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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Owls; the best rodent killer there is

Great-horned Owl

  An owl    kills its prey by driving its razor-sharp talons in deeply. The prey (usually a field mouse, rat, snake or squirrel) then dies quickly from a punctured (whatever it is). The pressure a Great-horned Owl or Barred Owl (both seen in north Texas) exerts with its talons is a phenomenal 250 pounds per square inch (“psi”). Compare that to the pressure I (an ordinary male) can squeeze with – around 80 psi.  Maybe 90 if I’ve had a good breakfast.

 However, YOU could kill an owl just by using a poisonous/chemical rodent killer. Many brands of rodent poison aren’t finished when they kill a rodent; any creature that eats the rodent’s carcass (often an owl) is poisoned too. That’s a shame since an owl may kill and eat dozens of pests per day – at no cost or danger to you.



PLANT AHEAD!!            This the very, very best time for planting in north Texas (all but tender flowers).  From late September to about Thanksgiving is the prime time, unlike up north. (Spring planting is a silly custom held over by transplanted northerners) Of course, you won’t see any above-ground growth now, but the roots will be growing like crazy, so in a Texas spring the plant can spring right into action.
Red Yucca
The reason is mainly due to frozen earth. Up north the earth can freeze solid to a depth of 3-6 inches (often all winter long), making root growth impossible. Here, however, the earth rarely freezes, even then it's only to about half an inch deep and only for a day or so. So roots here can grow all winter long, and in the spring a plant can literally "burst" forth.

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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