June 11, 2008

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A responsibly managed lawn acts as a carbon sink, pulling and storing away carbon. (Photo by Chris S. Corby)

New study shows responsibly managed lawns reduce carbon footprint

A turfgrass study conducted by Dr. Ranajit Sahu, an independent environmental and energy expert and University instructor, on behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), shows that responsibly managed lawns sequester, or store, significant amounts of carbon. In fact, healthy turfgrass can capture up to four times more carbon from the air than is produced by the engine of today’s lawnmowers. The findings are based on several peer-reviewed, scientific studies and models where carbon sequestration had been measured in managed and unmanaged turfgrass. The full report is available at www.opei.org/carbonreport.

We were unsure about the study’s outcome, but existing data shows that a net carbon benefit exists from well-managed turfgrass, such as the typical American lawn, said Dr. Sahu, who reviewed existing data to determine the carbon sequestered by turfgrass, such as household lawns, golf courses, and sports fields, as well as wild grassland systems. When you take care of your lawn and promote a healthy root system, your lawn acts as a carbon sink, pulling and storing away carbon.

The report, titled Technical Assessment of the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Managed Turfgrass in the United States, assesses the carbon benefit of well-managed turfgrasses that are cut regularly and at the appropriate height, fed with nutrients, such as grass clippings, watered in a responsible way, and not disturbed at the root zone.

It turns out that you can reduce your carbon footprint right in your own backyard, said Kris Kiser, Vice President, Public Affairs, OPEI. Mowing grass and pruning shrubs and trees keeps plants in a growing state. This, in turn, ensures they are actively pulling carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — from the air.

Added Dr. Sahu, your lawn, if managed properly, can be essentially a decent foot soldier in our quest to reduce our carbon footprint. The key is to actively manage your lawn to improve its carbon intake, and not letting it go to seed and into a dormant state.

Dr. Sahu has taught and continues to teach numerous courses in several Southern California universities including UCLA (air pollution), UC Riverside (air pollution, process hazard analysis), and Loyola Marymount University (air pollution, risk assessment, hazardous waste management) for the past 15 years. Dr. Sahu has and continues to provide expert witness services in a number of environmental areas in both state and Federal courts as well as before administrative bodies.

Deja Blu, one of three roses selected as 2009 Award of Excellence winners by the American Rose Society. (Photo courtesy of the American Rose Society)
  American Rose Society announces 2009 Award of Excellence winners

The Award of Excellence, a designation of merit given to new miniature and mini-flora rose varieties of superior quality and marked distinction, was established by the American Rose Society Board of Directors 35 years ago. Since the inception of the Award, there have been 106 AOE winners.

Unnamed seedlings or sports of miniature or Mini-Flora varieties are submitted by commercial and amateur hybridizers for evaluation for two years in nine AOE public test gardens, spaced geographically across the United States. Each public garden has an AOE supervisor and five evaluators. Entries are scored on 11 criteria four times during each growing season. At the end of the trial period, Awards of Excellence are given to deserving seedlings, with a maximum of five per year.

The 2009 AOE winners announced in Oklahoma City at the end of May are Deja Blu, Ambiance and Warm and Fuzzy.

Deja Blu ('BENwise'). This "Pick-able Patio Rose" is a mauve Mini-Flora with light fragrance and good exhibition form. It should do well as a garden rose and on the show table. Deja Blu's habit is upright; it is vigorous and tall. Deja Blu does equally well in the ground or a patio planter. Its cut flower breeding makes for long lasting blooms that repeat quickly and are set off by very dark green holly-like foliage. It was hybridized by Frank Benardella and will be introduced by Nor'East Miniature Roses.

Ambiance ('BENsiete'). Another Mini-Flora from Frank Benardella, which he also describes as a "Pick-able Patio Rose." Ambiance is apricot and really catches your eye with its perfectly formed blooms. It is a tall plant with large blooms and foliage. It performs well in the ground or in a planter, and the more blooms you cut, the quicker it is to repeat. This rose should be a winner on the show bench or your kitchen table. It will be introduced by Nor'East Miniature Roses.

Warm and Fuzzy ('WEKhasamiro'). Its color is a warm red, which refuses to fade or blue, and its buds are pointed to ovoid, covered with soft "moss." Thus, it gets its name. Warm and Fuzzy is a miniature of medium height with a rounded to slightly spreading habitus, deep glossy green foliage and fully double blooms (more than 25 petals) borne in shapely clusters. It has a strong sweet juniper fragrance when you rub the fuzzy buds. It was hybridized by Tom Carruth and will be introduced by Weeks Roses.

With approximately 14,000 members nationwide, the ARS supports 330 local societies offering rose-related activities and information at the community level. To receive more information about AOE Winners, growing great roses, or joining the American Rose Society, write: American Rose Society, P.O. Box 30,000, Shreveport, LA 71130-0030; call (800) 637-6534, Ext. 108; visit www.ars.org; or e-mail the society at ars@ars-hq.org.

  Outstanding community gardens win 2008 Mantis Award

Twenty-five community gardens from across the United States — ranging from a former concrete jungle in the Sonoran Desert city of Tucson to a 4H club in Illinois which donated more than 10,000 pounds of food to a local food bank — have been selected to receive the 2008 Mantis Award for Community Gardens. Each winning community garden has received a lightweight Mantis Tiller/Cultivator for use in its gardening program.

According to Steve LePera, Media Manager for Mantis, the criteria for selection included evaluating the gardening program's vision, organization and service to the community. The Mantis Award for Community Gardens is an annual award that began in 1995.

Each year, Mantis is delighted to recognize wonderful community gardening programs for their dedication to gardening education and their success in bringing positive gardening experiences to people in their local communities, said LePera. This year's crop of community gardens is living proof that gardening makes the world a better place, one garden at a time.

For more information about the Mantis Award contact the National Gardening Association at (800) 538-7476 or visit the website at www.kidsgardening.com. For more information about the Mantis line of gardening tools, visit the Web site at www.mantis.com.

2008 Mantis Award Winner for Texas: South Plains Food Bank, Inc. — GRUB, 4612 Locust Avenue, Lubbock.

The South Plains Food Bank project began as a means to grow food for low-income and food bank clients. Through the help of local experts, who teach monthly classes there, it has also become a job and life skills training ground for low-income and at risk teens.

Gardening tips

One of our recent tips was: "A simple way to get rid of weeds that have overwhelmed your spring garden is to cut them back with a string trimmer, then cover them in layers of old newspaper and water the paper slightly so it stays in place."

"In windy areas," writes Mike Bialas, "make extra large staples out of old wire shirt hangers and push through the paper into the dirt to really hold the paper down."

Have a favorite gardening tip you'd like to share? Texas Gardener's Seeds is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas gardeners to use in future issues. If we publish your tip in Seeds, we will send you a free Texas Gardener T-shirt. Here's a chance to get published and be a garden stylist as well! Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.

Did You Know...

There are many common signs when a plant becomes stressed. A wilting plant probably needs water, limp or curling leaves can indicate pests or disease and a plant that is lush and not producing any flowers may be over-fertilized.

Upcoming garden events

Amarillo: The Amarillo Area Master Gardeners will present Gardening Basics from 10 a.m. to noon, break for lunch on your own, then continue 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., June 14. Hear lectures and see demos on many gardening topics: soil prep; Panhandle plant descriptions and choices; easy irrigation methods, materials and how-to's; composting; tool choices and more. Class will be held at the Potter County AgriLife Extension Office, 3301 E. 10th (Tri-State Fairgrounds), Amarillo. To register, or for more information, call (806) 373-0713. Limited enrollment. Cost $10.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Greater Fort Worth will present a Natural Urban Living Symposium June 21 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Drive, Fort Worth. Presentations include "Rainwater Harvesting," presented by Pam Daniel, Rainwater Solutions; "Natural Home Cleaning," presented by Larry White, That Orange Stuff; "Nutrition & Aromatherapy," presented by Judy Griffin, Ph.D.-Nutrition; and "Organic Gardening," presented by Coleen Thornton, Heaven Sent Produce. The symposium is free.

Georgetown: Junior Master Gardener Specialist Training will be presented June 11-12, at the Williamson County Extension Office, 3151 SE Innerloop Road, Georgetown. For additional information, contact Donna Colburn, at (512) 943-3300 or dmcolburn@ag.tamu.edu.

Austin: Kim Lehman will discuss bees and honey products on Saturday, June 14, from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the Will Hampton at Oak Hill Branch Library, 5125 Convict Hill Road, Austin. For additional information, call (512) 892-6680.

Blanco: The Blanco Chamber of Commerce will host the fourth annual Blanco Lavender Festival June 14-15. The entire town of Blanco and the surrounding countryside will be bathed in lavender during the Lavender Festival. The Lavender Market, on the grounds of the historic Blanco County Courthouse, is always a must-see highlight of the festival. Selected vendors and artists from across the Hill Country will offer lavender-related pleasures and treasures from the finest craftsmen. At the courthouse, speakers give lavender-related educational programs. Texas Lavender Hills Farm & Market will be part of the Blanco Lavender Festival tour each day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Events at the farm include lavender crafts, pick-your-own lavender, live music, picnic lunches, lavender lemonade, lavender peach tea, lavender goats milk ice cream, lavender products for sale and more. For more information about the festival, visit www.blancolavenderfest.com/festival/index.php. For more information about Texas Lavender Hills Farm & Market, visit http://www.texaslavenderhills.com/.

San Antonio: Gardening Volunteers of South Texas will hold their monthly Essentials of Gardening Class on Monday, June 16 at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 New Braunfels Ave., San Antonio. Sessions include "July in the Garden — What To Do When, Why and How" and "Enter the World of Worm Composting" presented by Dr. Tom Harris, and "Recommended Palm Trees for South Texas Landscapes" presented by John Volk and Richard Travis of the South Texas Palm Society. Bring a brown bag lunch; light refreshments will be served. For additional information, contact Anne Schiller, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, at (210) 522-9220.

Houston: Texas AgriLife Extension Service for Harris County will conduct a Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 26 for people interested in commercial wine-grape production. The workshop will be held at the AgriLife Extension office, 3033 Bear Creek Drive in Houston. “This workshop is geared toward anyone who is growing or considering growing grapes in Texas or elsewhere,” said Fritz Westover, AgriLife Extension viticulture associate for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. “It’s designed to address all the main aspects of wine-grape growing for those considering the plunge into commercial grape farming.” The workshop consists of lectures and presentations tailored to address the most common questions a prospective grower should ask before committing money and resources toward commercial production. Topics will include essential viticulture knowledge, vineyard site selection, risk factors, labor requirements and economics of owning and maintaining a commercial vineyard. The fee is $100, which includes a catered lunch, beverages and study materials.  Pre-registration is requested to ensure there adequate materials and an accurate lunch count. For more information, contact Westover at (281) -855-5608. To register, go to: http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu/events/details.cfm?RegistrationID=152.

Amarillo: The Amarillo Area Master Gardeners will present Vegetable Gardening tips and suggestions for orderly beauty, reduced maintenance, irrigation ideas, earth-friendly pest management and bountiful harvests. Class will be held from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, July 12, at the Potter County AgriLife Extension Office, 3301 E. 10th (Tri-State Fairgrounds), Amarillo. After a break for lunch, drive to Canyon and visit a 6,000 sq. ft. garden spot that includes vegetables, herbs, roses, beneficial insect attracters and more. Take the garden tour from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Registration deadline is July 7. Cost: $10. To register, or for more information, call (806) 373-0713.

Austin: The Travis County Master Gardener Association in partnership with the Travis County AgriLife Extension will sponsor "What is Wrong with this Plant?" a seminar to help gardeners understand the causes of plant problems, the process for diagnosing plant problems, and techniques and strategies to help plants overcome problems, from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, July 12, at the Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin. A Plant Clinic will be open during the seminar, and expert guidance will be available to examine diseased or bug-eaten plants that attendees bring to the seminar. Attendance is free. For additional information, call (512) 854-9600 and ask for the Master Gardeners desk or visit http://www.tcmastergardeners.org.

Schertz: Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will hold their next Master Gardener training class from August 6 to December 3. Classes are on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Schertz Civic Center, 1400 Schertz Parkway, Schertz. Registration is $170 with a 10% discount if received with payment by July 10. Speakers include Malcolm Beck, Flo Oxley from the LBJ Wildflower Center, Bob Webster, Patty Leander and more. For more information, an application and a list of speakers, e-mail jlbruno@gvec.net or call (210) 363-8380.

Austin: The 16th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, August 23-24, at Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin. The festival will include a live plant auction on Saturday afternoon and two full days of bamboo activities and lectures with bamboo plants and crafts for sale and show. Guest speaker Robin McBride Scott will conduct a workshop on Weaving Cane Mat, using native American Bamboo that she has personally harvested, prepared and dyed. She will also do a presentation about her work with basketry and native American bamboo. The 16th Annual Texas Bamboo Festival is sponsored by the Texas Bamboo Society. For more information, call (512) 929-9565, e-mail bamboo@bamboocentral.net, or visit http://www.bamboocentral.net.

Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 are accepting applications for Master Gardener Certification Training Classes. Classes will be held at The Precinct 2 Road Camp, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Houston, from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning September 16 and continuing through October 28. For additional information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association will hold a "Fall Plant Sale" Saturday, September 27, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Green Acres, 611 East Mimosa Street at Pearl Street, Rockport. Purchase those much-wanted plants that you have been wanting to buy and can't find anywhere. Be sure to take the time to wander through the demonstration gardens at Green Acres which are continuously being updated and maintained by the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association. This event is open to the public. For additional information, contact The Texas AgriLife Extension Service at (361) 790-0103.

Fredericksburg: Texas Gourd Society will present the 13th annual "Lone Star Gourd Festival" at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds October 18 and 19. There will be door prizes, raffles, classes, demonstrations and an opportunity to meet Bill Decker, 2008 TGS Artist of the Year, and Bonnie Gibson, nationally-known author and artist. The show is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and free to children under 12. For additional information, call (806) 523-9092 or visit www.texasgourdsociety.org.


Kilgore: Northeast Texas Organic Gardeners meets at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at Wildwood Eco-Farm in Kilgore. For more information, call Carole Ramke at (903) 986-9475.

Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the little blue-gray house located at 102 N. Allen Dr., Allen. For more information, visit www.allengardenclub.org.

Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.main.org/aog.

Friendswood: The second Tuesday of each month the Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold a free evening educational program for the public, called the Green Thumb Series, at Southeast Church of Christ, 2400 W Bay Area Blvd., Friendswood, about 1 mile west of I-45 and Baybrook Mall. For more information visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu or call (281) 991-8437.

Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the second Wednesday of each month, with the exceptions of June and July, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation, meets at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport at 10 a.m. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda (361) 729-6037, Ruth (361) 729-8923 or Cindy (979) 562-2153 or visit www.rockportherbs.com.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.

Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member's homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit www.RainbowGardenClub.com.

Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call (940) 382-8551.

Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas — Houston (NPSOT-H) meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except for October (4th Thursday) and December (2nd Thursday). Location varies. For locations, for more information on programs, and for information about native plants for Houston, visit http://www.npsot.org/Houston.

Rosenberg: The Fort Bend Master Gardeners meet at 7:15 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month except December at the Bud O'Shieles Community Center located at 1330 Band Road, Rosenberg. For more information, call (281) 341-7068 or visit www.fbmg.com.

Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets the third Thursday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension Bldg. at 210 E. Live Oak at 7 p.m. For more information, phone (830) 379-1972 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.

Longview: The Northeast Texas chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets the third Thursday of each month at St. Mary's Parish Hall in Longview. For more information, call Logan Damewood at (903) 295-1984.

Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at (361) 782-3312.

Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call (817) 274-8460.

Seabrook: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at The Meeting Room (on the Lakeside) at Clear Lake Park, 5001 NASA Road 1, Seabrook. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.

Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 6:45 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Fretz Park Recreation Center, located at the corner of Hillcrest and Beltline Road in Dallas. For more information, call (214) 824-2448 or visit www.dogc.org.

Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at (817) 483-7746.

If you would like your organization's events included in "Upcoming Garden Events," please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.

Wish you'd saved them?

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