Natural Beauty

I took a few pictures on the Muskegon River the other evening. Natural beauty is all around us. 

I’m not Claude Monet but I use my camera as a paint brush.
Water lilies and Pickerelweed in bloom on the river
Took this picture of Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis on the river’s edge this evening. Bees use it to make honey and it’s important to ducks for brood rearing and hiding. The flowers are unique.

Water means Life

Accessible clean water is vital for both us and our plants. We often take it for granted where we live. In other parts of the world however that is not the case. Finding usable water becomes a matter of life or death and is a daily struggle.
Like all living things, plants can get by without food for much longer than they can without water. In fact, 80 to 95 percent of a plant is made up of water, which it uses to replace water lost to evaporation and to assist with photosynthesis. Water affects a plants growth, its resistance to insects and disease and its overall vigor. Proper watering is essential if you want your plants to thrive. Because the plant transpires around 97 percent of the water it absorbs, its main task is to maintain the internal water flow or pressure so that the plant may remain stable and sufficiently supplied.

Water means life
Water means life

Water is life and here in West Michigan we are fresh water rich. Some children in our world suffer due to lack of clean water and we can make a difference. We are reminded again with the humanitarian crisis in Syria that thousands of children suffer and die every week. It seems to me governments can unite to solve a banking crisis but in times of humanitarian need it is people who unite with outstanding humanitarian agencies like World Vision to make a difference.

Once again I’m running with Team World Vision to raise awareness and to help provide clean water for those in need. The needs are real, but we believe that we can end the clean water crisis in our lifetime.

Running with Team World Vision to raise awareness
Running with Team World Vision to raise awareness

$50 = clean water for 1 person for life.

Will you invest in the future and provide clean water for 1, 2, 3, or even more people? We can help change lives, together.

Here is the link below to make a donation that will change lives. Please click on it…….

http://www.teamworldvision.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=11190

Thanks for your support!

H2O

Every day I drink a lot of tap water without giving it a thought. I wet my “plants” with water from the hose expecting it to be there so my hydrangeas don’t wilt. I’ve always lived close to Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes here in Michigan.

Running for fresh water with Team World Vision
Running for fresh water with Team World Vision

As a gardener and a runner, water is important to me, but I am so blessed with it I often take for granted the plentiful resource it is at my disposal. I was reading the other day that, of the world’s total water supply, over 96 percent is saline. And, of the total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers with an other 30 percent of freshwater in the ground. Those are amazing statistics if what I read is true. Of course everyone would agree that every child deserves clean water. Yet I’ve come to learn that more than 1,000 children a day die from unsafe water… more than from AIDS and malaria combined.

Team World Vision!
Team World Vision!

Clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene can prevent disease and deaths of children in our world. World Vision is one of the largest providers of clean water in the developing world due to the support of World Vision donors all around the world. New or rehabilitated wells and water points as well as sanitation facilities help many children, families, get the sustained clean water they need to live… something many of us take for granted everyday.

This October I will be running for Team World Vision to help raise money for this important cause. Would you take a moment to look at my Team World Vision page and consider helping provide clean water to those in need? Here is the link and thank you very “mulch!”

Please support me here: Team World Vision: Rick Vuyst – Madison Square Church

Rick Vuyst

Living on the “Hedge”

I remember the summer of 1988. Built an above ground pool that summer. A very hot and dry summer just like this year. I remember coming home from work one afternoon and there were so many people in the pool I wouldn’t have been able to fit a leg in the water if I tried. The summer of 2012 feels like 1988 to me.

A little water will provide “Lawn”-gevity

The lawns are just like they were then, a toasty golden brown with shrubs and trees living on the “hedge” looking stressed.

 

Trees and shrubs need your attention right now with some trickle or deep watering. This is especially true for spring plantings this year without well established root systems. Be watching for wilting or curling leaves. Some older established trees are showing leaf scorch just like they did in the summer of 1988. It’s not just the heat and drought, but wind adds to the problems increasing the rate of transpiration in foliage.

Trees showing leaf scorch

Remember the ability of your trees and shrubs to endure the stress of this season’s weather hinges in part on how healthy they were going into the season and your willingness to deep water them at the base now.

Looks like it may be too late for these Arborvitae

An impulse sprinkler or the hose nozzle you use to water your car isn’t going to work. You need to lay the hose at the base of the landscape plant and soak the soil for any beneficial effect.

Ironic that this appropriately named “Burning Bush” is showing the strain of weeks without water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve had a lot of people lately ask me if their lawn is going to survive the heat and drought. Turfgrass dormancy is a survival mechanism allowing survival up to 4-8 weeks without irrigation or precipitation without significant thinning upon recovery from dormancy. This would be under ideal conditions of no traffic, good sub or parent soil, moderate temperatures, minimal root competition from trees, etc. Survival can be affected by species, age, shade, maintenance, the quality of feeding you have done in the past, the deck height on the mower, traffic, heatand other factors. Raise the deck on your mower and if you can, park the mower until the drought is over.

 

 

A shaggy lawn is better than a scalped stressed turf. Remember that dormancy is reversible but death is not. If the lawn goes too long without any water or if it was unhealthy and stressed going into the drought the roots my die causing thinning of the turf. Cool season turf can survive summer dormancy but cannot survive root death.

Cool season lawn dormancy. Remember dormancy is reversible, death is not.

Turfgrasses that are trafficked during drought conditions must be irrigated regularly to maintain performance and prevent widespread turf damage. Lawn areas established in spring or previous fall should be irrigated because they have not yet developed extensive root systems.

Check irrigation systems for improperly aimed sprinklers, defective heads and evenness of distribution, etc. Water in the early morning hours to improve efficiency because of less evaporation from sun and wind. Watering at sunset encourages disease issues.

Limit traffic on your lawn (including mowing) to minimize crushing of the turfgrass leaves and crowns. Avoid the temptation to apply herbicides even though weeds become more obvious in a dormant lawn because they may be the only thing left that is green! Wait until fall to control lawn weeds, a perfect time for weed control.
Remember the fall season is a perfect time for overseeding and feeding thinned lawns. Turf establishment in Michigan is best done between August 15 and October 15 so don’t lose your “composture” if things are looking bleak right now. Your window of opportunity to improve the green green grass of home is coming soon!

 

Make your Christmas “Greens” come true!

When it comes to your Christmas tree it’s not much different than a tree in your landscape…..it needs “re-hydration” when nature calls so to speak. Foliage or in this case needles transpire like people perspire when things warm up. In the case of an evergreen they’ll transpire indoors when you turn up the heat.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Due to a decrease in hydrostatic water pressure in the needles as they transpire the tree “pulls” water upward through the xylem to re-hydrate the tree. The same applies to trees and plants in your landscape. The big difference of course is that the Christmas tree in your living room has no roots to reach out.

You have to reach out and provide the water to your tree so the “FMC” does not drop to unacceptable levels at which point “yule” have to reach for a vacuum cleaner. FMC is Foliage Moisture Content. Make a fresh cut on the bottom of Christmas tree and immediately place it in water. When you get a wound your body begins to clot and scab the wound naturally. The tree does the same with sap at the cut which in turn inhibits or cuts off moisture flow through the tree.

When the “FMC” drops below 25% needles will drop and the tree may no longer draw water even though it is sitting in water. The greater the water pickup results in higher foliage moisture content which also provides the best ignition resistance.

Go Green!

Trees with a high “FMC” tend to self-extinguish versus a dry tree with low “FMC” can go up like a torch if subjected to an ignition source. Light up your holidays the right way and get long lasting fragrance and beauty from your tree by making a fresh cut, put the tree immediately in water and keep the water bowl full until you remove the tree after the holidays. Placing a fishing bobber or ping pong ball in the water will help you see at a glance the water level in the bowl. Pay attention to your tree’s “FMC” and it will make all your Christmas “Greens” come true!