Published on Thursday, June 06 2013 04:18
Warmer weather, afternoon thundershowers, sprouting trees, and blooming flowers; summer has finally arrived along the Front Range. Time to don your cowboy gear and head to two annual western festivals which draw visitors from all across the country and even the world. Add these events to your “bucket list” of nearby things to do and see this summer.Read more: Summer In The West
Published on Thursday, June 06 2013 04:08
Several Lyons area landowners have asked me to look at their trees recently, because many woody plants in our community are showing signs of stress. Stressed trees, especially non-native species, had late opening buds, branch die-back, smaller than normal leaves, and brown evergreen foliage. They do not look so good.
It is no wonder that trees around here are struggling. After our two recent spring snowstorms, nighttime temperatures plummeted. This was right when bud break had started (after winter dormancy protection was lost). Plant cells were beginning to metabolize. Then, POW, they were frozen to death, absent of their natural antifreeze.
In many cases it is the latent buds now opening or growing. Trees keep a dormant reserve of latent unopened buds for survival. This gives them another chance to open some buds if primary buds are killed or if there is defoliation. It takes additional energy from a tree’s stored reserves to open latent buds however, and this is another source of stress; depleted food reserves.
We also see signs of sunscald to evergreens, bright sunlight reflected off the late snow, doubling light intensity onto the dormant-breaking foliage. Furthermore, local trees have in recent years endured awful drought. That’s not all.
New to our area, migrated insects and disease have established damaging populations to which many trees are not resistant. Care-giving residents may hesitate to water trees sufficiently, or to keep trees well pruned for financial reasons. New construction and infrastructure repair has torn-up many established tree root systems. In some cases, simply put, trees are first to be neglected.
People may take trees for granted, especially if there is an assumption that we have easy-to-grow-trees conditions. Such is not the case. Our community forest would not be here if people did not plant and care for trees. Lyons could be a dusty, barren, uninviting hovel were it not for the beauty and utility graciously provided by trees.
Most urban trees are not native and require special considerations. No matter their source, trees in town must receive care. Fortunately that is the case because Lyons is recognized as a Tree City USA for the positive way this town, and its people, care for its community forest.
Immediately though, what can be done about present tree conditions? Here are some suggestions.
1.) Water the trees. How much? Consider this. The native environments for many of the introduced trees planted here receive between thirty and forty inches of precipitation a year. We get about fifteen inches of moisture in Lyons, if lucky.
When you water your trees, place a straight-sided open-top can on a level surface near the trees drip line. An empty coffee-can makes a good water-gage. Run your sprinkler a while and then take a ruler and measure the depth of the water in the can. That depth in inches is how much water you gave the tree in one watering session.
Stay aware of the natural precipitation we receive in inches of water, and that may vary greatly. Attempt to make up part of the water deficit between the inches of natural precipitation received and what the tree needs to live or thrive. Non-natives can survive with around twenty to twenty-five inches of water per year, depending upon the species. They can thrive here with a natural precipitation plus supplemental water total that approaches their native environment average.
2.) Another good tree care practice is to install surface mulch, heavily. Natural forest soils are covered with a nice thick blanket of duff composed of years and volumes of tree produced organic mater. You can duplicate the benefits of duff with surface mulch.
Put four to six inches deep of organic mulch (free tree-branch grindings are good) around a tree, extending out to the drip line. Mulch will cool the soil, prevent weeds and grass from competing with the tree for moisture, and encourage beneficial earthworm and microbial activity to build soil fertility. Plus, mulch helps eliminate lawn-mower/weed-eater damage that wrecks tree bark and its inner living cambium. Kill a tree’s life-sustaining translocation cell network at its base, and you girdle the tree to death.
3.) Third suggestion: prune out the dead. Keep trees free of dead wood accumulations and that will allow more light to reach healthy branches and foliage. Leaves and needles are what make a tree’s food through photosynthesis (it is not fertilization!).
Well exposed foliage can work efficiently to build a tree’s food reserves (sugars and carbohydrates) and encourage a stressed tree back to health. Note: sufficient water is absolutely essential for optimum photosynthesis.
Here are some tree-lover rules worth considering. Plant the right tree in the right place and then care for it, always. If it’s the wrong kind of tree and or in a poor location to cause problems, then it is a weed. It is best to dispose of it. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time to plant trees is now, but don’t neglect those already established by others. A healthy forest has a diversity of species and trees of all ages.
We have a beautiful planted community forest here in part because of the foresight and diligence of those who preceded us. This urban forest gives us cost-saving energy conservation benefits. Studies show people‘s health improves in a pleasant, treed environment.
After an onslaught of recent harmful environmental impacts however, our community’s trees especially need some help and TLC.
Published on Thursday, May 30 2013 04:15
In April 2008, Kathleen Spring completed a four part series on the history of Lyons Golden Gang. This month she reviewed hundreds of “senior” articles that she has written since then and has accumulated them in Part 5-6, covering the last five years of activities of Lyons various senior agencies and organizations.
Senior or not, most people have heard of the group of elders called the Lyons Golden Gang. Its name celebrates the “golden years” ofRead more: Reflecting On The Golden Gang
Published on Thursday, June 06 2013 04:02
Deep fried pickles, a rack of ribs, sweet potato fries and pan roasted duck breast are some of the menu favorites here in Lyons. Who doesn’t want to indulge in the bottom of a keg filled with fried foods from time to time? While this might sound appealing, it also makes many folks'Read more: The Skinny on Fats
Published on Thursday, May 30 2013 02:56
Read more: Donald Alan Johnson
March 1, 1957 – May 18, 2010
Donald A. Johnson, age 56, passed away at his home in Lyons, on May 18, of heart failure. He was born March 1, 1957 in Hot Springs, South Dakota to Merle and Donna Johnson. Don grew up in Hot Springs, and graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1975; a year later he enlisted in the Air Force. After his service, he worked for a while in the electronics field for Hughes
Published on Monday, June 03 2013 08:42
Each month, the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown, raised or processed in the state. This month, Colorado asparagus is featured in the Asparagus with Lemon and Pistachios recipe.
The asparagus plant is a member of the lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and garlic. Asparagus is low in calories, fat free and sodium free. It is a good source of vitamins A and C and
Published on Thursday, May 30 2013 02:51
MONDAY WAS MEMORIAL DAY: a time of flags, programs, memorials, gatherings at the cemeteries to say a word to our loved ones who have gone before us, and to reminisce about the days gone by and about the fun we had. A time to say, “We miss them!” A time to say a “thank you” to those in the service; to those who have lost their lives protecting us, and weRead more: About Town - May 30, 2013