Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dog Pee and Lawns

Ten Things about dog pee damage to lawns

I just love Ontario Garderner newsletters.  They are wonderful, so I once again have copied for all to read too.  Thank you OG for the great read.

1. Cause. The two components of dog pee that kill lawns are nitrogen and salts. It has nothing to do with pH.

2. Fixing early. If you see a dog peeing on your lawn, douse the area as soon as possible with water. Three times the amount (give it your best guess) within eight hours is recommended. If you see somebody allowing their dog to pee on your lawn, you might consider dousing them with water too!

3. Fixing later. If you don't know your lawn has been peed on until you see the damage, there is only so much you can do. Re-sodding the patch could be an immediate fix if the sod is a good match for your lawn. You can also seed over if there is a bare patch; you'll have to keep the seeded area continuously moist until it is established. Lime or gypsum, which balance out acidity, won't reverse the damage because the damage isn't caused by pH changes.

4. Gender. The urine of male dogs is as damaging to lawns as the urine of female dogs, but male dogs tend to mete out their pee in smaller amounts in order to mark more territory while females tend to squat and pee a bladderful in one spot. This is why owners of female dogs tend to suffer more turf damage than owners of male dogs.

5. Size. Obviously, small dogs produce less urine than big dogs. No correlation has been found between breed and damage other than that owing to size.

6. Supplements. Before you decide to give your dog any of the supplements advertised to prevent lawn burns, think about why your dog pees. Urine comes from the kidneys, which filter unusable materials from the blood. You want those unusable materials out of your dog's blood, right? Consult your vet before feeding your dear pet something that messes with biological processes.

7. Diet change. High nitrogen in pee can come from the dog's diet containing more protein than necessary. Many commercial dog foods have levels of protein meant for very young and active dogs. If you're dog isn't highly active, consider asking your vet what food would give an appropriate level of protein.

8. Drinking water. Dogs that drink more water will have more dilute urine. If you already give your dog all the fresh clean drinking water it likes, you might be able to increase water consumption by moistening dry food or switching to canned food. Adding salt to encourage more water intake could damage kidneys and will add more lawn-damaging salt to the urine anyway. You could try offering salt-free broth if you're desperate.

9. Repeated damage to the same spot. Dogs have their favourite spots. If your dog is the culprit, you should be able to train it to pee in an area that works for you if you're determined (and your dog is not so stubborn as my dachshund). If you don't know what dog it is, try sprinkling the area with dog kibble. Dogs tend not to go where they eat.

10. If all else may be time to put a scree garden in the affected area!

From top to bottom: (1) The pee patch.(2) Assuming this position is natural. Consult a vet before considering supplements for your pooch. (3) Great amounts of consumed water does any body good. (4) Just when you save your lawn and get the peeing under control, the darn thing digs!

-Shauna Dobbie
Copyright © Pegasus Publications Inc

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sweet Potato Update #3

Well since planting the sprouting potato back at the end of January, my little experiment sure is doing quite well.  I'm really not sure what I'm going to do with it, but if it can hold on till after the last frost I will then move it outside.   Not sure if it will produce any tubers but it is no loss since it was only an experiment.  So here it is 6 weeks later.

More updates in the future.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's Maple Syrup Time!

The nights are cool plus the days are warm.  You know what that equals?  Maple Syrup time.  Nothing beats Canadian Maple Syrup.  We only make enough for ourselves, but even at that it is alot of work.  Considering it takes approximately 40 Gallons of sap to make 1 Gallon of Maple Syrup. A ratio of 40:1 That is alot of sap. Boy, is it worth it though.  Since I work full time I do not have the time to have a actual sugar bush cooking house, so we cook it with propane.  Still get the full taste and aroma but I do not have to sit in the bush into the wee hours and wait for the syrup to be ready.  Come with me as I show you what I do.

The great sugar maple.  She sure is lovely.  In spring you give me sap and in the fall you give me a beautiful show of colors.

Time to drill the hole.  Have to put some muscle into it.

The spoil.  It brings the sap from the tree to the bucket ( which by the way can be pretty much anything, I like to use coffee cans because they are not heavy and easy to handle )

Little helpers looking on as it starts to drip in the bucket.


Here is what I cook the syrup in.  Just a simple propane burner and stainless pot.  Pretty simple.

The sap is a cooking.  Soon it will be on yummy pancakes, but we will have to wait since its still cooking.  Hope you enjoyed my day in the sugar bush

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interesting Facts about Trees

10 Neat Things About Trees

1. Pharmacy in a forest. Aspens produce a fuzzy white coating on the south side of their trunks that acts as a sun block. This powdery substance was used by Aboriginal people to prevent sunburn. The inner bark of aspen contains salicylic acid, an ingredient in aspirin. It was used in a tea to relieve rheumatism and other health problems. Aspen leaves can also relieve insect stings.

2. When is a tree a forest? We are often amazed at the gigantic size of the famous redwood sequoias, but that's measuring only vertical growth. Since aspens send up shoots (ramets) that become new "trees", the largest aspen "trees" are actually huge forests that can cover tens of hectares. Once such near Salt Lake City, Utah is estimated to weigh over 5,000 tonnes, many times larger than the biggest sequoia.

3. Do trees talk to each other? Lots of people think so and some even say they talk to humans, but that's another story. In fact, while trees don't speak in comprehensible sentences, they appear to communicate through several different means. Some trees (elms come to mind) appear to exchange information and even nutrition through the network of mycorrhizae that populate their roots systems. Others (acacias) appear to be able to send either a chemical or an electrical message to fellows in their vicinity when they are under threat from a leaf-nibbling animal. And trees such as the black walnut certainly send chemical signals with a toxic substance called juglone that wards off competition from certain other plants.

4. Trees produce oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide. A large tree puts out enough oxygen to sustain four people every day. On the other hand, it takes about 100 trees to capture and store one tonne (2,204 lbs.) of carbon dioxide in a year -- two reasons why we need more trees than people.

5. Pruning trees roots will not necessarily kill a tree, but don't go too far. Never cut more that 30% of the root system of a mature tree, which means leaving a minimum space of 1.2 metres from the base of the tree for those with trunk of 30 cm or more in diameter.

6. Tree roots grow in proportion to the size of its crown above ground. The roots of a paper birch, however, will spread at least twice the height of the tree. Elm roots have a similar range.

7. The idea that tree roots maliciously seek out your sewage system to exploit any cracks is only an urban myth. What some tree roots will do is grow more vigorously in areas where they encounter moisture and nutrients (wouldn't you?). If the piping has perforations or openings, then tree roots may grow in that direction.

8. Most tree roots, the fine feeder roots, exist within the top eight to 12 inches of soil. Trees with deep roots least likely to cosy up to your pipes and weeping tiles include bur oak, black walnut, common hackberry and some types of hickory. Trees that like dry conditions and so will avoid moisture-laden drains include beech, Black cherry, Black locust, European and Paper birch, Norway maple, many pines and spruces and Staghorn locust.

9. Trees can clean up groundwater contamination through a process called phytoremediation. Poplars and willows are particularly good at this. Trees can clean up contamination in three ways: One is by changing the chemical composition of organic contaminants such as PCBs through interaction with bacteria at the root level. Two is through a similar process with heavy metals such as mercury, but where the changed chemistry is them expired into the air through the leaves. The third is by taking the contaminants into the above ground growth and storing them. The recovery of heavy metals stored and reclaimed in this way is being studied in a process called phytoextraction.

10. Lilacs, elms, oaks and beeches can all live 200 to 300 years or more , common firs and spruces can live as long as 800 years, and sequoia are well known both for their bulk and their great age, but the champion grower is the pine, one of which, Pinus longaeva, has been clocked at 4,900 years. Long-lived trees generally grow slowly -- as slowly as just one inch per century!

From top to bottom: 1. Aspen leaves take out sting. 2. An ancient Oak in England. 3. Aspen trunks near Aspen, Colorado. 4. Eastern Elm. 5. Oak tree. 6. Phytoremdiation. 7. Tree roots.

-Dorothy Dobbie

Thank you again Ontario Gardener for such an interesting newsletter again.  I enjoy them very much.