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Monday, January 4, 2010

Poinsettia project week #2

As week number 1 rolls to an end, I was thinking about making this experiment more interesting, and I had an epiphany! My idea was having a friend of mine take care of one poinsettia using the old fashion finger method which is marked as Linda (the one on the left). I will continue to use a moisture meter to judge the water requirements of the plant, mine is marked Mike (the one on the right). Now both houses are about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and facing a south window. The climate is about the same for both plants, but the method of watering is the only variable. Linda's plant actually started to lose its understory leaves as well as some primary leaves from a lack of water and not by over watering so far. I only watered my poinsettia once thoroughly and allowed all the excess water to run out before I put it back in its fancy wrapper, last week. Of course Linda forgot to water her plant so this might ruin my hypothesis of overwatering being the cause of stressed plants. Even the plant I am taking care of has lost some understory leaves but I think it has to do with normal plant processes of shedding leaves that aren't receiving sunlight. That sums up the summary for week one, it should get pretty interesting!

Critter Bonanza!

Today we have experienced another inch of snow in Central Ohio!  As the snow  accumulates on the ground, critters accumulate on the feeders.  I opened the front door and I seen at least eight squirrels on the feeders, groups of cardinals, house finchs, and mourning doves.  I was amazed, I never see this many animals all in one tree.  It seems as the snow starts to pile up, it gets harder for animals to find food, and resort to easy targets like feeders.  I actually seen a squirrel hanging upside down eating black oil sunflower seeds while cardinals were feeding, it was a sight.

 While placing feeders around your house is a good way to attract critters to your landscape and providing food, its also important to have plants that provide a safe structure and wind barrier.  Evergreen trees are great to have in the landscape because it provides protection for just about any type of critter out there.  In addition to evergreens, ornamental plants that provide nuts or fruits late in the season are great to have as well if you want to attract a diverse population of animals to your landscape.  Ormamental trees include: hawthorne, crapapple, and callery pear are great for providing fruit late in the season.  Ornamental shrubs include: barberry, burning bush, cotoneaster, and winterberry are great for fruits and seeds as well.  Evergreen trees that are dense and provide good protection includes: colorado spruce, norway spruce, and ponderosa pine are good for providing ample shelter.  In addition to shrubs and trees, birds tend to be attracted to the seed heads of ornamental grasses which includes: maiden grass, zebra grass, and feather reed grass.  I hope this article was helpful, and always keep a bird bath defrosted especially in winter!