Native Plants to Promote Pollinators

February 16, 2021

Video Transcript

- [Julie] Before we begin, let's enjoy this farm food safety minute. - [Narrator] Most people don't realize just how small bacteria really are. In fact, over 500,000 bacteria can fit on the point of a pin. Most people may only need to eat about 1000 of some disease causing bacteria to make them sick. This means you could make 500 people sick with what can fit on that pinpoint. Unlike a lot of other things that make people sick, bacteria can reproduce and grow out in the environment. Bacteria reproduce by splitting in half. This kind of reproduction can make a small problem very large, very quickly. Let's imagine we have five bacteria that reproduce every 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, the colony of bacteria would be 20 bacteria large. After one hour, there would be 80 bacteria. Another half hour would grow the population to 320 bacteria. After a total of two hours, 1,280 bacteria would have formed. You can see how fast a problem can grow in the right circumstances. It's also important to remember that there are things you can do to slow this growth down. Bacterial grow best when they had their FAT TOM around. FAT TOM stands for Food, Acidity, Time, Temperature, Oxygen, and Moisture. Making these things unfavorable to bacteria will decrease the growth. The more of these you can make unfavorable to grow, the better your chances of producing safe fruits and vegetables. - [Julie] But at this time I'd like to welcome everybody. It's just been brought into the zoom meeting room. I hope you're in the right place. Our presentation is go be by Beth Clawson and it's called native plants to promote pollinators. And we still have a few more minutes and so people are still coming in. So we'll start promptly at noon. - [Chris] (mumbles) here. - [Beth] I'm gonna move to the next slide. Getting close to start time. - [Julie] All right, it's pretty, it's noon on my time. And so we'll go ahead and get started. Good afternoon. Welcome to the Michigan AG ideas to grow with virtual conference. Please note that this session will be recorded. Should you choose to leave your video on, just be aware that it may appear in the recording. And the recordings for all these sessions will be posted in a few weeks after the conference. During this session we ask that you remain muted and type your questions in the chat. If we have time at the end of the presentation we'll go ahead and ask you to open up your mics and create a dialogue. My name is Julie Crick and I'm a natural resources educator with MSU extension. It's my pleasure to welcome you to this session. And today we'll hear from Beth Clawson. But before we begin, I have a couple of housekeeping things. This session has been approved for RUP credits. If you're interested in receiving the credits, please ensure your name in zoom, includes your first and last name. You can rename yourself by clicking on the participant list, which is at the bottom. And then hovering over your name until there's options that will appear. Click the rename and rename again with your first name and your last name. This is how we will verify who has attended the sessions. Please also note that if you are applying for credits or receiving the RUP credits, you must be on for the entire session in order to get the credits, because we're recording we will be able to see that. And then at the conclusion of the session I'll share the information on how to get the credits. And again, thank you for attending. And Beth, I will hand it over to you. - [Beth] Thank you, Julie. Hi, I'm Beth Clawson. I am with the Michigan State University as an extension educator and the natural resources of water quality program. I'm also the coordinator for the Michigan Master Naturalist Program. And today we're gonna talk about native plants and pollinators. Although not exactly in that order. Before we start, Julie would you pull up the poll to do a quick poll. Find out how many youth are in the room with us today. So, it looks like we're mostly adults today. I think we had more youth yesterday because it was president's statement. we didn't have classes. Okay. Thank you for that. You may have to close the poll on your own desktop, if it remains open. That's great. It looks like we got a lot of folks that are own land and a lot of folks that are just interested. That's perfect. (clears throat) So just a quick review. This is science, if you remember your fifth grade science. What are some things that all living things need to survive, right? Well, we need food, right? And we need water. And we need shelter, and that includes clothing. And so if you're in your own minds, we're thinking of the human version of food, water and shelter. That does include clothing as well. That's a type of shelter. And we're gonna focus most of our talk on food and the pollinators that depend on that food. And then we will discuss water and shelter toward the very end to finish up. So food in Michigan depends on where you live and the amount of it. Our tropical regions support the most and the widest variety of flowering plants. And the further north geologically the less variety of plants and the fewer and smaller flowers available to pollinators. Helping to support what you can the further north you live increases both survivability of pollinator insects and the ability to thrive as well. And aside note, if you notice on this hardiness zone chart in the last 15 years, the areas that are labeled 6a and 6b, used to be five. And so just a side note that climate change has changed our zones in Michigan from five to six in the last 15 years. So pollination of course is how plants reproduce many of them, not all of them, some of them use wind, some of them use water and things like that. But plants that do reproduce through pollination, they can't move around finding mate. So they need help from the environment and in order to exchange genetic material. So millions of years ago, plants developed flowers to attract insects and other animals to help move the pollen from the male part of one flower to the female part of another flower. Other types of pollination like I mentioned are wind and water. And so trees, corn grasses used when some aquatic plants float their pollen on water. Of Course the result of this as we know, is fruit seeds and nuts. And we all live on these. And as well as many of the animals on our planet as well. And kind of play this helps to complete the cycle. Because by consuming these foods, we often consume the seeds and then the seeds are then dispersed somewhere else to restart a new plant and finish that cycle. If the seeds of course are crushed to this cannot happen. We also, human beings and some animals intentionally replant some of those seeds. Birds help a lot at this level as well. When there are fewer humans on the earth, excuse me. When there were fewer humans on the earth. We also spread the seeds from the fruit that we ate through our feces. Just like the animals did. So when we talk about the plant communities that we're gonna be discussing today. And what you may be interested in at yourself, they fall under four broad categories. We're also gonna talk about the different kinds of seasons which is important for when supporting pollinators and other beneficial insects. So the broad categories include forbs, which are also flowers or wild flowers, grasses and sedges, shrubs and vines and trees. And you could even go broader and lump shrubs and vines and trees all together as woody. And in some cases, they're woody ornamentals, if they're in your yard as part of your landscaping. But you also want to consider those kinds of plants that, if you look down the left-hand of the column, spring, summer, fall, winter. We want those kinds of plants that are gonna bloom throughout the season because we're supporting pollinators. And pollinators, the majority of our plants as we know, bloom in the spring, some bloom in the summer and very few bloom in the fall or winter. And so we're gonna be looking for plants to include in our landscape that will bloom throughout as many seasons as we can get them to bloom. Of course nothing in Michigan blooms in the dead of winter but witch hazel could trick us and bloom early spring or late fall, going into the winter time. Which is a nice, and it's a nice understory plant. So if you have a woody or woody yard, that's a nice plant that you can put, that can tolerate some shade. So when we're planting, we're gonna be targeting 70 to 80% of forbs or wild flowers, 20-30% graminoids, which is the grass and sedges. And then we're gonna choose a diversity of plants with different bloom periods to provide continuous flowering throughout the year. We have an amazing diversity of pollinators on the planet. There are 200,000 species of animals that act as pollinators throughout the entire world. We will talk about three of these groups primarily. The honeybees, native bees and then some general others that are readily available in Michigan or the Western States for example. They're not super abundant, but they are there. Native bees we have around 400 to 450 different species that live in Michigan. There's over 200,000 worldwide. These are also in decline just like a honeybee. When we think of birds, we don't just think of chickens. So when we think of bees, why do we just think of the honeybee? So we need to broaden our perspective of, when we think of bees, think of all the bees, as opposed to when we think of birds, we think of all the birds, not just a chicken. But chickens and honeybees are both farm animals. When you think of it in those terms. So insects and plants have co-evolved and are dependent on each other. And we in turn are dependent on them. We are a part of nature, not apart from it. So just wanna kind of throw that out there. So some of the other pollinators and besides bees include moths, beetles, wasps, some primates, some rodents. We have a lot of bats, especially when it comes to cactuses and things like that. They are birds in the tropics and in the southwestern states. They're common pollinator some of those(indistinct) plants. So what are some of the things that are affect pollinating plants or insects and animals? They are poor nutrition, pesticides and pests and some pathogens. Poor nutrition for example, makes it more difficult for bees and other insects to both detoxify when they're exposed to pesticides, if the pesticide didn't kill them. That are includes other asides like herbicides and fungicides as well, can make them sick. And makes them so that it's harder for them to fight infectious diseases. Pesticides the sub lethal effects of pesticides, make it more difficult for them to forage. It confuses them and weakens them. And then of course that's when the weakened animal now it becomes a succumbs to diseases, parasites, parasitic attacks and then ultimately dies. Because diseases and parasites are opportunists and they are going to take advantage of any weaker organism. So as I mentioned a few slides back and plants and animals have co-evolved and we depend on each other for survival. Some are plant specific examples. For example, the koala and the eucalyptus trees or night blooming flowers and moths. They're very specific. Many are specific for rearing their young, many butterflies are specific to a plant for rearing their young. The monarch is the first one that comes to mind for most of us. And that depends on a milkweed to raise their young. Others are generalists. Apple blossoms for example, there are many blossoms an apple tree. And that plant of course attracts a wide variety of pollinators. There's very few specific insects or animals to an apple. And more kinds of plants that are in the environment, the more diversity there is, the larger the community of pollinators and beneficial insects that can be present, and the more stable the ecosystem. And why is this true? This is true because if there's a wide variety of plants available in one plant dies succumbs to a disease for example, there are other plants there that continue to fill the niche and meet the needs of insects and animals. And if there's only one plant in a monocrop and that dies succumbs to a disease, there's nothing to fill that in. And then we'll cover that a little more later. In this slide for example, we look at there's lots for sale. This is common. This is common everywhere. This is a planet wide problem. Lots 14 and 15 are for sale. What's going to happen when these lots sell? Is somebody gonna put a subdivision in there? They're gonnna clear it out, they're gonna build factory, they're gonna level it and farm, what's gonna happen? So if you look to the left, so which is better, let's guess for that one. Which is better for the outcome of native species of insects, animals and pollinators. The lots to the left or the lots to the right. So you can see, the difference in approach to managing their land. And so what's the outcome, right? Who has less grass to mow? There's no flowers on grass. And most lawn grass is nonnative. And there's nothing there for food, for animals and insects. So this can be stabilized, of course the ecosystem reducing food, shelter and other resources. In this picture, just to kind of a picture says, a thousand words kind of thing. Shows a comparative image of, if you have pollinators and if there are no pollinators. What are food choices would be available to us? Sort of driving home the importance of supporting those insects in the environment. The entire diet of a bee is from flowers. If there are no flowers, there is no food for bees. Almost all species of bees rely on pollen as their only source of protein. So this is critical. And so if they bring bees in, so when we, many farm practices bring bees in and when the flowering season is done, move the boxes of bees out to a new area where there's more flowers. But what about all the other species of bees that remain behind? Again, the bee is not a chicken. There's not one(chuckles). The European honeybee is one species out of hundreds of species. And we need to consider supporting all the rest of those. So poor nutrition. Poor nutrition is here in this, So let's take a minute and just explore that a little bit further. There's an impact of humans on the landscape. And the suburban yard, how many species of plants do you see there? There's grass and a tree. And in the neighbor's yard? There's grass and a few more trees. In this field, it's a hundred percent grass. Yes folks, it's corn, corn is grass. (laughing)It's a grass. We eat grass, even we eat corn. It's good, I just had grits for breakfast. It's awesome. But we gotta have it. And so how do we manage for it? So corn has wind pollinated. It's not pollinated through the use of bees or other insects. There are 225 million acres of corn in the world. That's a lot of food desert when it comes to bees looking for food. So how can they change this? How has a landowner or a farmer, can you help support pollinators? Where you can improve your fence roles. Planting around the edges, increasing diversity, can improve health and benefit in both situations. Additionally, planting around your fence rows with native plants will attract other beneficial insects that will act as predators toward many of the things that would want to attack your food crops. In some areas it's feast or famine. So the feast is there when all the flowers are in bloom. So again, this is a modern crop. But when they're done blooming, there's no food left. While we've moved the honeybees out, but we didn't support anything for the native bees or other beneficial insects. And so there's this, and at the end I'm going to give you a list of bulletins that I have available. And so, we encourage many fruit orchard owners to replace the grass between the rows with native plants, flowering native plants. And so in that way, clover for example or alfalfa could correct this imbalance as well as both of those plants will fix nitrogen in the soil and thus reduce fertilizer inputs. So you can replace the grass that was not used to be a common practice to put between the rows with clover or alfalfa. You can fix nitrogen and reduce fertilizer inputs. So it serves both purposes, gives you more flowers for the bees. So as humans we are constantly developing landscapes that remove flowers from the environment. And so in some areas it's mostly famine for our pollinators. As our populations continue to grow and the more natural resources humans require, take leaving less and less for the very wildlife that we depend on. This is especially true, if we view that a plant is a weed, many of our native plants are viewed as weeds. And they're in direct competition with our crops or gardens. So let's look about chemicals for a second. If we must use chemicals there's a few recommendations that we have. And that is focusing on reducing exposure to pollinators and other flower loving insects. First check to see if the predatory insect that you have has moved it in at all before you start managing your problem. Don't just start using a pesticide based on a time schedule. Look at the time schedule and go. This is when a pest may move in, look for that pest, and then see if a predator has moved in, ladybugs, lacewings, wasps, et cetera. They can manage your problem naturally. If it's not widespread or just pocketed then just treat that pocket. Don't treat the whole field. Spray at night when it's cool. Pollinators are not active at night. They're usually only active during the day. So if you spray it later in the evening, if it's possible. Then those pollinators are not out of bound. Avoid using chemicals when flowers are in full bloom or there's a lots of them blooming nearby or avoid spraying near blooms. Use a minimum recommended dose. More is not better. Stick to your package directions and go with the least amount that will be effective to manage your past problem if you're using pesticides. And then of course, use the most specific chemical possible to control the target pest. So don't use a broad way range, avoid using broad range kills everything, fungicide, herbicide, pesticide combo product. Use a specific product for the specific pest that you wanna treat and treat that pest in that area. Spot treat it as best you can. Plus it will save you money, because you're not treating the whole field, now you're just treating where the problem is. Weak pollinators of course, get sick and die. So reducing any of the resources leaving the leaves a weak, then they become susceptible to disease and other parasites. This is where we're experiencing colony collapse. It's this combination of things. It's not all one thing, it's a combination of things. What are some actions that you can take? You can reduce exposure to pesticides, which you I mentioned already. Plant more flowers. Promote pollinator policy and research and advocate for changes. If you live in a community, especially if you're in a gated community for example, there may be some rules that say you can't put native plants in your front yard because it looks messy. Or(laughs) you have to add X number of part of your lawn must be in lawn grass or something like that. You can advocate for changes. You can advocate for zoning changes. If there's restrictions that keep you from able to put in native plots or replacing landscape plants with native plants. That's something that you can do. So let's focus then today on just one action. Let's focus on just installing plants. You can plant them anywhere. You can replant and leave nature. You can replant where plants were taken out, like replacing grass. Or you can leave it to nature and let nature just sort of take over our fence roles for example, if we stop mowing there's probably enough plants as, in what we call the seed bank to replenish many of our native wild plants. We would have to monitor for invasive species of course. And then of course restore your shorelines. If you live on a Lake or a stream edge, restore your shorelines with native plants. Stop mowing right to the water's edge. There's no need for that much grass right up there. Plus it'll help control and reduce the erosion on the shoreline. Plant or replant more trees. Restore the land back to the forest, is one of the best options in some areas. Conserve land to protect it from developments. If you have some land and you can put it in a conservation program, I encourage you to do that. Convert your lawn or part of your lawn back to a native state. How much grass you really need to mow anyway? Can you give up part of it to put it back in a native state? Will the neighbors complain? Can you connect part of your lawn with the neighbors and have you both put a native state between you? That would expand the size in both directions. And then of course change your idea of what constitutes a weed or a bed bug. Bees, the spiders and wasps are not bed bugs. But those are the bugs we love to kill the absolute most. So, I'm just saying (laughs). Instead of reaching for a kind of insecticide spray to kill whatever's flying around in your house, reach for a flyswatter. It's faster 'cause it can take up to 30 minutes for a chemical to kill a bug and your shirt's dead. (laughing) Or a shoe, shoes were good too. Flowering perennials can be put in any small space. They're attractive. They can be used as a specimen plant and you can put them in the tiniest of places. I'm not sure about you, but how many of you have actually seen a dandelion growing in the crack of the sidewalk? They're tenacious. They will grow where they can set down seed and find a tiny little bit of soil. So, how big a space you have, whether you live in the city or you have large land in the country, you have a place where you can install native plants. So we also recommend that you group them in threes. If you have a smaller space or are considering re-landscaping or just incorporating into your already existing landscape. Think about putting native plants together in at least a group of three or more. This increases diversity. So by increasing diversity gives them some options and attracts different pollinators Plant native plant, bright perennial varieties. They'll provide the most for pollinators and be best adapted to your local environment. Again, I can't mention diversity often enough, this will support more pollinators and give them a more complete diet option. Flowers that bloom at different times of the seasons of course gives them seasonal food throughout the three growing seasons if you're in Michigan. Avoid hybrid varieties. They may still be a wild type in a sense but they often don't provide as much pollen. And then of course, caution about growing mints greens. Mints do really well. They attract a lot of pollinators. The problem is they'll also get completely out of control in a smaller garden and then you'll be forever fighting mints. I personally ran into that issue with the oregano. The bees love blooming oregano. They're all over it. Problem is, And it grows very well in Michigan too. Problem is oregano is of the mint family and I wind up ripping out barrels of it every spring just to keep it in check. So they are aggressive growers and will scape your garden. So here's a just a quick list of, there are more extensive lists available of course of native plants that will both attract pollinators and beneficial insects. But MSU website at www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/plant facts, is a nice one-stop shop for items that can help you plan for installing natives. And these plans of course it's their best bee mix. Is what they call the best bee mix (laughs) at their website. But these are just a handful of plants that I chose, that I know or have seen personally to work well, to attract native insects, pollinators and beneficials. So sweet alyssum for example, grows kind of low to the ground but that's okay if you're looking for ground cover type. Some of them are bigger. So you just need to balance it out. And surprisingly enough, strawberry makes a really great ground cover. So rethink the use of certain things in your garden to both attract beneficial insects. And of course it provides a fruit, right? So think of it. Think of strawberries, as a lovely ground cover that I can use as a living mulch under my roses for example. They will do very well there. Pollinator shrubs. Again we're looking at those Woody ornamentals. There's a lot of natives out there. Roses, surprisingly do bring in a lot. They're not native but we do have some native roses as well. So you can consider both . Some of the other recommendations are potentilla, new jersey teas, spiraea, all attract a wide variety of insects, not necessarily honeybees. And then of course rethink your landscape. So for example, we're all very fond of forsythia. Forsythia is one of the first flowers abroad bloom in the spring. It's a bright yellow, they're everywhere. They're not food. Not really. And so if you look at our native alternative which is a spicebush, it provides a same yellow flower, blooms at a similar time of the year, but also supports a native butterfly to spicebush butterfly, which is a swallowtail. And it provides berries to support other wildlife as well. Birds and squirrels are particularly fond of the spicebush berries. So you can rethink what might be recommended by a store with what could support that as a native. And if you talk to your conservation districts they often have plant sales every year in the spring and they usually will have a list of native plants that will help you to replace what would be a non-native in your landscape. And additionally, the spicebush tolerate shade and wild locations much better than a forsythia does. And again, don't forget other plants that are native raspberries and blueberries are native to Michigan, as well as strawberries. And so you can incorporate those into your landscape, where they grow, of course the right plant right place. Don't put it in some place where it won't grow. Blueberries do prefer a lower pH or more acidic soil than other plants. So if you do have acidic soil that you're dealing with, blueberries might be a good choice. And there're dwarf varieties as well. And they can be grown in containers, which makes it easier to, if you need to manage the pH in soil, dwarf varieties of blueberries for example, can be grown in containers. Deciduous trees are the most common flowering ones of course. The species of tree that supports the most insects. And of course, all of our birds, I'm just gonna back up a little bit and not go with pollinators. But if you also liked to attract birds to your yard, all bird species even the seed eaters, feed their young insects. Because when they're babies, they can't handle the hard seeds, unless it's a morning(indistinct) sort of grind it up in their gullet and give them back a milk, but with exceptions from the rule, right? But most all birds species do feed their young insects including hummingbirds, oaks support some of the largest numbers and varieties of insects of any tree that we have. Plus they give you a nut for other wildlife. Hickories the next black gum or tupelo is another recommended tree. It has a lot of flowers and produces a fruit that is popular with birds and squirrels. The hophornbeam creates an interesting flower, looks a lot like a hops since its name. And of course serviceberry. Serviceberry doesn't create a large tree, it's a smaller tree. But if you're looking at a street tree for example, then you're gonna, maybe you want a shorter tree, if you live in town and you want something shorter than wires. And so the blackgum is a really slow grower, that also makes a good street tree. The tupelo as well tolerant salt. And gives you a really beautiful fall color. So it's two choices, the serviceberry is more shrubby blackgum makes great street tree. Water is one of our other essential ingredients, right? We have to have or essential survival needs. And so you can put water out for bees. You can, actually purchase a bee watering station commercially, if you want. Or you can just create a moist area where insects and bees can land without drowning and have access to water. They'll try to get water from a bucket in your yard but they'll also drown in there if they get caught. And that also becomes attractive to mosquitoes. So you wanna create a watering station that will both provide water safely and not attract mosquitoes. Recall what all organisms need to survive. Remember we talked about food, water, shelter. But they also need to thrive. So beyond surviving, surviving just means I'm alive. I can stay alive. But the thrive we need to look deeper into what that organism needs. And in order to thrive, we have to live out not only our fullest lifespan in a healthy way, but we also have to have the resources to be able to reproduce and create babies or lay eggs, which takes more energy, more nutrition, more resources. And then of course create the next generation. And then that way our species continues on. And that's ultimately the goal of absolutely every organism from the smallest microbes to the largest tree or the largest animal and everything on the planet. We're not only wanna survive, but we want to thrive, we want to reproduce. That is our primary hard wire in every living thing. So we're gonna look at where they're gonna nest. They're gonna nest in the soil. That's also housing, right? Housing and nesting sites. They're gonna be in hills, there's one in the lower left corner where it's not only in the soil but it's in the slope or side of drop away. They will be especially bumblebees, will frequently make a nest in an old mouse burrow in the ground. Snag trees. This is a snag tree in my own backyard. And the bumble bees are the carpenter bees go in there, they drill in, they make their nest in the trees and then the wood packers come by, know that the bees are in there(laughs), dig them out for food and create a bigger hole and then now we have a nest in there for birds to to raise their babies in. But snag trees by definition are dead trees. People don't want them and frequently remove them, take them right out because they're ugly and unsightly. But really what they are in Michigan is a condominiums for organisms. And so you want, if you can tolerate them, I say if you have a dead tree leave it. You don't have to leave all of them, but leave what you can tolerate. And so briefly, beneficials are at risk. And it's kind of up to us to help keep them around longer 'cause we need them. We can help if we install more native plants anywhere we can, as many as we can. Select a wide variety for blooms in every season. Plant trees, plant more flowers, they have more flowers per square foot. So if you don't have a lot of space but you can plant a single tree, think of a flowering tree and give them some vertical. Rethink what you think a weed is. Native wild flowers are weeds to many people but they're not when it comes to native insects and pollinators. Advocate for change where needed. If you can step up at a meeting and say, hey we really need to rethink what our rules are for landscaping, do so. And then provide resources not just for them to thrive but also to survive as well. Okay, and here is my list. I don't think I can, oops. I will copy and paste that list. Let me leave it up there for a second. I will copy and paste. I think I have it on a sheet of paper. We'll get that in the chat before we're done. And that's the end, whoops, wrong direction. The end of what I have to say about that. But it is a cliff hanger because we're not done, right? We still have to do our part. And so if you have any thoughts, ideas questions of in the chat, you can hand now or open up your mic and ask a question. - [Julie] There are a couple of questions that were posed early on in the chat. And so this is Julie. I'll go ahead and read those to you. Sorry. Melanie asked, how do we reconcile broad spread impacts of pesticide and herbicide used on monocultural agriculture with ecological health? - [Beth] Yeah, you know that's a huge question. (laughing) I think that, I think you so the first step would be education, right? Learn all we can learn and educate those around us. And then the next step would be to educate for change. It depends on how strongly you feel about that. We still want to eat. We still want tomatoes that are unblemished. We still want apples that don't have apple scab. So depending upon, so we would have to make a whole societal change in order to change farming practices. I think farmers would be happy to apply less pesticides herbicides, fungicides or whatever because that'll save them a ton of money. But not if you want a perfect apple. If you won't buy an imperfect apple then they have to make that apple perfect so you will buy it. So it's sort of a catch 22. We have to change how we view, what we want to eat and what it should look like. Do we want lettuce with snail bites in it. Or do we want lettuce with no holes perfectly. Once that changes, then the farmer, then our agricultural industry will certainly be able to change along with those expectations. I don't know if that's the best answer but that's the only one I got. - [Julie] It was a tough question. - [Beth] It is a hard question. - There's another one here. For flowering invasive species like morton flowers or rose or autumn olive which would appear to be cherished in many ways by pollinators, are they beneficial or should we kill these species? If we use herbicide, how does that affect wildlife? - I personally at a personal level am against invasive species where we can control them. So even though they may attract some pollinators they're not food for many of our native insects. Butterflies and moths are the first ones that come to mind. And so, if it's not a large patch and you can remove it, remove invasive species. Garlic mustard will attract the pollinator but garlic mustard will also, out-compete the diversity of what's in our woodland and create a monocrop. So, it behooves us to remove garlic mustard in order to preserve the diversity of the forest for. - Okay, fair enough. And then Renee asked about wild grape. She says the wild grape causes diseases on the farm and it's haunting insects that she has to spray for. - Yep, and that's a problem with a lot of uncapped, unmonitored, cropping situations. Blueberry farms, wild grapes, some wilds that promote disease. If you are a farmer and you have these growing near you, yes, it's gonna be to your benefit to remove those wild types because they're not being, or treat them when you treat your crop. There's two options. They do bloom with the same time and you do have fields of grapes that are blooming. So I'm gonna say, it's your personal choice as a viticulturist to manage how you need to. I know that in an example, where I live over, I live on the west side of Kalamazoo and we're in blueberry country here. And it was not uncommon for some farmers to treat neighboring abandoned blueberry fields just to keep them in check, so that their blueberry crop would be preserved. You gotta do what you gotta do. It's your business and it's your livelihood. So I'm certainly not gonna tell you not to do anything that's gonna impact your ability to big money. And I think most farmers that I know, care about the environment. They care about conservation. They care about wildlife and animals. Otherwise they wouldn't be growing things. And so it's the balance you have to find to make it work. - Okay. There's another question here about, if you want to reclaim a grass landscape to native perennials, is there an effective non-chemical strategy to increase the perennial competition to overwhelm the grasses? - Yeah, so it's called get out there with a spade and dig it all, (laughing) it involves a lot of hard work. You can do a sodbuster thing and just remove all the sod seed on top of it and hope that it overtakes the grass. But a good prairie is gonna be a large percentage of grasses and in any way, mother nature, her and I are always at odds. She insist I should have more grasses in my garden than I want. So I'm forever pulling out her grasses. She's forever putting them back in. - And so we are coming to near the close of the end of the session here. I am going to remind everyone to complete the session there and I'm putting that in the chat right now. And that will also be where you will find your link to your RUP credits. There'll be a QR code at the end of the survey that will provide you a link to your credits. So we just got the other links in there too. - All the links in the chat were just dumped in as a yeah, so, I think you can copy and paste that into a word doc. - You should be able to copy and paste that into a word doc one and two. Thank you everybody for coming today. And so with that, I'd like to thank Beth for a wonderful presentation. Thank everybody for all your participation in questions today. I hope this was a beneficial presentation. And thank you so much. - Thank you everyone. - Am gonna plug one thing. I'm seeing a lot of master gardeners here. Remember this session qualifies for continuing education credits. So, this session was from 12:00 to 12:45 so you can lock up to 45 minutes, okay? - Thank you Chris. - Thank you very much. - Bye bye everyone. (upbeat music)

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