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discerning weeders

A Newsletter of the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association –– January 2011

H a p p y

N e w

Oh, Christmas Tree...

Y e a r ! ! ! ! Lynn Fabian

You shopped for it, you payed for it, you hauled it home and you decorated it. How’s that tree doing now?

Using a chipper/shredder will reduce the bulk of the tree to chips. It will still take about a year for the chips to reduce to compost.

Getting a little dry? Our homes are hot and dry this time of year. Don’t let the tree dry to the point it becomes a fire hazard.

Some municipalities offer pickup for Christmas trees to be mulched and composted over the year. The compost is then available to the public at a nominal charge during the year. One town we lived in ran this program and the piles of tree mulch could be seen steaming in a field adjacent to the Botanical Gardens.

Live Christmas trees (or those that were live before you cut them!) give the house that fragrant smell of Christmas time. They also give you pine needles in the carpet and a large compostable item when the season is over. If you bought a live tree in a pot, seriously consider the season of the tree at an end and remove the decorations and take the tree outside. It should be planted in the next month or so to grow into the tree it was meant to be. Getting rid of the once live cut tree may be accomplished by hauling it to the street and letting the waste pickup take care of it. If you have the room and the time, you might want to compost the tree.

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!

During a near blizzard a number of years ago, Ed vowed he would never hunt for a tree under those conditions again. We invested in an artificial tree we used for 20 years or more. New house and less room encouraged us to change trees...we still use an artificial tree but we tend to use things for a long time. No composting, no pickup, no shopping. There is peace on earth in our family at this time of year. Visit to find local “cut your own” tree farms in our area next year.


Christmas Poem for Late Shoppers!

T'was the weekend before Christmas, and all through the yard, Not a gift was being given, not even a card. The tools were all hung, in the garage with care, With hopes that St. Nicholas soon would repair. The shovel with blade all rusty and cracked, The pitchfork still shiny, but handle it lacked. When out on my lawn, (it's brown and abused) I could see poor old Santa, looking confused. No list had been left for Santa to see, No gardening gifts were under the tree. But wait there's still time, it's not Christmas yet, And gardening gifts are the quickest to get. You can forget the silk tie, the fluffy new sweater, Give something to make the garden grow better. If she wants a gift shiny, then don't be a fool, It's not a dumb diamond, but a sparkling new tool. If fragrance is listed you can forget French perfume, It's a pile of manure that'll make gardeners swoon. Give night crawlers, not nightgowns, a hose that sprays water. (Anything for the kitchen is not worth the bother.)

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!

Give a great gift that can dig in the dirt, It's better than any designer-brand shirt. Now look quick at Santa, this guy's not so dumb, Under his glove, he hides a green thumb. His knees are so dirty, his back how it aches, His boots stomp on slugs, (he gives them no breaks). The guy works only winter, you can surely see why, For the rest of the year it's as easy as pie. He has elves plant through spring, pull weeds in the summer, In fall they all harvest, but winter's a bummer And so Christmas gives Santa a part-time employment, 'Till spring when the blooms are his real enjoyment. So ask the big guy for garden gifts this year, Seeds, plants and tools, Santa holds them all dear. You see, malls may be crowded, vendors hawking their wares, But visit a nursery, stress-free shopping is there. Now Santa's flown off, to the nursery he goes, And his voice fills the night with loud Hoe! Hoe! Hoe! ––Online, anonymous


Football and Carbon Footprints

Are you one of those people who think twice about making two trips in your car when one might do...just because you are worried about the impact you and your car have on the environment? Do you reduce your fertilizer use for the same reasons?

football games generate large amounts of greenhouse gases,” she said. “We also want to show that we can help to counteract these emissions, and that Florida’s forests have value beyond their usefulness for paper products.”

Well, now you can attend the next football game at UF with a clear conscience. The article is dated...2007...but the sentiment stays the same.

The land is part of a 100-acre tract being set aside by UF supporters Jim and Winston Bailey. The remainder may be used for future carbon offset projects.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Screaming fans, marching bands, hulking linebackers — and offsetting a carbon footprint.

Carbon dioxide, which results from the burning of fossil fuels by power plants and vehicles, is the leading human contributor to global warming. As a result, governments and scientists are seeking ways to offset human carbon emissions through tree growth or other methods that sequester, or store, carbon.

Which one doesn’t belong? Actually, starting at this Saturday’s annual football match-up between the University of Florida and Florida State University, they all go together. That’s because UF on Saturday will become the first university in the nation to attempt to counteract the greenhouse gases created by a college football game. To do it, UF and its partners, the Florida Forestry Association and Environmental Defense, are arranging for approximately 18 acres of rural North Florida land to be set aside and managed as a pine plantation forest for 10 years. UF calculates that this is an acreage and period of time sufficient to absorb all the carbon emissions from the game. Dedee DeLongpré-Johnston, director of UF’s Office of Sustainability, is coordinating the effort on behalf of the university.

One method already being pursued worldwide involves trading carbon emissions from one source for carbon uptake or storage by another mechanism. The UF initiative falls into this class of efforts, although, unlike others, it seeks to achieve the trade in the same geographic region so that it is more readily verifiable. DeLongpré-Johnston said that with an anticipated 88,000 fans, this year’s game is expected to generate more than 1,750 metric tons of carbon dioxide. One metric ton, the standard measure of carbon dioxide, equals about 2,204 pounds. Carbon sources include fans and the FSU team traveling to Gainesville, lighting and operating the stadium, and lodging.

“This is a way for us to highlight the fact that even routine college events like

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!


“We worked with the International Carbon Bank & Exchange to calculate the emissions,” DeLongpré-Johnston said. “Individual cars carrying fans to the game will have the greatest impact, producing 63 percent of the game’s carbon. Operating the stadium will generate 15

percent, with hotel and private air travel making up 10 percent of emissions.” I could not find an update on this project. It may have been a one time thing. Still, it does put a new light on cheering on the home team.

From the Prez...!

Bill Buckellew

It"s time to start another year of Master Gardening. We have 14 new members to welcome, train, and integrate into the program, a new Board, a new budget, and a host of opportunities to excel and have fun doing it.

iar faces remain, and I thank them for their continued support.

Let"s start with a review of our mission: The UF/IFAS OCMG program trains and maintains horticulture volunteers for the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service. The goals of this program are to increase the availability of horticultural information for the community at large and to improve the quality of life for the residents of Okaloosa County through horticulture volunteer activities. (Article II of our Bylaws) This is why we are here, and it should be foremost in all we do as Master Gardeners.

I want to thank Michael for leading us through a great year. He will be a tough act to follow, and I will be leaning on him for advice. Let"s continue to follow the rules of decorum and courtesy to the speakers that he and I discussed last year (turn off the cell phones, no background discussions or interruptions, speak up from the floor, etc.) These things result in shorter meetings and longer breaks (!).

The new Board looks a lot like the old one, and that is good for continuity. We have added Ann, Marg, and Carol Strom to the officers, while Michael has moved to the Outreach Committee. Shari, Sandie, and Bob have volunteered to take over committees, and we welcome them back to the organization chart. The other famil-

Let"s have a super 2011 for the OCMGA. Feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts and ideas, and keep your addresses up-to-date so you don"t miss anything.

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!

We still have vacancies, and I urge all of you to consider filling them. The Extension Office and the Newsletter need volunteers to take over from Dorothy and Lynn. They have graciously agreed to remain on in an interim basis, but let"s not let that take too long. (The Ways and Means Committee has been deleted, since it was never in the Bylaws in the first place.)

Marg will get us a good lineup of speakers, and she is a lot better with the rule book than I ever cared to be, so I look forward to having a strong “wingman” at the podium this year.



Coming Events !

––MG Meeting, Jan 5, 9:00 a.m. ––MG Board Meeting, Jan 19, 9:30 a.m. Contact Bill B. for information ––Arbor Day Tree Distribution, Jan 21, TBA ––EcoNomic Living Expo, Feb 5, 9am-3pm, Emerald Coast Conference Center ––Nursery Workdays, every Friday. Check with Andy or Jenny for times

Field Guides on Your Phone

Lynn Fabian

A recent e-mail brought information about new apps (applications) for smart phones. UF announced iPest1 (and there is an iPest2 and iPest3) as one of the first mobile-phone apps to deal with pest insects. Apparently it only runs on the iPhone at this time but the iPad is pictured in the release. The photos are really clear and can be enlarged for easy identification. Now if the insect will only hold still long enough to check it out, this should be a great aid. Part of the reasoning behind the release of a phone ID app was that when you see a pest, you often don"t have the ID document close at hand. Most people carry their cell phones and the ID aid is always at hand. I THINK there are a few extra critters on this picture, get the picture. UF Pest App Photo 1

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!


Mulch to Think About

passed on by Ed Smith

UF offers the following solution to calculate the amount of mulch you need. First, determine the square foot measurement of your shrub or tree area(s) to be mulched. For instance, if you have a shrubbery border 4 feet wide and 25 feet long, the area to be mulched equals 100 square feet (4 feet x 25 feet = 100 square feet). Next, if you are going to apply mulch 3 inches deep to this area, convert the 3 inches to a fraction of a foot. Three inches divided by 12 inches equals 1/4 foot, or .25 feet. Multiply this fraction by the square foot measurement of the area to be covered. For this example, you will need 25 cubic feet of mulch (.25 feet x 100 square feet = 25 cubic feet). One cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet (a cubic yard measures 3 feet by 3 feet by 3

feet; 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet = 27 cubic feet). In the shrubbery example just given, you need 25 cubic feet of mulch, which is 2 cubic feet less than one cubic yard. Simple...and simple measurements. What if your area is not so simple or you are calculator impaired? Here is a handy little tool for figuring out how much mulch you need to cover a given area. Play with the numbers a bit. It is amazing the quantity it really takes to get adequate coverage. No, it isn’t from UF, but I don’t think the environment will be harmed by making use of it. m

In Memory...

Betty Burr (1995) passed away on December 17, 2010. She was a member of the first MG class and one of our biggest cheerleaders. Her obituary was in Sunday"s paper (Jan 2).

© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!


Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets.! To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel. -

! Aldo Leopold

Last Word

Lynn Fabian

Hope your Christmas was joyful and your wrapping paper was recyclable. Remember our 2010 class of MGs when you have the opportunity to contribute something to their training. We are not all mentors or trainers, but we can offer our time and support to all of them as they feel their way through these first few months. We were all newbies once.

If you have an idea for The Compost Pile I would certainly enjoy hearing from you. We need some new ideas and directions. Talk to me or just send an article you would like to see published. Thank you. Happy New Year to all. See you in January. ––Lynn

Advice from a Tree Stand tall and proud Sink your roots into the earth Be content with your natural beauty Go out on a limb Drink plenty of water Remember your roots Enjoy the view! -


© Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!


About Us

The Compost Pile is a publication of the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association.

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners Association is a volunteer organization sponsored by Okaloosa County Extension and the University of Florida IFAS.

The Foundation for the Gator equal opportunity institution. Lynn Fabian, Editor Ed Fabian, First Reader Marg Stewart, Web Site Coordinator

Š Okaloosa County Master Gardeners!


January, 2011  

You shopped for it, you paid for it, you hauled it home and you decorated it. How's that tree doing now? Getting a little dry? Our homes...

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