Skip to main content
FALL 2011
Print Bookmark and Share

Around the Quad

Did You Know

Bees Help Halloween

Pumpkins are big business in New York: the 2010 crop was valued at $35 million, the nation’s highest. Nearly half of all New York vegetable farms grow pumpkins. Entomologist Brian Nault is boosting yields even further using the eastern bumblebee—the best native pollinator, and it’s not threatened by honeybee colony collapse.

Beware the Mulch Volcano!

Too much mulch can starve a tree’s roots of water, stunting tree growth and eventually killing the tree. When planning for next season’s garden, keep in mind that mulch should be 2 to 3 inches deep and not touch the trunk at all, says horticulture professor Nina Bassuk ’74. A wide radius of 3 to 4 feet for newly planted trees is sufficient.

Hydrangea Color

It is not the pH of soil by itself that influences the color of hydrangea blossoms, but the availability of aluminum, says horticulture professor William Miller, MS ’84, PhD ’86. Aluminum is only available to plants in low-pH, or acidic soils. When present, it makes blossoms blue; otherwise they are pink. To further complicate matters, pink cultivars can be blue, and blues can be pink, and some can go both ways, but white cultivars, like Sister Therese, cannot become pink or blue.

Starting a Vineyard is a Costly Endeavor

Establishing a vineyard in the Finger Lakes in 2010 would have cost $18,880 per acre, says Professor Emeritus Gerald White. His economic analysis assumes a 50-acre vineyard planted with Riesling, Cabernet franc, Chardonnay, or Pinot noir grapes. The yearly cost of keeping vines alive after establishment: approximately $2,500 per acre.