Edwina von Gal’s RADICLE Thinking
Tagged with "Summer"
July 23, 2019
On Beyond Milkweed
Now that everyone LOVES milkweed, what’s next? Milkweed only serves one insect, the Monarch Butterfly. You can do more! How about adding some other historically “weedy” native wildflowers to your garden and expand the pollinator banquet? How about Thistles? They provide pollen, nectar, leaves and seeds for hundreds of insect and bird species. They are beautiful and structural, and seriously deer proof! There are some invasive ones and massive eradication programs have pretty much wiped out the good with the bad, so...
Do your bit for the good ones, get to know your thistle.
If the answer to ALL these questions is NO, you probably have a native, let it be!
Is the thistle spiny along the entire length of the stem?
Are the bracts (the bulbous part below the brushy flower) triangular, firm, and spine-tipped?
Are the bracts thick, and leathery, and jagged?
Are the roots rhizomatous (running underground and popping up all over)?
The thistle in the photo inspired this tip. Found it growing in my yard, Goldfinches love the seed. Somewhat common on LI, endangered in Ct. Keep an eye out for some of your own and welcome it to your expanding world of pollinator plants.
Thanks to Lindsay Karr https://weedwise.conservationdistrict.org
In the Fall deer rub their antlers on younger trees and can damage, disfigure and even kill them! Larger deer go after the bigger trees. The bark is literally stripped away. They start just after Labor Day, i.e., now! This is the time to protect your tree and shrub trunks from damaging deer rub. Instead of difficult and ugly plastic or metal wraps, we have a great alternative: Biodegradable jute or hemp -- heavy twine or thin rope.
Just wrap it around, barbershop pole style from about 4' high, down to near the ground. You can remove in spring or leave it to rot away.
Cheap, easy, stylish. Done.
But do it soon. The rubbing starts any day now.
Saving Birds From Killer Collisions
We've all heard that sickening thunk when a bird flies into your window. Up to one billion birds are estimated to die every year in the US due to window collisions, mostly with low-rise buildings and residences.
Birds hit glass because it reflects light and mirrors the outside landscape, making it hard for birds to tell where the outdoors ends and the indoors begin. Try going outside and examine your windows from a bird's point of view at morning, noon and evening. Do they reflect trees or sky?
If so, or if they have a history of bird crashes, try these deterrents:
- Fun for kids and good for the environment: Repurpose your old CDs and turn them into hanging suncatchers, to warn birds away.
- For a much more subtle fix, purchase ABC bird tape – a translucent tape developed by the American Bird Conservancy that lasts for years, letting plenty of light in. The tape strips or squares should be spaced no more than 2-4" apart. (Birds will try to fly through larger gaps.)
- You can also create your own designs using basic craft supplies like tempura paint or window markers, again keeping the 2-4" spacing in mind.
Your Plants Are Food For Wildlife
If you see leaf damage, chances are it's the work of a beneficial insect. Bugs gotta eat too. At the sign of a hole in your plant leaf DON'T SPRAY — just take 10 steps back. Amazing... you won’t even notice it anymore.
Trees and shrubs are natural food for the caterpillars that songbirds need to feed their young. Plants are extremely resilient, being eaten is part of their job; a large percentage of leaf surface can be lost before it hurts the host plant.
So step back, hold off on the spray... and don't worry about the bugs. When caterpillars hatch, songbirds won't be far behind!
A DIY Update
Wilt Weeds,Wilt! A DIY Update.
This spring we shared a recipe for a weed-killing alternative to using harmful synthetic chemicals on driveways, patios, and walkways. This recipe is meant for use on spaces you don't intend to plant:
1 gallon of horticultural or industrial strength vinegar (20-30% concentration)
1 cup of Epsom salts (purchase at your local garden center for a good price!)
Optional: 1 tsp natural soap
Apply with a sprayer or watering can. Applying early on a hot day will help with the effectiveness. Remember this is only for use in spaces where you don't intend to grow any plants or grass as essentially you are salting the earth. Wear gloves! Vinegar can burn your skin at higher concentrations.
Have a large space to conquer? Lay a tarp down. Not only will it block sun but will deprive weeds of water as well for quick elimination.
Here are our results on this easy, DIY mix, sans soap. Take a look at the amazing before and after photos just a few hours after application – not bad! Repeated use on an area will eventually acidify the soil and increase its effectiveness.
This weed-killing mixture did leave a little discoloration to our driveway gravel so patch testing is recommended, especially before using on sensitive paving or your expensive pool patio.
Give it a try – we would love to see your results! Share with us by tagging your results on Instagram or sharing to our Facebook @perfectearthproject