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Scientists measure tree cleansing powers in city carbon emission tests

dr rowan fealy

dr rowan fealy

Instruments capable of measuring the ability of surrounding trees and vegetation to consume carbon dioxide emissions have been located at sites across Dublin as part of a joint research initiative led by scientists from NUI Maynooth and University College Dublin. The idea is to understand how different types of urban landscapes cope with carbon dioxide (CO2)emissions, and how planners might create ‘carbon neutral’ or more sustainable city developments in the battle against carbon emissions.

The instruments, which also measure wind, temperature, humidity andsunshine, record the CO2 concentration of the air as it passes by. They have been fixed on masts above Marrowbone Lane (an urban site with little or no surrounding trees or vegetation), and above St. Pius X Girl’s National School in Terenure (a suburban site with plenty of surrounding trees and vegetation). A third instrument has been fixed to a mobile mast that can be located at different locations around the city. This will allow the scientists to measure the impact of heavy traffic and other key factors involved in the local carbon cycle. The instruments will be in place for 3-5 years.

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Globally, cities contribute about 80% of CO2 emissions attributed to human activities, but the nature of these emissions is rarely studied. Through this research the scientists hope to better understand the urban processes that give rise to these emissions and to determine the ability of particular urban spaces to capture CO2 after its generation. According to Dr Rowan Fealy, Department of Geography & ICARUS at NUI Maynooth, until recently, these types of studies were not made in urban areas as they were regarded as far too complex. “As a result, scientists have tended to estimate the CO2 emissions based how much fossil fuel is used. However, measuring the flux allows us to see the link between urban landscapes and their role in generating or consuming CO2,” he says.

“While industry, traffic and other fossil fuel burning activities act as sources of CO2 emissions, trees, through the process of photosynthesis, remove carbon from the atmosphere,” says Dr Gerald Mills, UCD. “In many urban areas, the absence of trees means that CO2 that might otherwise be captured in the city, drifts into the wider atmosphere and contributes to global climate change.”

*unfortunately when this press release was sent there were no contact details and no images attached…. normally I’d bin it that being the case – but it is a nice story. I did contact two of the people mentioned but… I got one answering machine and one simply rang out.

UPDATE: jan 21st 2010

I have just received an email from Dr Rowan Fealy who very kindly emailed the images now used above. The first image is of Dr Rowan with the devices at Marrowbone Lane in Dublin. The second is the instruments at Templeogue in Dublin.

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Cycas Revoluta

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The Cycas or Sago palm, cycadaceae, is a genus of about 15 species. This one, the C. revoluta is better known as the Japaneese sago palm.

These are another batch of plants I spotted in the Cape Garden Centre.

It is generally a very robust plant but with age it tends to begin to lean over, begin suckering and branching out. The leaves can grow to 1.5 metres long. And surprisingly, possibly, this fella only ever grows to a maximum of about 2 metres in height and width…. which kind of explains why I didn’t see any taller versions of it 😉   

The flowers are dioecious [carry both male and female flowering parts seperate]. The male parts [16″ long but up to 32″ long in other varieties] are cone like and pineapple scented whilst the female parts [8″ long but up to 30″ long] can appear as loose clusters of leaves but in C. revoluta appear as yellow fruits.

Personally I love them simply for their foliage.

      

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November In The Garden

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It is that time of year… some say it’s bloody depressing. But I like it. I don’t know why particularly… maybe it’s that I get home [a little] earlier… maybe it’s that I get to burn the timber that I have mamaged to amalgamate over the last eight months or so… I don’t know. 😉

To the garden… mine and yours, this is probably the most important month/ season, for me, in the entire calender. It is what I do here that will pay most dividends come next season. So once again, this is what will I be doing in my garden this month and what I recommend you do in yours…

new plant trees trees ireland trees dublin

Top of my list is my trees. I’m now in a position where they can be cut back without all of that foliage in the way and so some crown raising will take place [removing of the lower branches…]. I’ve also got a batch that served a purpose until the others surrounding them matured and so I’ve got to move some and relocate others… if I don’t do it this year I am literally up the creek and next year it will become an impossible task. Stakes and straps at the ready….

berry fruits birds fruit cotoneaster-1

With the trees in mind and leave fall in place… it is time once again for the bird feeders to go back out. That and I need to get some other types of berrying plants into the garden to help those birds who don’t go to sunnier spots for their winter hols. Looks like a trip to farm supplies shop is looming….. or do I still have some in the shed…

In other news…. 😯 The apples on my trees had started to drop. It is at this point that the apples are about as ready as you will get…. I’ve picked them all now – except for the smaller fruits [about the size of a plum as they won’t taste so good – best leave them to nature]. Once again when the leaves fall off some select pruning will be required, removing dead and diseased wood and then the branches that over cross each other. If you planted yours in the last two years  make sure the straps and buckles aren’t too tight.

winter-colour colourful pots cyclamen 

If you are looking for some instant colour you’ll find there’s tonnes of it to be found – don’t those pots just cheer you right up 🙂 Some instant colour – from the plant department can however be bought in the form of ornamental cabbages and cyclamens. Add them to existing beds that need a little sprucing or redo those hanging baskets you took down last month…. g’wan you deserve to treat yourself!!

hedges lavender creative

Outside of that you [and I] still have to get those hedges cut… the plants still need to be trimmed back… and with that done… the mulch has to go down. This will leave the garden pretty much with its groove back on so it doesn’t look like a brand spanking new hair cut… more a well maintained garden, come Nanny & Poppa calling around for turkey and mulled wine for the celebrations December 25th 😉

Finally, trees and bulbs!! and finally [finally 😆 ]… herbs. Crop them and what you can’t dry store… pop them in ice cube trays… pour water on top and freeze. You’ll need them for cooking that big bird in a months time and believe me there once you move from dry herbs to fresh…. you’ll never go back. 

Have I forgotten anything…. leave me a note and I’ll add it to the list.

Enjoy!

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Autumn Colour…

Can you imagine if every house in Ireland planted just one tree, how beautiful would this country look….

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I really do love this time of year.

Last week I was walking down Griffith Avenue and being honest it almost brought me back to my childhood days of not that long ago…
I used to love the leaves on the ground and absolutely hated it when people swept them all up and made the place look tidy. When I saw the piles I was one of those ‘little terrors’ who kicked them all over the place and most likely got an ear clipping for it 😆
Sidetracking slightly, Jane Powers who does the Irish Times garden column, this weekend wrote about the beauty of autumn colour. A great read. Bulaidh bós Jane.
You see, landscaping, well more the trends [?] took a turn for the worst in my opinion over the last few years. Trees, if not all then most definitely the larger members of the family were not allowed. They became surplus to requirement. Some, quarantined them in the high maintenance category. So much so that I find it hard to find [for example] a ‘conker tree’ in North County Dublin…. which is why I went to Griffith Avenue 😉 [I also visited my older brother who lives just off and had some home made chocalate pie and real coffee….]
But its not until, maybe, one sees a tree in its finest splendour through a season that one thinks…. well maybe I would like one of those. And with that in mind tree planting season is almost upon us…. Now is the time to decide that you would like.
Can you imagine if every house in Ireland planted just one tree how beautiful this country would look. If you don’t plant one…buy one for somebody you like to brighten their day up… then go and admire their one… or rake some leaves up and allow the kids to kick them all over the place…. 😆
As a by the way…. autumn colour is brought about by a build up in sugars from warm temperatures during the day and then a cold night where the sugars are held in the leaf.
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Coral Spot

coral-spot

coral spot

caused by the fungus Nectria cinnabarina these almost illuminous orange pustules [about 1mm diameter] take over the surface of the bark a little almost like having the measles…. [if you know what I mean] except for plants.

How they get there is quiet simple… affecting living or dead material the spores enter through damaged or necrotic wood and are usually spread by rain splash or/ and also from cutting/ pruning tools that haven’t been cleaned properly.

There is no real/ chemical control for this. But good garden hygiene is generally the best place to start. In it does infect, prune back to well below the last piece of infected material.

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