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Current Information about the Fall Cankerworm2017 - 2018
What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees
Fly tying for 2017
December 12, 2017 Sunday The temperature only dropped to 28 last night; I expected 26. I started thinking about the cold weather coming and all the other things I needed to do this Christmas Season. About 3:00 Am after a good sleep I woke up and realized I had not protected several outside faucets. One in the back yard is a copper pipe that stands up from the ground about 24 inches. If it freezes and burst, it is a pain to fix. Fortunately, I know a little about soldering copper, and if I were to not take care of this I know I would have a broken pipe.
At the same time I have 3 hoses in the front and back yard each of which has a spray nozzle. If they are drained they are not affected by the cold, but if there is water inside them they will break. I gathered the faucets up also and went back to bed and slept
December 6, 2017
The leaves are flying from the trees, and with the coming cold front and wind, I think most of the trees will be rid of their leaves soon. If you are doing the banding yourself you should put the bands up now, but do not put Tanglefoot or other sticky material on the band. (see more on banding).
When I used to rake my yard, I realized that it would take about 100 leaf bags to clean up all the leaves. It did not matter if I raked leaves once a week during the leaf falling time, or if I raked once a month, or waited until the end of the season, it always took about 100 bags. I have fewer willow oaks now, but my neighbors might not. All of these leaves came from one yard.
Sixty Three ( 63) Bags of leaves from one residential yard on QRW.
December 2, 2017 SaturdayIt will several more days before we see female cankerworms start climbing the trees. The 10 day forecase for Charlotte shows us getting into the 25 and 28 degree range by Saturday December 9th. Shortly after that I would expect to see some activity. There are certain areas around Charlotte that are not as affected by the heat of the city, and they might experience colder temperatures sooner than we do. I have several people who report when they see cankerworm activity and that is a big help to all of us. I still see lots of trees loaded with leaves.
Big Willow Oak
I photographed this large willow yesterday (Friday Dec first), and as you can see there are many leaves to still fall. At the same time a light wind was blowing leaves out of the trees, and we are expecting rain soon. If that is the the case then certainly on large trees the leaves will fall, and it would be ok to put up traps I is ok to put the band on the tree now, but do not put the sticky material on until we 3 good cold days.Personally I would wait a few days to put Tanglefoot on because I always put a very thin 1/2 inch band on my lone large tree and will not put up the remaining tanglefoot until I see modest activity. I also recognize that lots of people hire tree companies to put up the Bug Barrier trap and the way it is made to shield the glue this trap can be put up earlier than the traditional Tanglefoot trap. There are other reasons I don't care for the Bug Barrier trap and you can read about that here.November 3, 2017 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
It is close to the cankerworm migration up the trees. I read an article a couple of days ago in the Charlotte Observer that this week and next were the appropriate time to band trees for cankerworm.
I take issue with that because the willow oaks are loaded with leaves. We need a good rain, and wind to rid the trees of leaves. Back when cankerworms first became a problem after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the timing for putting up cankerworm traps was about Thanksgiving. Each year it seems to start later and now is later in December. See this link
It takes a good Hard Freeze to get the cankerworms crawling. What that means is that it needs to be 27 degrees F. or cooler for about 3 days in a row to get the female canker worms moving.
If you band too soon you will have a lot of leaves captured in the Tanglefoot. If you use other products that protect the sticky stuff you are probably ok. The wind will tend to blow leaves under the Bug Barrier trap. Actually the other day I heard about 6 leaf blowers all making tremendous noise at the same time. There were 3 going two houses down from me and a like number up the street. I had to put on a head phone like ear protectors just to work in the yard.
Leaf blowers are really bad about blowing up leaves on to the cankerworm traps. It might be the operator who is careless, but in general if you put up a trap too early, the leaf blowers will ruin the trap.
Every year I watch the city band trees on the median of Queens Road West. A day or so later, the city or their contractor comes by and blows up so many leaves that the traps are covered. I will post a photo here later.
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.
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
Safety in Storms. We all need to know how to survive in our homes and outdoors. Read More
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.
February 15, 2016 ThursdayWe 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.
Kings Drive Sign
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 23, 2016 SaturdayThis 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.
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 16 2015 WednesdayI found out that the material on the traps is CatchMaster. Read More December 13, 2015 Sunday1. 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?
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 SundayRain is coming Torrential Rains in Texas
October 31, 2015 SaturdayNow 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.
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..
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
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 TreesI 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:
July 21, 2015 TuesdayStill 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 WednesdayWhere 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 3, 2015 SundayThe 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.
December 28, 2014 Sunday
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 MondayMy 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
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.https://www.flickr.com/photos/124055770
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.
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.
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.
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, 2013Japanese 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
June 11, 2013This 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
May 1, 2013Looks like the cankerworm has done most of its damage and will be moving underground until late fall. See more (photos etc.)
April 23, 2013Sixteen 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, 2013So 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.
April 10, 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.
She started it like this: (Sorry delay in editing)
December 24, 2012 Cankerworms are out. Caught 23 in a single trap today see linkSeptember 18, 2012Today 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 dryadeusbut 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, 2012We 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, 2012Water 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, 2012Farmers 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. read more
July 30, 2012
July 5, 2012I 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, 2012Yesterday 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, 2012First tomatoes of the season Here is a new one for me called Garden Peach Tomato.
June 21, 2012So 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 13, 2012On 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.
May 28, 2012Today 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, 2012Recently I have taken photos of some of the koi left that I have for sale. Here is a sample-
May 23, 2012It’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, 2012Water we take for grantedI 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.
April 17, 2012This 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
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, 2012My 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, 2012On 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, 2011I 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, 2011A 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, 2011I 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, 2011Someone 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.
December 9, 2011Cankerworms 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, 2011I have had a tree in my front yard for several years that has had mushrooms growing from the base.
November 14, 2011Bear 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, 2011When 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, 2011I 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
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.
July 07, 2011I have been following gold mining for some time. The proposed resurrection of the Haile Gold mine in Kershaw SC has me concerned
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, 2011I 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, 2011As 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, 2011The 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, 2011This 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, 2011There 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, 2011One 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.
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, 2010The cankerworms are getting started.... saw first one Sunday afternoon. see cankerworms 2010 -2011 for lots more information.
December 17, 2010Yesterday 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, 2010Deer in TownIf 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, 2010Where 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 2I 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. (end)
site map structure
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 SundayI 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.
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