Sunday, November 17, 2013
Monday, July 29, 2013
Other names of this parasite include love vine, strangleweed, devil's-guts, goldthread, pull-down, devil's-ringlet, hellbine, hairweed, devil's-hair, and hailweed.
Dodder is an annual a leafless, parasitic. It is a bright twisting yellow or orange creeper sometimes tinted with purple or red. At times it is nearly white. The stems can be very thin and thread-like or rather firm. Dodder is said to contain some chlorophyll in the buds, fruits and stems, but the amount of food manufactured in this tissue is of little significance to the survival of the plant.
The flowers are small white, pink or yellowish. Dodder produces seed that falls to the ground and sprout the next growing season if a suitable host is present. If no suitable host is present, the seed may remain dormant for five years. The seeds can travel by water along irrigation channels. Moist soil and sunlight is required for germination.
Dodder seedlings must attach to an appropriate host within a few days of germinating or they die. The young seedling is delicate to touch and yellowish stem touches in the air until it makes contact with a plant. The contact is made firm by one or more loops about the stem. If this plant happens to contain foods suitable to the dodder then a secondary provocation is aroused, this causes root-like branches (haustoria) to form and penetrate the stem. The basal part of the parasite soon shrinks away so that no soil connection exists.
Dodder attack only when a rival is close by, and every so often gain surprise on their victims. Their vines do not directly cause destruction, but are rather used to struggle victims. Once an enemy is struggled, it attempts to constrict it to death.
Pulling and destroying dodder infected plants is recommended. Dodder must be destroyed before it produces seeds or infestations will spread. Once established, dodder appears in patches in the field. Cutting the host plant earlier to the dodder producing seed helps reduce the quantity of seed.
Labels: Plant Parasite
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. This goes for every garden site, from vegetable garden to flower bed Mulch can reduce water loss from the soil, minimize weed competition, and improve soil structure. Properly applied, mulch can give landscapes a well-groomed appearance. However, Mulch must be applied properly; if it is too deep or if the wrong material is used, it can actually cause significant harm to trees and other landscape plants.
Mulched gardens are healthier, more weed free, and more drought-resistant then unmulched gardens, so you'll spend less time watering, weeding, and fighting pest problems.
There are two basic kinds of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living material such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, and even paper. Inorganic mulches include gravel, stones, black plastic, and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).
Both types discourage weeds, but organic mulches also improve the soil as they decompose. Inorganic mulches don't break down and enrich the soil, but under certain circumstances they're the mulch of choice. For example, black plastic warms the soil and radiates heat during the night, keeping heat-loving vegetables such as eggplant and tomatoes cozy and vigorous.
Using Organic Mulches
There are two prime rules for using organic mulches to combat weeds. First, be sure to lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded, and second, lay down a thick enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it.
Wood chips and bark mulch: You can purchase bags of decorative wood chips or shredded bark from a local garden center to mulch your flower garden and shrub borders. Or simply from carpenters, they have loads.
Shredded leaves: If you have trees on your property, shredding the fallen leaves creates nutrient-rich mulch for free.You can spread a wood chip or shredded leaf mulch anywhere on your property, but it looks especially attractive in flower beds and shrub borders. Of course, it's right at home in a woodland or shade garden. They also serve well as a mulch for garden pathway.
Grass offcuts: Grass trimmings are readily available mulch, although it's a good idea to return at least some of your grass clippings directly to the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Its fine to collect grass clippings occasionally to use as mulch, and the nitrogen-rich clippings are an especially good choice for mulching vegetable gardens. Your vegetables will thank you for the nitrogen boost!
Straw and hay: Great mulch for the vegetable garden is straw or hays. It looks good and has most of the benefits of the other mulches: retaining soil moisture, keeping down weeds, and adding organic matter to the soil when it breaks down. But be sure the hay you use is weed and seed free.