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    Ornamental onion is not easy to grow here – Atlanta Journal Constitution - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Q: I have trouble growing alliums in Atlanta. If they come up, then they dont come back the next year. Am I planting the wrong varieties ? Lynda Houser, email

    A: As easily as wild onion, Allium canadense, grows in lawns, youd imagine that any member of this genus would grow well in Georgia. I have planted several species and varieties of ornamental onion over the years, but most did not succeed. The one I had the most hope for, Allium christophii, did great, with huge blooms, for a couple of years and then petered out. My friend Erica Glasener says she has had the best success with Millenium ornamental allium.

    Q: Our blueberry bushes are 10 years old. This year, a good many of the green berries are falling off if you lightly touch them while picking the ripe ones. Any ideas? Nora Singley, McDonough

    A: The most common cause of premature berry drop is poor pollination. Try to remember whether you had heavy rains during blueberry bloom time. Rain could have inhibited insect pollinators and might have damaged individual flowers. Without pollination, young berries dont mature.

    Q: When do we trim blackberry bushes that have finished bearing? Ours have several really tall green canes. They are so heavy they are leaning over. Carol Brown, Twiggs County

    A: You should prune blackberries a few weeks after harvest. This will give you enough time to note the new canes that emerge to replace the canes that fruited. Canes that had fruit will not bear again, and can be cut back to the ground. The replacement canes can be shortened as needed to fit your trellis. I recommend you cut your tall canes back to a reasonable picking height so they can grow side shoots during the summer.

    Q: Can a rainbow eucalyptus tree survive in South Georgia? I love the tree. Kathy Sistrunk, Albany

    A: The amazing multicolored bark of this tree, Eucalyptus deglupta, is certainly eye-catching! The weather may be hot in southern Georgia, but this eucalyptus likes it even hotter. Miami and farther south are good places to grow it. If you are interested in eucalyptus trees that are more cold hardy, check out Southern Eucs (

    Q: I tested my pH with an inexpensive tester, and it looks to be between 7 and 8. What type of grass sod would do well in this pH? I get mostly sun and partial shade in a corner. Scott Ellsworth, email

    A: The pH test kits you buy from garden centers are not very accurate. I doubt it says on the package what the accuracy range is, but I bet it would be plus or minus 1 point. In other words, the pH really could be anywhere between 6.5 and 8.5. Most grasses grow fine in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. I dont think you need to worry about your pH. In mixed sunshine and light shade, zoysia grass does very well.

    Listen to Walter Reeves segments at 6:35 a.m. on Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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    Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

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    Ornamental onion is not easy to grow here - Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Mike Tomlin is comfortable at Heinz Field, but not with time to prepare the Steelers – - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The NFL has made some sweeping decisions as they return to facilities amidst the coronavirus pandemic. One of those has been forcing all 32 teams to stay at their home facilities for training camp. Another will be specific dates when teams are permitted to report to camp.

    Either way, the Steelers won't be making their yearly trek to Latrobe and Saint Vincent College, instead taking their training camp to Heinz Field. During a recent virtual press conference Mike Tomlin spoke about his overall comfort level with staying at Heinz Field, and concerns he has with the situation.

    "We have additional space than the 100 yards." Tomlin said about only having one field at his disposal. "There is perimeter space that we also have to use. From time to time, we work on a one-field structured format. Whether we are working at the indoor or working at Heinz Field. We have had several practices at Heinz Field."

    Having the 100 yards, and then some, at Heinz Field for the team to utilize might be fine, but it doesn't mean Tomlin doesn't have some hesitation about the situation.

    "My only concern about the utilization at Heinz Field is not space, it is about the wear and tear of the field. Our intentions are right now -- on a regular scheduled basis to be determined -- that we will get on buses and come to the South Side and utilize our grass fields here from time to time in an effort to help preserve those fields. But that schedule is yet to be determined. But those are the only concerns about Heinz field as a venue regarding the field surface."

    Heinz Field certainly has had its share of criticism over the years. Whether it was the mud bowl on Monday Night Football vs. the Dolphins in 2007, or a myriad of moments when the chunks of sod coming off the turf would resemble a golfer's divot more than a player trying to make a cut on a professional playing surface.

    The Steelers switched to a natural grass surface a few years ago, compared to the hybrid grass they formerly used, which allows them to re-sod the field as necessary. Plans are already in place to have the field replaced as many as three times in 2020.

    Tomlin's biggest issue with the set up the NFL is ready to roll out is how much time he will have to prepare his team for an actual football game.

    "Im not comfortable, but I imagine none of my peers are comfortable either, so Im comfortable with that." Tomlin said. "Physical conditioning is going to be a significant element of this process. Its going to define their journey and ours collectively. Those that are communal conditioners are working at a disadvantage in this 2020 environment. Those that are new to professional football and whats really physically required of them through the evaluation process are working at a distinct advantage.

    "We talk openly about that elephant in the room. It doesnt lessen the anxiety. Man, we better have a group of guys that come ready to work from a physical conditioning standpoint, and if we do, we will be able to navigate the other challenges. If we dont, all the other challenges are going to be magnified. That is a true statement for us and the other 31 [teams] as well."

    Members of the Steelers have been taking Tomlin's words to heart and have been putting in a great deal of work this offseason, and putting it on their social media platforms. However, Tomlin is absolutely correct when he talks about all teams having the same inconveniences. All teams will be staying at their facilities, and all will have the same amount of time to prepare for the 2020 regular season.

    Uniformity is something commissioner Roger Goodell has preached since the league decided to hold the NFL Draft as scheduled. No one would be able to return to facilities until all 32 teams will be able to return. This policy remains true, and the league is expected to provide dates for players returning for training camps in the coming weeks.

    As more updates are released you can expect to see them right here at

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    Whats Growing: Landscape refresh – The Ledger - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Your landscape will evolve over time. Plants have a lifespan. Some may live for a few years and others for decades. Over time the situation they were planted in can change and this will affect a plants longevity as well.

    New homes do not tend to have any shade, for most housing developments are clear-cut, eliminating any tree canopy that was in place. Therefore, the plants selected for installation tend to be ones that tolerant full sun.

    Over time, as trees in the landscape grow, they produce a shade canopy that may not be agreeable to the plants around them. The sod surrounding these trees must acclimate from a sunny to shady environment, if able to do so.

    Sun-loving plants that are now in a shade situation can encounter more disease, weaker growth, and a slow steady state of decline. Age can be a factor as well, since most shrubbery peak at about 10 years and then slowly decline after that point.

    When it comes to grass, some varieties are more shade tolerant than others. Most new homes will have full-sun tolerant sod installed because there is no shade. In time, this grass may thin out under tree canopy because of lack of sunlight.

    Homeowners will redecorate and change up things inside the home, but forget to give the same degree of attention to the landscape. It is the landscape that makes the first impression to someone visiting your home, not the interior dcor.

    Plants can also be trendy. I can look at some properties and tell you approximately how old the landscape is because of the mix of plants in it. Currently, tropical plants are in but once we have a hard winter and these die out a new trend will begin, and those landscapes will look dated.

    It may be time for you to really look at your landscape and determine if it needs to be refreshed. Old and scruffy plants will most likely never look better than they do now. Just like an old sofa, it may be time for them to go.

    Readers may e-mail questions or contact Keith at:

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    Whats Growing: Landscape refresh - The Ledger

    From Sod Poodles to Nuts, we picked the best mascot in MiLB – The Athletic - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Evaluation is a curious thing. Youre trained to look for little particulars that set one profile above the other, one pitch mix sized up against the next, a River Rascal against a Loon, a switch- wait.

    Whats a River Rascal?

    For a minor-league baseball team, which prides itself on providing family-friendly fun, mascots provide between-inning entertainment and bleacher hijinks. They are even more important to the ballpark experience than their big-league cousins. Theyre also, quite often, much weirder and esoteric. While the minor-league season is all but an official wash, the mascots remain. They will outlive us all.

    So how do you determine which ones are the best? Thats what were here to determine.

    A few things to keep in mind about the evaluation process:

    Mascots develop at their own pace. Talons take time to grow and inflating an inner tube around a pig isnt a process that happens...

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    From Sod Poodles to Nuts, we picked the best mascot in MiLB - The Athletic

    Grass is greener with The Lawn Tools – NWAOnline - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Brothers Jordan and Aaron Netzel love a well-manicured lawn.

    The two brothers, who live in Siloam Springs, love it so much that their enjoyment of keeping short, neatly-trimmed, healthy grass has turned into a hobby over the last five years and has resulted in the creation of their own YouTube page, a social media presence in the lawn-care community and more than 115 videos of their work to watch.

    "I've always been into golf," said Aaron Netzel, 33, who's a cabinet salesman for Mid-America Cabinets in Gentry. "(Jordan's) somewhat of a golfer. I guess we've always been kind of in love with that look and short grass. We always would be chipping in the yard at our parents' house. I made a little chipping green once upon a time. I had a 90-yard chipping green I practiced on. I always wanted something in the yard, so that's what started it -- cutting it so short we could play golf in our own yard."

    You might know Jordan Netzel, 31, by his day job -- an optometrist at Roberts-Philpott Eye Associates in Siloam Springs. But on YouTube, he is known as the "Right Tool" and Aaron Netzel is the "Left Tool." And since the fall of 2018, they've become known together in the online lawn-care community as "The Lawn Tools."

    The Right Tool and Left Tool designation comes from their official logo, which is on every platform The Lawn Tools post on.

    Their projects can be found on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The Lawn Tools also have their own YouTube channel, where in less than two years they've posted more than 115 videos and have accumulated a following of more than 8,200 subscribers. Since posting their first video in November of 2018, their combined views have topped more than 1.6 million according to counter on The Lawn Tools' YouTube page.

    A 'reel' beginning

    It all began in the summer of 2016 with the brothers living in a pair of neighboring duplexes and trying to figure out the best way to care for the lawns, including a shared area of grass between the two buildings.

    "They didn't put a fence down the middle of our two duplexes and we shared a yard," Jordan Netzel said. "I guess I suggested getting a mower. We'll get one mower and share it."

    Aaron Netzel liked that idea but with a twist. He wanted to get a manual reel mower.

    "One of those old-school mowers with no motors," Aaron Netzel said. "I just wanted to cut it shorter."

    The brothers enjoyed the cut of the manual reel mower more so than that of a rotary mower, but they quickly learned that the manual reels had their own problems.

    "As the grass started growing like crazy, if you get behind at all with the manual reel mower, it got really tough," Jordan Netzel said. "You would have to stay on top of it. So if you got behind at all, go on vacation, come back, you would have to mow it three to four times to get it cut back down."

    Jordan Netzel quickly got tired of the extra work that the manual reel was causing, so he decided to upgrade.

    He went on to Craig's List and found a homeowner's Tru-Cut H-20

    "That made it a lot easier than cutting it (with a manual reel)," Jordan Netzel said. "It's not as stressful for the grass and you can actually cut it a lot shorter than if you're pulling it and tearing it with a rotary mower."

    Late in the winter of 2019, Jordan Netzel upgraded to a Toro GreensMaster 1000 mower that he uses today, but he admits the days of the manual reel and the results it gave on his lawn convinced him this was the way he wanted to go.

    "The first manual reel mower starts a slippery slope, because once you get one of those, I feel like you can't go back," Jordan Netzel said. "It just doesn't cut the same when you go to a rotary. You get hooked on the way it cuts."

    'The Lawn Tools'

    Somewhere along the way, the Netzel brothers decided it might be fun to play with their yard -- and film it.

    "It was the fall of 2018," Jordan Netzel said, "and I wasn't mowing anything."

    That summer, he had just moved into his newly built house, which included a freshly sodded yard.

    "I think I thought my lawn was nicer than it was at the time," he said.

    Jordan Netzel thought it would be neat to start a YouTube channel of the care of his lawn.

    "There are a lot of other people doing it on YouTube," he said. "It feels more like social media than a TV show. It used to be only a handful of people had YouTube channels. Now its almost like, just because of the number of people that are doing it, there's a smaller barrier to entry. You can film it on your phone and everybody had a good quality camera on their phone. ... There were a handful of other people doing it, and I just thought, 'Well, I can do that.' So I just started thinking about it more and decided to post."

    The first video by The Lawn Tools -- "Planting Bulbs/Work in the fall - Enjoy in the spring" was posted to YouTube on Nov. 4, 2018, and was more than 9 minutes long.

    "That's a terrible time to start a YouTube channel," Jordan Netzel said with a laugh.

    The first video received around 500 views, but the second, "JackHammer - Rock in my yard," which was released on Nov. 16, 2018, had more than 7,600 views.

    "There's a pretty good community -- a lawn care community on YouTube," Jordan Netzel said. "That's where you start. Somehow you post a couple of videos and a handful of people find you and YouTube starts suggesting you to people who are really into lawn care. There's a few hundred people that are really into it and watch all of the channels and all the videos and really like having conversations back and forth. ... There are a handful of people who are just really way too into grass, they'll watch anything (related to) grass. That's how you get started."

    Since the first post, The Lawn Tools have posted about all kinds of projects, with some of the most popular being on the topic of sand leveling the yard. Two posts in the fall of 2019 received more than 14,000 views apiece, and another, "Leveling Yard BEFORE Sod" posted this past April had more than 20,000 views.

    But the most watched video -- and it's not even close -- has been "Top Dressing and Leveling with Sand for Flat Lawn," which went completely viral with more than 1.1 million views.

    The Lawn Tools' videos range in topics on just about anything including planting flowers, killing weeds, reviews of lawnmowers, fertilizer, leveling, Christmas lights, winter projects and so much more.

    They've also gotten sponsors from a fertilizer company called Lawnstar, who have provided free liquid fertilizer and liquid iron, which provide content for videos. They've also received three lawnmowers to review and make videos with.

    'LT Turf' series

    In May of 2019, Jordan Netzel got a call from Connor Ward, another lawn enthusiast on YouTube who has more than 63,400 subscribers. Ward asked him when The Lawn Tools were going to travel out to Utah and make a video on his lawn.

    "We thought that was pretty huge that this bigger YouTuber wanted us to come out," Jordan Netzel said.

    While they were in Utah, lawn lovers, Jeremy Of the Greener Lawn and Brett Goodyear of Brett's Grasscapades, who both live in the Salt Lake City area, also wanted The Lawn Tools to come do a video on their yard. Goodyear also started a YouTube channel around the same time.

    "It's kind of a thing in the lawn care community," Aaron Netzel said. "You go to somebody's house and you mow their lawn for them, and then you just kind of do videos together. It's fun."

    And so began what turned into The Lawn Tools' series called "LT Turf," where instead of filming at their own houses, they go to other people's houses and make videos of their lawns and mowers.

    Posting videos with other lawn care enthusiasts on YouTube has helped expand the reach of The Lawn Tools. Their videos may be seen by someone visiting an established YouTuber's page, and then they subsequently start following The Lawn Tools.

    That's when The Lawn Tools have seen their biggest jump in subscribers.

    The Lawn Tools' travels have taken them to Fort Smith, where they met John Ware of

    "That's where I learned everything when I first started," said Jordan Netzel, regarding the website. "It's a forum of people who know way more about grass than you could ever imagine and give advice and tips."

    Jordan Netzel's in-laws live in the Tampa, Fla., area and there's another lawn enthusiast in the area -- Allyn Hane, aka The Lawn Care Nut -- and Netzel filmed an LT Turf with Hane episode there. Hane has almost 350,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

    "That was big," Jordan Netzel said. "We go down there and make a video, and all his followers see it and you get a big bump (in subscribers) there."

    Jordan Netzel said the biggest jump in subscribers came last July because of a sand leveling video -- "Top Dressing and Leveling with Sand for Flat Lawn" -- that just "took off." As of this writing, the video has had more than 1.1 million views.

    "I had 20 tons of sand all over my yard to level it," he said. "That video just took off for whatever reason. I put it up Friday noon. I woke up the next day to see on my analytics that it had 1,000 views per hour. I was getting notifications like crazy. ... It had 100,000 views after a week. ... That video is still doing really well."

    The Lawn Tools had planned to film season two of the LT Turf series this year, including a trip to Arvest Ballpark, home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals baseball team, but have been delayed by the covid-19 pandemic.

    "I had talked to their greenskeeper," Jordan Netzel said. "Whenever things open back up we'll go out there and do one. They'll show us how they care for it."

    Jordan Netzel also has talked to the tennis courts managers at the University of Arkansas. He would like to do the same one day at any of the UA sports facilities, including Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium or Baum-Walker Stadium.

    Making the videos

    Making the videos that are posted on YouTube require a lot of work in a lot of different areas.

    There's obviously filming that takes place on each project, but there's also editing, which can take up tons of time, the Netzel brothers agree.

    Aaron Netzel points to his brother as the one who does the lion's share of the work.

    "So up to this point, he's done maybe 98 percent of everything, and that's maybe accurate," Aaron Netzel said. "I will say this. When we started, I was in a 'not do anything' phase in my life and he was like, 'Aaron loves YouTube' and 'Get Aaron off his butt.' That played a part of it."

    Aaron Netzel credited his brother for being the one who is active in chat rooms and forums and making calls to other lawn enthusiasts.

    "I was always called the elusive left tool," Aaron Netzel said. "People never saw me. I never commented on the forums. I'm like, 'I don't know how computers work. I never talked to anybody.' I really think that played a part of it."

    On the projects themselves, it's mainly getting a camera and a tripod, turning the camera on and doing the work.

    "A lot of it, say more than half, has been just put the camera on the tripod and move it around a lot," Aaron Netzel said. "A lot of stuff I'll man the camera and try and get some cool shots."

    Said Jordan Netzel: "A lot of these YouTubers, they're the only person doing it as far as I know. We're the only lawn care YouTube channel of two people. Everybody else just puts the camera on a tripod and moves it around a lot and just mows strips then moves it around and change up videos."

    The brothers also deploy a drone with a camera to get overhead shots.

    "I think he had the drone before he ever started the channel," Aaron Netzel said.

    Another rule is everything gets filmed. Even when a newspaper photographer is up on a ladder taking feature photos for this story, it's filmed.

    "I just remember, especially in the early days, someone would put down the camera and the other person would do something stupid and be like, 'Did you get that?'" Aaron Netzel said. "'No I didn't get that, I thought we were done filming.'"

    Jordan Netzel said when he went down to Florida to visit Hane, he was given a good piece of advice on leaving the camera rolling.

    "When I would turn off the camera, something would happen, and (Hane) would say, 'You've got to keep that thing on man. You never know what you're going to miss,'" Jordan Netzel said. "His advice was film everything. You can edit out what you don't want. But you can't edit something you didn't film."

    Said Aaron Netzel, "Then the more you film, the more editing there is."

    "It's a double-edged sword," Jordan Netzel replied "It takes longer for editing for sure."

    "The editing sucks," Aaron Netzel said. "It's so much fun (filming) the videos, but then you put it on the computer and you're like 'Aw crap I got to actually make the video now.'"

    Jordan Netzel wakes up around 3:45 a.m. every morning to make time for editing.

    "Everybody else is still asleep," he said. "I learned early on that if I wanted to do this, it couldn't interfere with family time. I had to do it at a time when everybody else was asleep."

    Aaron Netzel, on the other hand, does a lot of his editing at night.

    Personal favorites

    The Lawn Tools each have their personal favorites in videos they released.

    For Jordan Netzel, it was the video of his son's third birthday party where he turned his backyard into a miniature golf course.

    "To me it was really personal that I made this miniature golf course for my son's third birthday," Jordan Netzel said. "All his friends came over and all family were here playing miniature golf and it was a great day. I remember the feeling of the day and I associate (that) with the video."

    Another great family video happened recently when The Lawn Tools built a baseball mound at Aaron Netzel's house and invited over all the kids.

    "I love watching that video because it's all our whole family just out there playing baseball and it's a fun day and it's a good memory for us," Jordan Netzel said. "It's nostalgic and it's my family and I love it. But that's not one of those videos that's going to go viral or anything. Some weird topics tend to get more views for lawncare."

    Aaron Netzel said at the time of this interview that his favorite video may be coming up soon in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

    "We've got a couple of good ones coming up really soon," Aaron Netzel said. "We've got a couple of other friends who really love making videos. Others are good at making animation. They're able to do some really cool stuff we would never be able to figure out to do.

    Said Jordan Netzel: "We'll fine tune the LT Turf series over time and make it better and better and make it feel more cinematic as we fine-tune our editing skills and videography and everything. That's going to be really cool."

    Adam Sandler's yard

    Is there an end goal in sight for The Lawn Tools? Maybe, if you ask Aaron Netzel.

    "We're not stopping until we mow Adam Sandler's yard," Aaron Netzel said. "That's been our goal from day one."

    Aaron Netzel is a huge fan of actor Adam Sander's movies, according to Jordan Netzel.

    "He has seen every movie in chronological order, I don't know how many times," Jordan Netzel said of his brother.

    "I don't know if (Sandler) likes his yard mowed," Aaron Netzel replied, "but I would like it."

    Jordan Netzel said his brother's wife once asked them both, what is the end goal of the Lawn Tools? When will you think you've made it?

    "I didn't have an answer for that," Jordan Netzel said. "I don't know. We're just doing this for fun. We'll see what happens.

    "(Aaron) pretty quick comes up with, 'When we do an LT Turf episode on Adam Sandler's yard, that's when we'll know we've made it.' So I didn't have a goal, but now my goal is to get him on Adam Sandler's yard and do an LT Turf episode."

    Photo courtesy of The Lawn ToolsAn overhead shot of Jordan Netzel's house on the Fourth of July in 2019. Stars and stripes were cut into the yard with USA below that. Red, white and blue smoke also garnish the layout.

    Graham Thomas/Herald-LeaderBrothers Jordan Netzel, left, and Aaron Netzel have their own YouTube channel called "The Lawn Tools." The two have posted more than 100 videos since November 2018 and have had more than 1.6 million views on their site.

    Graham Thomas/Herald-LeaderThe Lawn Tools pride themselves in well manicured lawn and nice equipment.

    Photo courtesy of The Lawn ToolsJordan Netzel uses an implement to sand level his yard.

    Photo courtesy of The Lawn ToolsThere's nothing like having a putting green in your own backyard. The length of golf course grass was part of the inspiration behind The Lawn Tools.

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    Grass is greener with The Lawn Tools - NWAOnline

    Responsive Drip Irrigation system part of Enoch City’s new water-saving efforts – The Spectrum - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

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    Sprinklers irrigate a lawn in this file photo.(Photo: The Spectrum & Daily News file photo)

    Enoch City has begun testing a new drip irrigation system in its Jones Memorial Park that could potentially bring massive water savings to Iron County if implemented more broadly.

    The Florida-born technology, called Responsive Drip Irrigation (RDI or GrowStream), consists of non-biodegradable tubing that is installed underneath existing sod or crops.

    Once underground, a porous material meters out water in response to chemical exudates released by thirsty roots. In this way, the RDI system claims to only expend the exact amount of water plants needs to grow, right in the spot where they need it.

    A non-peer reviewed study of the RDI system used to grow livestock feed grasses in Kenya has already indicated that water savings of up to 84% are possible, while supporting a 19% increase in plant yield. According to Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson, the system is also in use in parts of California and the Middle East.

    We are grateful to Enoch City for modeling this system and hope to see many more water-wise irrigation systems throughout the community in the future, Enoch City Councilman and CICWCD Board Member David Harris said. We cant afford to waste such a precious resource.

    2020 Utah Primary: What to know and who you can vote for in the mail-only June 30 election

    Compared to standard sprinkler systems that saturate lawns and fields while losing water to wind and evaporation, effective delivery of water directly to plant roots could help inch Iron County closer to ambitious water conservation goals.

    Over 5,300 acre-feet of water in the Cedar Valley is used for municipal and residential purposes, Paul Monroe of the Central Iron County Water Conservation District (CICWCD) said. It is essential for the municipalities to work together and take advantage of new technologies to help lower that water usage.

    The CICWCD sponsored installation of the RDI system in Jones Memorial Park with a $6,400 grant to Enoch City. Over the next couple of years, water and cost savings will be tracked in the park and compared with other parks in the area without the RDI system. However, Enoch is confident in itspotential and is already planning on expanding its use of the technology.

    We will be installing more in another of our parks in the near future,Dotson said. And that could be a huge benefit. If this machine can reduce consumption by 60% in everybody's lawn, I mean, that's a huge savings of water.

    Related: Party bonfires have residents worried over wildfire risks

    A June 2020 report by the CICWCD Water Advisory Committee confirmed prior estimates that Cedar Valley has been overdrawing groundwater, its primary water source, by about 7,000 acre-feet per year for several years. This has necessitated the development of a Groundwater Management Plan for Cedar Valley that aims to reduce water consumption and educate the public about the need to carefully manage water resources as Cedar Valleys population continues to grow.

    With the CICWCD service area population expected to nearly double in the next few decades, from just over 49,000 currently to nearly 97,000 by 2050, the need to manage available water resources by adopting new water-saving technology like RDI is becoming an urgent issue that will affect residents of all valley municipalities.

    Ultimately everyone's in this same basin together so that's why we pitched in, Monroe said. It's a collaborative effort, and it has to be. Water is regional and it doesn't have boundaries.

    Joan Meiners is an Environment Reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News through the Report for America initiative by The GroundTruth Project. Follow her on Twitter at @beecycles or email her at

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    Responsive Drip Irrigation system part of Enoch City's new water-saving efforts - The Spectrum

    Final Version: McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Thursday, June 25 – The Pressbox - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Day Results10 / 4-5-52020 Overall 717717 / 255-236-279Win % of Top Pick35.56%Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall35.80%2020 Top Pick in the Money 455-71763.46%Top Selection ITM / CD Spring-Summer: 136-21962.10%Top Selection Win / CD Spring-Summer: 76-21934.70%Key Horses @ CD Spring-Summer:26-11-6-542.31% Win / 84.62% ITMKey Horses in 2020 99-34-23-1534.34% Win / 72.73% ITM

    (Gene & LA at the Eagles Nest on KY Lake. Just happy the dock didnt plummet into the water while we were there)

    Here we go. Big week of racing at Churchill Downs which will feature the G2 Stephen Foster and a host of other Stakes events this coming Saturday.

    Dont you wish now that we could go and watch?

    There will be Midnight Bisou and Serengeti Empress two of the best fillies and mares in the entire world running here.

    There will be Toms dEtat, By My Standards and Owendale competing three major contenders for Breeders Cup races in November racing right here.

    There will be two of the best Stakes events for the 2YOs being conducted here.

    Yet, we cant go to see.

    But, we can go to to bet.

    First things first, though, and we will kick start things on Thursday.

    Heres a closer look and our selections:

    1st: 1-5-2/4-3-7-6Our Secret Agent (1)draws the rail for this tricky 7-furlong event, where the horses start up the shoot. Must either break well and move out to get the gap, or take back and get an angle through the gap. Tough spot to draw the rail. Plus, the HOF trainer is a meager 1-for-30 this meet. Does have 5 seconds and 2 thirds. If not for the rail and the cold stats this meet, this one might figure more prominently. But you have to be a bit skeptical here.Gold Button (5)will be making the career debut for a barn operator that has gone 3-1-2 in just 10 starts this meet. Only wins with .07% of those debuting in the MCL ranks, though, and that does throw a bit of cold water on the impulse. Is training well and the jockey has won with .40% of the last 5 starts for this barn. Take note.Better With Age (2)will be making the first career start for a new barn operation. They hit with .14% of those making the debut. Two races back, this one ran a huge one over the sandy grass course of Gulfstream Park. That effort could be good enough here today. Love the rider switch.I bet the 5-2 take note across the board and then box the top 3 in oneexacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4-3 in two smaller units.

    2nd: 6-1-7/5-2/3Magine (6)is a 3YO daughter of Tapiture and goes for a barn that has been red hot of late. Over the last two weeks, the trainer/jockey combo have teamed up to go 5-1-4 in the last 12 races. Barn is up to a .20% win rate this meet and the work here on June 4 was spot on. Looks good in this spot.Gone Glimmering (1)is another from the barn of Tom Amoss. This one has been running in Stakes races for much of her career. Now, she drops into the claiming ranks for the first time. Barn hits with .23% of those. Gets the blinkers, too. Barn hits with .21% of those, too. Team Amoss looks salty in this one.I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 6-1 over/under the 7-5-2-3 in two smaller units.

    3rd: 6-8/3-1-2/5-4This is the first grass event of the day and I will give the edge toZabava (6),who comes from the barn of Mike Maker. Won the last time out and this barn hits with .29% of those trying to repeat in the claiming ranks. Work at the CD Training Center on June 19 was spot on, too. Gets a huge rider switch and looks the best here. Could be much the best.Foxtail (8)drops into the claiming ranks after facing much tougher and will make the 2020 debut here, too. Barn hits with .18% of those away from the races this long. Gets a top lawn rider in the irons today. Dam of this one has 2 turf winners from 3 starters. Pedigree is there.I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 6-8 in one exacta. I will key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

    4th: 5-2/6-4-7-3/1Galindo (5)has only 1 win in 16 lifetime tries. Not good. But the 4YO gelding does have 5 seconds and 3 thirds to add to the resume. Good. Drops to a career low price tag here and in 6 tries over this track? Has 5 seconds. May not be able to win, but most likely to run good in this bunch.Holy Muchacho (2)was nominated to the Triple Crown, for goodness sakes. Now, he is offered up for $20,000. Ran a solid second here on June 4. Meets top rider takes the reins again. Could be a tough out with a better trip today.I bet the 5 across theboard and then box the 5-2 in one exacta. I will key the 5 over/under the all button here.

    5th: 7-9-5/8-1/6-4-3Digital Star (7)will be making the first start for a new barn operator after being claimed last time out. Bumps up a couple of price rungs after the acquisition, but could be tough in this spot today. Over the last six starts, this 3YO son of The Factor has 3 seconds and 2 thirds. May be his day today. Barn wins with .33% on the first race after a claim.Zapper Van Winkle (9)has not run since last July. But the barn hits with .20% of those away from the race a long time, and this one drops to the MCL ranks today, too. Barn hits with .30% of those kind. Gets a steady hand on the reins today.Jack Luvs Nova (5)will make the career debut here for a barn that wins with .20% of those running for the first time in a MCL event. Has been training well and the sire gets .16% winners in the inaugural race. Dam of this one has a winner from 2 starters. Pedigree is there to produce a winner first out.I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

    6th: 7-3-(11)/2-1-4-(12)/8-9/10-6-5Angel of Mischief (7)is a 5YO daughter of Into Mischief and a daughter of a Stakes winner, too. Dam has produced 2 turf winners from 6 starters. Drops into the claiming ranks for the first time for a young trainer looking for his first win of this meet after 13 tries. Gets a top grass rider up for the assignment and if this one can find the groove again, then watch out.Fancified (3)has a win in only race at this distance and has 2 wins in 3 tries over the sod. Looks like the last race was a debacle, but the two before were spot on. Gets the meets top rider back this time. Watch out.I bet the 7-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 7-3 over/under the 11-2-1-4-12-8-9 in two smaller units.

    7th: 5-7/4-3-1/2-6Figure It Out (5)moves up a couple of notches in the claiming game after a near-miss second last time out. Lost by a nose in that one and the show horse came right back to win the next outing. This will be the 2nd start off a layup, and the barn hits with .22% of those. Big shot here.High Regard (7)has only 2 wins in the 16 starts, but seems to be close at the wire in a lot of others. Barn still looking for the first win of the meet, and the switch in riders here could definitely boost the chances although he is 0-for-10 with this barn over the last 60 days. Will be coming late and will need some racing luck and racing room.I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

    8th: 3-1/9-7/8-5/2-4/6Mucho (3)is a 4YO son of Blame and will carry the home colors of Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider who just so happened to breed this one, as well. In 13 starts, he has put together an impressive resume of 3 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds. Has earned nearly $300,000. Just missed last time out at GP, and is eligible to improve in the 2nd start off the layup. Barn hits with .17% of those.Bourbon Calling (1)has not been sharp in two starts this year. But this one has raced over this track 7 times and has 3 wins and 2 thirds. In 10 starts at this distance, he has a 3-1-4 mark. Look for more with the return to home and he caught a really, really good field last time out. The runner-up in that allowance is a G1 winner, mind you.I bet the 3-1 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 3-1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.

    9th: 9-8/10-3-(12)-1/(14)-5-2-7/6-4The final race of the day is a turf event for the MSW ranks. Ill go to the outside and land onFlabbergasted (9)in what promises to be a fun and wide open affair. This 3YO daughter of Uncle Mo looked to have a big chance last time out here on May 17. Finished 2nd in the first race losing the shades. Winner of that one came right back to win again. So, this one must have caught a good one. This filly also cost $350,000 as a yearling and could be a tough out in this spot today. Graduation day? Could be.Daddymademedoit (8)has raced 11 times with 2 seconds and 3 thirds. Has hit the board in each of the last three outings. Winner two races back came right back to win again the next time out. Will be coming extremely late in the proceedings and will need some racing room and luck. Rider is ice cold here and has not won in 5 rides for this barn, to date. May need some more luck. I bet the 9 across the board and then key the 9 over/under the all button.

    Good Luck & All the Best / Gene

    See the article here:
    Final Version: McLean's Selections for Churchill Downs on Thursday, June 25 - The Pressbox

    Some Red Deer recreation facilities to open next week, with limited admissions – Red Deer Advocate - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The City of Red Deer will begin reopening some recreation facilities next week.

    A phased and gradual reopening of indoor and outdoor recreation amenities was announced Thursday by Shelley Gagnon, the citys recreation, parks and culture manager.

    She said the roll out will begin with only a few facilities that will require pre-bookings and offer limited times, but will continue throughout the summer, as public health orders can be put into place.

    We are excited to welcome citizens back to our facilities, but opening them within the new provincial health guidelines and restrictions takes planning, and we have had to make significant adjustments to our operations, said Gagnon.

    The experience will look and feel a little different for our residents when these amenities reopen.

    The tentative timeline, as posted on the citys website, is:

    June 24

    * Community bookings open for sports fields and picnic shelters including Great Chief Park, Setters Place and Bower Ponds Stage. Lindsay Thurber track and field amenities will also be available for bookings.


    * Collicutt Centre: Fitness areas, access to the track and use of the field house will be available for controlled, limited access. The pool will open, primarily for swimming lessons and public swimming.

    * G.H. Dawe Community Centre: The pool will open for swimming lessons and public swimming. The gymnasium will open for controlled, limited access. Fitness areas will not open immediately.

    * Michener Aquatic Centre: The pool will be available for controlled, limited lane swimming and some aquatic fitness.

    The Recreation Centre will remain closed for the time being.

    We continue to assess and understand demand for facilities, programs and services as part of this phased approach to opening, said Gagnon.

    As previously announced, the outdoor pool will remain closed for the season.

    But public washrooms in parks will be reopened soon. Gagnon said the city is waiting for required hand sanitizer and other equipment to arrive, and its expected next week.

    We are still assessing how we can safely open our spray parks, including Kin Canyon, Discovery Canyon and Blue Grass Sod Farm Central Spray and Play, while adhering to public health orders and restrictions, added Gagnon.

    Currently, outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 100 people, so were working to determine how to manage these restrictions while still providing access.

    She said swim lessons will be resuming over the next few months.

    City staff are working with user groups and clubs to understand demand as they plan summer and fall programming.

    The city will offer outdoor fitness programming in early July. More details will be provided in the coming days.

    And registration is now open for modified summer day camps, which will be held in city facilities in July and August. Visit for more information.

    In addition, many third-party-operated city facilities have been given permission to reopen within provincial health requirements and guidelines.

    red deer city

    See more here:
    Some Red Deer recreation facilities to open next week, with limited admissions - Red Deer Advocate

    Brooks: Heartfelt welcome to summer and the longest day of the year – The Kingston Whig-Standard - June 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    This fully mature perennial bed features Salvia, Agapanthus, Canna Lilies and grasses. The colours may seem disparate, but the cohesiveness and balance are achieved as the tones are of similar vibrancy and the grasses have a muting effect. Bill Brooks photojpg

    It felt as though she would never arrive. But at long last, summer officially starts today, June 20 at 3:43 pm MDT. After shivering through a particularly nasty February, a very late and chilly spring and the world seemingly on its knees, the arrival of summer couldnt be more welcome.

    By now, annuals should be performing well. Dont forget to deadhead (remove spent blooms) to ensure continuous flowering all season long. Regular fertilizing should be maintained. Perennials (plants that come back every year) should be nearing their peak and its a good idea to make note of those that are working well and those that a disappointment so as not to repeat the laggards next year.

    Starting a perennial bed from scratch is almost easier than upgrading an existing bed as often times the latter is looking tired, plant material is not performing as you would like and weeds or unwelcome thugs the likes of Creeping Campanula the bane of gardeners, are making their presence felt.

    Say, for example, you want to replace a patch of lawn with a perennial bed or border. Ideally, said site receives at least four to five hours of direct sunlight daily. Shaded areas can work, but the selection of plant material that will thrive in these conditions is more limited than that of full sun to partial shade. If you dont need instant gratification and can wait until next spring to start planting, the easiest and least labour-intensive way to get rid of the lawn is to put layers and layers of newspaper on top of the grass where you want the new bed to be. Water the newspaper and then add a thin layer of manure and finish with a 10- to 15-cm layer of compost. Next spring, all you need to do is dig holes for the new perennials, add some compost to the hole and plant away. Its that easy. If youre fine with a fairly intensive workout and want to go from lawn to border in one season, either rent a sod cutter or dig the grass out, being certain to get all its roots or you will forever be digging out tufts of unwanted grass.

    Silver is a great complementary colour to use in a perennial bed. It makes the yellows of the coreopsis shown really pop and it also tones down the brightness of the overall bed. Consider planting Silver Mound Artemisia, lavender, Russian Sage, Lamium or Snow in Summer to add silver to your perennial landscape. But be advised Snow in Summer can be very invasive. Bill Brooks photosjpg

    An existing bed can be easily upgraded by adding five- to 15-cm of compost, well-rotted manure or any other organic material. Do not deep-dig in the new soil amendment. Simply leave it on top of the soil or rake it in, being mindful of existing plant material so as not to injure roots. Deep digging is actually detrimental to soil health. Digging and turning over the soil exposes a very delicate ecosystem to the air, which dries it out, and to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which sterilizes the soil, killing the soil organisms. All the fertilizer in the world is not going to help your plants unless they are located in the proper location for their needs (light requirement being the most important), in healthy soil rich in nutrients.

    My personal tastes lean toward an English/cottage garden border and my favourite perennial, the peony, is, unfortunately, taking its time to flower this year. Our harsh winter and unseasonably cool spring are to blame. If you are planting a peony for the first time, remember that the eyes should not be planted more than five cm deep, otherwise it will not flower. They also need at least four to six hours of sun and should be cut back in the fall after hard frosts. And yes, they do come with ants. Its believed the ants eat the sticky sap on the buds, thereby allowing the flowers to appear. Peonies are deer resistant and are fully hardy in our Zone 4 climate and will survive for many years. If you have to divide or move your peony, note that it may sulk for a year or two, so be patient.

    Another top pick is the delphinium. These stately spires flower in myriad blues, white or pinks and are best planted in groupings of three to five at the back of the bed or border. They like quite a bit of moisture but are susceptible to delphinium worm, a bright green caterpillar that can wreak havoc on the plant within a matter of weeks. Cutting delphiniums down to 2.5 cm in the fall will minimize the critters re-appearance next summer. If there is limited infestation, hand-pick and squish the worms. If youre squeamish and there are a lot of them, spray with biological insecticide or companion plant lavender, sage or mugwort beside the delphiniums as a caterpillar repellant. Once they have flowered, cut the stalks back by about one-third to one-half and, if the gardening season is long enough before the first killer frost, youll get a second flush of bloom, although not as resplendent as the first. Stake the plants as the stalks are hollow and our windy city is not the place for unsupported delphiniums.

    And what would an English border be without the queen of the plant world the rose? I could devote an entire column to the different types of roses, care and so on, but suffice to say, roses like full sun, lots of food and good air circulation. Other great choices for a full-sun bed or border include: black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia); daylilies (Hemerocallis); phlox; coneflower; alyssum; shasta daisy (but be careful on this one as the shasta is a sterile cultivar of oxeye daisy and it can revert to become fertile, as well as cross-breed with oxeye daisy to produce an invasive hybrid); dianthus; salvia; iris; and lilies, to name but a few. A note of caution on lilies. The red lily leaf beetle is a nasty pest that can destroy entire plants in a very short period of time. This brute is most commonly found on Asiatic and Oriental varieties and should be eradicated as soon as detected by either handpicking and destroying the larvae and beetle or spray with neem oil.

    A selection of perennials to consider for a shaded bed or border include: Annabelle hydrangea; Ligularia; ferns; Bruneria; Hosta; Astilbe; Lupines; Bergenia; and Columbine.

    So heartfelt welcome to the first day of summer! Although hearing on a weather channel that the days will start getting shorter from now on caused me to reach for the gin. Before noon, no less.

    Original post:
    Brooks: Heartfelt welcome to summer and the longest day of the year - The Kingston Whig-Standard

    Growing Things: Protect lawn from sod webworm and raspberries from insects, disease – Edmonton Journal - June 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Q: For the last few summers I have been getting brown spots on my lawn. I thought it may have been due to the drought the last few summers, but with all the rain this year I am still getting these spots. When I cut the grass there are also small, white moth-looking flies that come up from the grass.

    Any idea what is causing the spots? I fertilize the grass three times during the growing season, and this is much more prominent on my front lawn, which gets the afternoon sun. Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.

    We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

    A: The problem is sod webworm. The small, white or gray moths that are seen flying over the grass are the adults. They hide in the grass during the day and fly in a zigzag pattern when disturbed. They can be easily recognized by their habit of folding their wings closely around their bodies when at rest. They lay eggs throughout the lawn.

    The young larvae (webworms) mine the leaf surface as they work their way to the soil to build tunnels, Webworms stop feeding in the fall and overwinter in the soil or thatch. They pupate in the spring and emerge as moths. The damage they cause is evident as irregular brown patches in the turf. These patches grow larger and can cover entire lawns. Damage is most severe in the middle to late summer. All grasses are attacked, especially bluegrasses and newly seeded lawns.

    See the rest here:
    Growing Things: Protect lawn from sod webworm and raspberries from insects, disease - Edmonton Journal

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