Compost ingredients must be balanced to produce heat

Q: I’m composting in plastic trash cans with holes. It’s taking a very long time to make compost, despite adding carbon to my grass clippings and kitchen waste. I water and turn it every few days. What am I doing wrong?

A: Compost ingredients are divided into two categories: “brown” ingredients that are loaded with carbon and “green” ingredients that have much more nitrogen in them. Typical brown ingredients might be things such as shredded paper, cardboard, sawdust and pulverized woodchips.

Typical green ingredients can be scraps of fruits and vegetables and green parts of plants, including leaves and soft stems. Brown and green ingredients must be in proper balance to achieve a ratio of carbon to nitrogen between 20:1 and 40:1.

Composting is controlled rotting of a mixture of these ingredients. Brown and green ingredients are finely shredded and mixed together. Some water is added, along with a small amount of soil or fresh compost, and the compost is turned, or aerated, when the center gets hot. If heat isn’t produced by a compost pile, then one of the necessary ingredients is missing or in short supply.

Ideally, microorganisms from soil or fresh compost feast on moist carbon and nitrogen found in the compost ingredients. Heat is produced, and the entire mixture rots in a few months if these rotting microorganisms also get air. Air is provided by turning this mixture periodically or injecting air into the pile.

Commercial composters turn large compost piles when temperatures are about 160 degrees F toward the center of the pile. These high temperatures are needed to destroy human and plant pathogens and weed seeds.

Small amounts of compost are more difficult to start than large piles because of our desert environment. In our desert environment, place small composters such as trash cans out of the wind and protect them from the sun.

Make sure microorganisms are in the mixture. Add a couple scoops of fresh compost or a pound of garden soil to this mixture. Add extra nitrogen such as high-nitrogen fertilizer or blood meal if you think too many brown ingredients are in the mixture.

Q: I have a 7-year-old Panamint nectarine that never produced fruit, even though it has flowered. My Katy apricot sets fruit every year. Is this because of the wrong chill hours? I am resigned that I will never taste a Panamint nectarine.

A: The fact your tree flowered and didn’t produce fruit is a critical piece of information. If your tree didn’t produce fruit, I would want to know if it flowered or not. If a fruit tree doesn’t flower, it’s one set of problems. If it flowers but doesn’t set fruit, then it’s a different set of problems.

It is thought the Panamint nectarine needs about 250 chilling hours (total winter hours below 45 degrees F) to be satisfied so it will flower normally the next spring. If your nectarine tree had lots of flowers, then I doubt it’s a lack of chilling hours.

The Panamint nectarine is self-fruitful, which means it does not need another tree to provide pollen for fruiting. It needs only bees (pollinators) present when it flowers. If there is a lack of pollinators, then the tree will usually have less fruit, even though it had lots of flowers.

Bees can only visit a certain number of flowers. When there are more bees, more flowers are visited. Pollinators improve the amount of fruit produced by a tree if there are plenty of flowers.

Late spring freezing temperatures can be a problem with fruit trees planted in locations prone to freezing temperatures after flowering. On top of that, some varieties of fruit trees have flowers and young fruit more sensitive to freezing temperatures than others.

This is true of many peaches and nectarines. One or 2 degrees during and shortly after bloom can mean the difference between a few fruits and lots of fruit.

The most critical time for loss of fruit due to late spring freezing temperatures is when the flower is open through the formation of new fruit. Tolerance to light freezing temperatures is greater before flowering and after the young fruit has had a chance to mature a little bit.

After that many years of no fruit, I would get rid of it. Plant a variety called Arctic Star, which seems to perform better through cold spring weather and, in my opinion, produces a better nectarine.

Q: How much water does oleander, lantana and honeysuckle need during summer months?

A: Whenever talking irrigation, two important considerations should be made: how much water to apply and how often to apply it. How often refers to which valve or station they are on. How much water refers to the minutes of operation of that station and the size and number of drip emitters around each plant.

Deeper rooted plants such as oleander should be watered less often (but with more water) than shallower rooted plants like lantana and honeysuckle. Ideally, oleander should be on a station (valve) that waters other trees and large shrubs not desert-adapted. The lantana and honeysuckle would be fine on the same valve.

Next is size. Larger plants should receive more water spread over a larger area than smaller plants. Some oleanders get quite large, while dwarf varieties would do fine with a smaller amount.

Larger oleanders should probably get somewhere around 15 gallons or so each time they are watered, and smaller, petite oleanders should probably get between 5 and 10 gallons. If using drip irrigation, the size of the drip emitters used (gallons per hour) depends on the minutes allocated for that station.

Lantana needs 1 to 2 gallons every time it’s watered. The honeysuckle probably needs 3 to 4. If watered the same number of minutes, double the number or size of the emitters used on the honeysuckle.

Q: We have a large Mexican fan palm in our courtyard that is now about 15 feet tall. About 5 to 6 feet from the tree is a Pebblestone plastic divider that is slightly raised. The Pebblestone representative said it is likely caused by root problems from the palm tree. A gardening company told me the palm tree roots are not likely the problem. Which is it?

A: Palms are a different type of plant altogether from ornamental trees. They are monocots, while most ornamental trees are dicots. The internal physiology and anatomy are very different between the two.

Palm trees grow differently and have roots that are very different from ornamental trees.

Basically, palm roots grow closer to the trunk, while ornamental tree roots can grow a distance horizontally twice their vertical height, if water is available.

Ornamental tree roots are larger in diameter closer to the trunk and smaller in diameter with more distance from the trunk. Palm tree roots don’t get bigger with length, as ornamental tree roots do. Palm tree roots don’t increase much in diameter their entire length.

This increase in diameter of ornamental tree roots is very powerful. Heaving of sidewalks, patios, driveways, foundations, and footers of walls is frequently caused by ornamental tree roots increasing in diameter if planted too close to them.

Water and where it is applied will also control where roots grow in desert soils. If you want plant roots to grow in a specific direction and not another, apply water to the soil where you want roots to grow.

I would not plant palms closer than 4 feet from anything that might be damaged. Apply water in the area where you want root growth. Do not apply it close to other areas where damage could result.

Installing root barriers to add more protection to these areas is another option.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
NFR 2018 Highlights
NFR 2018 highlights from every round of this years rodeo.
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Joe Frost
NFR Bull Rider Joe Frost talks about the difference in bulls and his family legacy with Cassie Soto before the last round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Herm Edwards on LV Bowl loss
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards talks about the loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State linebacker George Helmuth after LV Bowl
Linebacker George Helmuth talks about Fresno State's turnaround. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Youth cancer survivor receives gift bat at Winter Meetings
Cancer survivor Steven Mondragon, baseball player at Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights, California, received a complimentary bamboo bat during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Day 9 Highlights
Highlights from round 9 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR 2018- Will Lummus Leads in Steer Wrestling
As NFR 2018 enters day nine, steer wrestler Will Lummus continues to see his name at the top of the standings. Las Vegas Review Journal host Cassie Soto speaks with the Mississippi native about his excitement to be participating in his first ever NFR.
John Saccenti on the Las Vegas Bowl's future
Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti talks about the game's future. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
UNLV's Mbacke Diong on his offensive improvement
UNLV forward Mbacke Diong talks about his offensive improvement. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR dirt is the most important part of the rodeo
NFR has bull riding, saddle bronc, barrel racing, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and bareback riding but one of the most important part of the rodeo according to construction maintenance manager Allen Rheinheimer is the dirt that they all take place in. Review-Journal sports writer Ed Graney chats with Rheinheimer and ground man John Jamison to get an inside look at the dirt in Thomas & Mack at the National Finals Rodeo.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 8 Highlights
Highlights from round 8 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR - Wyatt Denny Talks About Representing Nevada
NFR Bareback Rider Wyatt Denny talks to host Cassie Soto about being the only Nevada representative in the NFR this year and his skiing talent.
Junior NFR Offers Breakaway Roping for Girls
Unlike the NFR at the Thomas and Mack Center, the Junior NFR at the Las Vegas Convention Center offers breakaway roping for girls 19-and under. This event allows the young women of rodeo one more event to participate in, aside from barrel racing.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-Cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 7 Highlights
Highlights from the 7th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Jessica Routier
NFR Barrel Racer Jessica Routier talks about being at her first NFR, her horses, and her family with Cassie Soto in front of Thomas & Mack before round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo.
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Life
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like