Smell Like Dirt

In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Archive for trees

Bluebirds!

Want an (almost) guaranteed way to get bluebirds to nest in your yard? Watch this video we just completed and discover the secret weapon. If you live in a condo in Manhattan, this probably won’t work, but if you are in a typical suburban neighborhood, and have seen some bluebirds around, use this technique to get them to pick your yard as the place to raise their family. It won’t matter if you don’t have all the “ingredients” the books say you have to have in order to attract bluebirds. The secret weapon will make them ignore all the rules!

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Stop those Catalogs!!

If you’re like me, you get TONS of catalogs in the mail each week. And since you are on a environmentally-themed blog, I assume you are recycling those catalogs instead of tossing them into the trash. But have you ever wished you could stop those catalogs from coming in the first place? It drives me crazy when I think of the trees that are killed for the pages in the catalogs, the energy that’s used to print them and then the fuel that the post office uses to move them all over the country. If there was just some way to stop them. Well, now there is! A friend recently shared a new website that you can use to stop receiving catalogs. And the best thing is that you can pick and choose which ones to stop. Can’t bear to live without yourLL Bean? You don’t have to! This service is not like the “do not call” service for telemarketers that stops everything. You can select which ones you no longer wish to see. And its easy. I let my catalogs pile up for a few days and then when I have a few minutes, I go to www.catalogchoice.org. The first time you will need to join (its free!) and then it will ask you to enter the name of the catalog you wish to stop. Chances are, its already in their database, so you click on it, but if not, you can enter a new one. Then it will ask you to enter your name, exactly how it appears on the catalog (this is important), and your customer number if you have one–usually printed on the address label– and that’s it! They will notify the catalog company and you will be taken off their list. I figure its going to take me a few months to get all of the catalogs I receive stopped, but its worth it. I wonder if my mailman will notice?

Late Winter Pruning

If you haven’t already, now is the time to prune those bushes and shrubs that call for “late winter” pruning. Butterfly bushes, hollies, boxwoods, pompas grass, camelias— if you have any of these in your gardens, now is the time to give them a gentle pruning or whack them back drastically, whatever they need. But be careful you are not trimming anything that will be blooming soon. Azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias and spirea, for example should be shaped AFTER they bloom this spring and summer. If you trim azaleas or rhodies now, you will be cutting off all of this years blooms, which they set last fall. Wait until after they bloom but before July 1 to shape them up (if you must….I like the natural form of both plants the best) Hydrangeas are an entirely different matter. Some species bloom on old wood and shouldn’t be trimmed now and some bloom on new wood and would benefit from a good pruning, so make sure you know which type you have and do some research before grabbing those loppers! And while you are in the yard trimming, look up and take a gander at your tree limbs before the leaves start reappearing. Now is a great time to take note of limbs that might have been damaged this winter or are already dead and schedule a professional to come out and remove them, if necessary. Its too early to start planting but the days are getting longer and there are plenty of signs that spring is just around the corner, so take this opportunity to get outside and putter in your garden!

Pileated Woodpeckers

Another video from our recent Smell Like Dirt Takes a Road Trip to the Ichetucknee Springs State Park in North Florida. We got lucky and stumbled upon a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers who were too focused on looking for food to care about us filming them. Pileated Woodpeckers can be found across the Eastern United States so most of us have a great chance to see them. Find a large forested area near you and see if you can find some for yourself. They are very loud so chances are you will hear them before you see them.

Special thanks to Lauri Shubert of Lake City, Florida, for letting us use the still photos of a male pileated working on a tree in her own backyard. Lauri definitely Smells Like Dirt!

Tree Seedling Orders Deadline Oct 31

Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation District will be accepting orders for tree seedlings through October 31st. Native trees and bushes will be available for pick up in January. Place your orders now to ensure you get what you want and avoid standing in line. This is a hugely successful annual event so place your orders now. Follow the link on this post to place your orders.