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Sunday, August 30, 2015

September is crucial for our hummingbirds; they need your help


 
 


We are about to enter a very critical period for north Texas hummingbirds. Our hummingbirds will leave us toward the end of this September to start their fall migration to Mexico and Central America.  The quality of food you put out has nothing at all to do with the time they depart (it’s totally genetic – spurred by length of day). But the nectar they get in September can mean life or death.

The hummingbirds need to put on all the energy-producing fat they can in order to successfully make the long flight, which is mostly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. Without enough fat stored up, they may not make it!
 
This is why September is so critical. Put out feeders filled with clear, fresh nectar (none of that red stuff), helping them “pork up” for the long migration, and encouraging them to return to your yard next spring. 

 

What’s with all the leaves falling?  All trees (except for cone-bearing tree like pines) are losing leaves in our current hot/dry weather. It may be showing up stronger this year because of the cool and super-wet spring. It's basically a normal adjustment in the tree’s transpiration system. When it's extremely hot, plants can lose more moisture going out from the leaves than the root system can pull up from the ground. Thus the trees even things out by dropping some foliage. It’s nothing to be alarmed about.

To counteract this flood the entire root zone well and then wait as long as you can without the tree wilting before watering again. Your tree should be fine. It is more serious if the leaves are turning brown and staying on the tree instead of falling off.

 

            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 the 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 Yost87@charter.net in Denton.