Giant tree forests need 59″ rain per year to form


Tree canopies come in two main heights ~82′ and 131′. They form in tropical and temperate regions but only if the yearly rainfall is consistently 59″ or more

Rainforests are among the most charismatic as well as the most endangered ecosystems of the world. However, whereas the effects of climate change on tropical forests resilience is a focus of intense research,the conditions for their equally impressive temperate counterparts remain poorly understood,and it remains unclear whether tropical and temperate rainforests have fundamental similarities or not.Here we use new global data from high precision laser altimetry equipment on satellites to reveal for the first time that across climate zones ‘giant forests’ are a distinct and universal phenomenon, reflected in a separate mode of canopy height (~40m) world-wide. Occurrence of these giant forests (cut-off height > 25 m) is negatively correlated to variability in rainfall and temperature. We also demonstrate that their distribution is sharply limited to situations with a mean annual precipitation above a threshold of 1500 mm that is surprisingly universal across tropical and temperate climates. The total area with such precipitation levels is projected to increase by ~4 million km2globally. Our results thus imply that strategic management could in principle facilitate the expansion of giant forests, securing critically endangered biodiversity as well as carbon storage in selected regions

A Global Climate Niche forGiant Trees

Medicinal plant map of US 1932

Medicinal plant map of the United States of America. Published by the National Wholesale Druggists’ Association

The David Rumsey Map Collection has made this map, small version shown, available in many sizes, spend some time wandering around the Extra-extra large one on their site.

If you browse the collections you’ll find several maps of trees, forests, agriculture, climate, and things of interest for gardeners and non-gardeners.

Kosmik Kaktus ?


When ever I go to a home warehouse store I wander through the plant section. Sometimes I get lucky. These caught my eye. How could you miss those colors?

I tried to find information on the company but all I could find were blog and forum entries. If you look closely at the turquoise blue one front and center it appears the newer part of the leaves are growing out green. I’m guessing the plants are just painted? idk?

Kosmic Kaktus has been trademarked by Altman Plants in Calif

If you like these, why not? I’ve certainly done worse things to plants over the years. Might be a fun way to horrify your neighbors?

National Invasive Species Week

Feb 26 – Mar 2, 2018

Do you know what’s sneaking into your garden?

National Invasive Species Awareness Week
Texas Invasives
Aggressive Invaders in Texas
Texas Dept of Agriculture, Noxious and Invasive Plants
The Woodlands Invasive Species
Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

What traits make introduced plants likely to be invasive?
Similarity of introduced plant species to native ones facilitates naturalization, but differences enhance invasion success

Water storing crystals and carnivorous plants

July 14, 2014
I only recently heard about water storing crystals and couldn’t find much information on them. I had hoped I could grow my carnivorous plants indoors with out a terrarium using the crystals.

I planted a new batch of carnivores in nothing but crystals, with in 24 hours the plants had mostly dried out. I am not sure if this is due to the lack of a terrarium, the crystals or both?

I took most of the crystals, put them at the bottom of a terrarium, put a thin layer of moss on top and replanted the plants. We’ll see how that works out.

Looking at the photos, you’ll see the healthy batch of carnivorous plants right after I placed them in the crystals, and the same plants dried out quite a bit just after I transplanted them into the aquarium.

July 15, 2014
Some one on a forum claimed the water crystals super heated some container plants she had, every one told her that wasn’t possible. The two terrariums with the water crystals became significantly hotter than the other ones today. I took pity on the plants, rescued them before they cooked. They are currently outside in a mix of crystals, peat moss and sphagnum moss. I wouldn’t use the crystals in a terrarium that receives a great deal of sunlight.

Sept 6, 2014
I have a bunch of flytrap and nepenthes seeds germinating, some on peat moss, some on water crystals. As soon as I see some progress I’ll post back here on how they do. * These failed to grow while the ones in moss or peat moss thrived under the same conditions.

* The house humidity ranges from a high of 45% late at night to a low of 41% in the late afternoon. The temperature is about 79’F this time of year. The plants are in a south west facing window and I’m in Houston so they are receiving a long, high intensity amount of sunlight each day.

* The crystals typically last 3-5 years but are broken down by heat and light, and carnivorous plants love both. So they may not be practical for carnivore plants.

Super-absorbent water crystals

Experiments with water storing crystals

I tripped across water storing crystals by accident and could find no information about planting plants straight in the crystals. So I potted two orchids in them today and we’ll see how they do?

You can purchase colored and different sized crystals to use in floral arrangements.

Probably one tablespoon per plant is more than enough. Next time I use them I’ll mix them into the soil or container dry, add the plant, then add the water. It was pretty messy soaking them then trying to get them in the containers and around the roots.

Several companies make them not all use the same formula. Some are polyacrylamide hydrogels (dissolve, last 3-4 months), some are cross-linked (not dissolvable, last 3-5 years) both seem to use potassium. The crystals are in the cross-linked group.

Exposure to heat and light breaks the crystals down, so if you have plants in sunny locations, bury the crystals in the soil.

The best results I’ve seen reported by gardeners is to put the crystals and some dry medium ( pebbles, styrofoam etc ), and soil at the bottom of the pot and soil above.

It turned out not to be a good idea for house plants.

The crystals didn’t work out for house plants. They had to be watered much more often rather than less. The water crystals took up the water but weren’t so good about giving the water back up. They were especially bad with the orchards potted in mulch. They formed clumps blocking the roots from getting air.

Super-absorbent water crystals

Galveston Master Gardeners release publications for Gulf Coast Gardeners

The Galveston Master Gardeners have released six publications to help you with your gardening.

Butterflies of Galveston County
Thumbnail Guide for New Gardeners
Bilingual Guide to Yard Care
Ambrosia from Your Backyard
Herbs for the Upper Gulf Coast
Our Edible Landscape

Download a pdf or purchase a copy