Posts tagged acorn

Flood damaged trees

Jan and Howard Holten tear up when they discuss the trees that were damaged by floodwater surrounding their home in the Time Check neighborhood in Cedar Rapids.

Howard, 74, is an expert woodworker and some of his creations, including a plant stand, survived the flood and were moved to their new home, a trailer near Westdale Mall. Jan, 68, has been trying to do what she can to clean their flooded property, at the same time caring for their adult daughter, who suffers from disabilities, even while Jan is feeling the health effects of the stress and respiratory problems.

She recalls making jelly from the Concord grapes that grew on their property, which she would hand out to children. The couple hope to save one tree to move to one of their son’s homes. A small burr oak should survive the flood stress and be able to be transplanted. They got the acorn to start the tree from Burr Oak, Iowa. 

Howard lost his wheelchair in the floods and even more devastating to him, his saws and other woodworking tools. They hope to start a new life in their new neighborhood, but can’t plant any trees in the trailer park, one of the aspects they will miss the most about their old home.

For more on the Holtens, and what you can do for your flood-stressed trees, see the article in today’s (Tuesday, Sept. 16) Gazette. Trees Forever of Marion will have a workshop Saturday to help.

If you had a special tree that was damaged or lost in the floods, please add your comments below.


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Harvesting winter squash

Richard Jauron, Horticulture Specialist at Iowa State University Extension, offers timely advice on harvesting winter squash:



    Harvest winter squash when the fruits are fully mature. Mature winter squash have very hard skins that can’t be punctured with your thumbnail. Additionally, mature winter squash have dull-looking surfaces.

   When harvesting winter squash, handle them carefully to avoid cuts and bruises. These injuries are not only unsightly, they provide entrances for various rot-producing organisms. Cut the fruit off the vine with a pruning shears. Leave a 1-inch stem on each fruit.

    After harvesting, cure winter squash (except for the acorn types) at a temperature of 80 to 85 degrees F and a relative humidity of 80 to 85 percent. Curing helps to harden their skins and heal any cuts and scratches. Do not cure acorn squash. The high temperature and relative humidity during the curing process actually reduce the quality and storage life of acorn squash.

    After curing, store winter squash in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. Storage temperatures should be 50 to 55 degrees F. Do not store squash near apples, pears, or other ripening fruit. Ripening fruit release ethylene gas which shortens the storage life of squash.

   When properly cured and stored, the storage lives of acorn, butternut, and hubbard squash are approximately 5 to 8 weeks, 2 to 3 months, and 5 to 6 months, respectively.

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