me, do you actually know the difference between fruits and vegetables? This may seem subjective, but that is probably because you are thinking about it in terms of what you eat and not botanically. So, gardeners and chefs may define…

Capitol Christmas

The tradition of placing a live tree on the White House lawn in celebration of Christmas was started in 1964 by then Speaker of the House, U.S. Representative, John W. McCormack (D-MA). At that time, the tree was actually planted in its place, it lived for approximately 3 years before succumbing to damage from wind and…

Tree Replacement Requirements

As the birthplace of Arbor Day, with a flagship Tree USA campus, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is has a reputation to protect and they do so by making a serious commitment to protecting the environment. This is why one of the seniors in their landscape architecture program initiated a campus-wide policy for replacing trees when it…