Darrel the Rain Barrel Q & A 2013

 

See Darrel on Facebook too!     Facebook Link 

_________

July 11, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I live on the edge of town, and I want to make my yard more wildlife friendly.  I see wildlife passing through my yard often, so I would like to create a little oasis for them.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can create this oasis?

-  Marilyn (Heath, OH)


Dear Marilyn,

It is great that you are trying to enhance your backyard for wildlife and I would love to help! You can start by providing a water source for the animals.  After accomplishing that, the possibilities are endless.  For example, you can plant native plants/fruiting trees/shrubs, reduce or eliminate pesticides/herbicides that you use in the yard, create shelters for the wildlife, and/or create meandering habitat edges.

You can read all the facts and information about enhancing your backyard for wildlife in the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet “Backyard Enhancement for Wildlife” at http://ohioline.osu.edu/w-fact/0010.html.  If you have any further questions, contact Denise Natoli Brooks at denisebrooks@lickingswcd.com or (740) 670-5330.

 - Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

July 11, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I have some sort of pond scum growing in my pond.  It resembles hair-like fibers, and is very dense.  Do you know what this could be?  Can it be treated?

-  Evan (Utica, OH)


Dear Evan,

It sounds like your pond has filamentous algae growing in it.  Filamentous algae (a.k.a. - pond scum) is the most common type of floating weed in Ohio ponds.  This weed actually grows on submerged objects on the pond bottom and then surfaces to the top.  It resembles a dense mat of hair-like fibers and is often a continual problem.

Filamentous algae reproduce rapidly, especially if nutrient levels are high.  There are several species of filamentous algae, and most species can be controlled with a low concentration of copper sulfate.  It is important that you take action, because excessive algae can deplete the oxygen in the pond when it naturally dies-off or is treated with an algaecide application.  This oxygen depletion can kill the fish if oxygen levels get too low.
 
I recommend visiting the Ohio State University Extension website at http://ohioline.osu.edu/a-fact/pdf/A_3_09.pdf.  This fact sheet will provide you with more information on filamentous algae and how to treat it.  Good Luck!     

 - Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_________

July 4, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I am 9 years old, and I want to know if there is an age or height requirement to participate in the Canoe Escape or Kayaking on the pond during the Hartford Fair at the Natural Resources Area?  

-  Thomas (Johnstown, OH)


Dear Thomas,

Here are the height and age requirements for Kayaking and Canoe Escape on the pond at the Natural Resources Area during the Hartford Fair (August 3-10).

Kayaking on the Pond:  Participants must be 50” (fifty inches) or taller to participate.

Canoe Escape on the Pond:  Participants must be 8 years or older to participate without an adult.  Participants 6-7years can participate, but must have an adult with them in the canoe.  Children 5 and under can ride along, but they must sit inside of the canoe with an adult present.  

Hopefully, you are tall enough and old enough to participate in both!  Kayaking and Canoeing on the pond at the Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area is a great opportunity to learn some boater safety concepts, how to maneuver a canoe/kayak, and have some fun.  We look forward to seeing you at the fair Thomas!  

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

July 4, 2013

Dear Darrel,

My husband and I have a disagreement about our lawn that we would like to settle, hopefully you can help!  My husband cuts the grass way too short, and I told him that shorter grass means more weeds and less water absorption.  He thinks that shorter grass looks better, and the height of the grass doesn’t matter.  Please help with this dilemma!

-  Rowan (Pataskala, OH)


Dear Rowan,

Longer grass is better!  Many people do not realize the impact longer grass has on the environment.  Longer grass is stronger, shades better, grows deeper roots, better endures heat and drought, and absorbs and filters more water which improves water quality in nearby waterways.

Here are some other good backyard conservation practices to follow:

  1. Leave mulch clippings on the lawn, because it returns much needed nutrients back to the soil and helps with erosion and runoff.
  2. Fertilize in the spring or fall when the grass is growing, and use a phosphorus-free fertilizer.
  3. Keep impervious surfaces (i.e.-sidewalks, roadways) and waterways free of grass clippings, fertilizers, leaves, etc.  We need to keep unwanted nutrients out of our waterways, so we can maintain and hopefully improve Licking County’s water quality.
  4. This fall, mulch the fallen leaves on your lawn with a mower.  The leaves will eventually break down and add nutrients to the soil for spring.

I recommend that you and your husband go online and visit the following website: http://www.ofswcd.org/files/Download/NACD%20OFSWCD%20Brochure%202011.pdf.  It is a Backyard Conservation: Lawns and the Environment brochure that will hopefully provide you with some backyard conservation insight!  Good luck!  
 
- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_________

June 24, 2013
 

Last week, I posed this question:  In the above picture (left), what conservation issue is this Licking County Farmer facing?
A. Loss of soil nutrients
B. Pollution
C. Erosion
D. All of the above

The answer is D, all of the above.  In the picture on the left, you can see that there is water flowing through the farmer’s crop field, causing the soil to erode.  When the soil erodes it loses nutrients and causes sediment run-off into nearby waterways.

Licking County Soil & Water helped this farmer by creating a Conservation Plan.  As part of the Conservation Plan, a grass waterway was designed and installed to stop the soil from further erosion and nutrient loss.  When properly installed, the grass waterway will stop soil erosion, prevent nutrient loss, and improve water quality.  For more information, please contact Licking Soil & Water at (740) 670-5330 or information@lickingswcd.com.         

_________

June 20, 2013

In the above picture, what conservation issue is this Licking County Farmer facing?
A. Loss of soil nutrients
B. Pollution
C. Erosion
D. All of the above

I will post the answer on Monday, and show you how Licking Soil & Water helped this farmer resolve his issue.  

 - Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_________

June 13, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Who can I contact for current Ohio timber prices?

-  Don (Newark, OH)


Dear Don,

A good source for the value of timber in Ohio is the Ohio Timber Price Report.  To view, visit http://ohiowood.osu.edu/TimberReport.asp.  Also, the ODNR’s Division of Forestry has information on their site regarding consulting foresters, timber buyers, etc.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

June 13, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Does Soil & Water have conifer trees for sale, and what are the prices?  Also, how big are the seedlings? 
-  Jerry (Johnstown, OH)


Dear Jerry,

Unfortunately, Soil & Water only sells trees during their annual tree sale.  The 2013 tree sale was held this past April, and the prices for the conifer seedlings (White pine, Blue spruce, Norway spruce, Scots pine, and Douglas fir) were $17.00 for 25 counts or $44.00 for 100 count.  The seedlings were 6-12” tall.

Licking Soil & Water will begin accepting seedling tree orders in January 2014.  The seedling trees will be ready for homeowners to pick up the second week in April.  If you have further questions, please call the office (740) 670-5330.   

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

June 6, 2013

Dear Darrel,

We just bought a new house in the village of Marne and we are already having some drainage issues.  When we have heavy rains, our front yard becomes a wading pool.  Can Soil & Water help me with this?  

-  Aaron (Marne, OH)


Dear Aaron,

Well, you have a few options.  You must first find lower ground for the water to drain, and if you drain it towards neighboring properties you must ask them for permission.  After you have that figured out, you can either install sub-surface drainage tile or create a drainage swale.  Licking Soil & Water has a technician who can assist with the planning of the project, but you will need to contact a reputable contractor/excavator to fix the issue.  If you need further assistance, please call Soil & Water Technician Bill Evans at (740) 670-5330.  

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

June 6, 2013

Dear Darrel,

A couple of my buddies and I float the Licking County River every summer, and I was wondering what the river water quality is like.  Good or bad?

-  Aaron (Marne, OH)


Dear Aaron,

The river quality in the Licking River is actually very good!  In 2008, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) evaluated the aquatic life use potential of the Licking River and other tributaries like North and South Fork Licking Rivers, Rocky Fork, and Raccoon Creek.

According to the OEPA, they sampled 90 sites within 779- square mile watershed in parts of Licking, Muskingum, Knox, and Fairfield counties.  Six of seven Licking River sites and 73 of 83 tributary sites (88 percent) fully met the goals of the Clean Water Act for aquatic life.   Moreover, the Licking River basin actually exceeded the statewide biological use attainment goal by 7.8%.

Licking Soil & Water plays an important role in helping maintain good water quality in Licking County by offering free Stream Team Training workshops, having a river clean-up day, and increasing public awareness at community events.

Soil & Water wants everyone in the community to do their part to help keep our waterways healthy.  Even if that means picking up some trash during your float or volunteering at the River Round Up.  Every little bit helps!   

If you want more information about the Ohio EPA’s assessment of Licking County waterways visit: http://www.epa.state.oh.us/newsbycategory/tabid/5980/vw/1/itemid/141/ohio-epa-reports-results-of-water-quality-in-licking-river-watershed.aspx.  Visit www.lickingswcd.com or call (740) 670-5330 for more information about Stream Team Training or River Round Up.  Have a good float, and remember to wear your lifejacket!  

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

May 31, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Is Licking Soil & Water having a rain barrel raffle again this year at the Newark Strawberry Festival?

-  Terry (Hanover, OH)
   

Dear Terry,

YES!  Soil & Water is having a rain barrel raffle at the Newark “Strawberries on the Square” event, May 31-June 2.  We would love for you to stop by and see our new additions to our education trailer, our new mascot “Darrel the Rain Barrel,” and of course sign up for a chance to win a rain barrel!  We hope to see you there!      

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

May 31, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Is it too late in the season to plant grass seed?

-  Vicki (Kirkersville, OH) 
 

Dear Vicki,

Ideally, the best time to plant grass is early spring or fall, before or after the threat of a hard frost has passed, and temperatures are below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  These conditions will allow seed roots to grow before the extremely high or low temperatures set in.  If you do decide to plant seed now, it will require a ton of water and time to get the seed to grow.  I am pretty sure everyone has better things to do this summer than water grass and spend what should have been extra vacation money on high water bills.   

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

May 23, 2013

It is National Wildflower Week!  It is time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful sight and smell of native wildflowers growing in the community.  Try planting native flowers this year as opposed to non-native.  They look just as pretty, and pollinators such as bees and butterflies actually prefer native flowers and plants.  I suggest visiting the following website for more details about native wildflowers and pollinators: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/.

_________

May 16, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I own a small business here in Heath and I would like to help sponsor the River Round Up this year.  Do you have a date set for this yet, and what does the sponsorship entail?    
 
-  Jerry (Heath, OH)
   

Dear Jerry,

Awesome! We are excited that you want to become a sponsor!  The River Round Up is Saturday, September 7, 2013, and the following are the 3 levels of sponsorship:

Platinum Level: $300 (or more):
Will receive the following: logo or name on t-shirt; recognition at the event; recognition in the committee members’ newsletter; canoe float

Silver Level: $200:
Will receive the following: logo or name on t-shirt; recognition at the event; recognition in the committee members’ newsletter
    
Bronze Level: $100.00:
Will receive the following: logo or name on t-shirt; recognition at the event

LINK  After you have decided the level at which you would like to donate, you may mail your check to Licking County Soil & Water 771 East Main St., Suite 100, Newark 43055.  The check should be made out to LCSWCD.  OR, donate securely online (click here).  If you want more information, call (740) 670-5330.  We appreciate your support!     

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

May 16, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I have multiflora rose lining the edge of our woods, where the woods meet the yard.  Is this an invasive species?  What can I do to get rid of it?
   
-  Trina (Buckeye Lake)
   

Dear Trina,

Multiflora rose is an invasive species.  It actually was introduced to the United States in 1866 as rootstock for ornamental roses.  The U.S. Soil Conservation Service used it for erosion control and to fence in livestock; moreover, the state conservation departments suggested using multiflora rose as a cover for wildlife.

It was later found that multiflora rose grows aggressively and generates a ton of fruit that is eaten then dispersed by birds, which then causes an explosion of multiflora rose in fields, forests, and some wetlands.  This “invasion” causes problems for native plant life, grazing livestock, nesting birds, and the natural ecosystem as a whole.

To control multiflora rose, the National Park Service (NPS) suggests “using chemical, manual, or mechanical means or, preferably, a combination.  Frequent, repeated cutting or mowing at the rate of three to six times per growing season, for two to four years, has been shown to be very effective.  In high-quality natural communities, cutting of individual plants may be preferable to minimize habitat disturbance.  Because of the long-lived stores of seed in the soil, follow-up treatments are necessary.  Application of a systemic glyphosate-based herbicide to freshly cut stems, to re-growth, or to foliage is very effective, especially if done late in the growing season.”

It sounds like you have your work cut out for you!  I hope this helps!  If you want to learn more, visit the NPS website:  http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/romu.htm or the USDA website:  http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/multiflorarose.shtml.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_________

May 9, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I am getting ready to re-mulch my flower beds, and was wondering what I should do with my old mulch?  Do you have any suggestions?

-  Chris (Toboso, OH)
   

Dear Chris,

I suggest leaving your old mulch in the flower bed.  Depending on the mulch you have, it should decompose into organic matter that will supply your plants with added nutrients.

Fluff your old mulch, and add new mulch on top to give it a fresh look for summer.  Be careful not to add too much mulch around plants or trees, two to four inches is ideal.

If there is currently a four-inch layer of mulch in your flower bed, then you can either remove one to two inches of old mulch and put new on top or stir up the mulch you have so that the brighter, lower layers rise to the surface.

When mulch is too thick it can suffocate plants and cause water to run off the mulch instead of soak through it, causing the plant to die from lack of moisture.  Remember, “Less is more” when mulching.  

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

May 9, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I am a first-year gardener, and I want to know what the best soil type is for a vegetable garden?

-  Patty (Heath, OH)
   

Dear Patty,

This is such a great question!  Soil is one of the most important components of a garden, along with ample water, sun, and protection from wildlife.

The best soil for gardening needs to have a light/loose texture, adequate nutrients, moderate pH (7.0), and must be well drained.  Try holding some of the garden soil in your hand.  If it is loose when held and you can form it into a ball without difficulty, then you probably have good garden soil.

You also want your soil to drain properly.  This depends on the percentage of sand, silt, and clay present in a particular soil.  Higher clay content generally indicates a more poorly drained soil and wetter growing conditions.  This type of soil will usually require drainage.

Sandy soils or soils with a higher sand content are usually better drained, but they make for drier growing conditions and may need irrigation.

Your best bet is to have your soil tested for nutrient and pH levels.  The test results will help determine what is needed for optimal plant growth in your garden.

If you would like help with identifying your soil type or have drainage concerns, please call Licking County Soil & Water at (740) 670-5330 or email information@lickingswcd.com.  For soil testing services, contact OSU Extension- Licking County at (740) 670-5315.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_________

May 2, 2013

Hello Everyone!  Did you know that it is Soil Stewardship Week (April 28-May 5)?  This conservation-related celebration has been observed across the United States for the last 58 years.  This year’s Stewardship Week theme is “Where Does Your Watershed?”

What is a watershed you ask?  According to the EPA website, “a watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place.  Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes.  They cross county, state, and national boundaries.  In the continental US, there are 2,110 watersheds; including Hawaii Alaska, and Puerto Rico, there are 2,267 watersheds.”

It does not matter if you live in a one bed room apartment in downtown Newark or on a 100 acre farm in Johnstown, OH you are living in a watershed.  So keeping the water clean is vital to the health of Licking County residents and the communities in which they reside.

The Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District (Soil & Water) wants to encourage residents to do everything within their power to conserve and protect the county’s waterways and natural resources, not just during Soil Stewardship week, but throughout the year.

Here are a few ways you can Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water:

  1. Install a rain barrel or rain garden   
  2. Help clean up the waterways during the Licking County River Round up on September 7, 2013
  3. Join the Stream Team monitoring team so you can learn how to test the water quality of local waterways
  4. Volunteer with Soil & Water
  5. Attend a Conservation Learning series workshop to learn how to build a rain barrel, grow plants in a backyard hoop house, recognize different soil types for planting, and learn how to properly manage a forest.

LINK If you would like more information on these topics, please visit the Licking County Soil & Water website at www.lickingswcd.com or contact us at information@lickingswcd.com or call (740) 670-5330.  Thank You for continuing to Help Keep Our Water Clean!    
- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_________

April 18, 2013

Dear Darrel,

When I bought my seedling trees at Licking Soil & Water this week, I noticed a seedling tree growing inside of a tube in front of the Soil & Water barn.  Does this help them grow better?  If so, where can I get this tubing?

- Adam (Johnstown, OH)


Dear Adam,

The tubing is called a seedling tree protector tube.  These tubes are great for growing seedling trees!

The tube allows the seedling tree to grow in a more controlled environment, which usually helps it grow faster and healthier.  The tube is translucent and has holes throughout, which allows the sun to come through and helps with rising temperatures.    

For optimal growth, apply a landscape cloth around the base of the tree to control undesirable vegetation that tends to compete with the seedling tree for nutrients and moisture.
 
You can purchase these tubes online at Tubex.com or you may be able to find them in a forestry catalogue or a garden store.  Thanks again for purchasing trees from the Licking County Soil & Water!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_______
April 18, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I have a small bank behind my garage that is starting to erode.  I am not able to install a retaining wall at this point in time.  I was thinking of planting grass to help with the erosion.  What type of grass should I use on the bank?

- Alan (Hanover, OH)


Dear Alan,

If your bank is eroding, I suggest sloping the bank back as much as possible and installing some drainage tile, before planting grass.  This will be much more effective than just planting grass.

When choosing a grass, you will want a grass with a deep-root system, like rye.  I would also apply an erosion control blanket immediately after planting.  This will help prevent the seed from washing down the bank when it rains.   

I would also suggest speaking with the Licking County Soil & Water Technician at (740) 670-5330 if you need any further assistance with this erosion problem.  I hope this helps!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

________
April 11, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I have a lot of storm-damaged trees that need to be removed.  I'd like to have someone come in to complete a small-scale timber harvest for small quantities of various species including red oak, walnut, pines, cherry and ash.  Can you recommend how to go about doing this tree removal?

-  Anonymous Resident (Licking County)  


Dear Resident,

I actually answered a question similar to this a few weeks ago, and I recommended that they visit the Ohio Division of Forestry website at http://www.ohiodnr.com/Default.aspx?alias=www.ohiodnr.com/forestry, the "Call Before You Cut" (Ohio) website at http://callb4ucut.com/Ohio/tabid/107/Default.aspx, and http://ohiowood.osu.edu/ to get timber price reports.  These websites should provide you with specific details about timber harvesting.     

For various reasons, we cannot recommend specific foresters or harvesting companies.  For a fee, usually a percentage of the harvest value, a certified forester can help you determine your goals, assess your stand, and market your timber.  

More importantly, the forester can contract with the logger.  This contract will help ensure that the harvest occurs in a manner that protects your land and soils from unnecessary disturbance and erosion, and ensure that the harvest is sustainable.  You will want to protect the remaining trees for future harvests and wildlife habitat.

Please feel free to call the Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District office at (740) 670- 5330 if you have any further questions.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
________
April 11, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I am a pastor at a church here in Newark and one of my roles as a pastor involves working with families.  I would like to take a group on a canoe trip on the Licking River around the Blackhand Gorge area sometime this summer.  I wanted to know if you might have canoes I could rent or loan for a group trip.    

-  Pastor (Newark, OH)


Dear Pastor,

Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District (Soil & Water) has canoes as well as kayaks, and we do offer river floats during the summer.

Soil & Water received a Boater Safety Education grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)-Division of Water Craft.  This grant allowed Soil & Water to purchase canoes, kayaks, and equipment to promote our boater safety program.  

Due to grant requirements, we are not allowed to rent or loan out the canoes or kayaks.  However, we do offer river floats to teach community members boater safety and the importance of clean water.  During the float, individuals will learn about the water quality of the Licking River watershed; past efforts that have helped restore and maintain the water; and what organizations and communities can do to help keep the water clean.   

Soil & Water has reserved most Monday and Wednesday evenings (5 or 6 pm for start time) during the summer months for river floats.  Just know that all floats are dependent on river conditions, weather, and water levels.  We can take around 20 individuals per float.  We put in at SR 668, float through Blackhand Gorge, and take out at Toboso.  The float usually lasts around 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule a float, please contact Jim Kiracofe at (740) 670-5330 or jimkiracofe@lickingswcd.com.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_______
April 4, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I am concerned about deer eating my plants.  Do deer-proof plants exist? If so, what are they and where can I find them?

-  Anonymous Resident (Licking County)  


Dear Resident,

Sadly, deer-proof plants do not exist, however according to the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension website http://njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance/default.asp; there are plants that can be categorized as Rarely Damaged, Seldom Severely Damaged, Occasionally Severely Damaged, and Frequently Severely Damaged by deer populations.

Visit the Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension website for a complete list of plants, trees, and shrubs that are best/worst for landscapes prone to deer damage.   

Another site, specific to Ohio is: http://www.myohiolandscape.com/deer-resistant-plants.cfm

If you do have plants that are occasionally or frequently severely damaged by deer you may want to add some additional protection like fencing or repellants of some kind.

Your local garden center should also be able to help you choose the right plants for your deer-prone landscape.  Good Luck!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________
April 4, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Should I be concerned about the emerald ash borer (EAB)?  I have lots of ash trees of various sizes from big mature trees to small ones.  I use the ash and other trees for fire wood to heat my home.  The ash makes great fire wood, but I don't want to cut all the trees at once.  I have not seen any signs of the EAB like the D-shaped entrance holes on my trees yet, but I am concerned.  What can I do to protect my trees, and keep a source of fire wood for my home?

-  Anonymous Resident (Licking County)  


Dear Resident,

Any resident who has ash trees established on their property should be concerned about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  This tree-killing, dark-emerald green insect is now established throughout most of Ohio and kills ash trees within three to five years of infestation.

To ease your worries, I recommend visiting the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Program’s EAB website at http://ashalert.osu.edu/Secondary/secondary.asp?id=20 for the Emerald Ash Borer Diagnostic Check-Off List to make sure your ash trees have no signs or symptoms of infestation.  This website will also give you insight about ash tree treatment, removal, utilization, environmental impacts, and what to do with EAB-infested firewood.   

If you find strong evidence of an EAB infestation, call the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) EAB Hotline: 1-800-OHIO-EAB as soon as possible.  They will be able to point you in the right direction.

For more information, here is a list of other EAB websites:  http://www.emeraldashborer.info; http://www.ohioagriculture.gov/eab/; and http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/5066/Default.aspx.  

I hope you get this issue resolved soon.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_________________
March 28, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Do you still have geo-textile fabric for sale? What is the cost?
-  Sarah (Baltimore, OH)  



Dear Sarah,

We do have geo-textile fabric for sale.  It is 12.5 feet wide and $1.65 per lineal foot.  It comes in roles of 360 feet, so you can buy as little or as much fabric as you need.

Geo- textile fabric is a great water-permeable barrier between soil and gravel that helps prevent erosion on high traffic areas.

If you are interested in purchasing geo-textile fabric, please give the Licking County Soil & Water office a call at 740-670-5330.  Be sure you check out our webpage to check out the other items we have for sale.   

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________  
March 28, 2013

Dear Darrel,

We have a wooded lot in Reynoldsburg, OH that we would like to have appraised for its timber harvest value.  Can you recommend any professionals in the business?  Many thanks for any assistance you can provide. 

-  Joel (Reynoldsburg, OH)  


Dear Joel,

I recommend you visit the Ohio Division of Forestry website at http://www.ohiodnr.com/Default.aspx?alias=www.ohiodnr.com/forestry, for some great information.

You can also take a look at the "Call Before You Cut" (Ohio) website at http://callb4ucut.com/Ohio/tabid/107/Default.aspx, which provides a list of State-certified foresters.    

Timber price reports are available at http://ohiowood.osu.edu/.

For various reasons, we cannot recommend specific foresters or harvesting companies.  For a fee, usually a percentage of the harvest value, a certified forester can help you determine your goals, assess your stand, and market your timber.  Perhaps more importantly, the forester can contract with the logger. This contract will help ensure that the harvest occurs in a manner that protects your land and soils from unnecessary disturbance and erosion, and ensure that the harvest is sustainable.  You want to protect the remaining trees for future harvests, wildlife habitat, etc.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please let me know if you have any further questions.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________

March 21, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Is the common Day-lily really an invasive species in Ohio?  I read an article online, and wanted to confirm my findings.  

-  Jane (Marne, OH)
   


Dear Jane,

Unfortunately, the Day-lily (Hemerocallis fulva) is a common well-established invasive plant that poses a moderate to serious threat to natural areas in Ohio.  They are beautiful plants, but they can wreak havoc on nature preserves, wildlife areas, parks and forests.  

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), invasive plants are usually characterized by fast growth rates, high fruit production, rapid vegetative spread, and efficient seed dispersal and germination.  Since these plants are not native to Ohio, they lack the natural predators and diseases which would naturally control them in their native habitats.  

If invasive plants are growing on your property, ODNR recommends using manual and chemical techniques to remove them.  It is best to control invasive species before they take over an area.

The Division of Natural Area & Preserves within ODNR offers a brochure, fact sheets, an invasive plant list, and a list of alternative plants, all free to the public.  To learn more about invasive plants in Ohio, contact them at (614) 265-6453 or visit http://ohiodnr.com/Home/Home/tabid/867/Default.aspx.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
___________

March 21, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I attended the Farmer’s Share Breakfast this past Saturday, and wanted to know where I can purchase the goat cheese that they used in the omelets.  It was delicious!

-  Robby (Utica, OH)
   


Dear Robby,

The delicious Feta and Danish Hansen raw goat’s milk cheese was made at Osage Lane Creamery, LTD in Pataskala, 5168 Refugee Rd. SW, Pataskala, Ohio 43062.  For more information, call the creamery at (740) 739-1525 or visit their website at www.osagelane.com.      

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

_____________

March 14, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I was wondering how much rain a rain barrel actually collects during the summer?

-  Johnnie (Newark, OH)   



Dear Johnnie,

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that a rain barrel saves the average homeowner 1,300 gallons of water during the summer.

The amount of rain collected depends on the square footage of your house, the size of the rain barrel, and how much rain we get during the summer.

For example, for every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 sq ft., you can expect to collect approximately 600 gallons of rainwater.  Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 sq ft. catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater.  The more square footage the more rain you will collect!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
_____________

March 14, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I was wondering if I should put rocks or mulch around my newly planted trees.  What is the better choice?

- Myla (St. Louisville, OH)   


Dear Myla,

I recommend using organic mulch around your newly planted trees.  Organic mulch decomposes which gives the tree added nutrients and improves soil quality.  It also improves soil ventilation, retains water, and suppresses weeds.  Examples of organic mulch include but are not limited to: wood chips, pine needles, cocoa hulls, leaves, and compost mixes.   

Rocks do not retain moisture, they tend to create an alkaline environment (acidic is preferred) and rocks attend to hold excessive heat.  

Though organic mulch is preferred, it can be harmful as well.  If you do not mulch properly, organic mulch can harm your newly planted trees.  Follow these proper mulching guidelines from the International Society of Arboriculture when applying organic mulch:   

  • Inspect plants and soil in the area to be mulched.  Determine whether drainage is adequate.  Determine whether there are plants that may be affected by the choice of mulch.  Most commonly available mulches work well in most landscapes.  Some plants may benefit from the use of slightly acidifying mulch such as pine bark.
  • If mulch is already present, check the depth.  Do not add mulch if there is a sufficient layer in place.  Rake the old mulch to break up any matted layers and to refresh the appearance.  Some landscape maintenance companies spray mulch with a water-soluble, vegetable-based dye to improve the appearance.
  • If mulch is piled against the stems or tree trunks, pull it back several inches so that the base of the trunk and the root crown are exposed.
  • Organic mulches usually are preferred to inorganic materials due to their soil-enhancing properties.  If organic mulch is used, it should be well aerated and, preferably, composted.  Avoid sour-smelling mulch.
  • Composted wood chips can make good mulch, especially when they contain a blend of leaves, bark, and wood.  Fresh wood chips also may be used around established trees and shrubs.  Avoid using non-composted wood chips that have been piled deeply without exposure to oxygen.
  • For well-drained sites, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch.  If there are drainage problems, a thinner layer should be used.  Avoid placing mulch against the tree trunks.  Place mulch out to the tree’s drip line or beyond.

Good luck with the landscaping this spring!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

___________

March 7, 2013

Dear Darrel,

The neighbor’s overflow from their pond is flowing into our yard, what do we need to do to stop this from happening?

- Jennifer (Hanover, OH)
 

Dear Jennifer,

Does the runoff occur at the same location as it did before the pond was built?  If so, there is little that can be done if you live downstream.  If the runoff location has changed, hopefully you can both work together to change the pond outlet back to its original location, or share the cost of a tile to get the water underground.  If cooperation is impossible, it unfortunately becomes a court issue.  Hopefully this information helps you.  If you have any further questions, contact our Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District Technician at 740-670-5330.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
____________

March 7, 2013

Dear Darrel,

We have been getting tons of rain lately, and I want to know when I can reconnect my rain barrel?

- Tom (Johnstown, OH)
 


Dear Tom,

I would recommend waiting until mid to late April, or until the last freeze has occurred.  You do not want the water inside the barrel to freeze, because it may cause the barrel to crack leaving it unusable.

The weather has been teasing us lately.  Spring one day and winter the next, so please take my advice and wait to reconnect your rain barrel.  Spring is right around the corner!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________

March 1, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Is the Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area Pancake Breakfast (Saturday, March 2, 2013) open to the public?
- Connie (Johnstown, OH)


Dear Connie,

Yes, everyone is welcome! The Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area Pancake Breakfast is a way for the public to help support the youth and adult programming that is offered at the Natural Resources Area during the Hartford Fair.
    
The breakfast is being held at the Church of Ascension,  Church of the Ascension, 555 South Main St., Johnstown, Ohio 43031 (near the south entrance of Johnstown),  from 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, 2013. The cost is $5.00 per person, and proceeds go towards educational programming at the Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area.

Be sure to bring your family members and friends, because there will be plenty of pancakes, sausage, and scrambled eggs to go around!  For more information on the breakfast, call the Soil & Water office at (740) 670-5330.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
_________
March 1, 2013

Dear Darrel,

If I pay ahead of time, is there any way I can pick up my seedling trees the week after the tree sale?
- Nathan (Heath, OH)


Dear Nathan,

If you cannot pick the trees up on Friday, April 12th, then we prefer that you make arrangements for someone else to pick up your trees that day.

We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have any further questions, please call the office at (740) 670-5330. Thank you for asking!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________
February 21, 2013

Dear Darrel,

I am a freshman in college, majoring in Natural Resources. I am currently applying for internships. Does the Licking County Soil and Water offer internships and if so when is the application deadline?
-Ryan (Columbus, OH)


Dear Ryan,

Licking Soil & Water is currently taking applications for multiple spring/summer interns, and will continue to take applications until all intern positions are filled. Soil & Water is looking for highly motivated and goal-oriented students who want to learn first-hand about Soil & Water and the many programs and activities that help conserve the county’s natural resources.

With this hands-on internship, you will assist with outreach programs, community events, boater safety education programs, the Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area, rain barrel workshops, stream team water quality testing, and much more.

Applicants must be 18 years of age. Preference is given to students enrolled in or accepted into a two- or four-year accredited institution, and studying a natural resources-related field.  Although unpaid, each intern receives a $1,000 scholarship after successful completion of a 160-hour commitment.  Interested individuals must submit a completed application, career goals statement, and an official school transcript.  For more information, contact District Program Administrator, Jim Kiracofe at 740-670-5330 or jimkiracofe@lickingswcd.com. Good luck applying Ryan!

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
________
February 21, 2013

Dear Darrel,

When is your first rain barrel workshop?
-Loretta (Pataskala, OH)


Dear Loretta,
    
Spring is quickly approaching, and soon everyone will be buying, constructing, or re-connecting their rain barrels. Licking Soil & Water will host the first Build Your Own Rain Barrel Workshop on Thursday, April 25th, from 6:00- 8:00 p.m. at the Soil & Water barn located at 771 E Main Street, Newark, Ohio 43055.

If April’s date doesn’t work for you, don’t worry!  Build Your Own Rain Barrel Workshops are offered at the Soil & Water barn on May 23rd, June 20th, July 25th, and August 22nd from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The fee is $50, which includes all the parts, tools, instruction, and supplies for you to construct your own 60-gallon rain barrel.

You can register and pay online or call the Soil & Water office at (740) 670-5330 for details.

Rain barrels help conserve water and they save money! Did you know that collecting rain water reduces runoff, downstream flooding, water pollution, and your water bill? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel saves the average homeowner 1,300 gallons of water during the summer. Who wouldn’t want a rain barrel?

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________
February 14, 2013

Dear Darrel,

When is the best time to plant trees, spring or fall?  I have heard many different opinions about this, and I would like a straight answer for once.  Thanks!
- Mark (Hanover, OH)


Dear Mark,
    
We definitely need to get to the root of this problem. The time of year you plant a tree definitely has a huge impact on its survivability.  There are two times of year to consider, late fall and early spring.  

Planting in late fall allows the tree time to adjust to its new home while being dormant, storing its energy in the roots.  The newly planted tree will benefit from continued watering for a couple weeks after it is planted, especially during any warm spells.  Watering, even in the late fall, reduces stress to the tree.  When spring rolls around, the trees are ready to focus their energy on growing leaves.  

If planting in spring is more convenient, be sure to plant in early spring before the soil dries out and the temperature rises.  High temperatures and dry soil will stress the newly planted tree.  Spring plantings often require more watering since the trees have to focus on establishing their roots while growing leaves at the same time.  
    
Regardless of whether you plant in the fall or spring, do not add fertilizer when planting.  Consider adding a handful of synthetic hydro-gel like the product Terra-Sorb to help the tree roots retain moisture (if you are unable to water the tree after planting).  Hydro-gel is particularly helpful in large plantings where it is unrealistic to water regularly.  

Make sure you match the tree species to the soil type; for example, willows require very moist soil and pines do best in drier soil.  If the tree is planted in clay soil, consider mixing a handful of compost to the soil in the hole before planting. When possible, make sure to water the tree thoroughly immediately after planting.

Just to let you know, the Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District (Soil & Water) is hosting a Think Spring, Plant Trees Clinic on Thursday, February 28th from 6:00- 7:30 p.m. at the Licking County Library in Downtown Newark. The expert panel of speakers includes Lisa Bowers (Urban Forester for ODNR), Jim Murphy (ISA Certified Arborist), and Jim Kiracofe (Soil & Water District Administrator). Good luck planting trees!
 
- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with
Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________
February 14, 2013

Dear Darrel,

Last year my neighbor hauled in 20 loads of fill dirt to block a natural water runoff area. When we have a lot of rain it floods and backs up in my yard and my other neighbor’s yard. I think he needs to put a culvert in, but I don't know how to proceed. I am also worried when it warms up that the mosquitoes will be breading in there by the millions. Please let me know what else I can do to help with this problem.
- Justin (Pataskala, OH)


Dear Justin,

Have you discussed this issue with the landowner?  Is he aware that the additional soil has blocked the natural flow of water runoff from your property and other neighboring properties?  If he is not aware of the problem, then I recommend both you and your neighbor(s) share your concerns with him.  

Is the area where you suggest that he needs to install a culvert, on the road right-a-way?  If this is the case, then you and your neighbor should contact the local authority (township, county, or city) that oversees the road maintenance and request that they install a culvert.  If the area is not near the road, then you need to discuss the issue with the landowner.

If the landowner is not receptive to removing the added soil or installing a culvert to restore the drainage, I suggest that you and your neighbor(s) contact an attorney to see what your legal rights are to force the landowner to remove the fill or install a culvert.

The Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District can advise the landowner, at his request, on how to better manage this runoff/flooding issue. Unfortunately, the Ohio Revision Code does not give Soil & Water the authority to mandate the landowner correct problems of this nature.

I hope this information helps you in your future dealings. If you have further issues, contact Soil & Water by phone (740) 670-5330 or email us at information@lickingswcd.com.

- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with
Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

__________
February 7, 2013

Dear Darrel,

My family and I visited the Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area this past August and noticed the rain gardens.  I have never heard of rain gardens before, and was curious to know their purpose.  Why rain gardens?

--Lori (St. Louisville, OH)


Dear Lori,
Lori, rain gardens play a huge role in pollution reduction.  Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with native plants to filter and absorb rain water running off driveways, roofs, and other hard surfaces.  This filtration prevents run-off pollution from entering lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and storm drains.

Rain gardens also promote infiltration of rain water into the ground thus increasing local ground water supply and reducing the amount of water that needs to be carried by storm sewers.

I hope this information inspires you to add a rain garden to your landscape!  To find out how to build your new rain garden, visit the Soil & Water website at /pages/services-and-information/conservation-information/water-resources/rain-garden.

-- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com
 
__________
February 7, 2013

Dear Darrel,
It seems like my water bill keeps getting higher and higher.  I need some quick and easy tips on how to save water and money.
--Roberto (Newark, OH)


Dear Roberto,
It sounds like you need a quick solution, so that your next bill doesn’t drain your bank.  There are tons of ways to conserve water; moreover, a large percentage of water use is in the bathroom, so I suggest beginning there.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Tip 1- Check all pipes, faucets, and toilets for leaks.  A leak can waste between 30 and 500 gallons of water per day.  To check a toilet for leaks, simply place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank, and if (without flushing) the coloring begins to appear in the bowl then you have a leak!  Adjust or replace the flush valve or call a plumber A.S.A.P.

Tip 2- Take a shower, not a bath.  A bath uses at least 36 gallons of water, and a shower only uses about 25 gallons.  If you shorten your shower time, then you can save even more money.

Tip 3- Shut the water off while brushing your teeth and shaving.  The average bathroom faucet flows at about 2 gallons per minute.  That’s a lot of wasted water.         

Tip 4- Toilets are not wastebaskets.  Flushing trash down a toilet wastes 5 to 7 gallons of water.  It also can pollute the waterways which negatively affects the ecosystem.  

Tip 5- Install a low-flow showerhead. These devices can cut bathing- water consumption by 50 to 70 percent, and they can be easy and inexpensive to install.

These suggestions will not only save you money, but they will help conserve water.  After the drought this past summer, we all need to make conscious efforts to conserve water.  Thanks for bringing this topic to mind.  I hope these suggestions are helpful.

For more information about water conservation, visit the following websites:  www.thedailygreen.com and www.thisland.illinois.edu/57ways/57ways_57.html.  Good luck!

-- Darrel
Help Keep Our Water Clean with Licking County Soil & Water
information@lickingswcd.com

______________
January 31, 2013

Dear Darrel,
I have a stream going through the front of my property. Since fracking is becoming an issue in Licking County, should I get my well and stream water tested? How do I need to go about this? Who should I contact? Can I test my own water? Please Help!

- Judy (Johnstown, OH)


Dear Judy,
Well you definitely need some answers! If you would like to test your well water, Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District (Soil & Water) suggests consulting a local expert, such as the Licking County Health Department to assist with the water testing process. The Health Department and other state/local health and environmental departments usually have a list of state-certified laboratories that test for well water contaminants.

You can also visit Soil & Water website  page on Water Resources  for more information and better understanding.  

As for your stream, you can test it yourself.  Soil & Water offers a free Stream Team monitoring training program from May