Concerning Mulch - PART ONE

Written by Tammy Clayton

Copyright © 2005 Tammy Clayton

"I don’t want any weeds to have to deal with."

The infamous statement uttered by millions. That is a pretty tall order to attempt to fill. Overrepparttar years, I have discovered that many people believerepparttar 113335 fallacy that rock mulch over plastic or landscape cloth will render their planting free of weeds forever and ever. Covering uprepparttar 113336 soil equals no weeds?

In truth this is an absolutely not possible. After fighting weeds on hundreds of acres over decades of weeks, I can assure you it is just not possible. Nothing is sure in life but weeds and taxes. It is best to Acceptrepparttar 113337 fact that one will have to deal with them after a while.

That plastic will begin to deteriorate and poke up throughrepparttar 113338 mulch looking very unsightly. Don’t try to remove it after a few years either, it will fall all apart and be partly underrepparttar 113339 dirt and partly stuck inrepparttar 113340 root systems ofrepparttar 113341 maturing shrubs. You’ll not be able to till up parts ofrepparttar 113342 bed for a new look without angst overrepparttar 113343 rototiller being all bound up with strips of plastic and rocks wedged tightly betweenrepparttar 113344 tines.

Landscape plastic will only delayrepparttar 113345 weeds and cause another series of problems. It is commonly known that plastic repels water. That little hole left inrepparttar 113346 plastic sheeting aroundrepparttar 113347 base of your shrub or tree is not going to allow enough water to pass through torepparttar 113348 roots at all. The fullerrepparttar 113349 leaf canopy,repparttar 113350 less water will drip down through torepparttar 113351 center insteadrepparttar 113352 majority ofrepparttar 113353 moisture will run off aroundrepparttar 113354 drip line. Plastic does not breathe either and healthy roots need air along with their water for plants to be healthy and flourish.

Stone mulch will either makerepparttar 113355 roots hotter or colder, depending onrepparttar 113356 weather as stone radiates heat and cold. The reason for mulch to be applied is to insulaterepparttar 113357 root system from extremes and help retain moisture longer to promoterepparttar 113358 health ofrepparttar 113359 plants. Those plants that need air torepparttar 113360 roots will not thrive under plastic and stone where insufficient air makes them weak and sickly.


Written by Tammy Clayton

Copyright © 2005 Tammy Clayton

This brightly colored bird has always been a romantic symbol for their unusual coloring as well as their gentle loving nature. In Victorian times, they were a common artful addition to romantic floral artwork on greeting cards and calling cards. Today, it is a rare thing to see a Bluebird flitting about.

The Bluebird is a native American. When European colonists originally settled this land, they had been here for thousands of years. It is believed that whenrepparttar virgin forest onrepparttar 113334 east coast was inrepparttar 113335 first stages of being cleared,repparttar 113336 Bluebird flourished and became more abundant. Its original adversaryrepparttar 113337 Wren also became more plentiful right along with them though. The Wren is far more aggressive thatrepparttar 113338 Bluebird and searches for a very similar type of abode. So as both species multiplied,repparttar 113339 wrens made it hard forrepparttar 113340 Bluebird to make a home unless it faced due east.

Two events in history causedrepparttar 113341 dwindling of our brilliant blue native’s numbers. The ships that carriedrepparttar 113342 influx of human immigrants to our shores in 1851 and 1890 also gave passage to two feathered immigrants from Europe;repparttar 113343 House Sparrow andrepparttar 113344 Starling. Both of these newcomers were adapted torepparttar 113345 crowded industrial environments of urban and suburban Germany and England. The Sparrow already was known to have spread on that continent. Being resourceful, they quickly adapted to living in rural farmland. Both Sparrows and Starlings like a roof over their head. The new squatters aggressively put pressure onrepparttar 113346 gentle Bluebirds and took over their nests.

With so many people inhabitingrepparttar 113347 United States today, it is little wonder we see very little ofrepparttar 113348 country loving Bluebird. There is a growing interest inrepparttar 113349 creation of housing for this beloved species beyondrepparttar 113350 bird-watching enthusiasts. The Bluebird house is becoming a popular addition to backyards, school property lines and farms again.

Bluebird houses were first put up inrepparttar 113351 late 1800’s by bird lovers trying to accommodate their need for housing afterrepparttar 113352 Sparrows and Starlings took overrepparttar 113353 easily accessible barn rafters, nooks in houses, hollow trees and fence posts across America. Natural nesting sites have also grown more scarce as farmers now manicure their orchards, and wooden fence posts have fallen out of use in exchange for metal ones. Byrepparttar 113354 1930’s bird watchers were already wondering what happened to all those sweet singing beauties of days not so long gone by.

The first studies of Bluebird nesting habits were conducted in 1919 in Minnesota. Successful nest sites were measured forrepparttar 113355 size ofrepparttar 113356 holes, as well as forrepparttar 113357 exact location andrepparttar 113358 role of predators and competitors. The tests were done in open pastures, orchards and suburban back yards. Concluding that only with massive saturations of scientifically designed predator-competitor proof nesting boxes couldrepparttar 113359 decline ofrepparttar 113360 Bluebird be stopped. So they established and monitored Bluebird trails with tens to hundreds of nesting boxes strung out acrossrepparttar 113361 land. The monitors set up communication networks in newspapers, magazines andrepparttar 113362 mail. Wherever there were Bluebird trail sponsors, Bluebirds began to reappear for people to enjoy. It is quite a thrill to see one, especially when one understandsrepparttar 113363 odds against their gentle souls.

It needn’t be inevitable that Bluebirds, oncerepparttar 113364 most common thing in a yard, continue to loose ground against these alien intruders. Their population has dwindled and become so low, they are almost like a myth. Our Eastern Bluebird has sufferedrepparttar 113365 most serious in loss. Amateurs and bird lovers alike can accomplishrepparttar 113366 hob in restoringrepparttar 113367 numbers of our native azure friends. The trails already in existence acrossrepparttar 113368 UDA and Canada form a network of hope acrossrepparttar 113369 continent. Armies of trail tenders and box erectors will bring more and more of them back to your yards asrepparttar 113370 number of boxes grows greater.

Found only in North America, these sweet noted dwellers of fence posts have a tender voice to go along with their gentle nature. No other species of bird has been used as much asrepparttar 113371 Bluebird in poetry and songs as a symbol of love, hope and happiness. The early settlers looked upon this bird asrepparttar 113372 sign that spring had arrived, and fondly called itrepparttar 113373 Blue Robin.

In Michigan, as allrepparttar 113374 other states east ofrepparttar 113375 Rocky Mountains, we haverepparttar 113376 Eastern Bluebird. There are only two others—Western and Mountain. Their diet is mainly insects, most of which are yard and garden pests. Inrepparttar 113377 spring they loverepparttar 113378 cutworms that ruin crops and garden plants. Later inrepparttar 113379 summer through fall they dine on huge quantities of grasshoppers and wild berries. It is said that their courtship is beautiful and amazing, but it is a rare sight to behold.

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