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10 ways to protect your trees from the drought

10 ways to protect your trees from the drought

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i planted this tree like 20 years ago

Many folks have asked me to go over this for them:

1. Keep water below ground. Use a drip system and bury it at least 1 foot below ground.

2. Use Tree vents to get water even deeper and to provide nutrients and needed microbes to tree root systems. I use clay drain pipes, 4 inches wide by 2 feet long. These are buried four around the tree evenly spaced in between trunk and root line , around a circle apprx at 12 3 6 and 9 o clock. These get a grate that covers it, but you can place a rock or something else. Run the drip line so that you can place 2 gallon per hour drip head to the grate. This will allow the water to drip down thru the tree vents and water deep. Inside the tree vents you place a mixture of rock dust, compost and organic fertilizer for trees. The mixture will dissolve slowly into the surrounding area and the trees root systems will absorb.

3. Use rock around the trees from trunk out past drip line. Apply 2 times per year, spring and fall.

4. Use compost two times per year and or as needed.

5. Mulch the area to cover 1 or 2 inches. The less soil is exposed the better. I use azalea mix because it is acid mix and great for any soil that is basically clay.

6. Water less frequently but water longer. Better to water 1/2 hour per week then 5 min per day. You want roots going deeper looking for water.

7. Only apply organic fertilizers. Avoid using high nitrogen chemical fertilizers. They will only stress out the trees more and destroyed the natural balance of the soil.

8. Learn to use foliar spraying as a way to fertilize your trees. Compost tea makes an excellent foliar spray as does coffee.

9. Learn to catch what ever rain you get. Use small metal garbage cans, place a drain at bottom with a valve so that you an slowly let it flow into your tree vents over a long period if time. This could make the difference if your trees live or die. One garbage can can old 30 gallons of water which can help a tree for  whole month if used right.

10. You should ask the city what rules and regulations it has about building cisterns to catch the rain. This recent rain, tho small amount, would still fill enough to last a home a month. One should learn how to use the home as a way to catch more rain and well as any other structures you may have. These can channels rain. Solar panels are good for this too as rain will roll off them into rain gutters. Each home should have at least 4 rain barrels if not more catching any rain. Each garden raised bed should have its own rain barrel which will be used to water that bed. A barrel can water a raised bed for a month if done right. You should also ask the city what rules and regulations it has about using grey water to water trees, lawns, flower beds as this is a great source of additional water that we are not using.


 Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me response next article


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both this article and the radio show are available for 99 cents on my store

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Rabbits and WhiteFlys

Here are two questions many of you are asking me. I have answered these before but I will go over again.


Rabbits eating  (fill in blank) but I don’t want to hurt them.  Remember many of you have said that you trap them and then drive to a bit and let them out in the country. Well, this does hurt them (they usually die). We need to think about the fact that we live in the country and that there are more rabbits then humans and especially now during times of drought, rabbits will seek us out for food and water. Rabbits in turn are food themselves for many of our local country citizens so poisoning them is not good either. I therefor would either make a screened in area for the garden, or row cover or even grow inside a green house. If you insist on growing outdoors at least make raised beds which then can be covered. If you still want to grow in the ground then here is a simple trick. Use coffee beans placed all around the garden. That will keep them off the garden for a few days to a week or so. The coffee beans are good for the soil too.


If you see whiteflys wearing sunglasses and shorts then you are watering too much!

Whiteflys need water in order to survive. Keep the water below ground, allow the area to dry in between watering, apply rock dust, compost and azalea mix as a mulch several times per year and fertilize with a good organic fertilizer to keep all your plants with high Brix and you will not have a whitefly problem. Whiteflys will come from all around you but will not be able to establish themselves on your property. You should be doing foliar sprayings every week if possible if you have had whiteflys in past. I would be using a mixture of cold brew coffee, milk and granny smiths molasses. This mixture will not only keep the plants Brix up but also the coffee will kill whiteflys on contact. If you all ready have whiteflys you should be spraying with garlic barrier to kill the whiteflys, mixed in with the coffee, milk and  molasses mix.

Cold Brew Coffee is another one of those magical elixirs that you can make at home that will make your plants healthier while at the same time, it will kill many pests on contact. This mixture should not be sprayed on beneficials.

How to make cold brew coffee.

In a 5 gallon bucket add enough clean filtered water to fill to 4 inches from the top. Buy 1 lb of organic coffee beans. Pour into this liquid. If you have superseaweed, add 1 oz as starter, if you don’t here is how you can make your own starter.

In a gallon clean water , add 1 cup organic brown rice. Place this liquid in a cool dark place like under a tree for a few days till you can smell it. Pour the liquid out. This is what you use. You can make more of this liquid by repeating the process.  I would add 1 cup of this liquid to the cold new coffee liquid as a starter. Allow to sit for a few days , stirring every day a few times. Then pour through a screen . You can either use straight to kill pests or add to water at 1 cup per gallon water sprayed on plants.


 Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me response next article

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What is going on?, created by Invisible Gardener

What is going on?, created by Invisible Gardener 

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How to protect your trees and whole property from the drought.

With the coming heat and with less and less ground water, we must take measures to insure that your trees and whole property are well protected from damages that can occur from this type of weather combinations.
Keep water below ground. Did you know that you lose around 75% of the water you give to your plants to the air if you water above ground? By keeping the water below ground you can use only 25% of your past water usage and still have beautiful plants and trees. There are many types of drip systems on the market that allows them to be buried and not get clogged. I would simply lay down a line in the proper areas and then start the rock dust compost and mulching process. I would lay down a thin layer of rick dust twice a year, a layer of compost several times per year as needed and another layer of mulch. Wood chip pebbles would work fine. You get get a good deal from your local tree trimming companies, just make sure its clean and nothing toxic.
Over the years, you keep building up a certain amount of layers that protect the soil while allowing a small amount of measure needed by plants to grow. You should not see any barren soil, everything should be covered over. In areas where you are always planting different plants etc, you should apply a fine mulch like azalea mix. The mix will help to keep moisture at the roots of plants where they belong.

In a vegetable garden, you should rely on mulch as your main tool for keeping water around longer to your plants. Raised beds provide 7 times more food in same area as in ground while using 75% less water! In a raised bed , you should bury the soaker hose or that special drip line at around mid way up from the base of the bed. Should be about 2 feet below the top of the soil level. This will allow you to plant without damaging the line (yes a good raised bed should be 2 feet deep and 2 feet high). I would always recommend that you apply a good layer of azalea mix as a mulch for all your raised beds.

There is no need to remove your lawn and replace it with astro turf! Here is a simple solution: reseed several times per year with a California native grass called Red Fesque. This wonderful native grass will look great with very little water and loves the foggy days. While it may not stay green during winter months, Malibu winters are often very warm and the ones I have tented to have managed to remind green year round!

You do not need to pull out the old grass, simply reseed every few months until the new grass has started then reseed once or twice a year as needed. This grass will reseed itself if allowed to grow otter wise you will need to reseed it. I would feed it a good organic fertilizer which it needs a small amount of as well as some rust dust to keep it green.
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What GMO’s are Good and what GMO’s are Bad?

What GMO’s are Good and what GMO’s are Bad?

Genetically Engineered Organisms and Genetically Modified Organisms are not the same thing. As new GMO bills come into Law, we will find ourselves not being able to buy any Genetically Modified Crops at all!  Why? Because they are  all grouped together right along with the dangerous types of GMO’s. What? There are good types of GMO’s?  GMO’s fall under several classifications: Natural mutations show up in nature on their own, Open-Pollinated are either self pollinated or thru specific cross pollination with certain traits in mind thru controlled cross-breeding within proper species, some open pollinated varieties are  (being my favorite vegetable) for example the Bloomsdale spinach or Sugar Snaps or Super sweet Corn, to name a few. Traditional hybrids arise from controlled cross-breeding to achieve a certain trait of the parent for example Sweet 100 Tomato is actually a traditional hybrid achieved thru GMO techniques as is also Many types of Arugula, Squash, Pumpkin, Watermelon and so on. You can see that the above list can be extensive and as such these types of GMO’s must not be included in any new laws that are intended to govern the next type of GMO’s called Genetically Engineered.
I have been doing my radio show called “Don’t Panic Its Organic©” for over 38 years now and around 1984 I started talking about GMO’s. I read that in 1982 – FDA Approved the  First GMO: Humulin, an insulin produced by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria then same year it appears on the market and then by 1994 – GMO Hits Grocery Stores The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the Flavr Savr tomato for sale. It was in 1996 that   GMO-Resistant Weed were detected in Australia.
All during this time, I was trying to tell folks that these are the types of GMO’s that we must be aware of. Genetically engineered GMO’s fall into three categories: First there is rDNA: DNA that have been altered by joining of two different types of genes in the test tube. Think BT ready corn or  Round-up ready Corn. Then there is Protoplast fusions:joining two cells of two different plants that would not normally join in nature. Another category is Chemical or radiation induced mutations: these are spices that are either through chemical or through the use of exposing them to radiation, the plants seeds produce a mutation of the parent(s).  These three types of GMO’s are called “Transgenic” and it is these that we must be careful in what we allow to happen and what we do not want to happen. These transgenic GMO’s can have devastating effects on all living things right down to what is growing below in the ground.
A good example of how GMO’s can help mankind is a recent discovery of a GMO banana that has no chemicals in the DNA is is one of the Genetically-engineered carotene-enriched ‘super’ banana. I have read all that I could find and it does not saying anything about chemicals of any kind being added and if this is so, it will be good for mankind but if it is another way to allow Round-Up ready bananas it is not. So did the writer get it straight that it is a Genetically Engineered Banana or is it a Genetically modified organism? That would make a difference.
You can hear this article live on my latest radio show.
Any questions? Email me or leave as comment
 Andy Lopez
Invisible Gardener


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Don’t Panic It’s Organic! – Invisible Gardener Radio:

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Don’t Panic It’s Organic! – Invisible Gardener Radio:. More on HLB Citrus Disease and its natural control and prevention Scientists are developing ways to detect diseased trees and are working on GMO varieties of Citrus. They are also working on … Continue reading

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