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NEWS
April 21, 2013
This week our SoCal Garden Clinic turns to problematic avocado trees: Question from reader Steven Klein of Malibu: In November 2011, I planted a 3-gallon Lamb Hass avocado tree on a slope with full sun about 90% of the day. Despite my ineptitude, this tree continues to survive, although it has lost several branches and 65% of its leaves. There is some sign of new growth, and I would like to help it along, even though it may take several years. A similar mature avocado tree existed in the same general location for years and did well with almost no care until it was consumed by fire.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
March 23, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
There's no clearer sign that state environmental regulators have failed to protect public health than the warning issued this month to parents living in the shadow of the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon: Don't let children play in the dirt in your backyard. Tests of 39 homes and one preschool within two miles of the plant revealed that all had levels of lead in the soil that should trigger health evaluations. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause children to develop learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
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NEWS
June 28, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
Furniture maker Cliff Spencer's workshop in Marina del Rey is a long way from where Paul Vander Werf lives near Trona, northeast of Ridgecrest, Calif. In Trona, the area averages fewer than 4 inches of rain a year. The topsoil is high desert hard pan that bakes in summer and freezes in winter. When filmmakers want a location to convey a world without water, they go to Trona. Vander Werf moved to the high desert after 10 years in rainy Hawaii, so he wanted solutions to the difficult growing climate.
NATIONAL
March 21, 2014 | By David Zucchino
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Yanking aside a tree branch, Jason Watson peered into a waterlogged trench. He pointed out discolored metal drums sunk halfway in the water. "Blister agents, choking agents, blood agents," Watson said, listing the array of chemical weapons inside thousands of metal containers that were buried on this 38,000-acre base after World War II. Watson is part of a team charged with finding, identifying and eventually cleaning up 17 long trenches that snake for six miles, crammed with World War II chemical agents and munitions.
HOME & GARDEN
November 7, 2009 | Ilsa Setziol
You've built a raised bed or set out some pots. Before you plant, you've got empty space to fill. Here are three experts' suggestions for the best potting mix: Mel Bartholomew is Mr. Square Foot Garden, author of the 2005 Cool Springs Press book "All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!" His blend calls for equal parts peat moss, vermiculite (or perlite) and compost. Concern over the sustainability of peat moss has prompted some gardeners to substitute coir, which is fiber from coconut husks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 25, 1993
A series of storms has saturated the soil in many areas, causing landslides that destroyed or damaged homes in San Clemente, Pacific Palisades and elsewhere. Here is a look at why seemingly stable ground can begin to slip. A. When rainfall is less than 4 to 6 inches, over a short period of time, there tend to be few problems. B. When rainfall reaches 6 to 10 inches, soil starts becoming saturated and can absorb less water. Small mudslides with a few feet of soil washing away can occur. C.
NEWS
August 16, 2013
Question: I live in San Diego and am trying to grow horsetail reed as a hedge in front of my fence. I water three times a week and have added fertilizer. The horsetail reed grows tall, but then it dies. A few plants are surviving, but they are not flourishing. My yard is a xeriscape design with decomposed granite as the ground cover. My yard designer installed irrigation, and the plants get direct sun until early afternoon. I love this look and need to know what I'm doing wrong.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 19, 2011 | By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
Garn Wallace has the dirt on Los Angeles' underside. "The best soil is in the center of the San Fernando Valley. Closer to the hills you have a high clay and rock content," he says. Downtown Los Angeles is sandy. Soils next to freeways are laden with lead and other toxins. Wallace should know. Along with three of his children, he operates one of the city's busiest soil-testing laboratories. Their clients range from backyard gardeners curious why their vegetable patches aren't producing fat tomatoes to commercial landscapers who oversee planting programs worth thousands of dollars.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 2013 | By Martin Hsai
"Symphony of the Soil" is a documentary on the advantages and the necessity of farming organically: without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge and genetically modified seeds. It's far from one of those propaganda films that hammer their messages home, though. It does have a point of view, but the intended conclusion ripens for the picking in a roundabout way. You certainly have no idea what it's getting at during its National Geographic-esque primer on the evolution of soil, the different types of soils, nutrients contained and organisms that thrive within.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 27, 2013 | By Jessica Garrison
State officials have ordered a Vernon battery recycler to begin testing dust and soil at properties in the neighborhoods around its plant to see if dangerous substances have gathered there and are posing a health risk to the community, officials announced Tuesday. The order comes a few months after the state Department of Toxic Substances Control was thwarted in its effort to temporarily shutter the Exide Technologies plant on the grounds that it posed "an unacceptable risk to public health.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2014 | By Martha Groves
Seventy feet below Wilshire Boulevard, cater-corner from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's street-lamp installation, fresh air roaring from giant ventilation pipes dulled the sickly sweet smell of petroleum. Amid the clatter of jackhammers and the whine of a mini-excavator, paleontologist Kim Scott scouted the tarry muck for relics from a long-buried beach. She had plenty of choices. Major construction on the highly anticipated Westside subway extension won't begin until next year, but an exploratory shaft dug at the corner of Ogden Drive to assess soil conditions for future stations and tunnels has burped up a bonanza of prehistoric swag.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Dean Kuipers
We generally think of climate change as a story of sky - of emitted gases, of atmospheric carbon levels, of storms. Author Kristin Ohlson would like to direct our gaze earthward, to take a long, hard look at the dirt beneath our feet. We may have overlooked a solution there. In her sometimes breathless but important new book, "The Soil Will Save Us," Ohlson lays out a thesis that farmers and climate researchers have been talking about for decades: that a change in farming and forestry techniques could sequester enough carbon in the ground to not only mitigate but reverse global warming.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | By Jessica Garrison
Officials plan to hold a community meeting next week to discuss elevated levels of lead found in soil at homes and a preschool near a battery recycling plant in southeast Los Angeles. The findings have prompted officials to issue health precautions and order expanded testing in more neighborhoods. State officials said the initial testing of 39 homes and apartments as well as two schools concerned them enough that they ordered Exide Technologies to create a plan for more testing and to protect children and pregnant women living in the area.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2014 | By Jessica Garrison
Elevated levels of lead have been found in the soil of homes and a preschool near a battery recycling plant in Vernon, prompting officials to issue health warnings and order more testing in adjacent neighborhoods. State toxic waste regulators said the initial results from 39 homes as well as two schools concerned them enough that they have directed Exide Technologies to create a plan to protect children and pregnant women living in affected homes, as well as perform the additional testing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2014 | By Jessica Garrison
Elevated levels of lead have been found in the soil of homes and a preschool near a battery recycling plant in southeast Los Angeles, prompting officials to issue health precautions and order expanded testing in additional neighborhoods. State toxics officials said the initial testing of 39 homes and apartments as well as two schools concerned them enough that they ordered Exide Technologies to create a plan for more testing and to protect children and pregnant women living in the area.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - A coalition of organic farmers, nutritionists and environmental justice activists is jumping into the rough-and-tumble politics at California's Capitol. The California Food Policy Council, a network of 19 groups around the state, wants to persuade legislators to pass laws that would support sustainable agriculture and safeguard soil and water quality for large and small farmers. The idea, organizers say, is to make healthful, affordable food options available for low-income urban dwellers, schoolchildren and others.
NEWS
August 25, 2000 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Children were evacuated from three villages in southern Ukraine after soil in the surrounding area was found to be contaminated with poisonous chemicals, officials said. More than 330 people, including 170 children, have been hospitalized after being exposed to nitrate poisons in the soil in the past three weeks, health officials have said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 16, 1994 | DEBORAH SCHOCH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
After inciting a fracas in two states, hundreds of tons of DDT-tainted soil dug from a South Bay neighborhood will travel by truck to Texas to be incinerated, officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday. That decision comes after Arizona residents raised vociferous objections to having the soil stored in Phoenix, with some insisting that it be shipped back to California. Now, EPA officials are clearly hoping that an incinerator near Port Arthur, Tex.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 25, 2013 | By Tony Barboza and Jessica Garrison
As if the task of transforming one of the city's most notorious housing projects into a new "urban village" wasn't daunting enough, Los Angeles has run into another hurdle in the redevelopment of Jordan Downs: concerns over contaminated land. City officials earlier this year approved a plan to spend up to $1 billion to turn the often dangerous Watts housing development of 700 derelict units into a mixed-income community of up to 1,800 stylish new apartments. But the plan hinges on building the first phase of the new community on 21 acres of former industrial land that is laced with lead, arsenic, oil and cancer-causing industrial chemicals from its past use as a steel factory.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 2013 | By Martin Hsai
"Symphony of the Soil" is a documentary on the advantages and the necessity of farming organically: without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge and genetically modified seeds. It's far from one of those propaganda films that hammer their messages home, though. It does have a point of view, but the intended conclusion ripens for the picking in a roundabout way. You certainly have no idea what it's getting at during its National Geographic-esque primer on the evolution of soil, the different types of soils, nutrients contained and organisms that thrive within.
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