Posted by: Highland landscaping | April 22, 2019

April 2019

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April  2019                                      EDITION 122

817-488-2718  Phone | http://www.highlandlandscapingLLC.com

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 INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT PART II

In the March, 2019 issue of this newsletter, we presented information related to the condition of the U.S. infrastructure.  As we reported at that time, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issues a report card on the  16 elements of the U.S. infrastructure every four years.  The 16 components of infrastructure are:

The 16 components of infrastructure are:

    Aviation                         Parks and Recreation

    Bridges                           Ports

    Dams                             Rail

    Drinking water                Roads

    Energy                            Schools

    Hazardous waste             Solid waste

    Inland waterways             Transit

    Levees                             Wastewater

 

The only category that was rated higher than a “C” or “D” was rails.  The Cumulative Infrastructure Grade in 2017 (the last issued report card) is “D+”.  The report finds further aging issues than were reported in 2001.  In addition to aging infrastructure, our population growth is but one factor causing more demands and strains on the various systems.  The information we present here may be found at http://www.asce.org.

The electrical power grid is one energy source for which many of us have little knowledge or current information.  There are three interconnected electric transmission grids in the lower 48 states:  Eastern Interconnection, Western Interconnection, and Texas Interconnection.  There are more than 640,000 miles of high-voltage transmissions lines .  All grids are running at full capacity.  Most transmission and distribution lines were constructed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and had a 50-year life expectancy.  In the 1880’s, as electric power was introduced as an advancement over steam, hydraulics and coal gas, electrical energy was being produced near the location it was needed.  These lines were later connected by electric utility companies to more centralized locations for power generation, distribution and management.  By the 1920’s, individual companies found it advantageous to join forces for sharing back-up power and in meeting peak energy demands.  Companies continued to connect across state lines, and then nationally.   It is easy to see why there are parts of  the U.S. grid that were not engineered at the time of inception (pre-1900) to meet today’s energy needs.  The grids are also vulnerable to severe weather events, vandalism and attacks (including cyber attacks).

As of March, 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),  reports that 63% of electrical power is generated from fossil fuels, 20% from nuclear energy, and 17% from renewable energy sources.  Concerns by the ASCE about natural gas and oil lines reflect that many of the high-pressure transmission lines were installed before 1980.  They require an increase in monitoring and maintenance. Due to the concentration of refineries in the southern states along the shoreline, the refineries are exceptionally vulnerable to major storm events, as we have seen with hurricanes over the last decade.

Likewise, renewable energy sources are not without concerns.  Reliability (think, sun and wind), cost of the service, distribution, and difficulties involved with delivering power from remote locations to where it is needed are issues that, once planned and resolved, could ease some of the strain from the power grids.

The ASCE, in 2017, estimated that the total cost to make necessary repairs and improvements, and keep them maintained until 2025 would be $934 billion.  There exists funding for $757 billion, which leaves a gap of $177 billion. In March of this year, the ASCE has presented the report to the U.S. Congress; and thus far, there have been two House committee meetings to address issues in the report.

 

 

“The beautiful thing about learning

is

 nobody can take it away from you.”          

                                 -B.B. King

 

Plant trivia

PLANT TRIVIA 

What is another common name for the Sweet Broom plant? (look for the answer at the end of our blog)

 

Featured project

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Highland Landscaping finished an astonishing residential renovation project. This project really focused its efforts on fixing a massive drainage problem In the back. You will see above that we have placed a dry river rock bed to help direct the water to a certain location while the decomposed granite and Aztec on the sides will hold in place while water runs through rather than mulch washing away. Bright, beautiful native and adapted plants were place all around the property to  bring pops of color , drought tolerance, and low maintenance while the boulders brought dimension throughout the property.

 

Brooke Sugden Photography : 817-948-6428 brookesugdenphoto@gmail.com

 

 

 Seasonal color this month…

Butterfly Bush, Candytuft, Clematis,Coreopsis, Daisies, Daylily,Evening Primrose, Evergreen Senna,Flowering Sedums, Honeysuckle,Lantana, Mexican Mint Marigold,Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Pincushion,Spiraea, Sweet Broom, Verbena

 

April Landscape Tasks:

  • Plant summer flowers
  • Plant late-spring/summer garden
  • Plant trees, shrubs, groundcovers
  • Plant perennials
  • Feed lawn
  • Apply post-emergent for weeds
  • Run -through sprinkler system
  • Mulch landscape beds to 3”
  • Enjoy Spring!

 

Trivia Answer

Easter Broom

 

Featured plant—GAZANIA

Picture5  Gazania (Gazania rigens), also known as Treasure Flower, is native to the rocky cliffs and grassy hills of South Africa.  Native to a harsh, dry climate, Gazania has acclimated to many locales as long as it can reside in part to full sun.  Cool climates must treat it as an annual, while warmer climates (such as parts of Texas) may be able to enjoy Gazania’s evergreen foliage year around.  Gazania may be overwintered indoors if there is a hard freeze in the forecast.

In addition to its heat and sun preferences, Gazania is naturally drought tolerant once established.  The minimal requirements include part to full sun, good drainage and no over watering.  Generally 6-10” in height, the “mounds” of each plant are 6-12” wide.  Blue/green or gray/silver leathery leaves with dandelion-like characteristics add interest to their setting.  On individual stems, flowers ( generally 3-4” in diameter) of brilliant coloration bloom.  The center disk of contrasting color, is composed of bisexual seeds that naturally reseed the plant as they dry and fall.   New plants may be started by collecting and drying the seeds;  or, by dead-heading spent flowers and tossing them where more plants are desired.

The brilliant, intense coloration of the daisy-like flower explains the name “Treasure Flower”.   Shades of orange, bronze, yellow, white, pink or red are deeper at the base of the petals.  Many cultivars have “brushstrokes” of a deeper color in the middle of the petals.  The flowers open during the day when located in sun.  They close tightly at Picture6sundown, and will remain closed on dark, cloudy days.  Blooms appear early summer, and continue into fall.

The possible uses for Gazania in the landscape are many.  As a groundcover, it makes a unique statement and has the ability to prevent erosion where ground slopes.  It is often used as edging or borders, or in rock gardens and xeriscape settings; as well as, the beds of various styles of landscape design.  The trailing variety, Gazania rigens var. leucolaena, is stunning in hanging containers, window boxes and spilling over walls.  This is a rare bloomer that can thrive in the narrow space between driveway and sidewalk where heat may be intense.

First described by the German botanist Joseph Gaertner in the second volume of his work DeFructibus et Seminibus Plantarum in 1791, Gazania has adapted to moderate to warm climates in many other countries.

 

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