Monday, June 22, 2015

Water Stress in Plants

Wilting, browning of the tips of leaves, yellowing leaves, these symptoms are all signs of water stress. Water stress comes in two forms which can easily be mistaken for the other, drought and too much water. If you treat for the wrong one, odds are you will finish off your already stressed plant.

The first picture in this post is of a young walnut tree that I have in my backyard. At first glance would you say the browning of the leaf margins and somewhat yellowed leaves are due to drought or over watering? Often times when you notice a plant with water stress symptoms, you need to do some detective work to figure out the answer correctly.

I can tell you that I first noticed the browning tips of this tree towards the end of May, 2015 and that May, 2015 was the wettest year on record in the DFW area. I'll also let you know that while the picture of the mallards was taken in June, my backyard had more standing water in it for much of the latter half of May, including the area just north of and sometimes including where the walnut tree is planted.

By now I'm thinking that you have guessed that the browning on the leaves is due to too much water. The soils became saturated with our record rains for a prolonged period and the roots were not able to breathe properly. Luckily we did have almost two weeks without rain that allowed the soils to drain, allowing the tree to recover. You can see there is new, healthy looking darker green growth above the browned, water stressed leaves.

The moral of this post is to stop and think before your grab the watering can or hose when you see a wilted, yellowed or browning plant. Evaluate what has happened to the plant recently. Check the soil moisture a few inches down (whether in a pot or in the ground). Water if dry, otherwise do what you can to help the soil drain and dry out a bit. Some plants are more tolerant of wet feet than others. I've found live oaks to be very tolerant of standing water for prolonged periods of time, whereas desert willow needs good drainage all the time in order to thrive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Celebrate Pollinators During Pollinator Week

When I heard that this was National Pollinator Week (June 15-21, 2015) I decided to make a collage from some of my pollinator images to celebrate their beauty and hard work. It quickly became clear that I would have to severely limit what I included in the collage. I have quite a few images of different bees, butterflies and other insects seen busily gathering nectar and thereby pollinating a wide variety of flowers. I decided to limit this collage to a bird and some of the bees.

You can click on the image to see a larger view. I was going to do some research and identify the pollinators that I included in the collage. After finding out that there are 9 different bumblebees in Texas and a couple of insects that mimic them and because I included two pollinators that look to me somewhat like bees but I suppose they could be mimics too, I decided that IDing each one was beyond the scope of this post. I can tell you that the bottom right photo is of a European honey bee pollinating my blackberry flowers and the pollinator above that is a hummingbird. I think the upper left image is of a carpenter bee and the lower left is one of the 9 species of bumblebees that live in TX. If any of you know if that is correct or what those other two pollinators are, please let us know in the comments to this post.

National Pollinator Week was put into place by the U.S. Senate in 2007. They directed the Secretary of Agriculture to designate a week in June of each year as National Pollinator Week. Pollinators are vital to the production of crops and propagation of most plants. It is important that we strive to make a healthy ecosystem to support the pollinators.

If you want to attract pollinators to your yard, their needs are the same as for any other wildlife you want to attract. Provide shelter, water and food sources. To find out more about the specific needs of pollinators and to find out if there are any fun events planned for this week in your area, check out .

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thanks for the Treasuries - May 2015

Three Etsy shop owners and one Etsy team let me know they had featured one or more of my items in treasuries during May. Ten May Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during May. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. You will also see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured an item of mine.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links of anything that catches your eye.

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

This artisan loves using old, weathered items to make new, wonderful art, mostly hearts and crosses.

In this shop you will find rag dolls, stuffed animals, small quilts, mosaics, and coasters.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.