This fabulous idea has no one to credit. It’s been passed down so many times that somewhere along the way, the originator became anonymous. I tried tracing is back, but with no luck. These little white porcelain insulators, normally used for electrical fencing, are great tools for prairie work. We Dremel numbers, alphabets, and/or a combination of both on them.
We use them to help us locate specific plants in the prairie after a burn. We create a system that all insulators are placed north, south, east, or west (your choice) of the plant, then a colored marking flag on a wire is stuck thru the center of the insulator. During the growing year and in years there are no prescribed burns, the flag is easily spotted. But, after a prescribed fire, the flag generally is burned up, leaving a thin piece of wire only. Thankfully, the insulator is still there and usually still pretty white. It’s easy to find so you can replace the flag. If you make field notes from them, the engraving is easy to see, just wipe your dirty glove over it and the dirt will get into the grooves and highlight the numbers or alphas. I use them for marking transplants as well as my reed canary grass (RCG) spots. Since it takes years of working on RCG clumps, I don’t want to lose sight of them because I didn’t have them marked properly before a burn! One clump can turn into many in a single year, but that’s a whole other subject!!
Necessity was at work here. A friend of mine, Sally, gave me this idea. She needed some markers for her garden and since we don’t live in a place where running to the store for a small errand is efficient, we are creative. Digging through her barn, she found some old mini blinds. The slats are a great width for marking garden rows and they are easy to cut. You can make them any length you like and cut them in half for marking smaller items such as seedlings in pots. They work wonderfully and can be used year after year without rusting.
Liquid dishwashing soap
A simple idea, but effective. If you use aqueous herbicides, put a few drops to a squirt in your container with the mixture. It will help the herbicide cling to the leaves, giving it longer contact, thus making it more effective.