Living Newsletter Survey
(download in pdf format)
April - May 2004 issue:
(download in pdf format)
Is it time to trim your horse's hooves?
Obtaining necessary zoning permits
facilitates construction or changes in land, building
Tree selection - The right
tree in the right place
Tips for spring and summer bird feeding
The common ant - friend or foe?
Follow these tips for stocking farm
it time to trim your horse's hooves?
By Dale Miller, Marion County Extension Education Director
may have heard the old saying, “No hoof, no horse!”
There is a lot of truth in those words. Most horses
should have their hooves trimmed every six to eight
weeks depending on growth. If you do not show your horse
or use it for work, you can usually trim or shoe every
eight to 10 weeks. However, any corrective trimming
and lameness problems should be handled promptly and
are a priority if you want a healthy horse.
A trained person who can trim hooves and correctly
shoe a horse is called a farrier. When you need a qualified farrier,
a good source of
information is the American Farrier’s Association
association’s goal is to link horse owners to
competent, reliable farriers.
You can contact the AFA at (859) 233-7411 or at
The AFA’s certification program was
developed to set a standard for proper trimming and
program tests for anatomy and physiology comprehension
competency. Present levels of examination are Intern
Certified Farrier, and Certified Journeyman Farrier.
Currently, there are
approximately 25 AFA member farriers in Iowa. The association
educational articles about hoof care on its Web site.
Good hoof care and hoof health is important year round.
matters worse for your horse by waiting too long to
call your farrier.
necessary zoning permits facilitates construction or
changes in land, building use
By Dave Andrews, Story County Extension Education Director
“I thought I didn’t need a construction
permit if I lived in the country” is a common
statement heard in county planning and zoning offices.
Actually, a zoning permit is often required for nonagricultural
change in land or building use. Even adding a portable
structure may require a permit, and setbacks from property
lines. Permit requirements may vary from county to county,
so check with your local county planning and zoning
The person applying for the zoning permit must be
the property owner, the contract buyer of record, or
someone acting as the property owner’s agent (approved
by the property owner in writing). At the time it is
submitted, the zoning permit application must include
all pertinent information for the proposed construction,
along with a site plan and the required fee. The site
plan should include the perimeters of the property,
existing buildings, and the location of the proposed
structure and its distance from each property line.
It is also helpful to include the property owner’s
name, address, and parcel identification.
Once the application and site plan are submitted,
they are reviewed to be sure the proposed construction
conforms to the county zoning ordinance. This means
the setback from property lines is adequate, the use
is appropriate for the zoning district, and the proposed
structure is not located in a floodway. While construction
can’t occur in a floodway, it is
possible in floodplain areas if floodplain requirements
are met. If the applicant can meet the criteria for
a Farm Exemption Certificate, the zoning permit is not
required; check with your county planning and zoning
If the proposed project meets the ordinance requirements,
a preliminary development permit will be issued. The
permit allows construction to begin but not to progress
past the foundation location inspection. This is done
when the footings are formed but prior to pouring concrete.
Fines will be incurred if the applicant does not obtain
this inspection. For pole buildings, the inspection
is done once the post holes are dug but prior to the
structure being erected. After inspection is completed,
the final zoning permit is issued.
You can find a phone number and address for your county
planning and zoning department in the white pages of
your phone book in the community where the courthouse
selection - The right tree in the right place
By Eldon Everhart, ISU Extension Horticulturist
Conditions: Selecting a tree that will survive in the
site is the key to long-term tree survival. Site conditions
include soil conditions, exposure
(sun and wind), human activity, surface and internal
soil drainage, space constraints, and hardiness zone.
Soil Conditions: The amount and quality
of soil on your site can limit planting success. On
many building sites, the topsoil is frequently shallow
and/or compacted. These conditions cause trees to be
under stress. You can locate your property on a map
in the Soil Survey for your county. The survey contains
descriptions of the type of soil on your site. Soil
Surveys are available at your local library, county
ISU Extension office, and the USDA NRCS office. Local
ISU Extension offices and many garden centers will (for
a minor charge) conduct a soil test of your soil. Samples
are tested for fertility and pH (alkalinity or acidity).
Tests will be returned
with recommendations on ways to improve poor soil conditions
with fertilizers or soil amendments (sand, peat moss,
compost, or manure).
Exposure: The amount of sunlight available
will affect tree selection. Most woody plants require
full sunlight for proper growth and flowering. Some
do well in light shade, but few tree species perform
well in dense shade. Exposure to wind is also a consideration.
Special maintenance such as staking or more frequent
watering may be needed to establish young trees on windy
Human Activity: People account for the
top five reasons for tree death. Soil compaction, under
watering, over watering, vandalism, and the number one
cause, planting the wrong tree, accounts for more tree
deaths than all insect and disease-related tree deaths
Drainage: Tree roots require oxygen to
develop and thrive. Poor drainage and/or compacted soil
can prevent oxygen from getting to the roots. This can
injure or kill the tree. Before planting, dig some test
holes 6 to 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep in the
areas where you are considering planting trees. Fill
the holes with water and time how long it takes the
water to drain away. If it takes more than six hours,
you may have a drainage problem. If this is true, ask
your local garden center, nursery, or ISU Extension
office for recommendations on how to correct the problem
or choose a different site.
Space Constraints: Factors that limit
the space available to the tree include overhead or
underground utilities, pavement, buildings, other trees,
and visibility. Make sure there is adequate room for
the tree you select to grow to maturity, both above
and below ground.
Hardiness: Trees you select must have
the ability to survive in the extreme temperatures in
your area of the state. Most tree reference books and
publications include the USDA plant hardiness zone map.
Check with your local garden center or ISU
Extension office for the hardiness information for
your part of the state. Before you make your final decision,
make sure the plant you have selected is “hardy”
in your area.
Pest Problems: Every tree has its particular
pest problems and the severity varies geographically.
These may or may not be life threatening to the plant.
Select trees that tolerate pest problems in your area.
Your local nursery, garden center, or ISU
Extension office can direct you to nformation relevant
to problem tree species.
Species Selection: Personal preferences
play a major role in the selection process. Make sure
you use the information you have gathered about your
site conditions, and balance them with the aesthetic
decisions you make related to your personal preferences.
If you are having difficulty answering
any of these questions on your own, contact your local
garden center, nursery, or county
ISU Extension office for assistance. It is better
to get them involved early and make the right decision,
to avoid having to call them later and find out that
you made the wrong decision.
for spring and summer bird feeding
By Ann Burns, Jackson County Conservation Naturalist
Bright cardinals, busy chickadees, and upside-down nuthatches
are the delight of winter bird feeding. Have you thought
about extending that enjoyment into the warmer months?
Expanding the menu selection in spring and summer
will add the colors and songs of Baltimore orioles,
hummingbirds, and catbirds to your yard. Orioles use
nectar feeders, as do ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Orioles need a larger perch to stand on because they
do not hover like the diminutive hummers. You can purchase
hummingbird mixes at many discount and specialty yard
stores. You also can make economical nectar yourself.
Add one part cane sugar to four parts boiling water.
Let the mix cool before filling the feeders. Red food
coloring is unnecessary because most bird feeders have
red feeding tubes or holes. Do not use honey; it spoils
Orioles also will feed on orange halves and grape
jelly. Cut the oranges in half, and then pierce them
on long nails driven through a piece of wood. Hang or
place the wooden platform where you can see the birds
from a window.
Orioles also will eat grape jelly. A co-worker, who
is a dedicated bird feeder, found that orioles are attracted
to the bright oranges first, but switch to the grape
jelly as soon as they find it. His tips for feeding
grape jelly include transferring the jelly into a large
squeeze bottle so you won’t have to wash a spoon
every time you use it. His jelly feeder consists of
a piece of clear Plexiglas® with a hole cut in the
middle. A purchased dish with a flared rim sits in the
center hole. Four small holes on the edges of the Plexiglas®
are used to hang the feeder with wire from a clothesline
pole or tree branch.
Grape jelly and orange halves also will attract catbirds,
red-bellied woodpeckers, robins, house finches, and
other birds. A few less welcome guests such as bees,
wasps, and ants may show up, too. Avoid placing sweet
feeders near doors or sidewalks that you regularly pass
as you use your yard. If bees or wasps become a major
problem, hang a bottle half filled with sugar water
away from your feeders. A small hole cut in the bottle
lets the wasps and bees in, but they don’t easily
find their way out. Commercial deterrents are available
Spring and summer feeding requires more diligence in
keeping feeders clean. Sugar water solutions will spoil
within two or three days. Only fill nectar feeders with
what the birds will consume in that timeframe.
Regularly clean your nectar, jelly, and orange feeders
by soaking them in a diluted chlorine bleach solution
for one hour. Allow the feeders to completely dry before
refilling. My co-worker has several of his jelly dishes
on hand. This allows him to have one in the feeder,
one in the dishwasher, and one on standby.
For more information about bird feeding, contact your
local county conservation board or nature center. Information
also is available at these Web sites, www.birdwatchersdigest.com,
common ant - friend or foe?
By Bill Denton, Dallas County Master Gardener
Ants are social insects that live in colonies.
Each has a different job. The queen lays eggs, which
hatch into white, grub-like larvae and later develop
into pupae. There also are worker ants that secure food
and water. These ants often are seen far from their
colony. Mature ant colonies produce many winged individuals
known as swarmers. Their job is to mate and establish
Most ants prefer to build their nests
outdoors in the soil or in wood. They go inside homes
only in search of food or water. There are some species,
however, that build nests within structures, usually
in hollow spaces behind walls, cracks beneath floors,
and structural wood.
Ants move almost as much soil as earthworms.
They loosen soil and cause increased air and water movement
in the ground. Ants also clean up dead insect carcasses
and aid in the decomposition of plant and animal matter.
They are also known to carry bits of plant and animal
matter through the ecosystem. Ants are among the leading
predators of other insects and help control pest populations.
The downside of ants is that they are
found in our homes and may establish unsightly or harmful
mounds in our lawns, pastures, or fencerows. Large mounds
may smother out grass and make lawns rough and uneven.
The key to controlling ants is to eliminate
the queen and other members within the nest. This often
takes time and patience. Level the mound with a rake
and then spray or dust with an insecticide labeled for
ants. If a
dust is used, rake lightly again and sprinkle with water.
This procedure can be repeated as necessary.
When choosing a pesticide to use indoors
make sure the product is
labeled for inside use. Never spray near food or on
surfaces where food is prepared. Spraying a 3- to 6-foot
swath along the ground next to the foundation of the
house and a 2- to 3-foot band on the foundation wall
may help control ant invasion.
Information for this article came from
the Web sites listed below. They contain information
you may find useful.
these tips for stocking farm ponds
By Joe Morris, ISU Extension Aquaculture Specialist
has more than 80,000 ponds.Many pond owners use them
both recreation and food production. Because of Iowa’s
varied terrain, the southern portion of the state has
the most ponds.
Certain species for stocking ponds are
available from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) if the pond meets the following criteria:
- New or renovated to be free of fish
- Surface area of at least one-half acre
- Maximum depth of at least 8 feet
- Fenced to exclude livestock with a 60-foot minimum
pond edge and fence
Fish also are sold by several private hatcheries. ISU
Extension and DNR personnel have a list of private hatcheries
Stocking Rates and Times
The DNR uses a split stocking approach for farm ponds.
In ponds free of fish, bluegill (sunfish) and channel
catfish fingerlings are stocked in the fall, and largemouth
bass are stocked the following spring. This approach
allows the bluegill population to become established
before the predator
population of largemouth bass. Bluegills are stocked
at 750 to 1,000 fingerlings, 1 to 2 inches each, per
surface acre. Largemouth bass are stocked at 70 fingerlings,
1 to 2 inches each, per surface acre. Channel catfish
fingerlings are stocked at 100 per surface acre.
The DNR, however, doesn’t provide fish for stocking
ponds with an existing fish population. To stock channel
catfish in ponds with an established bass population,
the landowner must purchase fish from a private source.
Only catfish longer than 8 inches should be stocked
or the bass will eat them.
Walleye and northern pike can be stocked in farm ponds
but must be added periodically if the population is
to be maintained. Walleye seldom grow large in ponds,
but northerns can become large and could feed upon largemouth
bass. Stocking crappie in small ponds is not recommended
as it can result in a large population of small, stunted
fish that competes directly with largemouth bass. Bullheads,
though popular with Iowa anglers, should not be stocked
into ponds. Bullheads will overpopulate and grow slowly
in ponds with a limited bass population.
In addition, grass carp are sometimes stocked to control
aquatic vegetation, some of which is needed in a pond.
Grass carp control rooted plants much more than algae.
They are stocked at four to five 8-inch fish per surface
acre of water. Because the fish do not reproduce in
ponds and have low natural mortality, the landowner
will not need to restock for 8-10 years. Several private
fish hatcheries in Iowa sell grass carp.