Issue 16:  December, 2012 
In This Issue
Alternative Pavement Designs
Holiday Crafts
Garden Tip #1
As long as the ground is not frozen, you can plant trees and shrubs in your landscape. Be sure to mulch transplants and keep them well watered.

Helpful Links


TYN Website 





 Garden Tip #2
Prune trees and shrubs that are dormant or rejuvenate overgrown shrubs by severely cutting them back. Keep in mind that if you prune spring flowering shrubs, like azaleas and forsythia,you are pruning off their spring flowers.
Garden Tip #3
Remove heavy layers of stray leaves that may have accumulated around perennials. They can mat down and smother perennials, and they promote rotting.Use those leaves in your compost!

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:


Right Plant, Right Place


Manage Soils and Mulch


Appropriate Turf Grass Management


Water Efficiently


Use Fertilizer Appropriately


Manage Yard Pests


Reduce Storm Water Runoff and it's Pollutants


Provide for Wildlife


Protect Water's Edge


To find out more information download our free

Tennessee Yardstick Workbook
Garden Tip #4
Empty the soil from your container gardens. Add the soil to your garden beds or to the compost pile. Clean, sterilize, and store the pots. They will be ready for planting next year.
Upcoming Events 


Stay tuned for upcoming Rain Garden Workshops in the spring!!  We will be posting them on our website and Facebook.
Garden Tip #5
Continue to keep bird feeders full. Word will get around, and many visitors will come to call during the winter months if you provide a steady supply of suet and seed!
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

Happy Holidays from all of us here at TYN! To wrap up this year, we have the third in the series of informative articles on Alternative Pavement Designs by Chris Masin.  David Vangergriff provides the foundational principles for Integrated Pest Management or IPM, setting the stage for future how-to articles on this approach to managing the less-than-desirables in our yards.  To top off this newsletter, we bring you a little holiday crafting fun by our extraordinarily talented AmeriCorps member Katie Walberg! You need go no farther than your own back yard for these craft supplies.  
As always check out our seasonal garden tips in the sidebar and don't forget to periodically check our Website and Facebook page for upcoming events!
Wishing you and your family a warm and wonderful holiday season,
The TYN State Management Team


 Alternative Pavement Designs (Part 3)

by Chris Masin, P.E.

Most driveways, sidewalks and patios are constructed with impervious materials like asphalt, concrete and grouted bricks.  These impervious surfaces cause rainwater to immediately runoff instead of absorbing into the ground.  This extra water can cause ponding in your yard and can mean increased pollution and reduced groundwater supplies for your community.  This, the third article exploring alternative pavement designs, focuses on Porous Paver Systems.


Example of interlocking blocks with spaces.

Paver systems are impermeable blocks made of brick, stone or concrete, but unlike typical paver installation the joints are not grouted in.  The pavers typically come one of two ways.  Interlocking blocks have spaces or holes within the individual pavers themselves and fit together in a pattern.  Standard pavers are just individual blocks that are laid in a pattern with larger spaces between them.



Example of individual blocks with space between.

As with all of our porous pavement options the base must be able to infiltrate the water coming through.  A typical installation would use a base of 4" deep course washed stone (3/4" dia. or TDOT Grade E) with a 1" deep layer of masonry sand on top.  If the area is large or is expected to collect run-on from other areas, an under drain of 4" plastic perforated pipe can be used below the sub-grade.  If the grid is to be filled with soil or sand for grass, a layer of filter fabric should be placed over the base to stop the base from clogging.  The joints on individual solid pavers should be at two to three times wider than typical grouted joints.  Interlocking blocks are designed to be placed touching each other.  Infiltrate rates for this kind of system are less than pervious concrete or the plastic reinforcing grid pavements covered in articles 1 and 2, but will handle flows of one to three inches per hour.  Maintenance is minimal and requires periodic sweeping or blowing of leaves and grass clipping off the surface and refilling of the voids every few years.

Beautiful examples of porous paver system options.

If you use store-bought pavers, this system will cost a little more than pervious concrete or plastic reinforcing grid for the surface, but will save you money using less materials and time preparing the base.  Typical installation cost would range from $5 to $10 a square foot.  The greatest advantage to this system is that a variety of shapes, colors and patterns can be incorporated into the surface to tailor the look from highly formal to a casual garden.  Let your imagination run wild and check back in the spring when I will cover Hollywood Drives and other aggregate surfaces. 



 Is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) an option for your yard?

By David S. Vandergriff, Extension Agent Knox County

Each year a growing number of people are concerned about pesticide use in their landscape and wonder if there are viable alternatives to conventional pest control strategies. Integrated Pest Management or IPM is mentioned in our TYN materials but you may not be sure if it is the best fit for your individual situation. I hope this provides you with a better understanding of what IPM is all about and if it is right for you.

Heavy pesticide usages in dense neighborhoods can be problematic.


Let's start with the definition of IPM which is the selection, integration, and implementation of pest control based on predicted economic, ecological, and sociological consequences. IPM is rooted in production agriculture where the economic consequences of pest control were of primary concern. For many of us managing urban landscapes, the ecological and sociological consequences are our primary concern. Since our TYN program is founded in protecting and conserving our water resources, IPM is a sound management program for us to consider. So what are the fundamental principles we need to be aware of for the successful implementation of IPM?
One thing to note is potentially harmful pests will continue to exist in our landscape. Total eradication of all pests is simply not practical or even achievable. The management objective we strive for is to maintain the pest populations below a damaging level. Since we are encouraging beneficial organisms to help us, we need to leave them a little food, and
The landscape is an ecosystem
a small population of pests will serve that purpose.


Next we should look at the entire landscape as the management unit and consider it an ecosystem.


Environmentally friendly insecticides

The next step in implementing IPM in your landscape is to maximize the use of natural control agents. Understanding the great diversity of organisms in your landscape and being sure you manage in a way to preserve and enhance the beneficial agents you may already have will be beneficial to this process.

The fourth principle of IPM management is that any action you take may produce unexpected and undesirable effects. This could be as simple as a fertilizer application you apply to make a plant grow but results instead in an attack by an insect or mite because your plant is now more desirable.
Finally, the implementation of an IPM approach is multidisciplinary, bringing together concepts from multiple fields of study that together can be highly effective. In a sense, its multifaceted dimension reflects the intricacies of Mother Nature and the many relationships that comprise the web of life.


IPM is an approach we can all do.  It initially takes a little observation and research, and sometimes a willingness to ask an expert for help, but the process can also be quite rewarding. So let's end our discussion with a key IPM action and in our next issue we'll discuss it and others in more depth.
Step number one: Simply observe 


Make as part of a weekly ritual a walk around your yard noting the health of your plants (e.g., curling leaves, bumpy stems) as well as the conditions of your landscape (e.g soggy areas). Consider starting a garden journal, noting your observations along with the date, time of day, and weather. In many cases, a poorly performing plant may be the result of its location being ill-suited for that species. With your yard notes in hand, you can more adeptly describe your situation to your local Extension agent who can help you get to the root of the problem or who can refer you to someone who can.


If you think IPM is a good fit for your landscaping needs stay tuned for our spring article Putting IPM into Action that will provide more information about steps you can take in your landscape. In the meantime check out these websites for more information.


Holiday ornament made from Iris leaves
Holiday Gifts made from Spent Iris Leaves!
By: Katie Walberg 






It's that time of year again, the Holiday Season!! Looking for some fun craft or gift ideas for this holiday? Well we have one that is fun, functional and benefits your garden. This year we are trying our hand at making ornaments and baskets out of....spent iris leaves! These leaves

The dreaded Iris borer

are incredibly strong. When they die back in the fall and winter, it is the perfect time to harvest. Clearing these dead leaves away has the benefit of removing the dreaded Iris borer eggs that hatch in the spring. Also, keeping the dead leaves away from the rhizomes keeps other iris damaging pests away like slugs and snails. Not only is it a great practice to remove these leaves but, hey, you can use them to make nifty festive gifts!

Left: Irises before maintenance; Right: Irises after brown leaf removal
Collected Irises

Step One: Collect spent iris leaves 


Any type of iris will work; I collected mostly Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris leaves. Just make sure they are tan or brown. They should be fairly easy to pull off of the base of the iris or you can cut them off. The Siberian Iris leaves are much thinner and allow for a little more ease in weaving but they are so small I just clipped them off about an inch from the base.


Soaking Iris Leaves

Step Two: Soak iris leaves in a mild bleach water solution

Soaking the iris leaves keeps them flexible and easy to use for weaving. You don't need to add bleach, but I decided to go ahead an add a little bleach to the water to help with some disinfection. The leaves seemed to have quite a bit of dirt and some mildew on them that made for a very earthy smell. Using a little bleach did not seem to harm the leaves at all and it helped clean off some of the mildew and dirt. After soaking in a mild bleach solution, rinse the leaves off and you are ready to start weaving.

Step Three: Find a substrate 

Left Image: Bamboo shoots  

Right Image: Wire

A substrate is just what you would use to create the initial structure of the basket or ornament. I tried a couple of items: thin bamboo shoots, rosemary branches and morning glory vines. I also thought it would be cool to just get some wire and use that as well. Really anything that is flexible and can be tied together to form the base of the basket will work. I enjoyed poking around my yard and considering different items.

Step Four: Creating the structure  


Example of using bamboo shoots as a substrate.
This is probably the trickiest part of the whole project. First determine an approximate size and shape and whether it is going to be a basket or little ornament. I stuck to pretty small baskets and ornaments so each piece was about 12" or less long. For best results tie two of the spokes together to make an odd number.
Tie two of the spokes together for easier weaving.
This allows for an alternate weave. It's o.k. if you keep the number even, you just have to weave back and forth. After completing the first pass, you would start wrapping the leaf in the opposite direction. This can get a little goofy if you're not paying attention so starting off with an odd number will alleviate some issues from the beginning.

Step Five: Weaving  


There are many options when weaving. I stuck with

Example of weaving

a nice easy over and under method. Start by tying together where everything intersects in the middle. Then begin at that point and alternate weaving over and under each spoke. For a super strong basket, braid the iris leaves together in a long strand and use that to weave. Continue this process until you have the desired shape. If you are trying to make a bowl, weave a flat base and then start tightening each layer to pull the sides into a bowl shape. The wet leaves make it very malleable so it's fairly easy to squish into shape.


Step Six: The handle


After you have gotten the bowl to the desired size, it is time to add in the

Example of wrapping the handle

handle if you want one. Take a piece of your substrate (i.e. bamboo, wire, etc.) and gently insert it alongside one of the spokes still sticking out on opposite sides of the basket.


A completed basket with handle

When the handle seems like it is in the correct place, take a wide iris leaf and begin wrapping it around the entire handle from one

Example of finishing off the handle at the top of the basket

end to the other. Leave some extra leaf on each end to finish off the part where the base of the handle meets the basket.


Once you have the handle completely wrapped, take the extra iris leaf and stitch it in a cris-cross fashion over-top the base of the handle and the first top rows. (See illustration to left)


Step Seven: Finishing the rim of the basket  


When you get your basket or ornament to the desired shape you will have to finish off the edges. Take the excess spokes or substrate and carefully bend them over(see example below). Then take a nice wide iris leaf and wrap it over and under the last row you completed holding down the bent spoke. Continue this until the entire edge is completed and then tuck in or tie off any excess leaves. Note: When you start to run out of leaf, add in another on top of the leaf that has almost run out. This will allow you to keep stitching until you have finished the rim. I usually start adding in a new one when I have about 4 inches left.

Example of finishing the edge of the basket or ornament


Viola!! Now have at it! Feel free to decorate with beads or any other festive adornments, get creative and play with shapes and sizes too. I had way too much fun playing around with this project. Here are some ornaments I made.



And Baskets!!!


A variety of basket sizes and materials



It gets pretty addictive!! Have fun and remember, mistakes add character! :) Happy Holidays

See Ya' in the Spring!
Thanks so much for reading!
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