Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ponderosa Pine

This young Ponderosa is still relatively small,
but with ideal conditions and plenty of time,
it could grow up to be over 200 feet tall.

Ponderosa Pine, blackjack pine, bull pine, western yellow pine, silver pine, and yellow bellies… The list of common names seems to run on and on.  The Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) is one of the most important conifer species to the western United States and one of the most interesting. So why are there so many names?  Perhaps it has to do with its huge range. 
The Ponderosa can be found in Canada, throughout the entire western United States and even in Mexico. Another possibility for its plethora of names could be some of its surprising characteristics. The Ponderosa generally has a dark colored bark for its first 70 some years of growth, deeming in the “Blackjack pine.” However, as it matures, the tree sheds its outer bark revealing an inner yellow bark, hence the “yellow pine” and yellow belly” names.  That’s not the only surprising change the Ponderosa makes as it matures, the inner yellow bark, will begin to release a sweet aroma that often reminds people of vanilla, coconut, butterscotch, and even cinnamon.
This “all-star” tree also has some uses and characteristics that make it extremely important to its native environment. It’s rapid growth makes it a vital species for helping with erosion control, site restoration and rehabilitation and even acts as a wind break. Native Americans have used this pine species for construction, medicine, food, and ceremonial purposes. Did you know that even the roots of the ponderosa can be used to make a blue dye? It’s one of the largest pine species and the largest know pine tree in the world is a Ponderosa found in Oregon measuring just over 268 feet tall!
The Ponderosa is being offered as part of our 2013 Native Plant Sale! It’s fire resistant characteristics as well as the role it plays with providing wildlife with food and shelter make it a wonderful tree for planting at restoration sites or as a beautiful big tree to stand out in your backyard yardscape.  To find out more about our plant sale and how to order, visit our website or check out the 2013 Native Plant Sale Brochure and Order Form. Don’t forget that the Ponderosa Pine is just one of TEN native plant species offered this year so be sure to view them all to find out which ones are best suited for your needs.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Native Planting 101

Once again, we are sponsoring a FREE “Native Planting 101” workshop. This workshop will cover a wide variety of topics including restoration, “yardscaping” - creating pollinator habitat with native plants, and everything you ever wanted to know about weed identification and management. Presentations will be given by local natural resource and planting experts.  
Ted Always is a local pear orchardist and the owner of Derby Canyon Natives, a native plant nursery in Peshastin. He sells containerized plants, native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, trees, and the seeds of many wildflowers and native grasses from Central Washington. He’ll be discussing restoration of degraded habitats, methods to restore habitats, by planting and establishment of bare root plants.


Connie Mehmel is a WSU Chelan County Master Gardener, a member of the Native Plant Society, and a forester for the Okanogan‐Wenatchee National Forest. She moved from Winthrop to Cashmere in 2009, where she has a large vegetable garden and a small native plant yardscape. Connie will present the advantages of yardscaping with native plants, planning for a naturalized yard, attracting birds, providing wildlife habitat, and how to choose appropriate trees and shrubs for your yard.

Amy Hender shot works for the USDA -Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Chelan County as the Resource Conservationist. The NRCS is the federal agency that assists with natural resource conservation on private lands. She also has worked at the Okanogan Conservation District and for WSU at their organic farm in Puyallup. Currently, she implements conservation programs from the Farm Bill and provides technical assistance to partners and private landowners who seek to acheive their natural resource goals. Her presentation will focus on pollinator species, pollinator decline, why pollinators are important, native bees, and how to deevelop and maintain a pollinator friendly habitat (i.e. a pollinator garden).


Julie Sanderson currently works with the Chelan County Noxious Weed Department as the Field Supervisor. The Noxious Weed Department assists residents and agencies in Chelan County with noxious weed identification and control. Julie has also worked with the Bureau of Land Management as a field botanist doing rare plant surveys and restoration projects. She’ll provide us with a better understanding of what invasive weeds are, how to identify invasive species, and how to control them.

The “Native Planting 101” workshop will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2012 from 12:00-4:30pm, in the Confluence Technology Center at 285 Technology Center Way, north Wenatchee.
For more information or to RSVP contact our office at (509) 664-9370 or visit our website at Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

It’s the second week of January, the New Year is off and running and I still haven’t picked a New Year’s Resolution!  While browsing ideas on the web, I came across two articles that present an interesting conundrum.

1.    Lose Weight and Get Fit
2.    Quit Smoking
3.    Learn Something New
4.    Eat Healthier and Diet
5.    Get Out of Debt and Save Money
6.    Spend more Time with Family
7.    Travel to New Places
8.    Be Less Stressed
9.    Volunteer
10.  Drink Less

1.    Drink Less Alcohol
2.    Eat Healthy food
3.    Get a Better Education
4.    Get a Better Job
5.    Get Fit
6.    Lose Weight
7.    Manage Debt
8.    Quit Smoking
9.    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
10. Save Money
11. Take a Trip
12. Volunteer to Help Others

The bleak similarities between the two lists made my search for an achievable aspiration for the New Year a little more difficult. What should I try and what can I do to make myself stick to whatever resolution I choose? The New Year offers the perfect time to get serious about all the goals you’ve been putting off but, is it really a great idea to commit to the same thing that hasn’t worked for the past few years?  I scoured for tips for how to be successful on whatever resolution I chose and found a few common themes:
·         Be Realistic - Instead of choosing broad concepts to pursue, why not aim from smaller more specific challenges that may be easier to achieve? If you do decide to take on a particularly large challenge make sure to break it down into smaller segments that can be worked towards while keeping the big picture in mind.
·         Reward Yourself - Sometimes it only takes a few small incentives to keep you on track and make it to the next step.
·         Work as a Team - Shared goals are easier to achieve, simply telling your friends about your commitment to this year’s resolution might be enough motivation to keep you going.

Then it hit me. Why not try something different this year? Why not do something to help the environment AND myself? I made my decision to take the Picture the Wenatchee pledge! If you’re one of our regular readers you’re probably already familiar with Picture the Wenatchee but for those of you who are not, Picture the Wenatchee is our watershed stewardship campaign designated to improving water quality and stream habitat in the Wenatchee River watershed. The campaign focuses on simple things we can do to help keep our rivers clean and is broken down into four categories.
In Your Home – Use eco-friendly cleaning products, conserve water, and maintain your septic system to make your home life a green one
With Your Vehicles – Maintaining your vehicle properly and cleaning off in commercial car washes help keep unwanted chemicals and vehicle byproducts out of our storm drain system.

In Your Yard – Pull invasive weeds, plant native species, and be water conscious when irrigating to promote a healthy yard and environment

With Your Animals – Don’t forget to clean up after your furry friends!

It seems like the perfect New Year’s Resolution. The four categories provide smaller more manageable goals which are easy to do and will allow me to Be Realistic and not take on too much at once. By telling my friends and co-workers about my resolution I will hopefully be able to find others who will join me and we can Work as a Team. At the very least they’ll know what I’m trying to accomplish this year and will be able to hold me accountable. One of the best things about Picture the Wenatchee is that they provide an incentive for anyone who takes the challenge to keep our river clean.  If you follow the actions outlined by the campaign you can Reward Yourself with a free Watershed Care Package.  The care package provides campaign participants with all kinds of prizes! Coupons for purchasing native plants at local nurseries, free car wash tokens to keep you car clean, and even a doggy cleanup bag dispenser are all found in the Watershed Care Package.