The European Honey Bee and our 4,000 species of native bees in the U.S. have suffered dramatic losses to their populations due to a combination of many factors. Since bees pollinate a significant portion of our food crops, this is a problem that affects all of us. Without bee pollination services, many of our common fruits, nuts and vegetables would no longer be available.
Most of our suburban and urban landscapes offer little in the way of nectar and pollen sources which bees depend upon. …
Here are some easy ways to increase the health of the ecosystem in your landscape. If you have more tips, please let us know.
1) Reduce or eliminate your lawn – it’s an ecological desert.
2) Focus on increasing the health of your soil – it’s filled with life! Compost is king for many soils, not fertilizer.
3) Eliminate synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Use organic counterparts sparingly, and carefully, if at all.
4) Support beneficial insects with appropriate native plantings….
Still wondering what to plant this spring? How about boosting the ecosystem in your yard with some native woody plants. Replace invasive, exotic plants in your yard with some regionally native plants. Check out the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower plant database to see if the plants suggested below are native to your area. Give me a shout if you need some help for your area.
And, let us know what natives you are planting in your yard this spring.
Remove: Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia Alata)
Plant: Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
Remove: Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Plant: Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Remove: Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Plant: Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Remove: White Mulberry (Morus alba)
Plant: Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
Remove: Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
Plant: Apple Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)
Remove: Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Plant: Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Remove: Princess Tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
Plant: Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Remove: Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica)
Plant: Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Remove: Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Plant: Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina)
Remove: Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
Plant: Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Remove: Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Plant: Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Remove: Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
Plant: Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
Remove: Russian Olive (Elaegnus angustifolia)
Plant: Groundsel (Baccharis halimifolia)
Remove: Autumn Olive (Elaegnus umbellata)
Plant: Silverberry (Elaegnus commutatus)
Remove: Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Plant: Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana)
Remove: Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum)
Plant: American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum)
Remove: Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinensis)
Plant: Arrowood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Remove: European Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Plant: Possum Haw (Viburnum nudum)
Happy Spring Planting from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!…
Approximately two-thirds of the bird species found in the U.S. are migrating birds. Some migrants travel great distances while others don’t go far at all. The farthest travelers are the neo-tropical migrants which breed in the U.S. in the warmer seasons and then travel to Mexico, Canada , South America, or the Caribbean to overwinter. When they return in the Spring they are hungry, tired, and preparing to breed. You can provide them with much needed resources by planting a bird-friendly EcoBeneficial Garden….
There are many, many reasons to use native plants in your landscape. One great reason is to support the caterpillars of butterflies. If you don’t feed those caterpillars, you won’t support the transformation of caterpillars into adult butterflies in your landscape.
Adult butterflies eat mostly nectar found in flowering plants, and most adult butterflies use a variety of plant species to nectar from (“nectar plants”). But the caterpillars of butterflies are another matter altogether. Caterpillars eat the plants themselves, mainly the leaves….
A flourishing garden begins with healthy soil – it’s your ecological starting point. A simple soil test will help you determine key things like: what plants will thrive in your garden (and what won’t), whether you have heavy metals or toxins in you soil (important to know if you are growing edibles), and how much organic matter your soil has (vital for many woodland plants). Armed with this information, you can make better planting decisions and have greater gardening success.
Most gardeners and landscapers skip the very important step of doing a soil test,…
Vernal Witch-hazel aka Spring Witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is one of our earliest blooming native shrubs, flowering as early as January, but often in February or March. Its orange, red or yellow flowers can appear while snow is still on the ground, and hug tightly onto the leafless branches. The spicy, sweet fragrance of the flowers will often lure you even before you spot the showy flowers. This hardy plant is native to rocky stream banks and sand bars Ozark plateau of Missouri,…
Many of our wild birds are seed eaters and will appreciate a backyard buffet planted with beautiful native grasses. The planting you do this spring will pay off next fall and winter when those birds are looking for scarce food resources.
Our native grasses are not only attractive, but they are highly useful in our backyard (and front yard) ecosystems. They provide functions above and below ground, crowding out weeds, providing support to perennials, adding nutrients to the soil, offering nesting and cover to beneficial insects,…
We all know the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) because of its amazing ability to produce that golden liquid, honey. But, did you realize that there are more than 4,000 species of bees which are native to the United States?
Native bees vary tremendously in size, color, habitat, nest types, how they feed their larvae, etc. Native bees also have life styles which are different than honey bees; most native bee species are solitary, although some native species (bumblebees) are social. …