13 February 2017 Shawnee News-Star Blog February 4th 2017 at the Tulsa Garden Center Becky Emerson Carlberg I could write an entire article just on Ben Stallings of Interdependent Web (www.interdepweb.com) and his presentation 'Microclimate Design for Oklahoma Native Garden Systems.' The talk encompassed everything: climate, soil structure, water and carbon cycles, and the [...]
13 February 2017 Shawnee News-Star Blog
February 4th 2017 at the Tulsa Garden Center
Becky Emerson Carlberg
I could write an entire article just on Ben Stallings of Interdependent Web (www.interdepweb.com) and his presentation 'Microclimate Design for Oklahoma Native Garden Systems.' The talk encompassed everything: climate, soil structure, water and carbon cycles, and the interactions of plants, animals and microorganisms. Growing conditions must take into account the soil, slope, sun, rain, acidity, wind, and fungal ratios. Plants create their own microclimates. One single blackjack oak not only incorporates oxygen, sunlight and emits carbon dioxide, it produces acorns, leaves, wood, its leaf surfaces provide areas for dust collection, animal habitats, shade, privacy, and the roots purify water and loosen the soil. One tree!
Focus on the interactions of plants, not individuals. Select water-wise plants and those suited for a particular niche. The future outlook: more frequent extreme weather events. Prepare now.
Water cycle: water most often permeates the soil instead of going into rivers. To take advantage of this water, texture the land. Build swales, such as ditches and berms, which allow the water to soak into the ground. Hugel beds are 'wood' beds composed of rotting wood buried in trenches and covered with soil. This system does not rob the soil of nitrogen and acts as a sponge to soak up water and even-out rainfall extremes. It takes about 3 years for the wood to break down, thus creating a microclimate. Another idea is to install a rain garden with native plants. Carbon cycle: the decomposition comes not from humus but living plants that foster root bacteria in the soil. This creates humus, a shapeless, stable microscopic sponge.
Did you know ragweed mulch boosts tomato growth and production? The plants become taller and the earthworms love it. Mulch, be it green or brown, provide plant roots moisture and shade weed seeds, preventing germination. Green mulch (ragweed, New Zealand clover) or brown (wood chips, straw) both foster vital bacterial growth. Bacteria prefer more of the green.
One of the most important concepts presented: The mycorrhizae and microfauna around the roots are the 'Intestines of the Plants.' The miniscule organisms increase surface area over one thousand times, move nutrients between plants, and fix nitrogen. Earthworms collect nutrients and cultivate bacteria and fungi. No tilling allows the mycorrhizal miners to function as intact, not broken units. So important is the mycorrhizal component that some greenhouses sell their native plants with a tub of 'mycorrhizal' soil from an area the native plants would grow. Think again about the impact of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
The last speaker was Alyne Eiland, ONPS member. She talked about the 'Jenks Flycatcher Trail Outdoor Classroom Wildlife Habitat.' The certified garden is designated as both a Wildscape and Wildlife Habitat. It is located at 404 E. F St., in Jenks. has one waterfall and several shallow water features with 3 types of water baths: still water, rainwater and bubbling water. The one third acre of Bermuda grass was first mulched with cardboard and newspaper to eliminate the grass and weeds. Pots of cultivated native plants were installed followed by the random distribution of prairie plant seeds in one area of the garden. No mowing was allowed. Tulsa Audubon Society and Jenks High School support this unique garden. The chimney swift tower, native plants, berry bushes, wooden boxes, 5 trellises, brush piles, larval plants (fennel, parsley) and the 5 Star Insect Hotel (Boy Scout Eagle project) attract birds and butterflies (35 species). Six hundred students use the garden as well as the general public.
Dr. Chip Taylor, University of Kansas and Founder and Director of Monarch Watch, was student advisor for the project of tagging Monarch butterflies who fluttered into the garden. QR code signs are now being put up throughout.
The end of the Indoor outing was an outdoor outing to the Flycatcher Trail Garden in Jenks. FYO: The 24th Annual Wildlife garden tour in Tulsa will be held this May 20-21st 2017.
The ONPS 2017 Indoor Outing was a total success.