Biology, composting: immobilization vs mineralization

Organic groundskeeping leads to self-tutoring. The tutor defines two terms connected with composting.

In a properly functioning ecosystem, nutrients are constantly recycled – they are used by one organism, then released back to the soil to be retaken by another.

Immobilisation is the temporary possession of a nutrient by an organism (typically not a plant, but rather a decomposer). The decomposer needs the nutrient for its own life process. While the decomposer is alive, the nutrient it contains is unavailable to the surrounding plants.

Mineralization is release of nutrients to the environment. Now they are available to plants.

The eventual result of decomposition is mineralization. During decomposition, however, immobilization may happen.

Source:

www.knowledgebank.irri.org

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Tree identification: amur corktree (Phellodendron amurence)

Tree identification leads to more self-tutoring. The tutor mentions a find of an amur corktree in Victoria.

Nowhere seems better than Victoria to find particular trees. Down there last weekend, I had very little opportunity to tree-hunt. Yet, a few caught my eye.

The amur corktree features compound leaves with black berries; I know no other tree with that combination.

It’s my impression that, near Craigdarroch Castle, I saw at least one such tree.

Source:

trees.umn.edu

landscapeontario.ca

baltimore.picturesofus.net

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Tree identification: ginkgo biloba

Tree identification leads to self-tutoring. The tutor shares a find from Victoria.

Down in Victoria the weekend, I noticed a tree with fan-shaped leaves. I believe I saw one or more right downtown, around the Government/Yates area.

I suppose the tree is the ginkgo biloba. Apparently it’s a common ornamental in North America. The ones in Vic are the first I’ve seen.

Source:

Eslkevin’s Blog

Brockman, Merrilees, and Zim. Trees of North America: A field guide to identification. New York: Golden Press, 1968.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: more about apple picking: are apples touching the ground still good?

Tutoring science, you accompany people along investigations. The tutor shares one of his own.

I’ve always suspected that, when an apple is touching the ground, it’s likely been attacked by pests, so best left alone.

This growing season our apple tree grew so heavy with fruit that the branches bent downward. Indeed, many apples at the ends of branches ended up resting on the ground. I suspected those apples would be damaged.

Yesterday I decided to check my assumption’s validity, and I stand corrected. The apples resting on the ground, yet still attached to the tree, were typically undamaged. In fact, they may have been, statistically, at less risk to damage than those above the ground.

I wondered why apples resting on the ground (but still attached to the tree) might have better chance of being pest-free than those off the ground; at first, the idea didn’t make sense.

However, when an apple comes to rest on the ground, it is then traveled by ground-dwelling predators – spiders, for example – that eat pests. Perhaps the predators on the ground are more efficient, and numerous, than those in the tree. Once an apple touches the ground, they might take over and destroy pests on it.

Of course, apples that aren’t attached to the tree are typically damaged: that’s why, I assume, they would fall off in the first place. They’re not damaged because they’re touching the ground; rather, they’re touching the ground because they’re damaged. Ones still are attached to the tree, but have just come to rest on the ground, are typically in good shape – that’s what I’ve found, anyway.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, botany: apple percent yield

Yard work is constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares some statistics about this year’s apple yield.

I finally finished picking apples from the backyard tree today. I estimate that we kept 688; another 160 are left on the tree or the ground, having bugs in them.

We don’t use any pesticides; therefore, I’m impressed that 688/(688+160) = 688/848 = 81% of the apples are fit to eat.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Biology: what is a cultivar?

Horticulture can lead the amateur to self-tutoring. The tutor discusses the idea of a cultivar.

Cultivar literally means “cultivated variety.”1 In my mind it refers to a plant commonly grown, that you, also, can buy and grow, either as seed or already a plant.

A cultivar may be grown for fruit, beauty or other benefit. However, offspring from its seeds may – but may not – emulate its own qualities. Similarly, the cultivar may not reflect its parents’ traits. It may have been chosen and propagated specifically because, in some desirable way, it broke from its parents’ characteristics.

Seedless grapes or oranges might be examples of cultivars. Apparently, the tree that produces seedless oranges cannot self-propagate by pollination. Perhaps it can be reproduced by cuttings; another option might be grafting. However it’s propagated, the seedless orange tree is cultivated – hence, a cultivar.

Source:

1hortnews.extension.iastate.edu

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, biology: one definition of sport

Tutoring any subject, definitions are important. The tutor shares a meaning of sport he recently discovered.

The term sport, referring to a physical game, is well understood. However, I encountered sport used in a horticultural context, so looked it up:

sport (noun): an individual obviously different from its peers – for example, because of a mutation.

Source:

Mish, Frederick C (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

hortnews.extension.iastate.edu

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: plant identification from field guide: chicory

Local plant identification leads to constant self-tutoring. The tutor reveals a great find from Nanaimo.

I was down in Nanaimo for a few weeks this summer. (BTW, I’ve loved Nanaimo since ’08, when we started traveling there.)

Notable in Nanaimo is the variety of trees and plants that aren’t apparent here, in Campbell River. This summer, down there, I noticed a rather untidy-looking plant with pretty blue flowers, growing to perhaps two feet in height. The plant is abundant in Nanaimo, growing next to the sidewalk and in untended lots. Like dandelions, it fades and then reflowers within short duration.

I never saw one of those plants close up, but its blue flowers are arresting. I decided to attempt identification, and think I have: chicory.

Source:

www.ediblewildfood.com

Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing and B.C. Ministry of Forests, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, botany: yard find: knapweed

Plant identification means constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a recent lesson.

I’ve noticed this perennial in the yard since I can remember:

Apparently, it’s a knapweed.

Source:

wikipedia

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Tree identification: London planetree

The tutor identifies a London planetree.

A London planetree is a hybrid between American sycamore and Oriental planetree. (The Oriental planetree is a sycamore as well.)

London planetree’s leaves are similar to American sycamore, but its fruits come in strings of 2 to 4, like Oriental planetree. There’s a tree like that a few blocks away.

HTH:)

Source:

Brockman, Frank and Rebecca Merrilees. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press, 1968.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.