McNeary's Arborists Inc. ( A full Service Tree&Landscaping Company)

Seasonal Information for 1998

The Seasonal Information page has gotten big enough that it now runs for about four months at a time. This page is for the second quarter of 1998 starting in May.  If you want to go back to earlier Seasonal pages, go here.

. These topics will change from month to month as we encounter things we find interesting.

This is the.... CURRENT.... Information Section, updated about every three weeks or as needed. Since you might not be interested in all the topics mentioned, then you have a choice to jump to the following links.

Shade Trees Canker Worms Landscaping Ponds Irrigation Night Lighting
Y2K and the Green Industry

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December 14, 1998

Happy Holidays

It seems like a long time since the last update since we usually try do so every three weeks.  It is understandable that as the season slows down and we look toward the holidays there will be less activity trees and landscaping activity.  We have had a bad drought in the general area, and some cities close by are on a Phase III water restriction.  The lack of rain is the initial cause but there are two other factors.  

First there has been tremendous growth in most of North Carolina, and the Greensboro area has had its share of it.  Lack of funding and probably planning have left the area short on reservoirs.  We are very fortunate in the Charlotte area in that we have the Catawba River Basin here, and Duke Power has created many dams and lakes as a result.  We will have our water problems in the future and need to address that continually. 

On a somber note there are three other things that are cause for concern. 

If you want to see what we are trying to do about Y2K click here.   Y2K

November 11, 1998

We are just now getting our first hard frost.  In the county and in surrounding cities it has been below freezing, but here the tomatoes are still green.    Actually the tops of some plants are gone and we picked about a bushel of tomatoes.  That's our way of telling when we get the first freeze. 

We also are planning on getting up the cankerworm traps by Thanksgiving this year.   That is when they start crawling up the trees.  See cankerworm97.htm for details on what happened last year and in preceding years.  It is my prediction that we will a lighter infestation this year because the aerial application last year was very effective.

Pruning and deadwood removal

Before the leaf drops you can look at your trees and get a general idea about how healthy they are.  Trees that are weak tend to lose their leaves early.  These trees will probably be the ones with the most dead wood in them and pruning might be in order.  It is easier to spot deadwood when the trees are in full leaf, but a good climber can tell by the condition of the buds on the twigs.  It is therefore reasonable to prune trees when they are leafless.

Fall is a great time to do other types of tree work such as Cabling and Bracing, and Tree Fertilizing.

October 1, 1998 

We have  a new tree problem in Charlotte that might rival the fall cankerworm.   In the Observer this morning, there was an article about the Asian longhorned wood-boring beetle. This insect came to the states from China on wooden crates and only has been identified in a few places in the US.

Charlotte is one of those locations.  The insect destroys the tree from the inside out.  It starts feeding in the top of the tree in the summer and fall.  The adult female bores holes in the back and lays eggs.  After hatching, the larvae feed on the wood during the winter for a number of years.  When they become adults they bore their way back out of the tree weakening the tree.  When they exit the tree, they leave holes the size of ones finger and feed outside the tree on leaves and bark.   Since they can fly they move to other trees and lay eggs again. 

One of the main problems is that there are no natural predators and the insects are hard to spot in the tops of trees where they feed.  The actual insect is black with white and yellow spots.

If you see any of them please let us know.  This is a very serious threat to our local trees.  Fortunately they like oaks less than some other species.

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September 12, 1998

The tree industry in some ways has not changed in 150 years.  We still use saws, we prune trees much the same way, and the same type of person desires to be a tree climber.  Technology has changed tree work in that when we started in business it was very rare that someone would use a power saw up in the tree.  The saws were heavy weighing 30 to 40 lbs.  It was a two man job. We used a separate rope to haul the saw up in the tree, and one person held the rope on the ground that controlled  the saw.   The climber in the tree used the saw with some difficulty.

Saws became lighter and climbers fastened them to their belts as they climbed.   The innovations started then.  Various styles of lanyards were developed by climbers to allow the saw to drop below feet in case it fell or just to keep it out of the way when not needed.  Dog leashes, rope, coated wire cable were some of the things used.

Ideas were passed around from other industries.  Rigging devices for lowering heavy limbs came from the maritime industry which used ratchet blocks.  Jam cleats were used on boats but the ideas were refined by the mountain climbers and from that point to today, mountain climbing has had a tremendous impact on the way people climb trees.   At this point I will close by saying that all this innovation has allowed the tree climber to become more productive and efficient than 150 years ago.  In fact the climber of today should be more efficient than climbers of five years ago.

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August 31, 1998

Tree work is coming in fast an furiously for some reason. We often have an influx of work because people want to have stuff done before they seed their lawns.  This hold true for irrigation and tree work.  Landscaping tends to get busier when it becomes cooler and we get some fall rain.

We also see that people take the last fling before school starting  and tend to lay their bills aside until things settle down in the fall.  This always makes it difficult in the cash flow department.  I can sympathize because many of our clients have children in school and if they have to get more than one off to college that is a real burden on just about anyone.

It's been been very dry with intermittent rain so the soil is pretty dry here.  We missed all the rain that Bonnie had and for that we are glad.  Hurricane season will be with us for a time and we all remember Hugo on September 19 and 20 1989.

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August 8, 1998

Well time sneaks up.  I was supposed to change this to a new quarterly page as it gets pretty long.  We are busy in all departments and have not added to the site recently.  This time of year we always get calls for tree work that the homeowner wants done before grass seeding time.  We have had lots of extremes, and that is one reason to keep the trees growing well and thinned and cleaned of deadwood.  We do a great deal of  tree fertilizing in the fall and look toward cabling and bracing for winter tree problems.

There is nothing special this year except that we see problems with leaf Anthracnose on dogwoods and some mildew problems.  Generally these are seasonal problems.

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July 13, 1998

The last  couple of months have been very dry but not as bad as some parts of the country.  Since it is early summer still and lots more typically hot weather to go plants of all sorts will need to be watched very carefully.  Trees will start to suffer as the moisture in the soil tends to disappear.  By August and September, they will be under a lot of stress.

If you are watering trees remember that the roots are pretty deep and a good soaking is better than just watering the upper inch or so of the ground.  We have increased the time on irrigation controllers by 10% and have also adjusted some zones with just more time on them.  A rule of thumb is that plants like one inch of water a week.   They can  survive on a lot less, but if your circumstances allow, and especially if you have shallow rooted plants, turf, and a vegetable garden, the greater quantities are more to the plants liking.

Use drip irrigation when possible.  Use the condensation from airconditioners and rain water from down spots if you can.

Here are some Watering Tips for Your Trees and Shrubs

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June 30, 1998

Looks like June will close with a bang.  We had a violent thunderstorm here which hit the Plaza Midwood area very heavily.  I believe what we had was a micro-burst with winds up to 100 mph.  Early this morning we had lots of calls and lined up a crane early.

Randy tells me we have lots of trees on houses and when I drove over there were hundreds of trees down or severely damaged.  Many were on houses because generally it is an older area of town and there are many 100 foot oaks, poplars, and pines in the area.   It brought back memory of Hurricane Hugo.

As always trees that are maintained suffer less in storms like that one if they are properly pruned and examined to make sure that the weak areas are repaired.  We have found that  cabling old large trees with weak forks is a very beneficial preventative measure.

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June 18, 1998

Dogwoods are having a problem that we have not noticed before.  We are seeing a lot of them develop mildew.  At first the interior leaves turn yellow and fall off the tree.  This seems to be what people notice first.  The leaves do not have mildew on them and are succulent in feel and not hard or leathery.  Upon closer examination, one can find new growth that is distorted with a typical gray mildew like growth on them.  Fungicidal sprays might slow down the mildew but would be done for aesthetic purposes since mildew usually affects leaves only and does not do long term harm to the trees. 

In this case it is probably obvious because we have had unusual weather this year with more heat and moisture than normal.  My guess is that the increase we are seeing in brown patch disease in grass is another symptom of the increased moisture.  As far as mildew is concerned we will always see it on winged elms later in the season and if very normal.  Do not consider spraying your winged elms.... the dogwoods might be a different situation if you are concerned about lots of defoliation and unpleasant looking plants.

If your dogwoods are weakened, consider fertilizing later in the season.

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June 8, 1998

We have started seeing Dutch Elm Disease.  This is normal for this time of year, and if you have elms where the branches are flagging (the tips droop over) you likely have DED.  For more details see Dutch Elm Disease .

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May 23, 1998

Every year we get questions about what is going on with the landscape.  This year it seems to be leaf spots of one sort or another.  Someone will bring in a leaf that has holes in it and assumes that an insect has been feeding on the leaf.  In most cases, it is some fungus that attacks the leaves.  As the leaf grows, the tissue where the fungus starts does not expand and a hole appears.  When the fungus attacks close to the margins of the leaves the hole will truly appear to be eaten.  If one looks carefully at the entire leaf, usually other holes are visible.  Maple trees often have these fungi and generic names are applied like "Shot Hole Fungus, Leaf Blister, Powdery Mildew, Leaf Blotch, and so forth.

Treatment is usually not recommended because unless 30 or more percent of the leaf surface is affected, negligible harm is done to the tree.  As the season progresses, the environment for the fungi is less favorable and the new foliage does not show the same symptoms as foliage  earlier in the season.  Another reason for not treating (i.e. spraying) is that by the time one notices the damage, it is too late to spray.   Lastly, we try to avoid spraying trees for environmental reasons.      

May 13, 1998

Shade Trees ....  Early Summer

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The trees in general look better this year.  The cankerworm activity is down and we have had ample moisture.

Cankerworms 1998

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November 11, 1998

We sent out a mailing to cankerworm clients a few weeks ago, and the returns have been good.  It is our intention to have the banding done by Thanksgiving since that is usually when the wingless female starts up the trees.  We do not expect the problem to be as severe this year since it is our opinion that the two aerial sprays done by the city of Charlotte seemed to us to be extremely effective.  There were a few hot spots but generally the timing was excellent.  If you would like to read more about the cankerworm problem over the past number of years start here ..... cankerworm97.htm

October 20, 1998

The city of Charlotte is planning to band trees again around Thanksgiving 1998.   The sprays applied in April did  a good job and there were only a few hot spots around Charlotte.  As I recall it got windy in the afternoon which would have made the spray somewhat less effective. 

We are telling our clients that banding is probably appropriate this year but that hopefully we will not have a major problem.  It is too early to tell since the insects do not emerge until after the first good cold snap.

May 13, 1998

Cankerworms seem to be under control.  Last season we wrote much about cankerworms and you might be interested in looking at 1997 seasonal information.  Seasonal Information 1997

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Ponds and Watergardens

November 22, 1998

Here is a little update on the koi that I have raised this year. First of all we are certainly not in the fish raising business, but if you keep koi and they spawn, one wonders what the fry will grow into.  So with that basis I have raised a few fish and have learned a lot in the process. If you want to read some details go to the fishindx.htm to see what has transpired over the past few years.

Our Andy (large butterfly koi) won a first at the recent PKWGS Koi Show and seems to be admired by most people who see her.  She was named after Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame because of her long eyebrows.  Even though the purist don't regard the butterfly koi as very much, I find them fascinating and very beautiful.  Many newcomers to pondkeeping and watergardening like the butterfly koi and especially yellow (Yamaguchi) koi.

Anyway, I pulled parrot feather from the pond just after Andy passed the area as she was being chased by some other koi in the main pond.  I made no effort to isolate the fish as I have about 50 in the main pond and have a hard time keeping up with the water changes after the spawning. 

I did reason that there would be a greater percentage of Andy spawn if I retrieved eggs from a place where she had just been thrashing around.  These eggs were netted out of the pond and placed in about 6 containers which I have for raising plants.  The end results are that I have lots of young butterfly koi some of which are beautiful and most which are certainly interesting.  What amazes me is the difference in the rate of growth.  At the end of the season in November which is seven months since spawning, some of the butterfly koi are 8 inches long from nose to tail and others are still an inch long. 

I have placed the bigger ones in the main pond and left some in the plant containers for the winter.  Here in Charlotte, it normally does not freeze a lot so the koi seem to do ok in all different sorts of environments.  The natural environment of a plant pond (above ground container) seems to grow healthy fish and except for the occasional jumping out of a fish it works well.

I also move some inside into two fresh water aquarium in my office.  I enjoy looking at them grow and develop during the winter.  In the spring, many of them will be moved to the main pond.

The really large ones are reverts back to the parents I suppose.  They have barbels and the dorsal fin stick straight up; the young koi looks a little like a shark.   They have eyebrows, and also come in different colors.  I have some that are orange, black & yellow, black with white fins.

I have kept some of these strange ones because one of my favorites is one we call the Green Hornet.  This fish has developed into a 20 inch blackish green fish with distant green on the upper back.  Also we call one Stealth who is black except for the white pectoral fins and all you  see at first is the white fins.   Anyway they are interesting.  I have about four that I have found so far in two containers that look like small Andys. One thing for sure is that the butterfly koi that have volunteered in years past and have grown into 10 inch fish are as nice as many I have purchased.

Beside that I have learned something about their habits, what they eat, etc.  The butterfly koi seem to be the first to come and eat out of my hands.  Andy and Merlene are first in line at the feeding  every day.

November 11, 1998

Well it has been an interesting month in the pond part of our business.  I have spend a great deal of time preparing for our first ever Koi Show here in Charlotte.   It was a great success.  We had 140 koi entered, lots of vendors who did well, so I am told. There were five programs about koi, fish health, installation of ponds and watergardens, etc.   Many people worked hard to accomplish the job.

We had a booth and on Sunday I ended up manning it alone so missed the other programs.   On Saturday, I gave the presentation of watergardens and koi ponds.  It went well as we had over 71 attendees and had to bring in an extra 20 chairs.  The feedback on the quality of the program was good.

If you would like to see more on the tour with some photos and comments, click on Piedmont Koi and Watergarden Society First Ever Koi Show. 



October 25, 1998

Yesterday I did what I have been planning to do concerning saving tropical water lilies. Even though we will still have a few days of good weather, I hosed off the roots of a few tropical lilies and did as I suggested October 20th below. It will be interesting to see what happens. From my own observations, the main problems concern fungus that gets in soft tissue and varmints such as mice which like the plants..

I have read about placing the plants in the vegetable hydrator of the refrigerator, and since we have one at the office, I have done that. Also I have made it a practice of dipping plants in a potassium permanganate solution to kill harmful organisms. One of the problems that I encounter as a hobbits is that something like keeping up with water lilies in the basement is a pretty low priority, and taking a look at them every month when they are in a refrigerator just outside my office door will be much easier.

It appears that a common sense approach to keeping tropical water lilies is to try to figure out what happens in nature. One of the more successful ways is to transplant the young nuts and plants in small containers and place them in an aquarium. At the same time keep the water temperature around 70 degrees. When spring comes, and it is time to move them outside, they will require replanting again in larger containers. All of this is a lot of work.

Likewise, moving all the heavy containers inside is not easy. This past season I had what I thought was a good small plant in about a one gallon container. It never bloomed but sent up lots of small shoots. It was one of the plants I treated this season. Essentially what I have found is that the pot was root bound and there were two major nuts about golf ball size in it and about eleven smaller nuts the size of a white oak acorn with a few smaller than that. Each of these smaller nuts had some roots on them and when cutting one open discovered a clear meat slightly yellowish white about the color of the background on this page.

In some cases, the natural areas where tropical lilies grow dry up in the winter. Some authorities have suggested that letting the plants dry out sends them into dormancy. If they are affected that way, then warmth and water would appear to be the factors that would start growth and blooming in the spring. Some plants are affected by degree days and since the water temperature should have less fluctuation than air, I would think that temperature would be the primary factor. We all have heard and know that the water needs to be at least 70 degrees for the plants to grow. If it is not this warm, then the growing plants are set back.

I will keep an eye on the plants this winter. It might be interesting to plant a few of the nuts in late winter inside in an aquarium in the office and see how they do.


October 20, 1998

It is almost time to get the tropical water lilies out. Last year we took the plants with containers into the basement.  The ones that did best were those that had a plastic garbage bag over the bucket.  The plants only had a little moisture in the bottom of the pails and in the spring started growing in the dark.  The problem is that it takes a long time for them to get cranked up in the spring.

This year we are going to try a better way.  We will pull the plants and wash off the roots, and trim the foliage.  We will then dip them in a solution of potassium permanganate and store them in damp peat moss.  We will put these in the basement where it does not freeze.

We have tried to do this before, but some got lots of fungus and some mice got the others.  The secret is to check on them during the winter months and move them to a heated small pond in April.  The water must be about 70 degrees when the plants age put outside or they will be set back considerably.

August 17, 1998

Those of you who want to can take a sneak at a special picture.  Brady Brandwood who is one of the leaders of the local club, Piedmont Koi and Water Garden Society, forwarded a person's name to us who had a problem with their swimming pool and the waterfall.  It seems some company build a waterfall out of stone and mud and we were asked if we could fix it.  We did the job and some other landscaping work for the folks and the picture is posted in a strange place.  I will make you look for it because  the water fall is really neat.  The original picture is much better, but that's the way it is.  If you want to see it, go to the home page and go to the bottom.  You will see in the lower left a link that says Brady.htm.

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August 13, 1998

Our Pond is clear and the filters seem to be doing a good job.  An interesting thing happened concerning Nitrite.  For some time we have had a little problem keeping things in balance.  I have lots of fish and want them to grow, so they get a lot of food.  Also the fish are growing and I have some mild build-up of ammonia, but every time I clean a filter or do some dumb thing I mess up things and I get a Nitrite spike.

Last year I lost two small fish and had not checked the Nitrite because I read somewhere that it was not normally a problem once ones pond was established.   Well in my case I guess we do not have Normal situation.  Anyway for a long time I have had to do frequent water changes.  I suspect I was doing a 1000 gallons per day sometimes on a 6000 gallon pond.  I was watering the vegetables and they did well but that's still a lot of water.

About two months ago we installed a pond for someone and the old filter came out.   It was not usable and I had to repair a hole in the bottom and we certainly could not sell it to another client.  So I decided that I would like to add some additional biofiltration to the existing pond.

I put a drain in the bottom and fitted a 1 1/2 inch pipe to a small bulkhead fitting on the other biofilter.  I placed this tank below the other biofilter but above the pond water level.  I let the water flow into this tank from the original biofilter and allow it to go to the bottom of the new tank.  From there the water flows upward past some oyster shells and through one box of Springflo and back into the pond.

I thought it would come around in a few weeks, but it did just like the books say and took 6 weeks.  Once it kicked in, it really improved the Nitrite problem.  I particularly like the Springflo because it is easy to clean.  Want to read more about this click here Springflo.htm .

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July 29, 1998

I note from previous comments that the Koi spawned on March 11, 1998.  Here it is ten weeks or so after that and time to give you a Fry Report.  This year things worked out much better.  The big problem last year was that I did not have any new fish left at the end of the season.  Well I did get about a dozen and that was mostly because I raised them in an aquarium until they were large enough to survive outside.

I have probably six containers and all of them must have 500 eggs or more right after spawning.  A week later there were many more fry then I could possibly count.   In addition they were in containers loaded with plants and also critters like dragon fly larvae which I think eat small baby Koi. The big difference is that I went through each container after about four weeks and took out the fry that were noticeably bigger then the others.  I placed them in a separate container. 

I have some ten week old fry that are about three inches long and some that are 3/4 inch long.  That is quite a difference.  So far I have found a dozen or so that are keepers.  I am fond of the butterfly Koi and have about a dozen or so of them also.  If you are a purest keep in mind that we sell and install ponds and beginners should not start with show quality Koi.  I think I can say that when people look at our Koi the ones they admire most are the long-finned Butterfly Koi. 

Raising a few certainly is interesting and gives one a greater appreciation of the fine Japanese Koi that have almost perfect marking.

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It has been a busy July.  Lots of heat and then lots of rain.  We had a terrific thunder and lightning storm a couple of weeks ago which knocked out our phones for two entire days. A week before that we had a micro-burst that devastated the Midwood section of town.  One Koi keeper I know had two large trees by his pond, and right before the storm he left for a short trip.  He was back in 45 minutes, and one large tree was down and fell into and badly damaged the second tree.  Fortunately for him, his family, and his Koi they fell away from the house.

We had heavy rains and for once my pond remained clear.  Previously I was getting dirty rain-water into the pond over the sides of the skimmer.  We fixed that by building up the side around the back of the skimmer with stones and using a small piece of liner on the inside to keep the water out.

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June 30, 1998

Well it has gotten hot....   high 90's every day and 100 a couple of them.    This gets to be tough on the fish.  My big pond has a good water fall and pumps over 4000 gallons an hour.  I do not think that 02 is a problem.  I have some smaller tanks that are black and above ground.  Each has baby Koi in it and some are getting pretty warm.  I have an air stone in each one for 02 and so far it has worked pretty well.  I am considering shading the tanks that are most exposed to the afternoon sun.

I learned something today in regards to shading the water and therefore keeping it cooler.  Water lily leaves that rest right on the surface transfer heat to the water and at the same time keep 02 from getting into the water because they are are decreasing the surface area of the water exposed to the air.

In the same vein, water hyacinths because they have leaves projected above the water are transferring the absorbed heat to the air and thereby are a better means of keeping the water cool.  I guess I will stop throwing them in the garden while this hot weather continues.  The information came from in a letter posted about fountains as a cooling device for a large pond or lake.

June 8, 1998

Well the Pond Tour is over.  I believe this is about the forth one for the Piedmont Koi and Water Garden Society.  There were nine ponds on tour, and we had about 170 people come through.  There was lots of interest in our various filters and in the Springflo.  We met a lot of nice people and the best thing about it was that it forced us to clean up the place.  We painted the building and put a better path to the pond.  In addition erected a tent to serve as an sun shade.   As it turned out, it rained and was rather cool. 

The pond was a little more cloudy than usual.  Last year we had a problem of fish jumping out.  Part of that was due to the fact the sides were only 6 inches above the water level.  We changed that just days before the tour and the top rail is a 2 x 10.   Unfortunately the planks were muddy and I did not notice that until as I was watching two days before the event.  The irrigation system came on at about 4:00 PM and I saw muddy rivulets flowing into the otherwise clean pond.  It does not take much mud to really mess things up and so it did. 

Our pond has a vortex from a four inch bottom drain, lots of filter brushes, and two biofilters with Springflo.  If you want to see some more comments about Springflo check the link.    Springflo

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May 23, 1998

I almost have the water quality back on track.  With all this water changing my water is disturbingly cloudy.  At first I thought the UV bulb might be going out, then I thought the fish were still spawning.  At last I remembered that I did some adjusting to a yellow flag iris  and to the lotus that has been in my pond for 4 years. 

Those blankety blank Koi have been working on getting every last bit of dirt out of the lotus and iris.  Here is what happened.  The iris was on the bottom which is too deep for it and it was pretty puny.  I made that great PVC stand and now the iris is about 2 inches below water level.  I figured that should keep the Koi out.  I have gravel and some flat stones on the plant which is growing in a 17 inch diameter   Lerio container.  Well I reasoned that with it now just barely under the water, I could remove the flat stones.......  WRONG.

The proof is that I have collected about a quart of pea gravel in my Vortex.  The only place it could have come from is this one plant.  As the fish move the gravel, I never really notice it on the bottom because it moves pretty quickly to the bottom drain and is flushed our into the vortex.

Problem number two.

The lotus which has done very well until this year, has been very slow to start growing.  So I decided that the flat stones over the roots were keeping the plant from growing.  I moved them around a little.  Well that was a mistake, the Koi have been going at the roots and tugging on them.  Finally, I went into the pond and took the lotus out.  There was some growth around the outside of the container and some good tubers that were sprouting shoots.  If you did not know it, the lotus tubers look a little like a banana and are yellow also.If you cut the stem it has an open pith.  I did not bother to count the chambers, but I imagine it is the same on each stem.

I did some dead tuber removal and also took out a few to make a couple of additional plants.  I have set them in the garden and will watch them carefully.  I only put a little dirt over the roots and the new plants have about 3 inches of water on them.   If they grow well, I will transfer them to 15 gallon containers which is what I think is the size of a lotus container.

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May 18, 1998

Well it has really caught up with me this year.  I have too many fish.  I did not count but I must have at least 12 large 15 to 20 inch Koi that spawned this year.  For three days I took almost half the water out and replaced it.  The ammonia and the Nitrite level has raised a lot.  The ammonia went to 4 PPM but now is about less then 1 PPM.  The Nitrite still worries me and I lost two shubunkin which were two of about 15 I just put in the pond.  It's difficult to maintain water quality when making such dramatic water changes.  The PH normally is about 6 to 6.65 but with all of these water changes it is closer to 8.

I think the solution next year is to try to remove all the mature females prior to spawning.  I have been told that the will reabsorb the eggs back into their bodies if they do not mate.  Certainly, removing the females would be easier and less risky than worrying about the water changes.

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May 14, 1998

new.gif (118 bytes)  Pond Tour

Charlotte's Piedmont Koi and Watergarden Society is having its annual pond tour on June 6th.  For more details click Pond Tour.

The Koi are still spawning.  Yesterday I removed about 2000 gallons of water from the pond and today I will probably do 3000.  Total pond is just a little short of 6000 gallons. The water test high for ammonia.

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May 12, 1998

The Koi started spawning yesterday on May 11, 1198 and I was not here to observe it.   As last year, I placed a rather large clump of parrot feather in the pond yesterday evening.  This morning the fish were at it again and Merlene was being chased by another large Butterfly Koi.  I scooped up with my net some of the parrot feather which had now been scattered over the entire pond and found hundreds of eggs on it.   I will assume that some are from Merlene which is good.  I had given some consideration to separating her in a breeding tank this year, but that is a lot of work and I am not really in the breeding business.

I find it interesting to see what develops and will do that again this year.  I have about six 50 to 300 gallon tanks and place some of the parrot feather in each one.   The eggs hatch in a week and I have had most success by separating them and placing them in an aquarium inside so that I can watch their progress.  Last year a few cull young fry grew very fast and ate most of the other fry.  That is typical, but I found that at a fairly early age the butterfly Koi fry have longer fins than Koi.

We will see what happens this year.

Spawning pollutes the water badly and I did a 20% water change last evening and will do the same this year.

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Landscape   (See about how we do lawn installation .... lawninst.htm )

September 12, 1998

At the present time it is pretty dry.  Once you sow seed and it gets wet it will start growing.  Keep it moist, and if you have irrigation set your controller so that it will spray twice a day just enough to keep the seed from drying out.

Check for grub worms.  We are seeing lots of them this year, and the way you find out if this is a problem is to pull up sod that has died.  You should see lots of grubs close to the surface of the soil.

back to the topAugust 17, 1998

This is the time of year we start talking about lawn renovation.  You will find this article helpful if you are needing to seed your lawn. This was a bad year for brown patch so seeding is in order.  See lawninst.htm and also information about liming your yard.  See lime.htm

June 18, 1998

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We are seeing more brown patch than normal.   brownpatch.htm    If you are really interested in what is happening to your lawn here is a link to NCSU that is helpful.  

April 13, 1998

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The Boxwood leaf miner is out and actually came out he middle of last week.  There was so much rain and wind it was not possible to do much spraying for them.  Years ago we used to use sevin but now there are some systemic insecticides that do a better job.  The insects emerge at about the same time all over the city but we have noticed that shaded areas or those in the county where it is a few degrees cooler are later coming out.

The eggs are laid almost immediately by the little orange fly and hatch about 20 days later.  The young larvae are very vulnerable to systemic insecticides at that time so we treat shortly after that.  If you would like to see what we have printer in earlier seasons, click insect.htm#boxwood leaf miner

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Landscape  March 23, 1998

All the wetness has leached out fertilizer.  There is no question in our minds that the grass is in need of nutrient.  In one case we installed sod that had been amply fertilized at its farm and was fertilized after installation.  The adjacent grass is poorer in color and not even tall enough to mow yet.

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October 25, 1998

With fall's nip in the air, its time to think about what to do with the irrigation system in the winter.  In this part of the country, it rarely freezes below ground more than a couple of inches.  If there is mulch or grass on the soil, it is rare that the ground is frozen at all.  The last few winters have been very warm many tropical plants survived the winter.

Even if the ground does not freeze its a good idea to service the irrigation by turning off the controller and the backflow preventer.  The backflow can be drained, but better yet is to blow the water out.  In any case the backflow must not have any water in it or the bronze fittings will surely break.

Also backflow testing is required on irrigation systems installed in recent years and not every installation company performs this service.  Contact us if you need help with either testing the backflow or winterizing the system.  Call us at at 332-4628. If you would like to read more about backflows click ......Backflow Preventer.

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September 12, 1998

Lawns are going in and the weather is good in that it is nice and dry.  You can make your lawns too wet for a good lawn installation job so be careful.  The soil should be moist deep, but the surface should be dry so the equipment that normally us used for coring or slit seeding does not bog down.

Once you have planted your lawn, set the controller so that it keeps the seed moist.   We usually set the controller to come on twice during the day.... like at 9:00 and 3:00 for 3 minutes and 7 minutes.  Spray heads like Toro 570s get 3 minutes and stream rotors or 700's get 7 minutes.  You only want to keep the seed from drying out.

After 10 days or so once the seed is established pretty well you can adjust to a single setting still trying to avoid runoff.  Mowing usually can be done in three weeks after germination, but watch out for accumulating leaves.  Leaves will smother new lawn quickly.  Spot check for missed spots and reseed as needed.

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August 1998

We get lots of calls about installing irrigation systems this time of year.  It is understandable that people want irrigation installed before they plant in the fall.   If you want to see our recommendations about fall planting go here lawninst.htm.  The general rule is that lawns can be planted between September 1st and October 15th. If you want an irrigation system, do not hold to those dates.  We actually plant up until early December and even though those lawns look a little puny, they look great by the time Spring rolls around.  One of the keys is that fescue puts on little top growth in the Spring but sinks roots very deep.

In our tree department we have occasionally removed a stump and filled the hole with dirt during January or February.  As soon as we get a warm period, the grass germinates and looks great.  Call us to get on the list, even if it can not be done before early fall.

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Irrigation April 1998

Sometimes in the past we have opened irrigation systems March 1st.  We have had some freezing and on one notable occasion we had some beautiful ice castles.  An entire roadway of crape myrtle's were covered with ice.  Fortunately they did not break, and it was quite a sight.

We delayed opening many systems until mid March and early April.  It was extremely wet early in the year, but it does not take long to dry out.  Calls are coming in daily about irrigation needs.  It's a good idea to have someone go through an irrigation system and make sure that everything is doing what it is supposed to be doing.   We check for leaking wiper seals, proper rotation, coverage, obvious leaks, etc.

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Landscape Lighting April 1998

 We perform this service with our irrigation crew.  The controls and 12 volt wiring are similar to irrigation controls, and the ditches dug during the irrigation process are often beneficial for installing night lighting wires.  Proper voltage and wattage requirements for the zone are important.  If to  many or to few bulbs are used, you can have failure of the lights very frequently.  The wire must be large enough to carry enough electrical current somewhat like an irrigation pipe must be the correct size to carry the proper flow to a given irrigation zone.

Contact us about installation and design for Landscape Lighting.

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If you would like to go back to our seasonal information for 1996 the entire page is at this link 1996 Seasonal Information.  Also 1997 Seasonal Information is located in 1997 Seasonal Information

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