Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Scotch broom was introduced as an ornamental along highway corridors and in western Oregon as a dune stabilizer. It is now one of the most extensive forest weed species. Scotch broom is an attractive evergreen shrub. It has many slender, erect, dark green branches with small leaves up to half an inch long. It grows from 3 to 10 feet in height.
In May, it was covered with bright yellow pea like flowers. The flowers mature to flattened seed pods that contain up to a dozen seeds each. Dried pods will crack and pop open in mid-summer and eject the seeds a short distance. A single plant can produce well over 20,000 seeds that last in the soil for more than 30 years (some estimates are as long as 80 years).
Scotch broom easily invades disturbed sites, natural areas, dunes and forest lands. This weed displaces native and beneficial plants and smothers tree seedlings, hampering reforestation efforts. It causes loss of grassland and open forest habitat. Flowers and seeds are toxic to humans and most animals. Scotch broom creates highly flammable fuels, increasing wildfire danger. Control costs for this weed exceed $47 million annually.
Scotch broom can be controlled by various methods depending upon the severity and the location of the infestation. Plants can be pulled when they are small and dug when they are larger. They can be cut between flowering and seed production and stumps can be treated with herbicides (check with the OSU Extension Master Gardeners for advice). Do not put plants with seed pods in compost or yard waste. They should be bagged and placed in the garbage. Do not burn plants with seed pods; when exposed to fire, its seeds burst from their seed pods.
If you are looking for a yellow blooming bush for spring color, rather than planting Scotch broom consider the native Tall Oregon Grape or the ornamental Forsythia hybrid.
Submitted by the Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge