celebrex for dogs

Posts Tagged ‘Soil’

Time To Make The Donuts

Donuts. Not the kind that leave colorful sprinkles all over your desk. Not even the kind that Homer Simpson loves so much. But mulch donuts.

Too mulch love.

Over-mulching ranks right up there for the top reason newly planted trees die. That’s why mulch donuts are the way to go.  According to Arborist and forester Brian Colter, a protective layer of mulch around the base of your tree is a good thing but, he says, more mulch isn’t necessarily better.  Never “volcano” the mulch right up to the trunk were the chips press against it because after a period of time the tree will rot and die. Not only that, mice and insects may hide in there and feed on parts of the tree.

This is where the donuts come in. Form the mulch into the shape of a donut by keeping it away from the trunk and the rootball of the tree. Not only is mulching good for the soil and root growth, but it also helps keep lawn mowers and weed-whackers from damaging the bark of a tree. Open wounds are a bad thing. Truth be told, that’s the number one reason newbie trees perish.

Donuts. Maybe not the kind with colorful sprinkles on top, but trees like them too. And most probably better for them than for us.

Earth Movers

You know it’s just rained when you walk outside and get hit with…..the smell of earthworms. I’ve helped a worm or two in my day by picking them off the sidewalk and planting them back in the grass, but my friend Thom takes it even a couple of steps further. Not wanting to squish the little guys, he clears them out of the way before pulling the car out of the drive. What he may not know is that he’s helping in other ways as well.

I feel the earth move under my feet

I knew little about earthworms but learned quite a bit through the University Of Illinois’ “The Adventures of Herman.”* I was flabbergasted to find out that there are around 500,000 worms in an acre of soil, (and some accounts say up to a million in really good soil). With all that burrowing going on, they’re the ultimate aerator. The work they do down there is equal to a drainage system of a 6-inch pipe 2,000 feet long. Crazy.

While moving through the earth, these little guys are also eating and casting (if you catch my drift) at the same time. These 500,000 earthworms can fill up 100,000 one-pound coffee cans with “castings”. I’m not even going to ask how the people who farm worms collect that fertilizer to sell to gardeners.

So, the worms increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil, breaks down organic matter, mixes it, aerates it and then fertilizes it. Next time I see a stranded earthworm on the sidewalk you bet I’ll help him back to Mother Earth. It’s the least I can do.

*urbanext.illinois.edu/worms