Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Spring is here and all of us in the green industry are swamped with work. Plants are delivered, plants are being installed, coordination for aftercare and replacements, fertilizer and repairs, outdoor events, the list goes on. If your in the green industry, you know there is no rest in the months of April and May.
Lucky for me they give me this space to blow off some steam and talk about events coming up that affect the grounds department and I. There are many things happening, preparing for a new parking lot, reducing our irrigation use, installing natives around campus, and more. Needless to say its going to be a busy year, and I even have some announcements that I will be expressing in the coming weeks, one that may affect my ability to continue this blog, but I must leave you in suspense...
For now, I would like to invite the campus and community members to our first annual Arbor Day Celebration. S.C.C. has been awarded as a certified Tree Campus USA through the Arbor Day Foundation, and we will be awarded the plaque during this event. We also have a special guest; Mark Grueber, our Regional Urban Forester from the Missouri Department of Conservation, who will be giving a discussion on the importance of trees and hopefully encourage everyone to get outside and plant a tree themselves! See you Tuesday, April 26, 1:00 PM in the Social Science Building Auditorium!
Monday, April 11, 2011
I can't help but have a sense of humor when I notice people walking past me, and I am staring high into the sky looking at the trees. Sometimes they walk past me, look up into the air, and have this look on their face, as if they are wondering: "What is that crazy fool looking at?"
As many of you know, St. Charles Community College received Tree Campus USA status from the National Arbor Day Foundation. We take our trees seriously, and now we have some more news. One of our trees on campus has been selected to be on the Missouri Botanical Gardens Treemendous Tree Hunt! We have a special and beautiful Shagbark Hickory that made the cut, and with any luck, will finally get some of the attention it so deserves!If you would like to take part in the Treemendous Tree Hunt, check out the website with instructions here. Or just visit my blog, as I am going Tree Hunting over the next few weeks, and I will be sharing my finds right here in my Blog. Have a great week, and happy hunting!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I often see new homes built on construction sites that have turned soil. Some of the soil making up these new yards are soil that was once, in many cases, over five feet deep, brought up to the surface for grading purposes. This soil is not the greatest for plant growth, it wasn't designed to be, and may not be appropriate for plant growth with out a lot of care and maintenance.
So what do we need to do to fix our soil problems? Lucky for you and I, we don't have to have the answers. There is no book that can tell you your soil conditions as they are drastically different from site to site, and often neighbors will have completely different soil profiles, even thought they are in such close proximity! Soil tests are the best and most effective way to ensure you are getting a full and accurate profile of your planting area. These tests used to be troublesome and expensive, but now you can get a professional lab to test a soil sample for mere dollars. One great resource is the University of Missouri Extension right here in Saint Peters. They offer soil testing at reasonable prices and have very clear results.
A basic soil sample will usually include nutrient levels and pH, which is very important. For instance, a soil sample may show a large amount of Iron in the soil, but a high pH. This high pH causes bounding of the iron to soil particles where it is not accessible to plants, so though you have plenty of it, the plant can't use it!
So these soil samples are not always night and day. To supplement a soil sample from a reputable laboratory will often explain these things in an attached letter, and even make recommendations on how to correct your soil issues. Plants, Trees, and turf in general, are using reserves in their root systems from the past fall, so supplemental fertilizer is a waste in the spring! Get a soil sample now to start preparing the soil for when our plants start to utilize the nutrients around them in middle to late spring, and remember, a good healthy organic soil will help sustain itself! Happy Spring!