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Natural Systems Are Complex, But Creating An Ecosystem-Based Garden Doesn’t Have To Be

Posted on Apr 5, 2017

Natural Systems Are Complex, But Creating An Ecosystem-Based Garden Doesn’t Have To Be

In nature, everything is connected. When we unzip nature to use isolated solutions to our gardening problems we override the many dynamic associations that are interwoven throughout healthy natural systems. Designing and managing an ecologically strong garden requires us to appreciate naturally occurring plant communities and understand how to care for the overall health of the garden. Our efforts to manage water,…

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Gardens in a Post-Wild World

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Gardens in a Post-Wild World

We are urbanizing at a pace unprecedented in human history and we no longer have this vast reserve of nature to perpetuate all the ecosystem functions that the planet needs. So, we have to turn to the landscapes we live in for places where nature can be. One of the things we encourage homeowners to do is just to loosen up…

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CONSERVATION EVERYWHERE

Posted on Jan 16, 2017

CONSERVATION EVERYWHERE

  As I roll through LA, I see spaces transform in my minds eye. Those medians can become native flower bloom-belts. School playgrounds and city parks can grow strips of milkweed for migrating monarchs. Suburban backyards can become pocket woodlands edged with berry bushes for songbirds that spill into a corner pond for dragon flies. Front yards can sprout a…

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Why Trees ‘Scream’ and Other Fascinating Facts

Posted on Dec 6, 2016

Why Trees ‘Scream’ and Other Fascinating Facts

When trees are really thirsty, they begin to “scream”.  But, you won’t be able to hear them, because this all takes place at ultrasonic levels. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research explain these sounds as vibrations occurring in the trunk when the flow of water from the roots to the leaves is interrupted. Trees…

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Rewilding Suburbia

Posted on Oct 30, 2016

Rewilding Suburbia

A shocking new study by the World Wildlife Fund finds more than two-thirds of the world’s wildlife could be gone by 2020. According to WWF, there has already been a 58 percent overall decline in the numbers of fish, mammals, birds and reptiles worldwide. WWF conservation scientist Martin Taylor told CNN, “This is definitely human impact, we’re in the sixth…

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IF NOT LAWN, THEN WHAT?

Posted on Oct 5, 2016

IF NOT LAWN, THEN WHAT?

California’s punishing drought has produced one positive effect: local gardens have gained some freedom from the expectation of the classic green lawn. More and more gardeners are removing lawn in favor of landscapes that look good while using less water.  Replacing a lawn with a full-fledged garden is one approach, but sometimes there’s an advantage to retaining a simple green…

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Droughts Evil Twin

Posted on Oct 3, 2016

Droughts Evil Twin

Drought means changing not only our outdoor water use, but also the way we tend our gardens. In the Do Not Do category should be leaf blowers. Which, dry soil and drive mold and contaminants into the atmosphere and, count on it, into our lungs. Most gravely at risk are gardeners, closely followed by children, the elderly, pets and wildlife.…

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Water Your Trees!

Posted on Jul 21, 2016

Water Your Trees!

Many trees and shrubs around here will die if they don’t get watered soon. People – the thrifty, the sustainability pure, and the tired – will all let low water turn into a no-water situation. Nothing can live without water! And when the plants die (it’s called permanent wilt), then the shrubs and trees will need to be replaced. And that…

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6 Ways To Kill Your Tree

Posted on Jun 26, 2016

6 Ways To Kill Your Tree

Urban trees live only a fraction of their natural lifespans. A tree that would live 80 years in the forest is expected to live an average of 20 years in the suburbs, and only seven in an urban setting. The most common cause of tree death is abuse and neglect from its number one pest, Homo sapiens. To prolong the…

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Pesticide Reform – Can One Buy Nature’s Pest Control?

Posted on Jun 15, 2016

Pesticide Reform – Can One Buy Nature’s Pest Control?

Buying large numbers of insects and releasing them in hopes of reducing garden pests is a biological pest control practice known as augmentative biological control which has become popular with home gardeners. Briefly, augmentative biological control involves releasing predator insects such as ladybug beetles and praying mantises to control herbivorous insect pests. The point of which is to avoid toxic…

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