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Fighting the "Dust Bowl" disaster

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

From 1930 to 1940, parts of the Midwest were decimated by dust storms; the former grass covered prairies had been depleted of nutrients and couldn’t resist drought. In March of 1935 a dust storm darkened Washington, DC, when the head of the Soil Erosion Service was begging Congress to fund programs to address this crisis, which they did with handkerchiefs held over their noses. As a result, President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration planted over two hundred million osage orange trees in hedges measuring over 18,000 miles. Missouri’s Department of Conservation offers this tree as part of its seedling distribution program each fall – you take your chances on getting a male or female tree – male trees are preferred as they don’t spread through the hundreds of seeds in female fruits but stay where they’re planted.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.