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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dragonflies and damselflies were here first

They're called "odonates" collectively, but I'll just call them all Dragonflies (note the capital D).  The botanic order of Dragonflies is composed of dragonflies (lower case d) and damselflies.  They've inhabited the earth for over 300-million years, so they must be happy and well-suited in their little ecological niche.

There are over 5700 species of them, and almost all eat mosquito larvae voraciously, so they're good to have around. They can go from, 0 to 30 mph in about a second, particularly in pursuit of food, like a flying insect. North Texas has a lot of them, especially around water sources. For example, look for them perched above a birdbath, atop a branch, stick  or blade of grass.

WATERING PLANTS WHEN IT'S SUPER-HOT OUT. Plants suffer when it's extremely hot. Duh! Your bank account will suffer, too, if you water your plants  at the wrong times. Much of the water won't be available to help the plants either. On average, 50% of outdoor water can be wasted.

The reason is something we all understand and can't live without - evaporation (part of the concept of air conditioning). Watering your landscape at the hottest part of the day;  noon to about 5:00, leads to evaporation of much of the water. Far less water than you plan on will actually reach the plants, but it shows up on your water bill anyway. The very best time to water your north Texas landscape starts at around 5:00 a.m. (which usually calls for an automatic timer) to about 10:00 a.m. The next best time is between 6 and 8 in the evening.

Also, mulch your plants heavily. It can be done with dead leaves you raked up last fall, or store-bought mulch  Mulch slows evaporation and cools the soil for optimum growth in hot weather.


  1. I have captured a few of these dinosaurs this year. If you don't mind me asking, where did you see the Red?

    1. That image came from a friend who lives in N Illinois. She takes a lot of trips so I can't be sure where it was taken.