Laura Stone (stoney321) wrote,
Laura Stone
stoney321

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Two highly focused rants to get this weekend off right (ha ha)

But seriously. One political, one gardening, equally passionate about both.

#1: WHY JOHN MCCAIN SHOULD NOT BE OUR PRESIDENT. John McCain financially and morally supported one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted (a list that includes Osama, btw.) What am I talking about? Warren Jeffs, of course. McCain routinely got funds from the plygs of Short Creek (so the gov't would leave them alone.) McCain also VISITED them every so often (to pick up his check) and knew of this group of thousands that flaunted law-breaking and swindling taxpayers for millions. Also, McCain asboth congressman and senator made sure Warren Jeffs had a FEDERALLY FUNDED AIRPORT that no one but Jeffs was allowed to use (and FBI agents believe was being used as a drug smuggling hub. And it's still there, running. Uh...) So, like Mitt Romney, McCain isn't fit to be our President.

(Note that none of the charges against the misappropriation of federal fund have not moved forward since 2006. And they've got Jeffs. Here's info on that airport as of yesterday - sitting there, not being used, taking up federal resources. Trying to keep a clean doorstep? Yeah.)

#2: STOP THE CREPE MURDER. One of the most beautiful trees starts getting killed all over the south about this time of year. Don't be one of the killers! *tears out hair, but only figuratively, because I really like my hair* note to newbies: I'm a Texas Master Gardener, and it's my unpaid JOB to help the public not ruin their landscape/enjoy gardening/understand what the hell to do.

In case you didn't know, topping a tree is bad. It kills the tree. What's tree topping? When you take a saw/blade/great white shark and you whack off the limbs. Here, let me show you:



(this one isn't easy to see, but when it was first pruned, it looked like a Saguaro cactus. Um, that is not a pretty mulberry tree, home owner! A is a massive chainsaw cut and B is the weetiny, thin, weak branches circling in a bird's nest formation around the fat cut. NOT HEALTHY.) And something that made me drop my dog's leash and gasp, covering my mouth, and I am not exaggerating:



ACK!! Double Ack!! Stop it! Why do people do this? Well, I'll tell you. One, if it's a landscaping company, it's because they have nothing else to do right now. No, really. If it's a homeowner, it's because they've been taught wrong. Here's what the poor dears think: these beautiful trees flower on new wood. So, cut off the wood and make it grow new branches, which equals more blooms.

WRONG.

Here's what it really does. When you make a pruning cut (on any plant) a hormone is released that sends the plant into panic. "I've been wounded! I must make new branches, so I can have more leaves, so I can photosynthesize, so I don't DIE." Except they don't say anything, because that would get annoying. So you, have this:




(notice at A. that they clearly don't want the branches hitting the gutter, but they made a cut under the gutter which will lead to MORE BRANCHES IN THE GUTTER, and B. is just an ugly cut they made) which becomes this:





so you cut off those limbs, and then every year, you get lovely (read: hideous) knees on your branches like this:





And then over time, you get this:





Way to go, murderer. You could have had a beautiful flowering tree (that feeds many kinds of birds, looks beautiful, and smells lovely) that looked like this:





Here's a little tip: ALL flowering plants bloom on new growth. And guess where new growth is? ON THE OUTSIDE WHERE YOUR PEEPERS CAN SEE THEM. There's no need to hack at your trees to get them to flower. They'll do that all on their own, because Mother Nature is smart.

Now, there are things to prune on these trees to give them such a lovely look. Only prune the following: suckers growing up from the bottom (see picture) or when a branch is rubbing against another branch - that can lead to open wounds, which leads to disease. But when you cut, cut ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM of the sucker/offending branch. That way, you don't get EIGHT new thin suckers at the point of cutting. See? Very easy.





Poor, poor trees. They live for well over 75 years and get as tall in feet. They're beautiful. The multi-stem bases are architecturally interesting in the landscape. Again: birds love the berries at the tips. Birds eat pests. Stop ruining this cycle! When you continually hack these trees, you'll get MAYBE 10 years out of them. <-- actual study done by aggie-hort at A&M.

Nature has winter for a reason: to rest. Why would you go out there and work in the nasty cold when you don't need to? And note to anyone in the south with ornamental grasses: stop cutting them to the ground in February, as well. If you leave them alone, they'll green up and the dead blades will fall off, like daylilies. People, I'm trying to save you chores. If you don't have to prune, isn't that easier?

Finally, because I want my neighbors humiliation complete (hahaha, these are all from my block, or by my dad's house. For shame, landscapers!) Notice that often times people plant trees without looking up. Here's a tip: don't plant a ginormous oak/maple/etc under POWER LINES. Slide that baby over ten/fifteen feet and go crazy nuts. Otherwise, you've just given yourself a major yearly headache.



*cries* I can't imagine why my dad's neighborhood loses power in big storms all the time. Can't be from limbs landing on power lines, could it?

I'm trying to find a picture I took last year of someone that planted Arborvitae on either side of their door, not realizing that is a 75 ft. tree. They cut a hole into the bush to get in and out of their house. That's a fun weekend project just to be able to use your front door! Ack. (For those of you that envision hobbit like dwellings, those plants were covered EVERY SUMMER by bag worms, spider webs, etc. Just what you want three feet from your entryway, right?


In conclusion, I want to be gardening today. Hurry up, Spring! (And I might print this and stick it in my neighbor's mail boxes...)
Tags: gardening, picspam!, rant
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