Webinar on Protecting Gardens from Moles, Voles, & More will occur on
11 to 12N am central time
Webinar on Protecting Gardens from Moles, Voles, & More will occur on
11 to 12N am central time
Susceptibility to box blight (Cylindrocladium buxicola = Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum) was evaluated for twenty three varieties of boxwood (Buxus spp.) at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC during summer 2012. Disease assessments were performed based on a modified Horsfall-Barratt scale including percent leaf area diseased and percent stem streaking. The results shown below are based on the final disease assessment.
Our results indicate a wide range in susceptibility of Buxus spp. to the boxwood blight pathogen; however B. sempervirens types were more susceptible in general (a 2011 publication reported ‘Justin Brouwers’ to actually fall within the B. sempervirens cluster). The varieties listed as tolerant had minimal lesion development caused by C. buxicola. It is important to note that some boxwood varieties are limited in their optimal plant hardiness zones; make sure to look up specific growing requirements for each variety before recommending them in your area.
(click on the picture for better view)
From the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,
“the loss of 100 million trees to the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive forest pest—has influenced mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory diseases.”
“Two fixed-effects regression models were used to estimate the relationship between EAB presence and county-level mortality from 1990 to 2007 in 15 U.S. states, while controlling for a wide range of demographic covariates.”
“There was an increase in mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness in counties infested with the EAB. The magnitude of this effect was greater as infestation progressed and in counties with above-average median household income. Across the 15 states in the study area, the borer was associated with an additional 6113 deaths related to illness of the lower respiratory system, and 15,080 cardiovascular-related deaths.”
“Results suggest that loss of trees to the EAB increased mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness. This finding adds to the growing evidence that the natural environment provides major public health benefits.” An easier version to understand is here.
The emphasis here is tree loss, not EAB. I doubt loss of trees due to urban development will have a different effect from tree loss due to EAB. This is absolutely huge for the green industry! What does the green industry do? Produce and plant trees and other plants, then maintain or improve their health in the landscape. Efforts of the green industry will reverse the effects of tree loss (and the associated human health effect).
Now tell all your friends and neighbors.
Waiting at IAH for my connection to College Station, after another great SSAWG (Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) conference, at Little Rock. I gave a talk on high tunnel innovation. While there, I got to talk to a wonderful colleague of mine from Mississippi State, who commented that “there’s not ‘junk food. It’s either ‘junk’ or ‘food’”, after hearing my son’s story of refusing a cupcake (which was ‘junk food’ as he told me) offered by his teammate after his first basketball game.
I loved the comment so much that I immediately told the story on an interview, which may or may not appear on SSAWG website, posted it on my Facebook, and told it to Cathy Jones, a SSAWG board member from NC.
One time when my son was shopping at HEB, he pointed to the chocolate and other candies in the cart in front of him and said ‘Daddy, those are junk food’. Son, mind your own business. Fortunately he was speaking Chinese and unfortunately, the person in front of him was Asian-looking and more likely a Chinese! In spite of my husband feeling embarrassed by his outspoken son, a 4-year-old knows what’s junk (food and knows to avoid it, most of the time. How many adults know that and avoid it? Not enough, obviously.
Food and not ‘junk’, is the central theme at SSAWG conference. I’d like to invite anyone who eats food, is interested in food or even just curious about food to attend SSAWG conferences (Mobile, AL for 2014 & 2015). So many of our problems would be solved if we focus on food and not junk. If we focus on food, sustainability will tag along.
The best thing about SSAWG conference? Inspiration! When you are around 1,200 people with same passion about sustainable agriculture, you’re inspired and empowered.
Here’s an experience of myself, then a college student, going to Tian’anmen Square to watch the national flag ceremony on National Day. We needed to take subway, along with hundreds of thousands of students in Beijing. Every ride that passed by was squeezed with students like sardines. We couldn’t get in. When we did get in, we were the sardines, squeezed, with no possible body movement except eyeballs and lips.
It was basic physics—-there was just not enough space!
Fast forward to the Friday before, my Nursery Production and Management class visited the Antique Rose Emporium at Brenham, TX. Not only were we impressed by the over 400 rose cultivars, we spent a lot of time asking about their compost tea used in rose production. In their operation, three different commercially available composts and their ‘home-made’ compost on site are blended together—-with molasses added, I think—-and then brewed in the container, aerated, for 24 hours. The ‘tea’ is then diluted to about 10 times and sprayed on roses, which significantly reduce their fungicide application. As the manager explained to us, the compost tea application is basically ‘occupying’ the foliage surface with beneficial or non-pathogenic fungi so that the bad ones don’t have a place to live or will be out-competed.
It’s just basic physics! How simple and money-saving! And so environmentally friendly.
“Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages “. Pediatrics 2012;130:e1406–e1415
The US market for organic foods has grown from $3.5 billion in 1996 to $28.6 billion in 2010, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic
products are now sold in specialty stores and conventional supermarkets. Organic products contain numerous marketing claims and terms, only some of which are standardized and regulated. In terms of health advantages, organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease. Organic farming has been demonstrated to have less environmental impact than conventional approaches. However, current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown
foods, and there are no well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet. Studies also have not demonstrated any detrimental or disease-promoting effects from an organic diet.
Although organic foods regularly command a significant price premium, well-designed farming studies demonstrate that costs can be competitive and yields comparable to those of conventional farming techniques. Pediatricians should incorporate this evidence when discussing the health and environmental impact of organic foods and organic farming while continuing to encourage all patients and their families to attain optimal nutrition and dietary variety consistent with the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations. This clinical report reviews the health and environmental issues related to organic food production and consumption. It defines the term “organic,” reviews organic food-labeling standards, describes organic and conventional farming practices, and explores the cost and environmental implications of organic production techniques. It examines the evidence available on nutritional quality and production contaminants in conventionally produced and organic foods. Finally, this report provides guidance for pediatricians to assist them in advising their patients regarding organic and conventionally produced food choices. Pediatrics 2012;130:e1406–e1415
The Oct. 22 issue of Time magazine had the picture of Xi Jinping, who is expected to be the next Chinese President at the Nov. 8 Party Congress, as the background of the cover, which says ‘The next leader of the unfree world’. The issue also featured an article titled ‘Why China’s Xi Jinping will be the new President who really matters’ by Hannah Beech, a very interesting topic especially during this tight presidential campaign in the US.
I don’t have subscription to Time magazine to read the whole story, but I could take an educated guess on what the article talked about, and how it’s relevant to the green industry.
Just like many other aspects of our lives, the green industry is no stranger to ‘made-in-China’. If Xi decides to manipulate the value of Yuan (Chinese dollar), that may affect your operation cost (price of machines, tools, fertilizers, etc. etc.) more than any action from Romney/Obama. With many production sites moved offshores, some may find that China, with its highly educated workforce, is a good candidate. With the affordable labor force, rich plant resources, and huge investment in agriculture, many other things could be done in China too, including breeding—–have you thought about that?
On the other hand, whatever actions Romney/Obama take may result from how much Xi wants to loan to the US or from other actions Xi may take. For example, anti-Japanese movements around China, which could be fueled or unfueled by Xi’s government, have caused significant decrease in sales for all three Japanese auto makers. Don’t you think that’ll affect the US auto industry and thus US economy? I’m sure you’ve heard ‘butterfly effect’ (a butterfly could have far-reach ripple effect on subsequent events; just google it).
So Green Industry, are you ready for the next President?