Nature

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. With my sixty-eighth birthday coming up, combined with a need for stronger reading glasses and various aches and pains, I’ve been feeling a little long in the tooth. But after a case of poison ivy sent me to educational websites, I’m readjusting.

Gooseneck Barnacles
Alex Derr [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds an odd combination of objects on the beach, Rockweed and Goosneck Barnacles.

A Water Strider.
Tim Vickers [Public domain] from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a Wheel Bug "recycling" a Water Strider.

Dark Fishing Spider

Aug 2, 2018
The Whitebanded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus.
John [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

This spider is one of the largest found on the state.

Firewheels

Aug 1, 2018
Gaillardia pulchella, or Firewheel.
© Xavier Caré [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Gaillardia pulchella, or Firewheel, is a southwestern species that has become naturalized to South Carolina.

A Opossum skeleton.
Mariomassone [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds the bones of an Opossum, South Carolina's only marsupial.

A Noisey Bird

Jul 30, 2018
A Gray Catbird.
Matthew Petroff [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

One of the sounds made by the Cat Bird resembles a house cat's "meow."

"The Mockingbird"

Jul 27, 2018
NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

The Mockingbird, a poem by Frank Stanton...

Florida Cottonmouth

Jul 26, 2018
An Eastern Cottonmouth snake, agkistrodon piscivorus.
Geoff Gallice, Gainesville, FL; via Wikimedia Commons

This subspecies is not as common as the Eastern Cottonmouth, which is widespread on the Coastal Plain.

Puss caterpillar.
Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University, Bugwood.org

This larva of the Southern Flannel moth is very common in South Carolina.

A common whitetail dragonfly, male.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

Males of this species have a bright white abdomen.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jul 23, 2018
Jack-in-the-Pulpit fruit.
Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant that is fruiting.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  Mulching trees is the best thing you can after you’ve planted them properly; some research shows it can double the rate of growth for  newly established trees. A good tip when mulching trees is to think of doughnuts – there’s a hole in the middle. Mulch should start from four to six inches away from the tree’s trunk, if it touches the trunk it promotes disease and decay.

Eastern Hognose Snake

Jul 20, 2018
Eastern hognose snake
Sturgis McKeever, Georgia Southern University, Bugwood.org

These snakes come in various color schemes, but, always have an upturned "snout."

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Properly planting a tree involves knowing basic steps that end with putting down mulch. Mulch actually protects a tree from competition from turfgrass.    Grass has a thick, shallow root system that can out compete the tree’s roots for nutrients and water. But that’s not the only harmful effect when grass grows over the tree’s root zone.  Grass needs to be cut, and many trees are wounded when the lawnmower hits the trunk and skins off the bark. Those wounds are an entry port for diseases and insects.

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) - Carolina Raptor Center at Huntersville, North Carolina
Dick Daniels [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

These birds are more common inland than they use to be.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Moles start with the letter m – m for meat. Voles starts with v and they are vegetarians. Although human vegetarians munch on nothing harder than a raw carrot, voles happily eat the bark off trees. These rodents are active day or night, using underground burrows or heavy vegetation for protection. When trees have mulch piled up around their trunks, volcano mulching, the voles have a safe environment in which to munch away    -they   girdle the tree by their feeding.

Eyed Click Beetle, Alaus occulatus
By Henryhartley (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots an Eyed Click Beetle and wonders about the purpose of the false-eye spots.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  The Kilauea Volcano is causing instantly discernable damage as it erupts in Hawaii. Whole neighborhoods have been lost to its larva flows and the vog or volcanic smog from its emissions threatens air quality. Although we don’t have volcanos to worry about in South Carolina, our urban trees, which contribute to healthier air quality for us by reducing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen, are threatened by volcano mulching.

A Southern Copperhead
Ltshears [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The Copperhead is more likely to strike when disturbed than any other venoumous snake in the state.

Carolina Wrens often come back to the same area each year to nest.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. As you drive around your city of town, keep an eye out for how trees in commercial settings are mulched.  There’re many places where companies obviously pay landscape maintenance crews a lot of money to keep things tidy and neat. Sadly, some of the no doubt well-meaning workers don’t have a good knowledge of basic horticulture, especially when it comes to mulching trees as volcano mulching is a craze.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Beautyberry can seed down like crazy and be somewhat weedy, but people who like to do arrangements always are grateful to have it when the stems are covered with purple-pink clusters of fruits. If you grow it or have access to some naturalized plants, I suggest you prune it in early spring each year. Callicarpa blooms on new wood and if you cut it low to the ground, it will send out longer shoots, better for arranging, in response to that pruning.

Caterpillars?

Jul 13, 2018
The larvae of the Dusky Birch Sawfly are often mistaken for caterpillars.
Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

The Dusky Birch Sawfly is a stingless wasp. As the common name implies, its prefered food plant is the River Birch.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For many years Ruthie Lacey and I decorated for parties. I was charged with bringing stuff you couldn't order, things gathered from the wild that added more variety and interest to arrangements that also contained typical florist flowers. So sticks, grass seed heads, wooly mullein stalks and such were my contributions. In the fall, our "most favorite" a category that changed with the seasons, plant material was stems of beautyberry, Callicarpa americana.

A "Mermaid's Bracelet"

Jul 12, 2018
A tube from a polychaete worm, most likely a Plumed Worm, Diopatra cuprea.
Karen Parker, Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr

A family finds an object in a tidal pool which one of the children dubs a "mermaid's bracelet." It's actually a tube extending from a Plumed Worm, or Diopatra cuprea, beneath the sand.

A Great Crested Flycatcher.
Amy Evenstad [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds the nest of a Great Crested Flycather and has a question...

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The USDA NRCS Plant Guide is one of my favorite places to find out neat stuff about native plants. Their page on beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, tells us that this plant is adapted to dry or moist open woods in areas with hot, humid summers and moderate winters. No wonder it was especially prevalent in the zoo portion at Brookgreen Gardens when we visited recently. The small clusters of flowers give no indication of the fabulous clusters of shiny purple-pink flowers that will follows.

Fox Squirrel

Jul 10, 2018
An Eastern Fox Squirrel.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

A listener spots an odd looking squirrel in Santee...

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