Research update: Asian Invasion >TXUPDATE: ASIAN INVASION Some of the most problematic exotic pests are wood-boring beetles. One species, the Asian longhorned beetle, has succeeded-at least temporarily-in becoming established in New York and Chicago, appa

There goes a rubber tree How do I treat for carpenter ants?-Address unknown (via the internet)

Carpenter ants, the most common of which is the black carpenter ant, build their nests in wood. They particularly prefer tree trunks but also occasionally infest homes and other wooden structures. Carpenter ants do not actually consume wood. Rather they continually enlarge their nesting galleries by chipping away at the wood. Accumulations of sawdust at the base of a tree are a telltale sign of a carpenter-ant infestation, in addition to conspicuous ant trails leading to and from the nest. The colonies can become so extensive that they weaken the structural integrity of trees or even buildings. Thus, landscape managers should monitor for carpenter ants regularly. If you find an infestation in a landscape, take immediate action to eradicate it. Otherwise, the ants could move into nearby structures, causing expensive damage in addition to the harm they can inflict on trees.

Carpenter ants are tenacious pests. Several turf and ornamental insecticides are registered for residual or perimeter control of carpenter ants, and this can be important because it can prevent scouting and foraging ants from exploring a structure for possible use as a nesting site. However, permethrin (FMC's Astro and Zeneca's Prelude), cyfluthrin (Bayer's Tempo 2), chlorpyrifos (Dow's Dursban Pro and other brands) and carbaryl (Sevin and other brands) all have labels allowing direct treatment of the nests, which is the only way to be sure you've gotten rid of the colony. The trick is actually locating the nests, which can be hard to find.

If you are having trouble bringing a carpenter-ant problem under control, consult a structural pest-control operator with this type of experience.

Fade in the shade What are some tips for growing turf in shaded areas?-Illinois

Turfgrasses are not well-adapted to shade. A "shade mix" may be relatively tolerant of shade, but that's different from saying that it will thrive in shade, which it will not. That being said, you still should use the most shade-tolerant varieties available. This will ease (not cure) the problem.

Because the problem in shade is a lack of light, the obvious answer is to allow more light to reach the turf. Of course, this usually means pruning overhead tree limbs, and it might force you to decide which is more important: your trees or turf.

A few cultural practices can help shaded turf perform better. For example, mow shaded turf higher than normal. This increases its leaf area, which means the plants can intercept more light. Also, cut fertilizer rates for shaded turf. Stimulating too much growth in light-starved plants depletes their slim reserves. Finally, make sure you provide shaded turf with adequate water. Tree roots compete for moisture, so shaded turf often has to endure drought as well as low light. No matter how careful you are with your cultural practices, if the shade is deep enough, the stand will eventually thin. Therefore, be ready to overseed periodically. This will help maintain stand density.

If all else fails, start removing trees or replace the turf with a planting of shade-tolerant ornamentals, some of which can withstand lower light conditions than any turfgrass.

Things are looking up for landscape architects these days. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics expects employment of landscape architects to increase 21 to 35 percent through the year 2006. With the economy doing well and new construction running strong, landscape architects are in demand. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) claims that the average salary of landscape architects is higher than that of traditional architects by about $6,000. Based on surveys they have conducted of their members, the ASLA says that the average salary of American landscape architects is $52,886 for those who have been practicing for 15.9 years.

Things may be looking even better if President Clinton's "Green America" initiatives-the $1 billion Lands Legacy Initiative and the $10 billion Better America Bonds-are approved. The ASLA sees these initiatives as opening up new revenue sources for landscape architects. Landscape architects are typically involved in projects entailing the creation of parks and recreational systems, urban renewal, environmental impact plans and designing alternative transportation options such as bike paths or scenic parkways-some of which are elements of President Clinton's new initiatives. Considering the current good times landscape architects are experiencing, this issue focuses on design.

When you think of grounds, a rooftop wouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind, but for some designers it is. Rooftop gardens are a breed all to themselves. They don't fall in the realm of an interiorscape, and they aren't what you would typically consider as part of your grounds either. Like interiorscapes, you must introduce all materials to the site-including soil and water. Yet unlike interiorscapes, rooftop gardens are exposed to the elements. Adding to these concerns, rooftop gardens require that you have detailed knowledge of the engineering requirements, such as weight limitations, of the building on which you're installing rooftop gardens. Although installing rooftop gardens presents some unique challenges, building managers and others having authority over urban structures represent potential clients who could broaden your market into the urban arena. Don Sussman, president of Town & Gardens Ltd. in New York, has in-depth experience on rooftop gardens-in fact, his firm has won six national awards for rooftop-garden design. Find out what he says about rooftop gardens (page 12).

Proper drainage is essential to rooftop-garden design as well as in landscapes closer to earth-especially those that receive a lot of traffic. Without proper drainage of your grounds, you'll be mired in mud with the slightest rain. Gary Kaye, founder of Golf Engineering Associates Inc., shows you "How To: Install drainage" (page 36).

Surface drainage is one option you have in allowing for water removal from your grounds. You want to be sure that you have about a 2-percent slope on turf and landscaped areas. Slopes exceeding the 2-percent standard by too much will be prone to erosion, especially when you don't have a vegetative cover. In some projects, you sometimes have to plant temporary grasses to stabilize the soil during construction so that erosion doesn't become a problem. These temporary covers will stabilize the soil for 2 to 12 months. Learn what your temporary grass options are (page 28). Here Victoria Wallace, technical agronomist for Lofts Seed and president of the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association, discusses the types of grasses you can use as temporary covers, as well as their adaptation, appearance and how you would use them.

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