Issue 14:  July, 2012 
In This Issue
Alternative Pavement Designs Part 1
Fall Vegetable Gardens
Bird Baths
Plant Spotlight

Helpful Links


TYN Website 





Garden Tip #1
July typically will be drier than any month so far in the gardening season so be sure to keep plants watered,
especially container gardens. Add mulch to help retain water.
 Garden Tip #2
If your garden is overflowing with zucchini and cucumbers, and you've made all the pickles you can stand, consider
taking your extra produce to our local food pantry to donate to the hungry. If you stop picking, the plants will stop producing. 
Places to donate in TN:
East TN: 
West TN:
Middle TN:
South TN:
North TN:
Garden Tip #3
Blackberries need to be pruned after their harvest is ended. Remove the dying fruiting canes and clip back the vigorous, new growth two or three times to form a dense hedge for greater fruit production.
Garden Tip #4
It is O.K. to skip watering your lawn and let it go dormant. As cooler weather and rainfall return, it will be revived. If you desire your lawn to be green and lush through the summer, mow at a higher height and water deeply. Applying water in early morning is best.

Does Your Yard Measure Up?

We call it a Tennessee Yard Done Right -- a yard that is in harmony with Tennessee's native flora, soil and topography. You don't have to be an expert gardener or landscaper to create a Tennessee Yard Done Right. All it takes is a willingness to learn and a desire to build a yard that is based on the nine principles found in our TYN handbook:

  1. Right Plant, Right Place
  2. Manage Soils and Mulch
  3. Appropriate Turf Grass Management
  4. Water Efficiently
  5. Use Fertilizer Appropriately
  6. Manage Yard Pests
  7. Reduce Storm Water Runoff and it's Pollutants
  8. Provide for Wildlife
  9. Protect Water's Edge

To find out more information download our free

Tennessee Yardstick Workbook
Water Quiz!
The first person to respond with the correct answer to will win a $10 gift card to Lowes!

True or False: On average in the U.S., a person pays 25 cents per day for water.
Garden Tip #5
This is an ideal time to visit the University of Tennessee Gardens located on UT's Agriculture Campus along Neyland
Drive or The West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson, TN. Bring a notebook to jot down the top performers
that you may want to include in your garden next year.
Upcoming Events

Summer Celebration Lawn & Garden Show UT Extension, Jackson TN
July 12, 2012
Admission: $5.00 for adults; free for children 17 and under
At the University of Tennessee Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show, the mood is always festive. With thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers on display, plus exciting presentations, unique vendors and good food, it's easy to see why people love to come to this event, and why it was voted a "Top 20 Event" by the Southeast Tourism Society.
Last month's
 Water Quiz winner!


Congratulations to Diane Slover for being the first to e-mail back with the correct answer to last month's question!


The answer was True:

It takes 1,850 gallons of water to refine one barrel of crude oil.


Keep In Touch!
Ruth Anne Hanahan and Dr. Andrea Ludwig
TYN Statewide Co-Directors
Tennessee Water Resources Research Center
University of Tennessee
311 Conference Center
Knoxville, TN 37996
Join Our Mailing List



Hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July celebration!  We thought with all of this brutal heat it would be nice to start thinking about cooler weather and the fall garden! We recruited Beth Babbit, State Master Gardener Coordinator, to give us some tips, plant suggestions and something to focus on besides the heat!  Also, with the dry conditions it seems appropriate to look at ways to keep the  rain we do receive percolating into the ground! Shelby County Stormwater guru, Chris Masin, is doing a four-part series about alternative paving options that allow for water absorption. First up is permeable concrete! Who knew there were so many options!  Finally, Lyn Bales provides a timely article on  the importance of bird baths for our feathered friends. As for our summer plans, TYN will be taking a break next month to move into a new office and get some summer R&R so our next newsletter will be in September!   


Stay safe and cool and we will see you then!

The TYN State Management Team
Alternative Pavement Designs
(Part 1)

by Chris Masin, P.E.


In neighborhoods across the state of Tennessee driveways, sidewalks and patios have been constructed with the tried-and-true materials of asphalt, concrete and grouted tiles or stones. These impervious surfaces cause rainwater to immediately runoff instead of being absorbed by the ground. This extra water can cause ponding in your yard and can mean increased pollution and reduced groundwater supplies for your community.  In a series of articles in the next TYN newsletters, we will highlight alternative pavement designs for you to consider for your next landscaping projects.


Example of completed permeable concrete

The first of the alternative pavements presented is permeable concrete.  This is specially mixed concrete product with most of the "fines" removed from the mixture. Eliminating the small aggregates, like sand and crushed stone, creates pores that permit water to travel through the concrete, thus allowing stormwater to be filtered, detained, or infiltrated into the ground. The benefit to this product is that it can be used to reduce very large percentages of runoff. It can be designed to decrease from 60% to 100% depending on the volume of the stone reservoir underneath the pavement or the use of an underdrain pipe to carry away excess flows.  The system is only limited by the subbase configuration as infiltration rates of the material can be as high as 140 to 600 inches per hour. This design also has the benefit of filtering out some nutrients and most of the oils, heavy metals and bacteria in the runoff due to the amount of surface area or void space of the material.

The process of installing permeable concrete


The draw back to this option is that it requires a little more knowledge about the volumes and flow rates that each of the various sublayers and ground will handle. The installation process is critical to the proper functioning of the concrete; therefore it is recommended the average landscaper seek out an experienced and certified contractor for the work. For guidance on contractor selection the Tennessee Concrete Association or the National Ready Made Concrete Association are excellent references. The cost will depend on the quantity and mix design of the concrete used and the type and depth of base materials used. A rough price is about $4.00 per ft2  for the forms, materials, delivery and placement of the concrete and another $2.00 per ft2, or so, for subgrade excavation and materials. 


Chris Masin is a senior engineer for Shelby County, TN. Mr. Masin is the resent past-president of the Tennessee Stormwater Association (TNSA) and is well trained in low impact design (LID) and Green Development practices. Prior to joining Shelby County, Mr. Masin served for nine years as the Public Works Director for the City of Lakeland, Tennessee.


Beth Babbitt
Extending Your Bounties: Fall Vegetable Gardens

by Beth Babbit 



Cock-a-doodle-doo!  It is time for round two in the garden. Now that the dog days of summer are upon us we may consider sitting back in the shade of a tree or the air conditioning and plan the fall vegetable garden. Most folks forget that fall is one of the most productive and best times to garden in Tennessee, if you can just get through the hot days. Because it is so hot, you should take care to water and shade your plants, transplants and seedlings as they start to grow. Here are some simple tips to make the fall garden a joy: 

  1. Fall is a great time to garden in TN!
    Mix in compost before planting to provide nutrients and soil texture that holds more water.
  2. Plant to provide enough time for crops to mature by planting during the interval listed in the table below.
  3. Get creative -- use existing plants to protect new plants form the sun.  This practice is called intercropping. Prune the larger plants back to transition the new plants to the sun and eventually remove the older plants to supply nutrients and water for the new plants.  Once established, the plants should become tougher than your spring crop. You can also shade plants with cardboard or burlap (which can be wetted and staked).
  4. Mulch plants to regulate the soil temperature and moisture and to keep soil form crusting. If weeds are present, pull them or cover them with 2-4 layers of newspaper or cardboard before mulching or layering with grass clippings or compost. As leaves begin to fall, add ground leaves from the mower between rows. This will also help to improve soil for your spring garden.
  5. Water plants in the morning to allow them enough time to dry out.
  6. Most of the crops listed below are cold hardy but if a hard freeze comes, be sure to harvest the night before.

Many folks do not know they can extend the garden through the fall and winter so share these tips with your neighbors so that all can enjoy the bounty of fresh, nutritious vegetables long after those lazy, hazy dog days of summer. 


Quick Guide to Some Fall Cool Season Vegetables

*Spacing is based off planting for a small space garden or square foot garden.



Beth Babbit joined the University of Tennessee in June 2003, as the Urban Horticulture Specialist and State Master Gardener Coordinator. She is a former Extension Agent and Area Horticulture Specialist for The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.
Stephen Lyn BalesIn summer heat, birds need water

 By Stephen Lyn Bales



The bitter irony? We live in a state chock-full of rivers and lakes but, sad to say, for non-aquatic birds, water can be hard to find in the scorching heat of summer. Seasonal pools dry up, and birds need protected places to access water. Most do not swim; they need shallow pools they can wade into and splash around to cool off and bathe. They like a good dunking to keep each and every feather well groomed. Birds are fastidious preeners. 

Example of a water feature

Outdoor water features like shallow-ponds, mini-streams and fountains are becoming popular with homeowners. The sound of babbling water is inviting, even soothing to our urbanized ears.


According to Eastern philosophy, recreating the natural movement of water slows down our Ch'i (energy flow), which is highly beneficial for health and general well-being. To the Chinese, Ch'i is the circulating life force inherent in all of us. I know from personal experience that anytime I pause for a while by a gurgling mountain stream, a sense of peace lifts my mood.


Any little pool of water will make birds happy.

A ripple of water in your backyard will also attract neighborhood wildlife, especially birds that stop by for a drink or dunk. However, birds are unconcerned with the aesthetics, even a shallow plate, pan or pie-tin filled with clean water daily will lure many small passerines and, surprisingly, larger raptors as well. Over the years, I've received many e-mails and phone calls about bathing hawks.


One summer day, Chet Sewell, who lives near Melton Hill Lake, looked out an upstairs window and saw a bald eagle sitting on the middle tier of his large three-tiered fountain.  Yes, a bald

Imagine finding this Cooper's Hawk bathing in your back yard! Water features can attract all kinds!

eagle taking a bath -- not your typical birdbath bird!


The Chinese believe that Ch'i occurs in all things, so even wrens, chickadees, hawks and eagles, need a quiet place to cool off, have a drink and take a restorative splash to find their natural balance.



  • Birds need shallow, clean water to drink, bathe and cool down.
  • Water features can recreate a natural stream.
  • Even a simple pan, refilled daily, makes a much-needed birdbath.


Stephen Lyn Bales is a senior naturalist at Ijams Nature Center and author of Natural Histories and Ghost Birds published by UT Press. Visit his nature blog at


White Star SedgePlant Spotlight
White Star Sedge
 Rhynchospora colorata


Here at TYN we often work with rain gardens and since rain gardens have dynamic hydrological conditions we find ourselves in a constant state of trial-an-error. How well a plant performs depends on the location, sun, water and many other elements, and in rain gardens these conditions can vary greatly. As part of our learning process we have been monitoring plants in several locations to see how they fair. This month white star sedge is in full bloom and we decided to do a comparison on how it fairs in different conditions. 


Location #1: The University of Tennessee Low Impact Development Demonstration Area (LIDDA)

Conditions: Good, well drained, mulched soil that is often inundated with water and experiences very frequent pooling. It receives afternoon sun and morning/evening shade.

Outcome in these conditions: It went bonkers! It's going on it's third year of growth and it's growing so high and fast it's almost invasive! Notice in the photo below how it has gotten so tall it's falling over. It has grown exponentially and is achieving a height of over 3 feet, crowding out the robust cardinal flowers and blue lobelias.

That's some tall star sedge!! Location: UT LIDDA


Location #2:

Star sedge in TYN resident's garden in comparison to the UT LIDDA garden.

North Knoxville TYN residential rain garden

Conditions: Moderate soil (fairly high clay percentage) and experiences periodic inundation with extended periods of dry conditions.

Outcomes in these conditions: Planted two years ago, has sparse growth only achieving around 12 inches in height.


You just never know how a plant will react until it's had some time to establish itself.  We learn these lessons every day and will continue to share them with our readers. Also, keep in mind when looking at your own yard, if any plants are fairing poorly it may just be a matter of finding their "happy place." We will keep the experiments going and let you know what works best as we figure it out! 


Happy Gardening!


See Ya' Next Month!
Thanks so much for reading!
Check back with us next month for details on our new projects
and more tips on achieving a healthy home landscape.
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