Friday, April 4, 2014

On stinking white trees

Taking the Earth-Kind Challenge isn’t your standard Aggie exam. No 12th man is gonna come screaming out of the stands if you fail to score. But if you want to get a handle on how compatible your patch is with evolving practices for a sustainable environment, take the test and see if you can beat my score, 56 (out of a possible 100).

I gotta tell you up front that “Earth-Kind” and related logos are registered trademarks of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. So if you should steal them for whatever god-alone-knows reason, please give a nod to the Aggies, okay?

I see the Hardshell Hippies out there already shaking their shaggy heads.

Hardshell Hippies ~ old-school back-to-Nature
types holding extremist distrust for “Big” entities
belonging to the Man; a.k.a. Tree Hugger

Chill, dudes, and hear me out. I share your skepticism. Aggies aren’t only about corporate farming and selling toxins anymore; so sit back, take a toke and read up.

I googled into this whole space, looking to identify what we call the “stinky white tree” in our backyard, and NO, it is NOT a Bradford Pear nor any of Brad’s pungent cousins. I’m thinking rusty blackhaw at the moment, but I could be wrong. Whatever its name, it certainly does not smell sweet, and its kind are scattered throughout Brook.

The search led to Aggie Land straight away and the Earth-Kind Landscaping package.

“Earth-Kind Landscaping uses research-proven techniques to provide maximum garden and landscape enjoyment while preserving and protecting the environment.” according to the website. “The objective of Earth-Kind Landscaping is to combine the best of organic and traditional gardening and landscaping principles to create a horticultural system based on real world effectiveness and environmental responsibility.”

My score of 56 is a soft D showing much room for improvement. We'll work on that. Meanwhile, name a tree with large clusters of stinky white blossoms, red berries, dark glossy green leaves and can be found throughout our neck of the Rolling Plains?

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