DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Trees Turning Yellow

Chlorosis in Tree
We are seeing a lot of Iron Chlorosis in Trees

Before you make that determination though, I want you to make sure you do the water probe check we've talked about on this blog. Is the tree getting dry at least once in a 10 day cycle or is it always extremely wet?

The problem with quick online diagnosis or taking a branch to a nursery or extension office, is the problem is often around the root base of the tree or from a landscape situation.

With that in mind; I want you to take all things into consideration over the past four to six months of what this tree has been experiencing in water, pesticide and weather related issues.

This is where most DIY folks look too hard for a quick answer. Take your time, trees are so slow to react that you have to take everything carefully into consideration. If you make snap diagnosis, or trust people who do, you will often do more harm than good.

If a "landscape professional" is quick to give you a cure by injection or some other costly sales approach, ask them for a money back guarantee on the work and this will often slow them down. If they know anything about tree treatments they will have to admit that it is very difficult to make a positive diagnosis and therefore very difficult to give a guarantee. That is the kind of honesty you want to hear before allowing someone to operate on your tree. If you do not think there has been any undue stress in these areas, then we can move onto Iron Chlorosis issues.

As the link talks about, the ph may be too high. However, those little $10 meters that claim to be able to read the ph are a joke. It takes very sophisticated equipment to accurately read ph, so only trust a soil sample test by the local extension office.

If it does come back with too high a ph, you can inject the tree with iron, but if it is later in the season you will get little results. This is where tree health care comes into play. You will have to start amending the soil around the tree early in the spring every year to try and lower that ph and any iron injections should be done in the early spring when the leaf is still forming. It's not a bad idea to start that process with a small amount of the supplement on the left of this blog now. The more in the spring time.

Trees will eventually decline and die if this is not remedied. Soil amendments will help, but remember, if anyone is selling a quick fix, trees don't do anything fast, so it may not be the best thing for the tree.

The power of Beats, Spinach, Kale and Swiss Chard

I have talked and talked about how Jerry (one of the oldest Alcatraz swimmers) got me into this blend of Beats, Spinach, Kale and Swiss Chard. It has truly been life changing in the way it has affected my health.

As an Arborist, I am getting older now and was really feeling the pain of the job, loosing energy and wondering if I could continue in the profession. This was the change that saved me.

I will admit, I was skeptical at first and listened to him but thought it was just another fad. It took two years of witnessing Jerry get healthier and healthier, for me to finally take that step and try it. Surprisingly my wife had heard me talk about him so much that she took the initiative and bought those first beats.

She blended the little drink up, I took a long sip, looked at her and said, "this sparks some kind of child hood memory," I thought for a moment, "oh, now I remember, eating dirt." We posted that on face book and got a lot of laughs but we also got a lot of encouragement from people who were using beats to improve their health; about how we could add orange juice, or other fruits.

Which we often do. But as time went by, I now can eat a beat raw without hesitating and actually like it. It shows how our taste buds can adjust. It is so satisfying that I don't munch afterwards and my wife and I now substitute it for our vegetables. Last night we had Salmon and the blender drink and felt great.

So for those who've been asking me I found a Amazon link to the blender we use and just as important is the knife sharpener for cutting everything up. When you look at the food statistics on the healthy page above on Beats alone, it is an amazing body feeder and worth the effort.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our take on straw bale gardening

Fruit box gardens
An update on straw bale gardening: Several factors you will not read in the hype on this idea is the fact that straw bales shed constantly; so if you put it on your porch or in your lawn you will have a mess all year long. This straw really is difficult to get the lawn mower to suck up or even rake. It blows around the yard and eventually makes a mess all around the area that you have to pick up one piece at a time by hand. So I believe we have to contain that straw to make the straw bale idea practical.
We live in a X-fruit growing area (people buying from Brazil etc. put hundreds out of work in our area of Emmett Idaho) so we have hundreds of these fruit boxes that need a home or will be wastefully burned or thrown away. The boxes are about 42 inches by 41 inches and 30 inches high. I feel they could be bit higher to be comfortable as a garden container. We played with the idea a few years ago but the thought of filling that much up with decent top soil did not seem practical. And then once the box was full of soil there would be no way to move it.
Straw as the foundation really seemed like a good combination here. The bale fit perfectly and was light weight. Then add the idea of straw bale gardening and we have a raised bed that is very simple and inexpensive.
By putting the straw bale in these boxes we were able to contain the straw mess and raise them up slightly for better access. There is an air gap on the sides which is probably a good thing because the wood is less liable to rot. I presume the straw bale will be decomposing by this fall and we will remove it. How much damage the moisture will do to the painted plywood is still out for review.
. The one pictured is a bit hard to move by your self so this weekend we cut one in half. That made a huge difference in the ability to make it more mobile and it fits a single bale fine.
As I said, I still feel it is a bit low and we are trying to put a counter top over them. This might really make them work better because you'd have an open end, then a water proof top to put pots on. I'll update as we experiment.