Garden Word of the Day
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Achemon Sphinx Moth
If you grow grapes, you will want to learn to recognize the achemon sphinx moth.
While the achemon sphinx moth larvae do not generally cause a lot of damage, their populations are cyclical and boom years can lead to severe defoliation. During heavy population years, a single vine may be home to 500 worms. A large worm can eat as many as 9 leaves in 24 hours, so it doesn’t take long for a vine to be devastated.
Achemon sphinx moths, like other sphinx species, are large, fast flying moths with narrow wings. They are sometimes mistaken for night-flying hummingbirds, as sphinx moths are able to hover.
The achemon sphinx moth (Eumorpha achemon) larvae look very similar to the tomato hornworm, only they can sometimes be orange or brown. They average 3 inches in length when full grown.
When working your grade vines, simply keep a look out for these heavy feeders. If you notice an exceptionally heavy infestation, you may want to notify your local Cooperative Extension Office.
Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen through tiny closable holes normally found on the underside of leaves. These holes are called stomata (singular stoma).
On either side of each stoma are two guard cells. These guard cells use osmosis to fill themselves with water (or release it) to close (or open) the stomata. Each evening, when photosynthesis has halted, the stoma close up shop for the night and reopen in the morning. As temperatures rise and water becomes more critical, the stoma will close. Each stoma is connected to a series of air spaces within the plant. Air diffuses through these spaces, delivering carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. In effect, plants hold their breath when it is too hot for them and they do not have enough absorbed water - no wonder they wilt!
Stomata control water flow
One really amazing aspect of stoma behavior is how they control water flow within a plant. Chemically, water will always move from areas of high humidity to areas to low humidity. When a stoma opens, it creates a bubble of high humidity. This exhaled moisture evaporates or is pulled away. Due to surface tension, more water is pulled out of the plant. This action works its way down to the roots, which then pulls water from the soil! This is how plants absorb water from the ground!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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