- Current Information directly below. 2-2-2017
- February 16, 2017 Thursday
I’m a little late betting back to this page. I ave several photos to post but some health conerns have made me get a little behind. We also are dong some work on the house and that is disruptive in getting things done. Photos coming.
- February 12, 2017 Sunday 7cw in TF today Total 234cw post later
I have some photos of Hairy Wintercress which I hope to post later today. They are in full flower.
January 25, 2017 Wednesday
Almost 70 degrees today... I was out yesterday spraying weeds. A rather serious lawn weed has been spreading itself around Charlotte for the past 3 years. As this weed sends out it seeds it shoots them out up to 3 feet. If you let it go it can take over your lawn in a hurry. It is called Hairy Bitter Cress. Take a look.
January 23, 2017 Monday
We had lots of rain last night. My rain guage which is glass froze and broke a week ago and I was a little late gluing it back together last night. It had been raining several hours when I replaced it and it registered 3.5 inches of rain early this morning.
January 22, 2017 Sunday
January 21, 2017 Saturday
- January 20, 2017 Friday
Finally another normal day for cankerworm movement. I counted 13 female cankerworms on the trap today. I looked back over some historical figures. In past years as the migration started, we would see days like this: 3,5,2,4,6,8 and then a few days up to 24. One year on Christmas day, there were 100 cankerworms captured. A few trees had 5000, to 8,000 insects for the entire season read more
- January 19, 2017 Thursday
Unseasonably mild weather here for the last week. We used to see a week like this in mid to late February, so maybe this is an effect of climate change. We are seeing heavier rains, more flooding and landslides than ever before. The cankerworm movement will take up most of entries between now and the end of February. The emergences of the cankerworms usually become noticeable by April 10th. We will be looking for that in early April.
- January 17, 2017 Tuesday
I did see 4 cankerworms on my trap this morning. There were 6 cws on the city tree out front. So it is still slow, but I am hearing reports from around the county the female cankerworms seem to be moving.
That is a total of 43 cws so far this year.
My cankerworm page has been down and I think it is mostly fixed. If you find errors, please let me know test
- January 6, 2017 Friday
Some of you who get to this page at this time of year might not care a bit about the Fall Cankerworm, but it is a big deal if you have trees, especially large ones. It cost money and or time to band your trees. Sometimes we have a bad infestation and other years there are not so many cankerworms. Depending on the number of trees you have you can spend a lot of money banding them. Many of the people who band tree use a commercial product called Bug Barrier.
I have two gripes about Bug Barrier. The main one is that so many of them have been put up improperly. The strip of plastic is 6 inches wide. With the trap they supply a batting material which is 3 inches wide and suggest that it be put on in two layers. In most cases that is not necessary. All you have to do is keep the insects that get under the trap and are not caught in the glue is keep them from crawling behind the trap. When I band my large willow oak which is 36 inches in diameter, I roll up a section of the Charlotte Observer and place a few staples to hold it in place. I have done this effectively with both Tar paper and plastic wrap (which is much like Saran Wrap).
Here is a photo of a trap where the batting material comes down so low on the back side of the plastic that there is an inch or two of the band that has sticky glue on it and a lot of glued surface is wasted.
- Photo coming tomorrow
Photo above is a good installation of the Bug Barrier trap. The Plastic Band is 6 inches wide and the white batting material is 3 inches wide. Need to edit these statistic.
- January 5, 2017 Thursday
Looks like we are in for some cold weather. I have taken the time to spray a few broad leafed weeds during the mild days we have had. In particular, the worst weeds are Chickweed and Hairy Winter Cress. Hairy Winter Cress is the worst by far. Read More on Hairy Winter Cress.
- January 1, 2017 Sunday
- Today the first day of the year, 2017, I found 5 female fall cankerworms caught in the lower trap. I am doing an experiment this year with Tanglefoot and a type of axle grease called Red & Tacky. I hope the Red & Tacky works because it is much less expensive than Tanglefoot. you will observe that I have made the bands very narrow. I am sure that I will have to add more Red & Tacky as the season progresses. I hope no cankerworms get into the Tanglefoot because then I will probably switch to the Red & Tacky product. I use an old grease gun which I happened to have and it works ok. I believe taking it from a pail would do the job a little faster. The grease gun is neater and less problem of getting sticky with either product. Look at the picture below and notice where the cankerworm is. I was putting on the R&T (abbreviation for Red & Tacky) this lone cankerworm was crawling up the tar paper. I thought for sure that I would capture her in the trap the next morning. She was nowhere to be seen. Maybe as the cold front came through with a pretty heavy wind she was blown from the tree.
In case you are new to these pages, the insect in the 2nd photo below is the female fall cankerworm making her way up the tree to deposit her eggs. She will lay approximately 200 eggs which will hatch in late March and become a nuisance and possibly defoliate the tree. To learn more go here I have been keeping track of these insects since Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
- December 31 Saturday
No cankerworm activity this morning or by noon. If we get substantial rain, don’t expect the worms to arrive by tomorrow either. This is the latest date I know of for the movement of the fall cankerworms
December 30 Friday
I have been checking cankerworm traps daily and have seen very few female cankerworms. There are two Willow Oak Street trees next to my home and every year they trap lots of cankerworms. This year I have seen only two wingless females and one winged male. I stopped to look at a Willow Oak on Sharon Road between Wendover Road on Tuesday and found six female cankerworms clustered on the same section of the trap. Reports from other areas indicate, that the cankerworms are very slow getting started this year.
I saw two climbing my trap and were on the tar paper about 8:00 this morning. I have some photos and more coming later today. They have definately started. More ...info on link to the left sidebar.
- December 26 Monday
I expected to see several cankerworms in my trap today. None were in mine and only one was in two of the street trees I was observing.
- December 23 Friday
It was 33 last night. Leaves are mostly gone from trees. Still overall pretty dry. I have irrigation in my yard and parts of the yard are quite wet especially in the shaded areas. Next door which is a vacant lot does not have much moisture a little deeper down in the soil. Our long drought during the summer will affect trees and shrubs. I have talked to quite a few people who say they have lost trees and shrubs to the drought. All plants will respond best if they have adequate moisture going into the winter months. If you have trees or shrubs that were planted this past season, then keep an eye on them and watch for signs of drought stress.
Cankerworms are slow in emerging this season. see more
December 22 Thursday
I saw my first cankerworm this morning. It was still crawling up the tar paper and had not even gotten to the Tanglefoot yet. Although if a few cankerworms escape you and get to the top of the tree that is not too bad. However, if you have no put up traps yet better do so soon. Typically, in ten days they will be going up fast.
- December 17 Saturday
- Still no sign of cankerworm here. Today there is really bad weather north of Charlotte and there was band of cold on the other side of the mountains, all moving this way. Rain is projected here and above freezing temps so after the main weather moves on we could easily have the cankerworms moving up the trees. It usually takes about three days of good cold weather down to 27 degrees or colder to make them move. They won’t start crawling in the rain or after a snow.
- December 15, 2016 Thursday
- Here it is 10 days until Christmas. I have posted several comments about the fall cankerworm (see sidebar), and they are about to come out in force. Once they start I will post daily until February on the cankerworm link page.
- I also have some winter weed issues that should be of interest. There is a weed that is called Hairy Winter Cress. It happens to be edible and is beginning to invade our yards. Here is the reason it is a difficult weed. It first appears in the fall and sets flowers quickly and therefore seeds after a very short time. These seed pop out from their pods about two feet from the plant. Normal broad leaf weed killers like Weed be Gone control it readily, but if you miss seeing it, Hariy Winter Cress will take over your yard quickly. I will bet that most of your lawn care companies employees who will be in your yard working will not know what it is. In fact I doubt that the owners of most the small landscapers have never heard of it. There is more here
- December 06, 2016 Tuesday
- It has been a long time since I have been able to access and edit this web site. I have been having lots of questions from folks who have visited this site for years during the canker worm season. Yes, we will be following our little insect friends. I suspect they will be out shortly since we are expecting some really cold weather by the week end.
- Meanwhile, the leaves are off of many of our trees. In my case overnight with the rain and wind, all the leaves are gone from one large willow oaks in the back yard. I will band today or tomorrow. I have had one person who lives on Mountain Island Lake say she saw her first female on Sunday. Every year she seems to be several days ahead of the infestation.
Also I have just installed Net Objects Fusion Version 15 to run the web site and had been using Version 9 for over ten years. Guess it was time to change.
- September 19, 2016 Monday
Looks like lawn care season is upon us and it has really been dry. I have some tips about how to get a decent lawn in the Charlotte area, and I will share some of them with you. I always try to re-seed my yard in very early September because we have lots of Willow Oak trees and I want the grass up before the leaves fall. We used to have to rake the leaves, and using a blower does not do the damage to new seedlings that raking over the new young grass seed would.
The soil should be in good working condition which to me means that it should be moist but not wet. We have not seen rain here now for many weeks so the soil is hard as a brick. I happen to have a sprinkler system so I started watering about a week before I wanted to plant. I tested the soil with my hand an a hand trowel. What this means, can I dig it with a hand trowel and what does a ball of dirt feel like after digging. It should be dry but cool and certainly no form a solid ball when you squeeze it.
This could be a very long article so if you want to read more go here
- August 14, 2016 Sunday
I try to post here every two to three weeks except during Cankerworm Season. Look like I have missed that goal since it has been almost 60 days.
- I have been interested in water issues around the world for a long time. I have made presentation about water and have stated for some years that I am seeing much heavier rain then I did in the past. It is true that the Internet has increased our awareness, and I have looked up record rainfalls around the world for several years.
- I have been struck by how many times we are seeing 12 inch rains in a 24 hour period. When this happens almost always people die because of the water. Just yesterday north of the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana there are several areas that received 21 inches or more of rain in a 24 hour period. And ... rain is still coming and flooding is increasing downstream.
- We just missed a storm in the Charlotte area that got Columbia SC on October 5, 2015 which was considered to be a 1000 year flood, and that was only 12 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. In Mount Pleasant SC the rain, they got 27 inches of rain in that storm. I now know if that was a 24 hour period, but by any accounts it’s a lot of water. Lives were lost, and it will cost over one billion dollars to repair.
Safety in Storms. We all need to know how to survive in our homes and outdoors.
- June 16, 2016 Thursday
Drought, Flooding, and Heat seem to be the topic of the day as well as guns, candidates, and the like. I want to go on a different tact today. That is Windows 10.
- WINDOWS 10 is supposed to be the do all end all of our computer needs. Will I tried it on a very good laptop that I inherited. That laptop is a Dell and seems to work very well. It was loaded with Microsoft Office 2007. The regular desktop that I work on and am writing these comments to day is loaded with 8 gigs of memory and running Windows XP, and has always performed great and is very stable. I am not too interested in changing and upgrading, but thought that would be OK on the New for me Laptop.
- I am using Microsoft Office 2010 and have the disk for it. After I had loaded Window 10 to the laptop I tried loading by disk my Microsoft Office 2010. It seems Windows 10 has a problem with that and said there might be a fix November. If that was this coming November or in 2015, I don’t know, but that was enough for me.
- I found it was pretty easy to remove Windows 10. Forget the exact procedure, but google remove windows 10 and there are just a few buttons to press.
- I am now going to try to upgrade my version of Net Objects Fusion from version somewhere around 2004, version 9.1 to NOF 2015.
- April 29, 2016 Friday
For a couple of weeks we had a flurry of cankerworm activity. I expected heavy damage to street trees in my neighborhood but it never happened. I caught lots of worms that were blown out of the trees and landed in the lawn. They tried to go back up the trees to feed, but there was little damage. The feeding quit about 7 days ago and and the worms are hunkering down in the soil until next fall when they will emerge and climb the tree again. I am posting a recap on the cankerworms this season and why I think we did not have the massive feeding I expected. Go to RecapCankerworms 2016
- April 12, 2016 Saturday
Easter Sunday was about the height of the cankerworm migration. The worms were moving up the trees rapidly and silken threads were everywhere. It was quite windy and the cankerworms on their silken threads were blown into other trees. Shortly after Easter, we had more windy and cold weather. The temperature dipped to the low 30’s. The timing of wind spread the cankeworms more than in other years, and the low temperatures slowed the worms down.
- Read More... Easter
April 2, 2016 Saturday
- I saw my first Fiery Searcher Beetle yesterday. This insect is supposed to eat cankerworms but I am seeing little evidence of that read more. see photo here
April 1, 2016
Several days ago I paid a visit to Freedom Park. There are several large willow oaks close to the lake and I took some photos of the traps that were put up in the fall.
- The trap above has some voids under the plastic and the insulation and has allowed some insects to escape up the tree to lay eggs.. Some of the traps used a type of glue as a substitute that has hardened and is not sticky at all.
The photo below shows a close up of the same tree and you can see some small cankerworms that are small greenish / yellow larvae (caterpillars) trying to crawl up the tree.
- March 30, 2016 Wednesday Yesterday I saw lots more young cankerworms moving up the trunks. Still there are fewer than I expected. There are several places I look at that have yearly infestations. One is the grove of Yoshina Cherry trees at the East Blvd. entrance to Freedom park between the tennis courts and the street. So far this year there are worms, but they have not done massive feeding yet. Since the worms feast on these trees every year with out fail, I am expecting that to change during the next week with warm weather on the way.
March 27, 2016 Easter Sunday
I have been seeing lots of small green cankerworms mostly on city trees. It is difficult for the very small worms to get over the base of the trap. The worms are about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long and coming up from the ground or grass. Read More The smaller worms will die if they don’t get something to eat and the larger 1/2 inch ones will need to get up into the canopy. I have seen a few silk threads but don’t think they have eaten enough up top to really be a nuisance yet.
We are in the early stages, but I remember in 2006 or 2007 we traveled to our daughter’s home in Virginia on Saturday before Easter. The worms were feeding heavily and when we got back home on Monday, the large willow oak on the edge of the driveway was totally defoliated even though we had a trap set up. The squirrels pulled all the pipe batting material out.
I don’t see that the city tree traps have caught many worms throughout the season. Tanglefoot was hard to obtain and Catch Master did not work as hoped.
- March 21, 2016 Monday
I have been getting reports of people seeing the little green worms about 1/8th of an inch long on their traps. or crawling around in general. The ones on the traps that have nothing to eat will die. As the trees continue to leaf out, the insects will be feeding and coming out of the trees. This is the time of the year when the ladies worry about getting cankerworms in their hair and for that matter, cankerworm frass. The frass will mess up your cars and fertilize ;your lawn. We have some interesting photos and comments on the Fall Cankerworm 2016 page.
- March 14, 2016 Monday
Prepare for the onslaught in ten days. The baby green 1/16 th long cankerworms were sighted on March 11th. Read More
February 15, 2016 Thursday
We live in a nice neighborhood where people take care of their homes and yards. One of the things that is an annoyance is the proliferation of signs that are everywhere. Here are a couple of illegal signs. For Sale Signs are allowed to be 6 square feet which includes the support structure. Both of these are on Kings Drive.
Linwood Bolles Sign
Kings Drive Sign
- February 11, 2016 Thursday
We have had more rain and now a windy and colder day. Then it will warm up again and we will think it is Spring. For years I have said that in February we will have one week when it is unseasonably warm and we think Spring is here. Star Magnolia come out, daffodils bloom, forsythia turns yellow. Don’t be fooled.
February 5, 2016 Friday
We have had more rain and now a windy and colder day. Then it will warm up again and we will think it is Spring. For years I have said that in February we will have one week when it is unseasonably warm and we think Spring is here. Star Magnolia come out, daffodils bloom, forsythia turns yellow. Don’t be fooled.
- January 24, 2016 Sunday
Today lots of snow and ice on the ground. Took the dog for a walk. Did see deer tracks in the front yard. That in itself is interesting in that we live about two miles from the center of Charlotte. For us locals that is the Square (Trade and Tryon).
January 23, 2016 Saturday
This is the day when we should have had the big snow storm here. We got 3 inches yesterday here and the temperature never got over freezing. I saw the sun poke through about 11:00 AM. We were lucky because we were projected for lots of freezing rain. Cities to the east of us had it much worse.
- January 16, 2016 Saturday
Earlier I mentioned that I had Poa trivialis in my front yard. Well on Saturday I dug up one of the clumps to see for myself the spreading roots. I used a large kitchen knife and cut under the climb. It was quite shallow and I could tell somewhat what the spreading roots looked like. Click here to see what the roots looked like up close after washing.
- January 15, 2016 Friday
- January 14, 2016 Thursday
- January 13, 2016 Wednesday
- January 12, 2016 Tuesday
The temperature registered on my thermometer at 29 degrees this morning. I t is a beautiful day, and the outside temperature got up to 52 degrees.
- January 11, 2016 Monday
- January 10, 2016 Sunday
- January 9, 2016 Saturday
There is a second weed grass weed that is quite similar to Poa Annua This is also in the Poa family and goes by the name Poa trivialis... also called Rough Grass. It also is a much lighter green than the normal Fescue of our area and grows faster. Below I have posted a photo taken from an upstairs window. I did this for two reasons, one is that the bright green grass really stands out, and you can get an idea how it has spread and just taken hold in one place. I will explain that here.
- January 8, 2016 Friday
This time of year, I keep an eye on the weeds that grow in my lawn. Winter weeds will grow very fast and spread their seeds with warm weather in the early spring. Poa Annua, Annual Blue Grass is our most common grassy weed and its seed head is below typical lawn mower height, therefore it can take over a lawn. See details here.
- January 6, 2016 Wednesday
Most important news today is that Blackhawk Hardware has gotten a shipment of TREEKOTE TREEBANDING GUM. They have it in two sizes a 15 oz container for $15.99 and a 8 lb tub $89.99.
- There’s much more on cankerworm page.
- January 2, 2016 Saturday
- With this cool weather and dry tree trunks, the cankerworms are out in mass today. Go to cankerworm page to see more left sidebar.
- January 1, 2016 Friday
At last a day without rain. Over the last several weeks I have dumped my rain gauge 3 times. 3.25 inches, another time at 3.25 inches and just this morning at 6.5 inches. That’s a total of 13 inches in about 3 weeks.
December 29, 2015 Tuesday
Most everyone with a lawn recognizes chick weed. It germinates in the fall but you won’t see it until we get warm winter weather. This is usually in midwinter when we get a warm spurt.. 2015 is an exception in that it has been terribly warm. However, to me More Important than Chickweed is Hairy Bitter Cress. Below are two photos, one of chickweed and the other of Hairy Bitter Cress. You should read more about Hairy Bitter Cress
Many people confuse Chickweed with Hairy Bitter Cress.
Chickweed below is easy to control with common broad leaf weed killers. The problem is that it germinates in the fall and is hard to spot until all of a sudden, in a warm period, it grows fast, spreads seeds and continues to spread its foliage. Proper timing and diligence is important.
- December 25, 2015 Friday
I took some interesting photos today as I walked my dog and observed mostly City Trees and how their cankerworm bands were working. Come back later
- December 24, 2015 Thursday
Today was very interesting. I passed a couple of houses that had street trees banded with the white bands and the Vaseline like stuff that seems to be absorbed pretty readily into the white band. What was noticeably different here is that on two trees there were some Bug Barrier traps placed directly above the city traps. I am sure the homeowner’s thought being that if insects crawled over the CatchMaster material, the Bug Barrier would catch them.
What the owner probably did not realize was that I would come along and count the insects in both traps. Read More
- December 21, 2015 Monday
I get some correspondence from people who visit this site and recently Jeff Peppard who lives near Sardis Road and Monroe Road close to Matthews contacted me. Jeff’s trees were defoliated last year so he did some good research and is using "red n tacky" wheel bearing grease. So far it is working for capturing the female cankerworms.
Read More about why it works.
December 16 2015 Wednesday
I found out that the material on the traps is CatchMaster. Read More
December 13, 2015 Sunday
1. I was on Beverly Drive this morning and got out of the car and saw this clump of what I thought was cankerworms on the Tree Band
First of all I do not like these white bands that the city is allowing the contractors to put up. They stick out like a sore thumb. Last year I complained but no action. I suspect they are cheaper than tar paper. The black color of the tar paper is much less conspicuous.
2. Whatever the Tanglefoot substitute being used is being absorbed by the white band. That will lower the effectiveness. Look at the photo above and you can easily see that it is being absorbed and there are no flies except on the blueish areas.
3. I think we have a new type of fly trap because these insects are not cankerworms, but house flies. Maybe they are attracted to sticky stuff. Anyone know what it is before I check and find out?
- December 9, 2015 Wednesday
I saw something curious the other day. There were two large Tanker Trucks parked on the street. Well, being the curious sort, I wanted to know what was going on. Each of these two trucks held 4000 gallons of fresh water that was taken from the fire hydrants. I believe the charge was 4 cents a gallon which is about the same thing that we pay if we have a separate water meter for irrigation or other purposes.
Each of these Tankers takes 30 minutes to pump their contents and a total of 7 Tanker loads of water were delivered.
I have no idea what the company charged, but it does all make sense.
Here is how it works out, I think. Had the homeowner used his garden hose it would have taken 5,600 minutes or 93 hours or 3.88 days to pump the water.. A five- gallon bucket fills in about one minute. Now since this yard had an irrigation system, the owner would be paying the maximum water rate since he is using over 16 ccf. I say this simply because an irrigation system even with a lot of drip irrigation uses a lot of water. I am saying this from personal experience. His basic bill would be $8.91 x the number of ccfs used. This comes to $249.20 for the delivered water. O wait, since this is based on the residential rate, he would also have to pay a storm water fee which is equal to the gallons used up to 16 ccf which means the charges stop at $128.00 this month only. If he has a separate irrigation meter then the rate drops from $8.91 to $4.71. None of this takes into account what he and his family would use washing dishes, laundry, etc.
There might be more savings, but he gets the job done more quickly and he might save $72.16. I am making some assumptions here but water is getting more expensive and will continue to do so. If you have a home with an irrigation system, you might save some money by installing a separate irrigation meter. You will probably get a lower rate on your normal household usage. You also will not have to pay for a sewage charge on the water you use through the irrigation meter. Here is the link. Cut and Paste to your browser.
December 8, 2015 Monday
This might be a solution for the unavailability of Tanglefoot. See More
I have made several entries about cankerworms since December 5, 2015. One more worm today. You should go to the Fall Cankerworm 2014-2015 location for these details.
- December 5, 2015 Saturday
First sighting of fall cankerworm. Today
I found one loan cankerworm on the bottom of the trap. This is usually a slow process. I suspect I will not see many more insects on the trap. I would expect them to accumulate in ten days. I will be posting to the right of the day a total number of cankerworms sighted as the season progresses.
- December 4, 2015 Friday
So far, no signs of cankerworms here in Charlotte. We have had some cold snaps, and it looks like on Sunday the 6th it will drop to 33 degrees. Nothing has changed as far as I can tell, and I will be curious to see what the 10th of December brings. That is the date that I first saw cankerworms in Charlotte last year (2014).
I get asked most every day about where to buy Tanglefoot or Bug Barrier. I did find that there is a distributor in the area who sells Bug Barrier, but only to companies that charge sales tax. I fully understand that. Many small companies such as landscapers are installing cankerworm traps. They will be reluctant to sell to a do it your-self-ER. Service businesses that normally see a drop off in work during the holiday season are likely to see opportunities to pick up extra money. I certainly can’t blame them, but if you want to install your own trap, what options do you have?
- The state has toughened up on their sales tax program so I know that if a company does not document its sales, then they can be fined for any materials they have sold.
I know one person who bought a 5 gallon pail of axle gear oil and is doing his traps with that. I suspect it is sticky enough to capture cankerworms, but how will it do when the sun shines on the trunk and the grease melts and flows down off the black tar paper. I suspect the tarpaper would absorb heat and increase the melt. I have actually seen Tanglefoot melt to a certain extent. If someone tries the axle grease and it works, please contact me and tell me how it held up. Hopefully, Tanglefoot will be back on the market in 2016.
- November 22, 2015 Sunday
- I got a message today from Patrick Anderson that he discovered one female cankerworm over in East Charlotte. The migration is getting here sooner than 2014. Patrick is a professional in the Tree Care Industry.
- November 24, 2015 Tuesday
First Cankerworm Siting for the 2015/2016 Got to Current Info
- November 22, 2015 Sunday (continued)
I suppose it is time to get serious about cankerworm activity. I think tonight the temperature is supposed to go to 27 degrees and the same thing on Tuesday. From past observations, it take about 3 consecutive days in the twenties to activate the cankerworms. In theory, the worms could start sooner out in the county than in the city, just because it is generally warmer in the city in the fall. Other factors such as how many warm days we have had preceding a sudden drop would mean that the soil is too warm to activate the cankerworms inner calendar.
Over the past years the first sightings of cankerworm activity has been in December, but there is no reason I know of why they might not do so in November if we have the correct drop in temperature. You probably have noticed that there are a lot of city traps up already on larger street trees but there is no Tanglefoot on them. Part of that is make sure the still dropping leaves don’t land on the trap.
The big issue for do-it-your-selfers, and I suppose some tree companies is that there is NO Tanglefoot Available. Read More
November 22, 2015 Sunday
- The weather system continued to dump rain here on the afternoon of Monday November 9th. When it was all over my rain gauge showed 3.5 inches. So that total is 11.5 inches of rain about a week. Bet they would like to have had that out west but maybe not all coming down too quickly.
- November 9, 2015 Monday
- Heavy rain this morning. The weather map shows rain steady almost to Roanoke to the North and back to Atlanta. I am posting this about 12:00 PM (noon) and there are a little over 2 inches of new rain.
At least it is cool and the grass is growing slowly. If this were the spring time, my grass would be foot tall. It has been too wet to mow for three weeks.
- November 8, 2015 Sunday
- Well, as predicted we got a lot of rain over the past week. I keep a rain gauge. out the back door and check it frequently.. My observations are different from the OFFICIAL readings at the airport. I got 5 inches of rain early in the week, dumped it from the rain gague, and then added another 3 inches through yesterday November 7th. That’s a total of 8 inches. In the late afternoon, I emptied the rain gague to see what would happen on Monday.
I think we caught up on our deficit for the year. That is not why I am writing this bit. I have a vacant lot next to my house and there are two large fire ant nest there. With all the rain, wondered about them in reference to the 1000 year flood that hit Columbia SC on October 7th 2015. I am sure they are still cleaning up the mud and other debris.
I read an interesting article about the flood that fire ant have a unique way of surviving floods. They form into a dense ball and as the flood water come, they float on the surface and are carried downstream. Eventually they land, find a new home and set up shop. Pretty cool if you are a fire ant.
There might be more fire ants in south Carolina than Charlotte, but there are plenty here and they are mostly a nuisance because they can sting you badly and can kill a dog or child. You do not want them in your yard. I have assembled several articles that have more details about fire ants with some links to other places on the internet. North Carolina State University is an excellent resource for more information. Fire ant information
November 1, 2015 Sunday
Rain is coming Torrential Rains in Texas
The photo above only one of many dead trees caused by lack of water.
July 22, 2015 Wednesday
So how how do we water these trees? There are lots of ways. If you can get to the location of the tree with a garden hose, that’s obviously the thing to do. You want to water long enough so that water gets to the bottom of the roots. On a typical willow oak planted along the city streets that is probably somewhere between 8 inches and a foot. If you are not sure how deep previous rainfall or your own watering is, then take a hand trowel or shovel and just separate the soil. At the bottom the soil should feel moist, not wet. More trees (plants in general) die from over watering than under watering.
- I study weather maps, and we just missed a bullet. The storm that swamped Columbia SC on October 7, 2015 could just as easily have swamped Charlotte. There was cold front just above Charlotte and had it been weaker, we might have gotten the 20 inches of rain that Columbia did. 62 dams were over topped and collapsed. Most of the small dams in the US are earthen dams and are designed to last 50 years.
- We used to talk about 100 year floods, but those days are gone. Now communities talk about 1000 year floods which is what Columbia experienced. Pay attention to what streams are near you home. Try to figure out where flood waters would go if we had a 1000 year flood. It could happen is happening around the World more frequently than it used to.
October 31, 2015 Saturday Note about Tanglefoot
- Tanglefoot for banding trees for cankerworm might be hard to get this year. The company went bankrupt and Scotts, the grass and fertilizer company, ended up with the company that made and sold Tanglefoot. They started to manufacture it and then decided to pull it off the market for at least this season. I understand that in the future they will be charging more and selling through the be box stores.
So what do you do? Blackhawk hardware, in Park Road Shopping Center has material, but they have a limit on how much you can buy. They do have in stock the small 15 oz containers and you can purchase 5 of those. They also have the 5 pound pail and that size is limited to 1 per person.
- I also have heard you can get it on the internet but what I found were caulking tubes with very low volume ... nothing else
October 31, 2015 Saturday
Now that fall is officially here, there are two things, two major things relevant to trees that homeowners (maybe better, tree owners) should look for. The first is for signs of mushrooms around the base of your trees, especially Willow Oaks. The second thing is to keep an eye out for the fall cankerworm, especially if you had an infestation in early Spring in April.
I am seeing quite a few different types of mushrooms on trees and in lawns. Most are not harmful to the trees or the lawns, but the Inonotus dryadeus often called Weeping Conk is very common on the larger willow oaks and is a real sign that there are decay problems with your trees. If you have been on this site before you know that we have much information about cankerworms and root rot.
I will be keeping an eye open and continue posting information as we get closer to the cankerworm emergence. It will not happen until we have several days of below freezing weather. Use the left sidebar or click on the highlighted links above.
- September 17, 2015 Thursday
- Even thought it has cooled down the last several days, we are still in a severe drought. You are probably aware of the drought, but in my opinion it is much worse than most people know. I am seeing many dead trees, both newly planted and existing. This drought is bad enough that it could easily kill trees that were under stress last year, but just managed to hang on. Besides the cost factors, it also means that we will lose several years of growth just because it takes time to obtain, and pay for new trees. If its and older tree that succumb then it will take many years to get the tree canopy to the size of the dead tree.
- In mid July, I asked the city how many trees they planted this past spring, and have not had any answer. I did a little checking on my own and determined that they had planted approximately 1200 small trees this past season about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. The acting City Arborist told me some weeks ago that some places around town there has been a 38 percent loss. For the typical tree planting program the lose should be closer to 3 to 5 percent. These trees cost about $400 to $450 to plant. Also, the dead trees will have to be dug up, hauled away and replanted.
- If half ( 50%) of the trees die between now, and when we normally get decent rain, that will be a cost of $240,000.00.
- Last years newly planted trees and shrubs and large trees will suffer too. Even if my statistics are off these are big numbers in my book. I got alarmed about this on July 22nd and brushed up on some research about watering trees and have posted that information on this site about how to water one's trees.
- All of us need to look at our trees and shrubs and start watering them Most people don't now how to water plants so I have posted some helpful information. see more
What usually happens is that a little water is put on top of the ground next to the trunk After a typical watering the soil will be wet 1/2 inch deep. You need to get the water down about 12 inches. Also for any tree or shrub other than a newly planted tree, apply water well out on both sides of the drip zone as the root system is typically beyond the drip zone. The drip zone is shown in this drawing. Its a pretty simple concept to understand.
- August 12, 2015 Wednesday
- Last night was a game changer. We finally got some rain to the tune of 1 1/2 inches. That is the best rain we have had in months. I don’t keep up with daily rain totals but we have only had one decent rain prior to this one last night since the drought started. I understand parts of Charlotte got 4 inches. We need some more soaking rains to help the trees and shrubs. We will take whatever we can get and be thankful.
- August 11, 2015 Tuesday
- A pretty good rain storm came through last night. CLT area reported .01 inches of rain. We got less then 1/8th of an inch. The drought goes on.
- August 10, 2015 Monday
- I am seeing more dying trees every day. I had the occasion to travel up I-77 yesterday August 9th and saw lots of tulip poplar trees shedding some leaves. Nature’s response to drought is to close the pores on their leaves to cut down transpiration, curl leaves, and shed some leaves. The tulip poplar is very distinctive in that its leaves turn bright yellow. If we have an ordinary dry summer the tulip poplar will be one of first trees to start losing its leaves in early fall. There are other indicator trees, and sometimes if the tree is growing in an area where the root system is restricted, an otherwise hardy tree will show signs of stress and many times die.
Pay attention to your shrubbery as well because many shrubs such as azaleas have very shallow root systems. Check out How to Water Trees and Shrubs
July 26, 2015 Sunday
- Local trees are dying because of lack of water. That is a fact. In particular, we are seeing young recently planted trees dying. The trees we are seeing are mostly street trees planted by the city this past spring. Over the past several days I have tried to call attention to this issue. Below are the various headings with links to some pages devoted to what you need to understand about the health of the trees, and what you can do about it.
If there is a short answer, I will provide it directly to the comment, if a short answer does not come to mind, then I will provide a hot link to the subject..
- Why are the trees turning brown ... We have gone for several months with very little water. Large trees don’t show it much yet, because their roots are deeper and more extensive. Trees planted in 2013 and 2014 will show signs of stress if this drought keeps up. Newly planted trees will absolutely die if they do not get water
- What can I do to save my trees... Get out your hose and start watering. It is not easy to water properly. You need to do more than wet the surface. The water needs to get down 12 inches or so. Our soil is heavy clay so you can water too much and drown the tree. After a year in the ground, you can fertilize a tree which will help it become established.
- Understand the root system (I will add to this soon)
Long term damage ... If the tree is damaged, its ability to fight off diseases and insects is compromised, just like a persons. Young trees take several years to get over the shock of being planted. A great deal of the root system was left in the ground when it was transplanted and the tree has to overcome that.
- Various methods of watering trees
- July 24, 2015 Friday
Here are a few general rules. Since we are talking about small trees mostly, the trees need to be helped along until the roots become established. Watering should be done at the edge of the root ball and in toward the trunk but probably 8 to 10 inches away from the bark. Too much water at the bark on the trunk can cause decay organisms to invade the tree. We want the ground to be moist out beyond the root ball so new roots can grow into that area which will help with anchoring the tree in the ground for the future. Watering just at the base of the tree will not allow the roots to grow outward, and often you end up with a weak tree that will not be well anchored in the ground.. If you are in doubt, try to think what Mother Nature does. She optimally will deliver rain at the rate of one to one and 1/2 inches per week. We should try to match that.
If your tree is 3 inches in diameter a foot above the ground then it should get approximately 15 gallons per week. The basic formula is that you provide enough water to match that 1 to 1/12 inches per week. This is when you might want to dig down ten inches at the end of a weeks worth of watering to see if the soil is moist. The hand is a marvelous appendage, in that just feeling the soil is better than most machines can tell you if you need to water or not.
How to make a 5 gallon bucket tree waterer / feeder
July 22, 2015 Wednesday
With yesterday’s water restrictions, here is what you should consider. If your lawn is dried up and gone, just wait until fall and adequate rain to replant grass seed. Planting fescue up until October 15th is the general cut off date for planting grass. Mainly the grass roots grow deep in the winter even though there might not be too much top growth. Conversely spring planting of grass seed usually doesn’t work too well, because at the first dry weather, the new grass usually dries up and dies.
Check your shrubbery at the base under the foliage. Mulching will help keep the soil cool and preserve moisture. If the upper foliage is starting to turn color or shriveling up, then get some water on the plants immediately. You can also take your fingernail and pry off a little outer bark. If it is green, then the cambium layer is still alive. If the inner bark area is brown and the twig breaks easily, that part of the plant is gone. Check further down on the plant and see how it looks.
Shortly, I will have more information about using drip irrigation on these pages. Try this link Residential Drip Irrigation.
Also new as of July 24, 2015 How to Make a Tree Watering / Feeding from a 5 Gallon Bucket
Newly Planted Trees
I have seen quite a number of dead newly planted trees along Charlotte’s streets and in peoples yards. The other day I contacted the new (interim) City Arborist Tim Porter
Tim Porter wrote me the following information:
Following up on our discussion last week regarding numerous newly-planted trees around town that seem to be struggling. The City has noticed that a much higher percentage of recently-planted trees are browning out, dying and generally struggling this summer. The extreme temperatures and localized rain events we’ve been experiencing this summer in Charlotte most likely are playing a large role in this.
The City always encourages citizens to help water any newly-planted trees. A good rule of thumb to follow is water 1-2 times a week depending on the level of moisture stress in the environment. If it’s rained a lot lately then watering may not be needed at all. One gallon of water for every inch diameter is a commonly used ratio for watering. Research has shown that slow/deep waterings work well. Quick drenches with a hose will help but may cause unintended erosion and may waste more water than slower delivery methods such as Gator bags, drip irrigation and perforated buckets. Over-watering is rare, but is possible and volumes over 10 gallons a week should be avoided. As most of the trees the City plants are street trees, Citizens should always use extreme caution when watering. Watch for cars and pedestrians and don’t block sidewalks or sight lines.
Feel free to pass this along to any interested citizens and property owners. Trees that decline and die will be removed and replaced by the City and/or City contractors. The City’s planting programs usually have very high rates of success when it comes to getting new trees to establish and thrive. Tree mortality rates are usually very low. Citizens can contact us at 311 or 704-336-4262 to report any tree issues.
Interim City Arborist
City of Charlotte
July 21, 2015 Tuesday
Still very little rain. There have been several heavy showers in Charlotte, but all but one has managed to evade my yard for months. This past Saturday, we did get a good downpour of about 2 inches in an hour or two. The main problem with that is that the rain hits the ground and runs off unless there is mulch or you have been watering and the grass and ground can absorb the water
Just today, the city of Charlotte posted voluntary water restrictions and we are only supposed to water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Cabarrus County can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
June 24,2015 Wednesday
Where did those cool days of spring go. We are in a Serious Drought.
Two weeks of 90 plus temps and no rain at my house. There have been a couple of showers, but it is really dry. Grass is drying up everywhere and some people think it is Brown Patch Disease. It is but why are my shrubs dying too? The stored up moisture in our soil has been disappearing rapidly which it usually does as summer progresses. July, August, and sometimes September and October are often thought of as dry. We are just in a very unseasonable drought.
Let me share my experience about drip irrigation with you. I suspect that most drip irrigation is put in improperly. When we first started using it 30 years ago my guys thought that we should wrap the Netafim tubing around each plant so the in line emitters would water evenly.
This was a very bad idea in that it was almost impossible to troubleshoot the drip tubing after it was covered with mulch which around here is mostly pine needles. Just a little study showed us that laying out a grid patter one could water an entire section or by keeping the emitter line in a more or less straight line on the high side of the plant so water would run downhill into the plants root zone. We chose Netafim which is an Israeli company because they are in a desert area, and have been doing this for 50 years or more. I figured they must know what they were doing. There is really more to this story but I will create a second page called Residential Drip Irrigation.
- May 8, 2015 Friday
I have been trying to track how long it takes for the defoliated trees to come back. Since it is spotty, it is a little more difficult to track. I have observed a few things. I saw a 30 inch diameter willow oak in Freedom Park that appeared to have been heavily attacked by the fall cankerworm. The strange thing is that from a distance it looked reddish brown in the top and at first glance one would say the tree is dying. That was not the case, when the new growth is coming on, it is often a reddish, green, brown color. I think it will all turn green shortly.
I also have been watching a street tree willow oak about 6 inches in diameter. It has been void of all leaves until the last couple of days. They were not chewed off by cankerworms. This tree is loaded with Lecanium Scale which has really weakened the tree
May 3, 2015 Sunday
The cankerworm infestation is similar to last year in that it is really spotty. My neighborhood has not been hit too hard but parts of Freedom Park, Sedgefield, Scaleybark, out South Tryon, Highway 77 and the airport area have had places where there are many defoliated trees.
The thing I am doing is studying some of these trees and see how long it takes for them to put on a second crop of leaves.
- I will be posting about that.
- April 28, 2015 Tuesday
I have been watching the cankerworm infested trees around town. What I am seeing is trees in some locations being badly defoliated and other areas the trees look good. In my own case, I only have one major tree left having been here for over forty years. I banded that tree and did have some cankerworms drop to the ground. A few got on my wife’s car, and there were several days when I saw the silken threads hanging down from the tree. I know bands work and have photographed the differences in years past.
I also have some new trees that I planted and they are in their second season. What happened with them is an interesting story. read more
- April 14, 2015 Tuesday
Today, the subject is Fiery Searcher Beetle. Matt e-mailed me that they had invaded his house and his wife is upset.
- Read More
- April 2, 2015 Thursday
- I saw my first cankerworm yesterday afternoon. more details
- March 26, 2015 Thursday
- I will now switch gears as it looks like Spring is really here. Two years ago I discovered a weed in my yard that was beginning to be a real problem in the lawn and flower beds. At first I thought it was chickweed which is very common most everywhere. I will not go into a lot of details here about what it looks like, but it has a small white flower and will form large clumps in your yard. It also dies off as it gets warmer.
This new weed (to me) which an import here from Asia has been around for thousands of years. The leaves are edible and it is called Hairy Bitter Cress.
- Have photo will show
- March 11, 2015 Tuesday
- I did a followup search on the Fiery Searcher Beetle which is commonly called the caterpillar beetle. It seems there are many species and most are beneficial insects. We can do things in our gardens and yards to encourage them. I found this link that was very helpful to me in understanding them and why they help control fall cankerworms and for that matter help in our gardens to become less dependent on insecticides. Here is the link: http://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/garden-allies-predaceous-ground-beetles/ There were 26,900 results to a search for fiery searcher ground beetle.
- March 10, 2015 Tuesday
Flash Message from City Arborist about Cankerworms:
I received a message yesterday evening that we should be taking down our cankerworm traps. That is because there is an insect that will devour the cankerworm larvae when they hatch. Don Mc McSween says that these Fiery Beetle are here naturally and not imported.
- Here is his message. This is a reminder to start removing your bands to allow for the Fiery Searcher Beetle. This is a “caterpillar gobbler” that will eat over 200 caterpillars a day. The Larvae of this beetle also eats caterpillars. The reason for taking down the bands is that the adult (shown above) will climb the trees in search of its delectable meal.
- I have a photo to post later.
In the past we have left the traps on to trap the beetles when they are coming down or going up the tree. We often catch 1000s. This fiery search beetle is something new to me. If it works great. The cankerworm eggs are all in the tops of trees and will come out the last or March. It might be a little later this year because of the unseasonably cold. Daffodils are just now coming out and they are a month late.
- February 25, 2015 Wednesday
February 24th has come and gone. That was the day I made a presentation titled What Every Homeowner Needs To Know About Their Aging Trees.
I have been working on this program for several months. The way it happened was that our homeowner’s Association (Myers Park Homeowners Association) decided that many of the residences of our area were not aware of the health and safety of their trees. There was a detailed newspaper article in The Charlotte Observer Sunday January 25th. A few days later two large oak trees fell in the Dilworth Neighborhood, one of them on the house and then several days later a tree fell on a car and trapped a woman inside. Fortunately, she was not injured. If you do not live here, we have lots of street trees that form a canopy over or streets and many of these trees have reached old age. Want to read more click here Photo below is of the canopy of willow oaks along Queens Road West in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- February 12, 2015 Thursday
Cankerworms trapped per day are decreasing. The total so far this season is 1210. On the same date last year the total number of cankerworms trapped was 1811. Be the 25th of the month, there were no more trapped.
- February 7, 2015 Saturday
I suppose you could say I have come out of retirement recently. At my urging, the Myers Park Homeowners Association is sponsoring a program called What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees. Look over to the left sidebar and you will see a link to the information. The date is February 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM, and we have had a very good response. We have had to change locations. Our previous flyer stated that the program would be at the Wellness Center of the Myers Park Presbyterian Church. We have moved it across the street to Providence Hall. I have a map that will show the new location and how to get there. Click here for Map
- January 23, 2015 Saturday
I have posted quite a bit on this web site over the past couple of months, but it has been mostly dealing with Cankerworm issues. The worms are just past full migration and will continue do so for a few more weeks, but they usually quit in the early days of February.
I suspect that most people by now have seen the bands on the trees and figured out that something is going on of some significance since these bands go up every year in the Fall
The cankerworms do some damage to the trees, but just how much damage do they do? We have a long growing season compared to states to the North. Healthy trees will withstand a heavy infestation of the cankerworms. I have seen whole groves of willow oaks totally defoliated and yet, three weeks later they have a full crop of leaves and one would never know they had been defoliated.
There will be some exceptions and continued defoliation year after year can kill a tree. Also much like humans, if a tree already has several other problems, a cankerworm infestation can be the straw that breaks the camels back.
There is much written on the cankerworm pages about this and other details.
What is a lot more significant is that many of our trees in Charlotte have reached the end of their useful life. I live in the Myers Park neighborhood and have been keeping an eye on the trees here for almost 50 years. The Myers Park Homeowners Association (MPHA) board with my urging has decided to present a program about our Aging Trees. We feel that many people move into a home and because of all the busy lives we lead, often ignore the trees in their yards or their neighbor’s yards. We will be presenting a program titled What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees. This program will deal with common sense things that will help a homeowner evaluate his or her trees. We realized that there are lots of other neighborhoods in Charlotte and for that matter cities like Mooresville, Concord, Davidson, and others, that have aging trees also.
For that reason we have opened it up to anyone who wants to attend. The program is free but we request that everyone pre-register so that we will have a pretty good idea of how many people will show up.
There is more information at this link. Aging Trees Program
December 28, 2014 Sunday
- The cankerworms are really on the move now. I counted them on a street tree this morning and the total number since yesterday was 51 female cankerworms. More here
- December 24, 2014 Wednesday
I have made lots of entries about cankerworms since the Dec 8th entry. Check that out for details. Meanwhile, prior to putting the Tanglefoot on the street trees, the photo below shows what it looks like. It is bad enough having the black tarpaper on the tree trunks, but this white is really an eye sore. I hope the city will go back next year and make the banding less intrusive in our beautiful city.
Willow Oaks along Queens Road West. Still very little cankerworm activity in my area.
December 8, 2014 Monday
- I took this photo this morning on my walk with Bear, my dog. This is the reason that I suggest you wait to put the sticky Tanglefoot on until the leaves are down. In this case I suspect most of these got blown up on the trap by a leaf blower, but the leaves need to be cleared from the trap.
- I have found that an old pair of tweezers works well for taking off leaves. Since it gets sticky, I hang over the top of the trap to use it later.
In case you have not noticed, I have changed the text to 14 point as I hope it makes it easier for some people to read.
December 1, 2014 Monday
My trap is up and the biggest percentage of the leaves are down. Since I install my bands myself, I only put a narrow strip of Tanglefoot on the trap. see more
- November 28, 2014 Saturday
- No sign of cankerworms yet.
- November 24, 2014 Monday
note to self First thing for me to do is check soil temperature
- November 22, 2014 Saturday
On Wednesday it drooped to 22 degrees which if the ground had been cooler we could have seen some cankerworm activity the next day. I believe we will have some more time before the cankerworms start crawling. Here is why read more
- November 17, 2014 Monday
Looks like it will be cold. Monday night 27 degrees, Tuesday 17 degrees and Wednesday 24 degrees. Under normal circumstances this much cold for three days is enough to bring out the cankerworms. Check here for more information.
- November 16, 2014 Sunday
People are asking me about cankerworms. I think and hope they are some weeks away. It is fine to have the traps up now as long as there is no Tanglefoot on them. There are still lots of leaves on the trees and they will really mess the traps up. Also lawn services are using blowers every day and you will see lots of leaves on or in your traps.
Normally it takes three continuous days of cold below freezing weather to cause the cankerworms that are in the ground to move. I think the soil is too warm. Much more on this subject sooner rather than later.
November 15, 2014 Saturday
- Where did the summer go. I intended to post a lot of information about how our major willow oaks are reaching old age since they were planted around 1917. I have taken many photos and have been a little overwhelmed by how many trees have been removed. Now all of a sudden it is winter and the temperature will be dropping in a few days into the low 20s. I will have more on this later and all the mushrooms you are probably seeing at the base of your trees. This one is not the typical cinnamon colored one. Inonotus dryadeus
- June 30, 2014 Wed
I have some water lilies for sale, they are blooming profusely. Link is water lilies 2014
Here is a sample photo Mayla
June 30, 2014 Wed
- I have been a busy tending to my pond plants. I still have a few koi which are really beautiful fish, but the plants are part of the filter. The photo directly below is the filter I have on my 1800 gallon koi pond. The water re-circulates through a very small pump that I keep in a 5 gallon pail in the pond. The pond has a very elaborate bottom drain but I do not use that set up anymore.
It is much simpler this way and keeps the water clear. Typically, the sweet flag grows about 18 inches tall. Here with all the nutrients in the water it is pushing four feet. Also note the Parrot Feather hanging over the side.
If you want to check out this filter system and some other plants I grow in it, check of this link on Flickr.
- June 2, 2014 Wed
It has been a busy month. I went fly fishing a number of times, took lots of photos about tree removals on Queens Road West. See the latest information and a recap of the cankerworm season.
May 7, 2014 Wed
Today I read the articles about climate change in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Charlotte Observer. It was interesting and not surprising to see how each newspaper focused.
I happen to be of the school of thought that thinks we are into climate change in a big way and not just in the United States. It bothers me that most all the attention in the papers was on us but there are many other countries that have seen extremes. England had major flooding, Australia severe drought, All the countries surrounding the Himalayan mountains suffer from drought and severe flooding mostly during the monsoon season.
- Finally the major channels are using the word “Climate Change” where until very recently, they would just not mention it period. I am pleased that we are addressing at least verbally that we should undertake some action. I had read before that the Virginia Beach area was sinking and the reasons for it. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina might see a much greater rise in sea level and we still have 50 counties in eastern North Carolina can’t mention the word because it will hurt business.
One of the things I have focused on personally is the cost of every flood, tornado, fire, or drought to those who are directly affected. In August of 2011 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Vermont was hit by 11 inches of rain. Some streams which previously were pretty peaceful ribbons of water became torrents which tore through the area. In one small town the main bridge was washed away and the river bed was widened. The town was going to have a difficult time acquiring enough money to fix the bridge and roadway. At best fixing it was not going to happen fast.
If you add the cost of all these events from the increasing expensive natural disasters, it will cost this country a great deal of money. Fortunately, some cities are enlarging their disaster plans.
I live close to Freedom Park and uphill quite a bit. I wonder what an 11 inch rain would do to my neighborhood. Here is a photo of Sugar Creek at East Blvd. after one of our recent storms of 5 1/2 inches. I photographed this after checking my rain gauge on the way out to walk Bear (my Dog). I measure the water in the stream by how many post of the railing are covered with water. This past season I have read of 11 inch rains in Florida. Vermont, and 12 inches in Boulder Colorado.
- April 30, 2014 Wed
For all practical purposes the cankerworms are finished. I have seen a few that are still alive on the ground and because I have been doing some irrigation repair work I have seen some insects down in the mulch and turf. I assume they are getting ready to burrow in the ground. When I get time I will get over to the current information page and recap some important observations for this past season. There is no doubt that the cankerworm infestation has been very severe in many parts of Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. see current
- April 26, 2014 Saturday
- I live next door to a vacant lot which had the basement back in the day. In the heat of the summer it is dry, but fills like a small lake during the winter and early spring when we have ample rain. Right now as of this morning I looked over at Lake Caroline which is what we named it, and we have a couple of new residents. A male and female Mallard Duck have made it their private lake and I suspect they will build a nest. I will keep a lookout for nest and duck eggs.
Photo #1 below shows first sighting of ducks.
Photo # 2 I tried to get closer for a shot and they decided to get in the water and get out of my way.
Photo # 3 Swimming across the pond.
Photo # 4 Out on the other side.
Photo # 5 Ducks going away.
Close up of male and female Mallard Ducks. I hope they will come back and nest.
- April 25, 2014
I was reading an article in the New York Times and saw the name Matt McCann. (continued)
April 23, 2014
I had a call from someone off of Eastway Drive and he stated that his trees have been totally defoliated. Obviously, cankerworm activity is very heavy in some areas, and not so much in others.
- Observation: Cankerworms feed on lots of trees but around here like willow oaks the best. Up north they prefer elm trees. We do not have as many elms and the winged elm comes out later than the willow oak. The true American Elm is not very common and up north, it has been destroyed in many areas by the Dutch Elm Disease.
April 22, 2014
Heavy feeding is going on now. The number of caterpillars going up the trunks of the trees is slowing down but not over. I am seeing more of the black cankerworm with thin yellow stripes. It seems that the bright green ones first appear and then as the season slows down, we see more of the black. I also saw another strange colored one that I have seen photos of before.
April 21, 2014
Cankerworm activity is still scattered, but next to the Freedom Park tennis court I counted 7 willow oaks that are almost stripped of all the leaves. The day after the rain (Sunday) I could tell there was activity in those trees so was surprised to see the amount of feeding in just a day.
There were threads of silk many of them with hanging worms under the tree and it was about impossible to walk on the side of the sidewalk that was adjacent to the trees.
I also noticed several large oaks with hardly any leaves on Selwyn Avenue where Queens Road West intersects and again defoliated trees at Selwyn and Runnymeade.
- April 21, 2014
On Sunday mid day I walked my dog on one of my normal routes into Freedom Park. The water on Saturday was up to five post which is nearly as high as I have ever seen it. There is a rail on the walkway under the bridge and it has metal pipes or post supporting it. When it floods I measure the water by the number of post or pipes the water touches.
- We had a slow steady rain and a big thunderstorm upstream will raise it more. Today (Monday) it is almost clear again and still pretty high.
- April 20, 2014
Sunny and cool in the morning. Low 50 in AM and not much movement of the cankerworms. In the afternoon as it warmed up into the 70s the cankerworms were very active. I sprayed the trunk a few days before the rain and there were no worms crawling up the trunk until Sunday afternoon. There were hundreds and most of them on the sunny side of the tree.
- April 19, 2014 (Saturday)
Lots of rain today, all day ... the total turned out to be 5 1/2 inches. There was no movement of the cankerworms.
- April 18, 2014
There are a number of interesting things to observe about the cankerworms at this time of the year. Sally Swanson wrote me from Durham and asked if the cankerworms on her deck were dead and would the cold at about freezing kill them. I said I thought that was wishful thinking.
My observations are that cankerworms don’t like the cold (or wet). Today it was 55 degrees in the early morning and the cankerworms were lethargic to say the lease. Yesterday it was right at freezing in the early morning. I pulled several from their treads that looked about dead and breathed on them. After a few breaths they started moving around.
You will notice on the photos of the traps that there are lots of cankerworms at different sizes. I doubt that they all hatched at the same time but also if they ended up on a newly planted tree (5” willow oak) such as I have in my yard they will be feeding on smaller newer buds because the tree is still suffering from planting shock and the damage they can do to that tree and any other which is late in leafing out could be severe.
I plan to spray the foliage today as far as I can reach with Permethrin see article on jackmcneary.com. This will decrease the feeding. I think the worms will be feeding for another week or two depending on the weather. They will put on a great deal of growth and eat like a teenager. So be prepared for defoliated trees.
In reading a site on cankerworms from Minnesota the authors stated that the banding did not do much good. I strongly disagree in that I have photos from years past that show the difference. Do the band correctly at the right time and keep the Tanglefoot on them and this year you might capture 1000s of insects in a single trap.
How long will cankerworms feed on your trees.
Most people will not see the cankerworms when they first come out. They are about 1/16th of an inch long and take about a week to become a nuisance to us. The general consensus is that they will be around for about weeks. If I were to pick the number of days I would say 21 days because that is a magic number in nature. Maybe I would be safer saying 21 days from when you saw the first cankerworm.
They will get much bigger from hereon out. They will grow rapidly which means they will eat a lot.
Here is some good news
The cankerworms drop to the ground and become fertilizer. Also all that cankerworm poop correctly called frass is great fertilizer and your lawns will really look good for a time.
If your trees are in pretty good shape, they will put on a second leaf crop and be fine. If you don’t want cankerworms around next year feeding on your trees and shrubs, then you should plan on banding. Remember that many of those cankerworms are coming from your neighbors trees.
- April 16, 2014
Still at the top of things to observe outdoors is the cankerworm activity.
We have had several days of strange weather like the rest of the country. It was almost freezing here early this morning. As I was walking my dog in the afternoon I came upon several trees that were loaded with cankerworms. They don’t move much when it is raining or real cold, but when it warms up they get going.
I have changed my opinion that it would be scattered heavy infestations. I now think that in this neighborhood, it will be massive. I have not seen the traps loaded with so many cankerworms in years. If you didn’t band your trees you can expect major defoliation in the trees the cankerworms like to eat. Willow Oak street trees with bands are a good way to check on the status.
I was amused by the dollar bill tree. I wish I had a dollar bill for every cankerworm I have seen. More on Cankerworms here.
- April 9, 2014
Later yesterday (April 8th) I was walking my dog and saw some city trees with lots of cankerworms in the traps. These insects were well advanced than the CW’s on my trap and obviously came out much earlier. Since it usually takes about a week after hatching for us to see them on the ground, climbing trees and being captured in the traps I suspect they hatched early April (3,4,5). In years past, I have observed the small cankerworms the last days of March.
The photo below was taken April 8, 2014 and is from a willow oak on Queens Road West. Note the size of the willow oak leaves compared to the young cankerworms
- April 8, 2014
Cankerworms are hatching. Yesterday we had severe rains here in Charlotte, and I suspect some cankerworms came out over the mild weekend (April 3,4,5 2014). I was gone since last Thursday fly fishing in the NC mountains. I usually see these worms on my trap where the male and female have gotten together and mate.. A few egg cases on the trap will hatch and I will se very small cankerworms. They have nothing to feed on. Today I found one bright green cankerworm about a half inch long. It will take the best part of a week for most people to observe the new worms.
- Leave the traps up, and if the old Tanglefoot is filled with worms, dust, leaves, add some more Tanglefoot to the outside of the trap. In my neighborhood, we should catch a lot of “inch worms.” They initially will climb the tree for new tender foliage and buds. Later as they mature they will either parachute down on silken threads or crawl down the trunk to spend the next part of their life cycle underground. More on Cankerworms
February 2, 2014
Several days ago the new report about the XL Pipeline was published. This new report said that weather or not the pipeline was built would not affect Global Warming. The reason being that Canada was going to extract the Bitumen tar sands one way or another. Therefore, we might as well build the pipeline to speed the process up, create jobs, energy security, etc.
- Unfortunately, what is being dug out of the ground in Alberta is not “oil” but bitumen which has a consistency like peanut butter. To move bitumen through the existing pipelines it is thinned with solvents and pumped through the pipes at a higher pressure than previous types of oil extracted in Texas, Pennsylvania, and other states.. What is not known by most people is that bitumen does not float on water like oil. As soon as the solvents evaporate, bitumen goes to the bottom and has to be dug out to be removed.
- Oversight is lacking. It took 17 hours for Unbridle to shut off the leak. Once Enbridge found that dilbit sunk and was on the bottom of the Kalamazoo River, they tried to cover it up with dirt. A whistle blower named John Bolenbaugh reported them and is a whole story in itself. Also to get a full insight into the Enbridge Oil Spill on Sunday July 25, 2010, check out The Biggest Oil Spill You Never Heard Of.
- When the Kalamazoo oil spill appeared a few weeks after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico in June of 2010, this spill took a back seat to BP and was originally stated to be cleaned up in several weeks. The EPA and for that matter the folks at the spill area did not know that Dilbit was the material contaminated their air, soil and water. Even today three and one half years after the spill Enbridge is still trying to clean up the dilbit. The total dilbit spilled was 1,000,000 gallons and 45 miles of the Kalamazoo River has been contaminated up to this point. The total cost to Enbridge has been six billion dollars.
- What is this important to us and what does it have to do with the XL Pipeline project? If the XL Pipeline is built at some point there is going to be a spill. Maybe it will be small and not near people but maybe not too. If the dilbit gets into any body of water, it will be extremely difficult and costly to clean up. I recognize that carrying dilbit by rail car creates its own set of problems and stopping the XL Pipeline is not a perfect answer, but is a start to getting this country to get really serious about alternate energy and climate change.
January 28, 2014
The weather has been a large part of the topics of discussion for January. We are in a part of the country which has suffered the least from these extremes. We are lucky to have the prevailing south eastern flow of wind during the spring and summer months from the Gulf of Mexico. Moisture from the Gulf continues to flow which so far has kept our rainfall up to approximately 44 inches per year. To think that California cities like San Francisco and Los Angles are only getting a little over 3 inches per year is pretty amazing. Typical rainfall in Los Angles is around 14 inches and as the paper mentions almost every people are really starting to suffer. Scientist say the last time that part of the country was this dry was 400 years ago
- I have been reading a great deal about weather issues around the world since 2007. My interest developed because I am concerned about my grandson who is now 5 and a half. What will the world be like for him in 2050.
I intend to mention things I observe that concern where I think we are heading.
January 10, 2014
An explosion of cankerworm activity took place today. Frozen soil released the insects and I counted 314 which is more than I had trapped so far the entire season. More Details
- January 4, 2014
It might appear that I have been slack on keeping up with this web site, but behind the scenes I have addressed quite a few issues. The cankerworm page has had constant entries. I have been auctioning off some personal items and writing some articles on various subject which I have not posted yet since I am still tweaking them. I still have a few nice koi for sale and some pond equipment.
I am concerned about the severe storms, cold, snow, flooding, etc. happening all around the world. I believe we are not taking care of our world and I plan to put some of those thoughts to paper.
Finally sold my Bee Hives. I wanted them to go to a good home. We need honey bees and their habitat is diminishing and is afflicted with diseases, pesticides and now fire and storms are not helping these wonderful and beneficial insects. I wanted my hives to go to a good home and I think they have. They are being pickup tomorrow, January 5th.
- December 17, 2013
Looks like the cankerworms are finally moving. More details here.
- December 15, 2013 This has been a strange fall. Very wet it seems and lots of windy days. There are still some leaves in the trees but 98 % are down. The wind knocked out lots of leaves just as the tar paper traps were being loaded up with Tanglefoot. The landscapers are bagging wet leaves and the bags are quite heavy. Earlier while it was dry I collected bags of leaves and took them to Urban Ministries when I go down there on Thursdays mornings. We use the leaves to mulch the garden and place many of them in the three-part compost bed. Leaves make a good fertilizer when they break down because they are clean and do not have pesticide residue on them. Mulching the beds in the fall and winter keeps the weeds down and by spring, the leaves are mostly worked into the soil. We use about 25 bags of leaves during the season.
- December 11, 2013
I checked my cankerworm trap this morning and the first wingless female was on it. Air temperature was 25, soil temperature was 48 degrees. Read More
- November 25, 2013
- It has been warm for several days but dropped to 23 in my yard and 19 was the official low for Charlotte area. The soil temperature was 40 degrees to day. It is supposed to rain tomorrow and a cold front is moving in and above us. I do not think we will see the cankerworm for a while.
- November 17, 2013 Well the cankerworms didn’t show up here. The low temperature was 21 for two days on Wednesday and Thursday and then about 32 on Friday. I have a soil thermometer in the ground since that is where the wingless female insects live, and it makes some sense to see if the soil temperature is a more accurate determination as to when these insects move. Read More
- November 11, 2013
Today is Monday and the weather report for Wed, Thurs., and Friday looks like it will be cold enough to get the cankerworms excited. See predictions for the remainder of the fall (2013) and 2014.
- November 10, 2013
Saturday the temperature was below freezing for a short time in the morning. We also had a day about a week ago when some shallow water froze. Still, I just picked my last tomatoes Saturday (yesterday) since the foliage was not killed. These last tomatoes came from vines that were growing in the koi pond filters.
My personal goal is to try to have tomatoes from the garden for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- November 9, 2013
- November 6, 2013
Cankerworms should not be here yet. We need some cold weather Check link to the left Current Information.
- Meanwhile: The big sale is going on. It won’t last long because I have to be out of 3521 by Dec 1, 2013. Every day there is something new (might be old in age as in used) that I find. Do you need a 100 gallon spray rig for weed control. I also have large vertical wood hydraulic wood splitter. I will just list several of the items: 300 gallon Bean spray rig with a Wisconsin Air Cooled engine
- Two large bench vices $40.00 each.
- Mahogony wooden desk Only $50.00. (locking drawers) very heavy. Dates back to early 1900’s After refinishing it would be beautiful. photo mahogany desk
- October 28th, 2013
- The sale continues. Today I am featuring the beekeeping equipment that I have. About 20 years ago I was very active in the Mecklenburg Beekeepers Association. I taught classes about honey plants (ones that attract bees) and also Rearing Queen Bees.
I have some photos and information on this link Beekeeping equipment
- October 27th, 2013
We are in the middle of a big sale. We have our equipment and items out for inspection. We will be turning it all over to an individual who specializes in getting rid of stuff, so it won’t be here too long. Look for the links below and see some photos of some of the items.
I have finally gotten in the mode to clean up my property where I used to run my business. I have been discovering stuff that I did not remember purchasing. There are some bargains because I need to have everything out of there by December 1st which is not that far away.
There is some tree equipment, spikes, saddles, ropes, etc. Pond equipment, skimmers, filters, even fish (Japanese Koi) as you can see below in October 16th entry. I have bee keeping equipment, honey storage tank (50 gallons), supers, frames, hive bodies etc.
The best way is to check out more details on the equipment close out page. Not everything is listed, so if you want to see it, contact me
October 16, 2013
Japanese Koi really show off their colors this time of year. I would like to get rid of all of my fish so if you are interested, send me an email
If you want to see other photos of koi both present and from the past, click here.
- October 7, 2013 (edited October 13th)
Several weeks ago I observed mushrooms growing at the base of some of our street tree willow oaks. These are the cinnamon colored conks growing at the base of our willow oak trees (mostly willow oaks). Some years we see the mushrooms and some seasons we don’t. I think it is because of the moisture in the ground. This being a wet year we are going to have a good crop.
If you have trees which have this mushroom at the base, it is potentially a very dangerous situation. Check this link for a report specifically on this mushroom.
see note in black above.
- June 19, 2013
Here we are all the way up into July. I actually have a lot to update, but things have been busy. Today at my old office site I saw one of my Lotus blooming. Perry’s Giant Sunburst is the name. Now the interesting thing I think is that I sold my business almost 7 years ago and planted this bed a long time before that. The first photos I have of this bed are in 1997.
- The neat thing is that the bed has required almost no maintenance. It’s two feet deep and has a pond liner in it. There is about 6 inches of dirt on the liner and irrigation from a down spout that keeps it in water. For something like this to last for 16 years is remarkable. Typically, I throw a handfull of fertilizer in it each spring. More lotus photos here
June 11, 2013
This past Saturday June 8, 2013 we had another water main break on Queens Road West. For 2000 feet from the intersection of Kings Drive and Queens Road West up to Radcliff Avenue, there have been 7 water main breaks in the last ten years or so. Six of those have happened in the last couple of years. I am told that the water line dates back to 1916 approximately since the trees were planted in 1917. Bottom line is that the cast iron water pipe is getting older and breaking more frequently. The normal water pressure for years has been about 80 PSI. I am told that the pressure is increased because the Utility Dept. is trying to move water a greater distance to new areas that are further out. More later with photos
- There are some final notes on this past seasons cankerworms here.
- May 6, 2013
- At last I can change the subject. Whenever there is a good rain, and we have had it these last few days, there is often a great deal of litter that gets blow from the trees. I actually saw tulip poplar blossoms on the ground last week before the rain and took a few photos. The Tulip Poplars (more correctly Tulip Trees) are in full bloom, and the petals have been dropping as well as a few of the blossoms. The twig that holds the blossom snaps readily, and I do not think the breakage is caused by an insect. We have some insects that are often called “twig pruners” in that they damage the bark or wood and cause the twig to break and the blossom to fall. I suspect that the fallen blossom contains eggs which then carry on the species by migrating to the ground for the next part of their live cycle.
- Another reason that I take note of the Tulip Poplar is that that it is a great honey plant and produces a very excellent quality of local honey. The honey is dark and has a distinct flavor that is far different from the commercial honey one gets around here in the store. If you buy honey from a farmers market, see a local bee keeper’s name on it, and it is dark you can bet it is mostly Tulip Poplar honey. If the honey is light in color, it is probably clover or orange blossom and could be adulterated, with imported honey from other countries. Some foreign countries remove all the pollen from the honey which makes it untraceable and then add sugar syrup to stretch the product.
As a beekeeper some years ago I had as many as twenty hives. In the spring as soon as the bees came to the hive with a pale yellow pollen on their backs one knew that the Tulip Poplar honey flow was on. The photo below shows the stamens loaded with pale yellow pollen, and that pollen would rub off on the back of the bees while they went about collecting nectar. If bees want to bring in pollen, they carry it in pollen sacs on their legs.
- May 5, 2013
Looks as if the cankerworms are gone for the spring. At least they are gone from my neighborhood. Back on the first I looked at the cherry trees at Freedom Park and there was not massive defoliation, however, over the weekend, there was some serious feeding in the tops of a few of those cherries.
There were hot spots close by, but in general the infestation did not do serious harm to Myers Park.
May 1, 2013
Looks like the cankerworm has done most of its damage and will be moving underground until late fall. See more (photos etc.)
April 23, 2013
Sixteen days after the first cankerworm siting, parts of Charlotte are having massive defoliation. I was in Freedom Park yesterday and always look at the grove of flowering cherry trees near the tennis court at East Blvd. They were badly eaten but not destroyed, yet. Later on the walkway along the creek, I passed an area in the woods of about eight or so willow oaks that were completely defoliated.
I understand that a section of Kings Drive down close to Charlotte Memorial Hospital there are some willow oaks that are likewise defoliated. Not much can be done now but possibly spraying the lower trunk or treating your trees and shrubs with a systemic insecticide. Cankerworms like to feed on Japanese Maples, dogwoods, see more on what cankerworm like to eat. For more details on what has been happening with cankerworm this season 1012-2013 read more
April 19, 2013
So here we are about 2 weeks after first seeing very small insects on the traps, and we have major cankerworm infestations in several parts of Charlotte. the point is that it takes a little while for these little fellows to get cranked up.
There are more details on the cankerworm page but I will quote what one lady wrote me. It pretty well sums it up if you have a bad infestation.
- “horrendous! They are everywhere on every surface of my patio, my car, all my plants, etc. At any one time you can see 40 - 50 worms dangling from the tree. Now, I’ve been told that what looks like “poppy seeds” all over everything is actually cankerworm poop. I am so grossed out and I can’t even go outside without being covered in worms and poop.”
April 10, 2013
- I was out of town for several days and got back home on Sunday April 7, 20113. (I actually wrote this up at the time but had a small computer problem and lost the post) I observed some very small cankerworms on the trap in my yard. See More
- April 3, 2013
The willow oaks are coming out fast. I expect the fall cankerworms out soon. They will hatch on the lower part of the traps and start looking for food. You will see very small cankerworms on traps first. At the same time the eggs are hatching in the upper parts of the trees, but it will be a week before you start seeing evidence of feeding or insects that are 3/4 to one inch long. See more on Cankerworms for this spring.
- December 30, 2012
Now that we are almost at the end of the year, I want to mention one of my favorite web sites (actually a Blog)... Water is Life. Jan, the author lives in New Jersey and was impacted by Sandy. As I recall she lives back from the worst of the flooding. Emotionally, however, she was really affected.. She writes about water issues around the World and her words are what I wish I had expressed. Take a look at this recent article:
She started it like this: (Sorry delay in editing)
- December 27, 2012
Here is a photo I took of the Inonotus dryadeus mushrooms at the base of a large willow oak in Myers Park. When the mushroom first appears it has this pretty cinnamon-coloration. As it gets older it turns an ugly black color. The conk will stay on the root where it is attached for years unless removed manually. Taking the conk away does not slow down or change the damage that has been done to the root system below. see September 18 ere comments and photo. Also click here about root rot
December 24, 2012
Cankerworms are out. Caught 23 in a single trap today see link
September 18, 2012
Today is one of those muggy days of early fall. It is the time of year we see mushrooms. They are in the lawn, vacant muddy fields and very often at the base of trees. Yesterday I took a picture of one of our large willow oaks on Selwyn Avenue.
This alarmed me because when similar mushrooms encircle a tree they are eating away at the root system. Actually they are the fruiting bodies of a fungus that is already pretty well advanced. At first I thought was our old friend Inonotus dryadeus
but is not. This is a polyporus fungi which means the back side has lots of small holes in it. Another type is called a Gill Fungus. This one is a close kin to the Inonotus dryadeus and is probably “munching” away at the root system of the tree.
From a distance the tree canopy looks pretty good. You can see the tops of the mushrooms at the base of the tree.
If you want to read more about root rot and Charlotte’s tree click Root Rot
September 14, 2012
We in this part of the US have seen a pretty normal wet summer. The trees are green and the grass looks pretty good for mid September. Normal is not the case for the western United States. The drought has been so bad there that the corn and soybean production is way down. Corn for the nation is 25 percent down and soybeans are 40 per cent off normal. Most of us here probably don’t think about either corn unless we are getting it from the farmer’s market. In fact this year it is been exceptionally good.
On the world stage the corn and soybeans we (used to grow) grows goes to feed the rest of the world. In fact we used to grow so much corn that we stockpiled it and had enough emergency food to last the best part of a year. Now our stockpiled corn would only last for 69 days. Many foreign countries, especially poor countries import lots of corn. They also import soy bean oil and soy meal.
A tremendous quantity of corn goes into the production of ethanol. We should not be continuing that. There are other plants that actually are much more efficient at producing ethanol. Will people starve because of this, yes. The erratic nature of our weather caused by climate change will exacerbate the fact. Melting ice caps have caused a shift in the jet stream and slowed it down. That means that these weather systems we are seeing will hang around longer. Droughts will be worse, rain storms and flooding will be worse. We do not have the political will to seriously invest in Thermal, Wind, or Solar technologies. The longer we hold off the worse it will be for all of us.
September 13, 2012
Water fascinates me. In some recent reading I came across something that I bet very few Americans know. The Guinea Worm is something that has affected humans for thousands of years. This is a water problem in that the Guinea Worm breeds in water in Arid countries. It is a painful disease where it grows in the human body and usually emerges from the skin of the leg or foot. Our past President Jimmy Carter has accomplished something absolutely amazing. He has set up a foundation to eradicate the Guinea Worm. When he started there were 3,500,000 people with this terrible problem. After 26 years there are approximately 1058 people with the Guinea Worm. What a tremendous legacy.
The Guinea Worm Eradication program was started by Jimmy Carter in 1986. There were approximately 3,500,000 cases in Africa and Asia. South Sudan, Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia are the only countries that still have the problem. data 2011
When the worm emerges and if the victim places his or her foot in the water immediately the worm lays thousands of eggs. Through educating the people, removing the worm manually as it emerges and keeping the victim away from the water the disease is almost eradicated.
Jimmy Carter Center Read more about how the Jimmy Carter Center with the help of the countries involved have almost eliminated this disease.
August 19, 2012
Farmers markets and many people’s back yards are loaded with tomatoes this time of year. I love the heirlooms and look forward to growing them every year. I tried a new one this year called Goldman’s American Italian Tomato.
Amy Goldman has written a book called Heirloom Tomatoes on tomatoes and was visiting in Italy when she spotted this tomato in a market. She took the seeds home and grew it for a few years. She decided that it was one of the best tomatoes she had every tried.
July 30, 2012
- I know the information directly below is nine months old, but I stumbled upon it at Propublica.org. The issue reminded me of the 20 North Carolina counties on the coast who only want to look at past historical data about the ocean rise. They think it will affect business.
- Perry Officials Censored Climate Change Report
- Top environmental officials under Governor Perry have gutted a recent report on sea level rise in Galveston Bay, removing all mentions of climate change. For the past decade, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is run by Perry political appointees, including famed global warming denier Bryan Shaw has contracted with the Houston Advanced Research Center to produce regular reports on the state of the Bay. But when HARC submitted its most recent State of the Bay publication to the commission earlier this year, officials decided they couldn't accept a report that said climate change is caused by human activity and is causing the sea level to rise. Top officials at the commission proceeded to edit the paper to censor its references to human-induced climate change or future projections on how much the bay will rise.
Tags: environmental climate change Rick Perry ocean levels censoring reports
Published in Propublica.org
- Date: October 12, 2011
- By: Kate Sheppard
- Source: Mother Jones
July 5, 2012
I am really disappointed in the North Carolina Government. First Becky Carney from Charlotte, punches the wrong button and is not acknowledged by Mr. Tom Tillis Speaker of the N C House and the North Carolina Fracking Bill passes by one vote. Governor Bev Purdue vetoed the S820 bill to allow Fracking in North Carolina.
Next is Rep. Susi Hamilton, Democrat from New Hanover (according to some and not Susi claim she traded her vote for money for her area.) Read about that here. Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover
And then I read a great report by Sue Sturgis which detailed much of what I read about and suspected concerning Bob Rucho’s links to Chesapeake Oil and it’s president Aubrey McClenndon. From what I glean over many months Mr. McClenndon has no respect for the environment. The only positive thing I have seen written about Mr. McCllendon is that he came to the aid of the Duke University Lacrosse Team as they were being nailed to the wall by the Duke Administration. (I am from the Duke Class of 1960 and Mr. McClenndon graduated many years later)
Read Ms. Sturgis’s article here http://www.southernstudies.org/2012/07/pro-fracking-nc-lawmakers-cozied-up-with-scandal-plagued-gas-company.html
June 30, 2012
Yesterday was a record breaker in my book. The official temperature was 104. My own reading was 106 and I will explain. My car was parked on Monroe Road for several hours and when I got in to come home the thermometer read 108. That is not much of a surprise since the car was sitting for so long. I needed to stop off at Home Depot on the way home and once I got on the road the temp dropped to 106. That again is not much of a surprise, but as I got in after about 30 minutes in the store the temperature was still 106. As I started driving it went up to 108 and then settled down to 106 again. As I got closer to home and there was more shade on Wendover where it meets Sharon Road it dropped to 104. As I moved onto Queens Road West it dropped to 102.
The temperature stayed at 102 on Queens Road West for a mile and that really shows the advantage to having a tree lined street. Not only do the trees lower the temperature in the summer, they also buffer the cold in the winter. Typically the winter temperatures will be several degrees warmer than the official report.
June 28, 2012
First tomatoes of the season Here is a new one for me called Garden Peach Tomato.
June 21, 2012
So you still think Fracking is safe and believe what the Gas Industry is telling you ???? If you do, you absolutely have to see this video in Rolling Stone’s digital magazine.. The video is 18 minutes, but is breath taking and worth every second of your time.. The video is shown several pages down in the article
- June 19, 2012
Water is on my mind everyday. It takes a lot of water to fight the fires out in Colorado and other Western states. We use a tremendous amounts of water for agriculture. WE WASTE WATER. A new film is coming out called Last Call At the Oasis.
Below is the official trailer for the film.
June 13, 2012
On May 25, photo below, I showed a picture of some of the great koi that I have in my above ground pond. on May 29th I photographed the tomato plant that I placed in the water a week or so before. It is really growing well off the nutrients from the fish water. I thought I would watch its progress through the growing season. Here is one photo taken June 9, 2012. I am just now getting around to posting this photo (June 20) and the plant has grown a lot with many flowers and some very small fruit.
- June 11, 2012
Its been almost a month since I have posted. I have been pondering my position on Natural Gas and Fracking. Yes, I think we need the fuel to be able to keep the US going. No I do not like the way we are moving so fast into the Fracking,, especially in NC. The bill now up for discussion is S 820 (North Carolina). Sen. Bob Rucho is the republican pushing it hard. On the same editorial page on Tuesday June 6, 2012 Senator Rucho said NC has 100 years of natural gas in the shallow gas pockets of the Triassic-era shale basin which extends under Lee, Catham, Durham, Wake and Orange counties. Another editorial on the same pages by an ex gas industry worker of twenty years says five years of natural gas lies under North Carolina soils. Well if it is five years then is it worth doing for only 2 hat of natural gas. Considering what is at stake, maybe not. Quote from Greensboro News and record here
Others seem to have a different take on the subject, and I tend to agree with the Greensboro News and Record.
One of the things being overlooked by so many people is that many things have gone wrong with fracking in other states. One of the main ones is maintaining water quality for the area where fracking is occurring. Because of the fact that we do not know what is in the Read More
May 28, 2012
Today is Memorial Day. I was in my yard working and heard a deep throbbing sound of a prop driven airplane. As I looked up I saw a B-29 raising in the sky. What a thrill to see this vintage plane flying. It is the last of the fleet that can fly and the sight sent shivers up back. I was in kinder garden when W.W.II was over, and I remember those news reels with hundreds of these planes delivering bombs over Europe. So much has changed. Why do we always have to have wars. IMO the next big one will be Water Wars.
May 25, 2012
Recently I have taken photos of some of the koi left that I have for sale. Here is a sample-
May 23, 2012
It’s the time of year when Water Lilies and Lotus look great. Below is Green Maiden Lotus. Want to see more click here
The lotus above is just opening its bud in my garden. I took this several years ago ... more to come.
see Lotus and Water Lilies.
May 22, 2012
Water we take for granted
I just got back from a fishing trip on the South Holston River which is near Bristol Tennessee. This is one of the best trout streams in the US. It rained the night we arrived so the next day the water was a little muddy. Nature has a way of fixing lots of our mistakes and the next day the water was crystal clear as it usually is.
Clear stream water isn’t really fresh potable drinking water, but it is close to it. We waste so much of it, and water is used in just about everything we do. I am constantly reminded of that. I read a web site called Water is Life and found an astounding photo of just how little water is on this planet we call Earth.
- Please take a look. at this photo in the link below
- Water is Life It is dated May 19th 2012
April 17, 2012
This is a story about a snake.
I have lived in my home for 41 years, and my wife and I talked about jerking out the plants in front of the house we had moved into. Well I just got around to it. Brief story is I found a fellow in the North Carolina mountains who had 3,000 boxwoods. These plants were 3 feet tall and 3 ft wide ... not 2 feet six inches to 3 feet but really 3 feet tall and wide.
I bought 20 of them but could only load 17 on the pickup and trailer I borrowed from my brother in law. We got them planted several weeks ago. read more
- March 25, 2012
It is true that we have had a very early season. Today, Sunday March 25th I saw my first box wood leaf miner. Years ago when I was in the tree maintenance business, I kept a log every year of when various plants came into bloom. I don’t know where all my records are but I did find one for 1986 and it is interesting to make some observations.
Before I mention specific plants, one needs to know that what influences timing for blooming as well as seed germination is based on different things. For instance boxwood leaf miner will not come out until the new leaves are pretty advanced. In the past I have seen them this early occasionally but more commonly the first week of April.
Some plants will not bloom or germinate until there are a certain number of daylight hours. Other will bloom because the soil warms to a certain temperature.
On March 24, 1986 the Yoshina Cherries bloom was “about peak” which is essentially what we have this year. I observed them in full bloom at Freedom Park about March 23rd.
Our willow oaks in 1986 started dropping their pollen April 2nd and this year it has been coming down hard for over a week.
Conclusion: Yes this has been a strange season with the first daffodils come out December 31st., but still not too far off the norm for most flowering plants. What we don’t need is a severe cold snap that will kill blooms. Last frost date is April 23rd so be careful if you put tomatoes in the ground now.
Cankerworms are out.
March 6, 2012
My entries on this page have been pretty sporadic. That is partly due to the fact that I have been doing a lot of research on the Gas and Oil Industry. The entire energy situation is very complex. There have been many very thoughtful and intelligent people who have studied these issue. I plan to report on some of my findings.
I have recently learned that the natural gas wells drilled for fracking do not deliver the long term gas that we have been led to believe. Here is the short story. When a gas well is first drilled it produces at a certain level. The gas producers pretty much project out this flow of gas for a very long period of time. The fact is that after three years the well flow decreases to 30% of the original amount. This 100 years of natural gas will probably only last for 30 years. Read more
February 18, 2012
On the surface, it would appear that I have been remiss on making timely entries. I have been keeping daily tract of the cankerworm activity, and it female migration has wound down to no more females. see cankerworms 2012 There will be more activity this spring and some alarming predictions.
Meanwhile, I have been amazed by all the plants that are blooming out of cycle. I have always predicted that we would have one February week of spring-like weather. It seems like this year the month has had lots of 60 degree days, and it really feels like spring. Grass is beginning to grow, chick weed abounds.
My friends have all been fly fishing and I have not. That tells it all ... to much action on the to do list.
December 29, 2011
I was driving through the Dilworth area yesterday, and I saw what looked like daffodils (jonquils) blooming at the edge of the road. The earliest I have seen them before has been about February 8th which happens to be a family member’s birthday. The first photo is the flowers and the second one to prove it is Christmas time and a lot of decorations are still out. These are some of those blow-up-toys some people like to put up in their yards now around our major holidays. Look to the left of the upside down light bulb to see the flowers.
December 24, 2011
A little aside note based on comments about Mercury below. In Beijing when one is looking to buy a house or rent an apartment , the first thing they look at is Air Quality, not neighborhood schools, or traffic, or crime, but what will they and their children be breathing 24 hours a day.
December 23, 2011
It seems to me that the EPA gave us a Christmas Present recently. I am a fly fisherman and am very interested in clean air and clean water. Mercury gets into the air and water, much of it coming from the burning of coal. We can’t do much about what China or any other country does about burning coal but at least we can improve our own air.
Mercury in the water is absorbed or eaten by lower life forms and ends up in fish that we eat. It is also in the air we breath. Once it is in the the body it accumulates. Cleaning up the air can prevent 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and acute bronchitis in another 6,300 children each year.
December 16, 2011
I have been tying to get my mind on how much a Trillion is. It seems we see money mentioned in the Trillions frequently. I understand that a hundred dollar bill is .0043 inches thick. A trillion 100 dollar bills stacked on their side would stretch from Los Angles to Salt Lake City about 678 miles. (from wiki.answers.com)
December 16, 2011
Someone said yesterday that it surely is warm for December. I don’t think that is unusual at all. I distinctly remember going out in shirt sleeves on several Christmas days in the past, and I think we always have some warm weather in December. Typically in years past, it is very dry in September, October, and November. We can get some severe cold in January and February, but I always say that there is always a warm trend in February when you think Spring has arrived.
- .......Queens Girls out for a stroll in December.
December 9, 2011
Cankerworms have started. Just saw my first two cankerworms climbing on the tar paper. They have not even reached the Tanglefoot yet. For more and past history check cankerworms
December 5, 2011
I have had a tree in my front yard for several years that has had mushrooms growing from the base.
November 14, 2011
Bear Chases Deer ...We have a new dog named Bear. Bear is an eleven year old female and seems to be mostly hound in that she loves to put her nose to the ground and explore. In our yard she goes after a rabbit that lives in the back, various chipmunks, and numerous squirrels that hang out in our trees and bury acorns in the lawn. Photo of Bear. below pointing an irrigation flag.
On Friday November 11, 2011 I took Bear over to my old office property. Its a great place to run and she had been there once before. When I let her out of the car she seemed to know exactly where she was and started sniffing around. Meanwhile I went down to the ponds to check on the koi.
I need to explain that my property is surrounded by a six foot chain link fence with an arm that has razor wire on top of it. In other words the property is completely closed in with a fence that is about 7 feet high. I was at the above ground pond which is four feet high and about thirty feet long. I was checking the fish in the pond and was about eight feet from the end of the pond. I heard a commotion to my right and looked up.
I saw this massive buck deer with a tremendous set of antlers charging more or less at me. As he got close to the pond he leaped over the four foot pond and Bear was charging right behind him.
I was really startled and thought, “I have got to get a photo of this.” I pulled out my Droid which requires one to punch a number of buttons before taking a picture. Bear had chased the deer to the opposite end of the property. Before I could even get my camera set up, the Buck Deer was heading toward me again. He cleared the pond by at least three feet in about the same place, and Bear was still behind him.
At this point I decided that I should forget the picture and protect my dog. If cornered, I knew this deer could kill Bear with his hoofs or lift her up in the air with his antlers. Several people have asked me how many points the deer had on his antlers, and things happened so fast I did not have time to count.
Bear chased the deer through my garden and down to the end of the property that is close to Monroe Road. I could not see for the vegetation, but shortly Bear was sniffing the ground and there was no evidence of the deer.
All of this is pretty amazing because my property is in a commercial area very close to town. I was amazed that the deer was inside the fence and more amazed that he was able to leap out. I am told that a deer can clear an eight foot fence, and I believe it.
November 11, 2011
When we were in Arizona at the Grand Canyon in early November, I was anxious to take some photos of the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. I got up well before daylight and left the old hotel in which we were staying. As I walked around the corner of the building I heard a noise just a few feet away and in the darkness could tell it was a deer feeding on the front lawn. There’s not much grass since its almost desert so I suppose the deer thought this was his private dinning area. I stopped, set the flash on my camera and took this photo above .....
November 6, 2011
I just got back from a trip to Tucson Arizona, Grand Canyon, and Sedona Arizona. Truly and interesting part of the country, so different from our trees here in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
I will post more photographs later.
October 3, 2011
- As anyone who lives here knows we have had some unseasonable cold the last few days. This brings out the inevitable questions from people who know me. When am I going fly fishing again? Are my tomatoes through for the year? And, what are the cankerworms going to do this fall? I think the cankerworm infestation in Charlotte will be like last year and very much reduced. There might be a few hot spots and we know there should be problems in Cabarrus County. For more on the Fall Cankerworms, Click here
- September 9, 2011
- Important issues like September 11th, and what our politicians are doing are taking the headlines, but of some small note today in the early morning at 6:25 or so, I was walking down the driveway to remove some materials from the front yard to the back since my wife was having a get together with friends at 8:30.
I heard a pop and thought that sounded like gun fire and then a series of 3 pops and then a tearing sound and realized that it was a falling tree or a very large limbs coming down. Fortunately, it was just a very long limb from a willow oak that was located on the planting strip next door to our house and 40 feet below our driveway. We live on a street that has an island down the middle which separates four lanes of traffic, two on each side of the island. This limb blocked up our side of the street, and the butt part of the limb was lodged in a lower fork about 30 feet below where the limb broke off. Had this been several years ago I would have gotten my chain saw and at least cleared the street so one lane of traffic could get by.
The city tree crew got there about 8:20 and I was curious to find out why the limb had broken off. There was no wind.
- I discovered what it was so (read more here) Why Did The Limb Fall
August 22, 2011
All of a sudden I have these interesting events to share. I heard a scream from my wife the other day as she was coming around my car in the driveway. Here is what she saw: She thought it was dead and that I had put it there as a joke. Well I had not and it was just a King Snake that had swallowed a rather large animal. My guess is that it was a chipmunk. I think he had just overeaten and was not inclined to move. King Snakes have white markings on them and in this case they are faded I believe because the stretched skin dilutes the white. Once whatever he ate is digested, the stripes will return to their normal whiteness.
- August 21, 2011
- Recently, I have made quite a few entries to this web site to make several pages current. Check out Environmental.
- I am working on the koi pages because I have some nice fish for sale. In the process two things happened in the last two weeks that were a big surprise.
I what in the back yard picking up a plant tray and a yellow jacket stung me. I used to keep honey bees and have been stung many times and have always felt that yellow jackets hurt more. In this case I got stung on my ring finger. Unfortunately I had my wedding ring on and should have removed it immediately. Well, being who I am I kept on doing was I was doing and then realized that the finger was swelling and I could not get my finger off.
- About an hour later I got concerned since I could not even turn the ring so decided to go to the emergency room. I had taken a Benedryl tablet but it did not do much good. They pumped a lot more Benedryl in me and applied ice. I went home kind of knocked out and got the ring off at 4:00 am the next morning.
Turns out there is a yellow jacket nest in the ground about 10 feet from where I got stung. Since there are a lot of yellow jackets about click this link to know how to get rid of yellow jackets. At least this is the way I do it and it works.
- A couple of days later I standing next to a red bud tree and reached under some foliate to see something. My hand brushed across the top of this guy.
Note the fine hairs on the antenna. They hold venom and really sting. It went away in 30 minutes or so.
July 07, 2011
I have been following gold mining for some time. The proposed resurrection of the Haile Gold mine in Kershaw SC has me concerned
- I will get to the Haile shortly, but first some thoughts on gold.
- Gold has been valued for about as long as man has been around. It is malleable and does not tarnish It has little commercial use. In fact India uses more gold than any other country in the World. There is more gold in India than in Fort Knox. The individual people in India own almost 60 million pounds of gold (27000 metric tons). Gold is used as a dowry and goes with a women when she gets married. If she and her husband do well more gold is acquired. Much of this gold is made into jewelry.
Presently, the price of gold is going up because of financial problems around the world. It is predicted to be in excess of $1875.00 per ounce
- June 30, 2011
We dug about 50 feet of potatoes at the Urban Ministries garden today. These will be taken to the Friendship Trays for processing. What was pretty significant was that we got 9.2 pounds of Red Pontiac potatoes from one plant. That’s a pretty large number. Last year in my personal I grew in my own garden potatoes and got about one pound per plant. Two things account for the growth, one is excellent soil, two is that they get plenty of water on a timely basis.
This photo was taken at the Harris Teeter next to the Common Ground Market. All proceeds from Common Ground go to Urban Ministries.
The scale reads almost 9 1/4 pounds.
June 6, 2011
I am back after a busy day at my vegetable garden. I planted tomatoes from seed this year under lights. I work with the garden at Urban Ministries and used a grow light there to start enough tomatoes for the UM garden and my own.
my system for tomatoes seems to work. I usually end up with about 20 seedlings and plant them on a stagger schedule. I plant about 3 to six the first day and then a couple of more every time I visit my garden which is usually a couple of times a week.
This garden is at my office and I have some large koi ponds. Since the pond water is benefited by frequent changes and additions, I have a small pump in the above ground fish pond and let it run while I am there tending to whatever needs work. This “fish water. really makes the tomatoes grow well and taste terrific. I recommended it to anyone. No other fertilizer is used although I much with wood chips, leaves, and anything that I think will work.
The big observation today was that where my drip is, the soil beneath appears to have great moisture in it even though the un-watered parts of the garden are very hard since we are in the 90’s for over a week. Summer is really here.
I you want to see more on my gardening exploits, follow me
June 5, 2011
As you can see from the date, I have taken a long break from entering information on this site. I have spent some time doing research on what should be in the content of these pages. Big Thunderstorm coming. Going to shut down.
April 21, 2011
Zeke and I are heading to VA to fish on the Jackson River. This turned out to be a very interesting and exciting adventure. If you want to see photos and details of the trip follow me
March 28, 2011
The Charlotte Observer article today said that the fall cankerworms would hatch in the first week of April. I suspect that we will start seeing them in early April but they will have been out for some time (March 24th). I actually saw one spinning down on its silken thread on the 26th of March. That surprised me. It could have been another subspecies of cankerworms because there are several. The one I saw dangling down on a thread was quite dark as was one that I saw on my car. The typical cankerworms that we see are a bright green. To my knowledge they hatch pretty much at the same time. One of the natural predators of the fall cankerworm is the Telenomus plsophila. This wasp has been in short supply for some reason but seems to be making a comeback.
March 24, 2011
This years crop of cankerworms is hatching today. I looked at one of my traps and saw quite a few tiny green worms which are the young cankerworms. They have emerged from the eggs that the females laid on the tar paper. The females were tying to get to the top of the tree, but the cankerworm trap stopped them and the males were attracted there by chemical pheromones. This is about the time I expected to see the young ones.
Do not take down your cankerworm traps quite yet. I think by April 15th it will be OK to remove them since it takes several days to a week before you will see evidence of them feeding in the trees. (Read More)
March 14, 2011
There is lots going on in the world. The major problems in Japan and Africa, one hardly knows what to be most concerned about. On our home front, I am concerned with the gold mining that is planned for Kershaw South Carolina. I am researching details, but my concern is what they do with all the dirt they plan to remove. Once the gold is extracted, how much bad stuff remains in the fine silt left over. If there are lots of heavy metals in it, what are the details of the procedures to treat or contain them.
This is a subject worth studying.
January 21, 2011
One of the things I have been trying to do relevant to the emergence of the cankerworm is to see what the parallel to temperature is.
Plants and Insects respond to what is know as degree days. For some plants to produce flowers they will only do so after they have matured to a point where they can survive a cold snap as an example. It takes a certain number of hours of warm temperature for them to reach a point where the conditions of growth are right. It might take 100 hours where the temperature is over sixty-five degrees. It might be early April or mid May depending on what nature throws at us. This year has been a cold winter so we should expect some plants to come out later than what might be considered normal.
Not all plants behave this way, some plants require a certain amount of day light to perform a function. For instance in the late summer, Lotus plants cease flowering. We might think that it is because it is getting cooler, but it is actually the fact that the days are getting shorter.
Therefore knowing what degree days are is important to know. If you understand how degree days affect your heating and cooling in your home or office, then you might be able to save some money. It used to be difficult to calculate degree days but there is a site that will do that automatically for you now. Besides doing this difficult task for you, the site will explain how you can use this information. The degree days are broken down into Heating degree days, Cooling degree days, and Plant degree days. Check this site out. http://www.degreedays.net/
January 17, 2011
I actually have been adding information to the site, but most of it has gone into the information on our yearly problem with the fall cankerworm. A short recap is worth mentioning here. Last year was a slow year and 2011 looks like it will be also. So far this year I have only captured 30 insects. In 2006 I was counting over 100 insects a day around the 25th of December. A tree up Queens Road West during that year had over 8000 insects. That is quite a contrast.
Is the cankerworm going away? I do not know, but in our neighborhood it is certainly diminished. I think that the last spray done in 2008 was the turning point. For more information about years past go to cankerworms past history.
- To put things in perspective, here we are in the middle of January and have 30 insects. In the fall of 2006 in November we had 26 insects. In December of this year we had a total of 11 female cankerworms and in December of 2006 had 1987 insects trapped in the trap. In mid January 2011 as stated above we have a total of 30 insects and in January of 2006 we had 3901 just for that month. By early February in the past, the migration has stopped about the fifth of the month. I believe they will wind down as they usually do in February.
Here is a photo that I took several years ago when we had a heavy infestation. Compare in your mind the 28 insects captured so far this year, 2011, to these insects which are too many to count.
December 19, 2010
The cankerworms are getting started.... saw first one Sunday afternoon. see cankerworms 2010 -2011 for lots more information.
- December 18, 2010
Temperature outside 35.9 degree at 7:30 AM.
December 17, 2010
Yesterday I went to check on my koi that are over at the my old business property on Monroe Road. With several days of unusually cold weather I needed to see how the fish were getting along. The water in the Main pond has been low due to lack of rain. I try to keep the main pond topped off with rain water I collect from the various roofs.
The ice was about two inches thick in the Main pond, however, the fish were actively swimming underneath it. I have one pump running which is circulating the water. This leaves a hole in the ice so that gasses under the ice dissipate. The koi do not like the cold water but since the pond is underground the surrounding soil tends to keep the water from getting too cold. The soil below ground stays at approximately 55 degrees during the winter.
The above ground pond which we call the Long pond is not protected by the ground, and it had solid ice over the surface. I did not want to break it but think it was about four inches thick. I also do not have a pump running in the Long pond because the fish are small and normally there is enough oxygen in the water to keep the fish happy. I was surprised to see about half a dozen dead fish caught in the ice. I also saw a few moving under the ice.
Was the death of the fish caused by the rapid change of temperature in the last few days? Was it because there was no oxygenating pump? The ice was solid up to the sides of the pond and would not let unhealthy gasses out, I do not know the answers.
I suspect it might be because there is no pump. I have another pond that is below ground about the same size as the Long pond. We call this our Mud pond. It has a lot of plant containers which tend to tip over and spill the Mud in the pond. There are no dead fish in this pond, and there are many more fish in it than in the Long pond.
December 4, 2010
Deer in Town
If you are from some other town or live in the county, then seeing deer might not be so unusual. I live near Freedom Park and it takes us about seven minutes to get all the way down town. It is strange then to see a buck in our front yard very early one morning several weeks ago. He caused the security lights to come on and stood in the front yard posing just like in the Movies. The lights from a passing car caused him to run up the street. After passing that information around, we found out that a doe and two fawns were seen by several people near Myers Park Country Club.
My wife and I just made a trip by car to Rochester New York. We rode through North Carolina, all the way across Virginia, Pennsylvania, and most of the way up to the Canadian border. For the overall trip we saw approximately 25 dead deer by the side of the highway. That seemed like an incredible number in that everyone would have been hit by a vehicle. While we were there and driving at dusk or night we kept our eyes pealed for eyes on the highway and of course tried to keep the speed down. This time of the year are in their rutting season and consequently, rush across the roads and cause lots of traffic accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that drivers hits a deer approximately 1.5 million times each year in the US and over 100 people are killed.
October, November, and December are the worst months for accidents involving deer, so we should all be more vigilant as we drive at night both in the city and out in the country.
November 15, 2010
Where Have All the Mushrooms Gone?
I am used to seeing lots of those cinnamon colored mushrooms at the base of our large willow oaks in the late summer and early fall. They are the fruiting body of the Inonotus dryadeus mushroom that feeds on the roots or trees, mostly willow oaks in this area. I imagine the fact that we have had such dry weather is what has limited it above ground growth. Unfortunately, I am sure it is still growing underground and eating away at the root system.
We usually see these mushrooms from late August and into September and October. One reason this is not a good thing is that we use the mushroom and how fast it is spreading to determine when the tree is hazardous and needs to be removed. When we don’t see the mushroom it leads to complacency. I usually say that after one first sees the mushroom at the base of a tree, it takes about three years before the tree should be removed. If we go through a season where there are no fruiting bodies visible, that does not mean the mushroom has stopped doing its damage.
I have one of these mushrooms at the base of one of my trees, and I will need to remove it in a year.
November 11, 2010 Someone asked the other day what my opinion was about weather or not one needs to shut off residential irrigation systems in the winter. There is not a short answer. In our part of the country, Piedmont North Carolina, it rarely freezes hard, and on some of our very coldest days I found the bare ground frozen only 2 inches deep. With leaf litter it was only one inch deep. Most irrigation systems will be 12 inches deep so there is no danger of pipes freezing. Drip irrigation which is normally on the ground is self draining.
It is wise to shut off the system in the winter for several reasons. It relieves pressure on the pipes which means your system should last longer.
Most systems have a backflow preventer that is above ground. The pipes will freeze even under a plastic cover if the temperature drops to 23 degrees F. If you insulate the pipe inside the box you might be OK
We almost always installed hose standpipe faucets on the irrigation systems we installed which means there is a pipe that sticks up from the ground. We always used copper and that will probably be less likely to rupture than plastic PVC.
It’s not hard to winterize your system if you are a do it your selfer.
Here is what you need to do. (This applies to moderate areas like Piedmont North Carolina.)
Turn off the system at the meter if you have a separate meter. If you do not have a separate meter close the ball valve that isolates your irrigation from your home water line.
From your controller, open each valve to relieve pressure on the various zones.
You should have a valve at the low end of your system that you can open that will drain most of the water in the system. At least it should put the water below ground. This is true except for your backflow preventer.
The backflow preventer should be removed so all the water drains from it. Most good setups provide pipe unions that allow you to remove the backflow preventer and store it inside or otherwise out of the freezing weather.
If your backflow preventer is under ground, it will not freeze so you can just leave it alone.
I only remember one or two times when we had sustained cold down near zero where the above information might not apply. If you do the job yourself, you better keep a close eye on temperature extremes.
November 2 2010
I still have most of the ponds at the office and have really been bothered by something going after my smaller ponds. The sides are only a foot or so high and either a possum or a raccoon has been rooting around the pots. A few years ago I found a small raccoon foot print on the side of the container. I caught a small raccoon back then in a have a hart trap.
Two years later I think I am being invaded. I installed a automatic fish feed on the side of the main pond so I would not have to come over daily and feed the fish. It worked well but something pretty big was climbing around on the pond waterfall and creating problems . One small hose was dislodged and sending the water outside the pond. I lost water all the way down to the upper level of the pond. That was 20 inches of water and the pond is 4 ft deep. The small submersible pump was on the bottom of the first level.
Then recently, I found something pulled my automatic fish feed over to the edge and even though there is lock on it, I suppose if the feeder is shaken all the food will come out. My fear was that he or she would pull it in the water and ruin the electronics. I took my trap which has two doors at opposite ends of the trap. I put a dog food dish in one end and secured that end of the trap. I then opened and set the other end. This meant the animal had to go all the way into the trap to get to the dog food and step on the trigger which is placed in the middle.
I caught him and I presume his mate a few days later. Good riddance.
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