acreage living December 1998

ISU cooperative extension

In this issue: acreage living home page

 Winter Pasture Weed Control

Carroll Olsenby Carroll Olsen, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Crops, SW Area Extension Center
Phone: 712-769-2600 - e-mail:

Yes, that's what it says -- winter weed control in pastures. By the time you read this, the only thing sticking up in your pasture might be unwanted frees. As usual, control can be broken down into mechanical and chemical methods.

Mechanical control is labor intensive but may be necessary in areas where herbicide use is undesirable or if you need some exercise. Cutting brush and trees at ground level can be successful if multiple cuttings control sprouts until root reserves finally are depleted. And cutting at ground level very well controls some species, such as red cedar. Combining cutting with chemicals can be very effective if done during the winter simply by application of a small amount immediately after cutting.

Girdling is most effective on larger trees and is most successful if done during the summer.

Grubbing is the actual uprooting by digging or pulling. Now, that's exercise and some people would rather it be done by a bulldozer.

Chemical control is often the method of choice because it is less time consuming and is not labor intensive. This method requires careful planning to minimize potential environmental and financial risk. Most products are labeled only for certain areas and methods of application. Herbicides applied in pastures or where livestock graze must have grazing and harvest clearances. Be sure to note and follow label directions closely. Dormant season applications may be desirable to reduce drift complaints.

Basal-bark applications can be used on trees less than five inches in diameter. Oil soluble 2,4-D products can be mixed with diesel oil or kerosene to penetrate the lower 12 to 15 inches of the trunk.

Cut-surface treatments are used to control frees having thick bark or trunks greater than 5 inches in diameter. The bark is frilled or notched at least one- half inch into the sapwood.

Cut-stubble treatment is a combination of cut- surface and soil treatment in that the cut area as well as the surrounding soil area is treated with the product.

Soil treatments are sometimes used when the soil is not frozen or is waterlogged. This method is no respecter of nearby desirable plants or their roots. And some of these products kill everything.

I didn't mention many products on purpose. If you plan to use herbicides to control brush and trees, please stop at the county ISU Extension office and ask to see "Right-of-Way, Category 6," a manual used by commercial right of way applicators. It discusses the types of applications and some of the recommended products. It also has a table indicating the best use for the product and, in some cases, whether or not the product is effective on some of the vegetation. Keep in mind that some of these products are "restricted" and only certified applicators can purchase them.

Many of the desired products are readily available to homeowners and non-certified applicators. Sometimes they are a little "watered down" but the active ingredient is the same.

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 Ecotourism, a New Type of Tourism

Wayne Kobberdahlby Wayne Kobberdahl, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Communities, Mills County
Phone: 712-624-8616 - e-mail:

Most of this article is taken from the spring/summer 1998 issue of POLICY PROSPECT, a publication of the Iowa Issue Scan Network.

Since 1950, tourism has rapidly grown as an economic activity, and it will soon be the world's largest industry. Ecotourism is a moderate but growing part of the tourist market, following in the wake of increasing public interest in the environment.

Ecotourism is a nature-based form of specialty travel defined as responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people. It has a strong focus on experiential, hands-on learning.

Ecotourists tend to be older, better educated, and have higher incomes than tourists in general. They prefer longer trips, 8-14 days, and are willing to spend more than general tourists. Besides being motivated to enjoy scenery and nature and experience new places, they are concerned with an individual search for learning and personal development.

Ecotourism encompasses a range of activity levels from passive to strenuous, from wild flower photography to canoeing to pleasure driving. Ecotourists do not want to be with the masses. They want to be outdoors, not visiting large cities and cathedrals.

Ecotourism is not just a nature trip. It looks at the natural environment and how it affects the local community, the local people. The emerging ecotourism industry is trying to make a positive contribution to the places visited, being mindful of the negative impacts tourism can have on the local culture and natural areas. Instructors are very important to educate, guide, and interpret.

Unlike mass tourism, which has produced a few good jobs and many low-paying ones, ecotourism aims to provide better jobs in smaller-scale operations. Much of the ecotourism industry is characterized by small businesses targeting small market segments. The financial impacts of ecotourism are greatest in rural areas near ecotour attractions.

Many people think of ecotours as mainly Sierra Club-type tours to jungles and rain forests. But ecotours also take place in our own yards. The newsletter of the Iowa Prairie Network listed forty outings, talks, or workshops at prairies around Iowa last summer. Communities in the Loess Hills have developed driving tours of that unique natural attraction. Scenery and wildlife drew thousands of visitors to the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

In other places, a consortium of organic farmers in New Zealand invite the curious to work for room, board, and lessons about agriculture. Vineyards in Wisconsin invite visitors to pick grapes and tour the wineries during fall wine festivals. The International World Center in Ely, Minnesota educates the public about wolf ecology. Lancaster, Pennsylvania offers bike tours of Amish country. Cape May, New Jersey extends its traditional summer beach season to accommodate observers of the impressive spring and fall bird migrations. Tours of the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington include two days with the Makah Indians. Lanesboro, Minnesota caters to bicyclists wanting to experience the small towns and scenery of southern Minnesota.

Predictably, ecotourism is struggling with growing pains as ecotourism in many formerly remote areas has come to resemble mass tourism. The cumulative impact of even small-scale ecotourism developments in sensitive areas increasingly is being questioned. Ecotourism requires careful planning to develop ways of visiting and experiencing the natural world without compromising its integrity. The mere act of opening a site of ecotourism can have detrimental effects.

Several states have developed statewide efforts to coordinate and promote ecotourism. Last year New Jersey sponsored a conference that brought together environmental organizations along with state officials, county representatives, and tourism leaders, all who have a stake in developing ecotourism in the state. Delaware has had three successful statewide conferences and one county has created a "Delaware Ecodirectory: A Guide to Nature Based Travel."

Ecotourism's emphasis on small-scale development and its attraction to a growing demographic group, middle-age and older adults, fits the development capabilities of many small towns. Awareness of the economic benefits of ecotourism, along with knowledge about how to develop and preserve natural and cultural attractions, can help Iowa communities improve their natural assets and economic bases.

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 Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide

Shawn Shouseby Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Ag Engineering, SW Area Extension Center
Phone: 712-769-2600 - e-mail:

Now that heating season is here, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases. Every year in this country, hundreds of people die and thousands become ill from carbon monoxide. This deadly gas can be produced by automobiles, gas furnaces and water heaters, wood fires, and gas stoves.

Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning often experience flu-like symptoms which lessen in fresh air. At low concentrations other symptoms include fatigue and chest pain. At higher concentrations vision and coordination is impaired, along with headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea.

To reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning take the following steps:
Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and repair your heating system (furnaces, water heaters, flues, and chimneys) annually.
Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
Use only vented heaters and furnaces.
Back your car out of the garage immediately after starting.
Install a carbon monoxide detector.

Several manufacturers now market carbon monoxide detectors. The detectors, which are about the size of a home smoke detector, sound an audible alarm when a dangerous level of carbon monoxide is reached. Some detectors include a digital display. Cost ranges from $40 to $80. Be certain the alarm is certified by Underwriters Laboratory UL 2034. Install units near bedroom areas so the alarm will awaken sleeping occupants.

Anyone who suspects they have been poisoned by carbon monoxide should immediately contact emergency workers who can ensure their safety. Utility companies, fire departments, emergency rescue personnel, and heating contractors are often equipped to measure CO levels in homes. Medical services should also be consulted and told that carbon monoxide exposure is suspected.

For more information on carbon monoxide safety, contact your ISU Extension office, or visit the web site at

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 Could Iowa Be the New Retirement Mecca?

Wayne Kobberdahlby Wayne Kobberdahl, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Communities, Mills County
Phone: 712-624-8616 - e-mail:

Retirement is being redefined by whom else but the baby boomers. Unlike their parents who retired to a senior community in the Sun Belt, baby boomers are expected to make several moves after they retire. The first move will be to sell the family home and move into a retirement community nearby to continue to work and enjoy familiar activities. The second move may be to a sunny resort with lots of activities for part of the year. The third and final move will be to live near or with their children and grandchildren.

Florida is still the number one retirement destination, drawing one-quarter of all retirees or a half million new senior residents a year. But, despite the sun and no state income tax, Florida's share is slipping. New retirees view Florida as too old, too focused on leisure, and too isolated from family and trusted health professionals. Snow Belt states and developers of retirement communities have noted this trend.

Some states are beginning marketing campaigns, including web sites, to attract the upscale retiree. The Del Webb Corporation, which develops retirement communities in the South, is planning for new retirement communities in the Chicago and Williamsburg, Virginia areas. A new retirement community in Princeton, New Jersey has sold two thirds of the available 300 houses, all priced between $300,000 and $450,000. It is close to Princeton University, providing ongoing intellectual and cultural stimulation to retirees who are more active and living longer.

With Iowa's aging population and the desire of new retirees to stay close to family and friends, there could be a significant market in the coming years for senior housing. This would also free existing housing stock, assisting with Iowa's housing shortage. It would also help keep retirees income and taxes in Iowa rather than having it leak to Sun Belt states.

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 Keep Those Smoke Detectors Up

Shawn Shouseby Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Ag Engineering, SW Area Extension Center
Phone: 712-769-2600 - e-mail:

House fires kill more than 4,000 people each year in the US. In the event of a house fire, your best defense is the early warning provided by a working smoke detector. Smoke detectors can be purchased for as little as ten dollars and are extremely reliable at alerting you to the presence of a fire before toxic levels of smoke are present.

Fire safety experts recommend installing smoke detectors near every sleeping area, and at least one detector on each level of the home. Detectors should be mounted on the ceiling or high on the wall.

Maintaining a smoke detector is as easy as occasional vacuuming for dust removal and pressing the test button. If you use battery powered detectors, be sure to replace the batteries on a regular basis. Experts recommend replacing batteries on a set schedule rather than waiting until the detector gives the low battery warning sound.

Acreage Living is published monthly. For more information, contact your local county ISU Extension Office.
Editor: Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension FS/Ag Engineering, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, Iowa, 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600
Layout & Design: Paulette Cambridge, Office Assistant, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, Iowa 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600

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