PRFCT Perspectives

Tagged with "Habitat"

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The Buzz on Biochar

August 03, 2018

The Buzz on Biochar

Biomass charcoal (biochar) has become a soil health buzz word, but what is it exactly? Biochar is a carbon-rich solid material left over when organic matter (like wood, dry leaves or grasses) are burned at an extremely high temperature in the absence of oxygen – a process called pyrolysis. 

For use in gardens and landscapes, biochar should be added and mixed with your compost or potting soil before it is applied. The porous surface of biochar provides habitat for beneficial microbes that thrive in compost, protecting them from predation and drying while providing carbon for their energy needs. It also helps to retain soil moisture, minerals and nutrients for plant health and adds structure to sandy soils.

One great feature of biochar is that it remains in soil for hundreds and potentially thousands of years. Go ahead and add some biochar to your compost and soil mixes – it even helps sequester atmospheric carbon, PRFCT all around!

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Lobster is a summer time staple, especially along coastal areas but did you know that lobster populations have been declining in recent years?

Lobsters are arthropods, like spiders and all insects. Because of these biological similarities, lobsters, like insects, are susceptible to pesticides.

Almost anything that will kill an insect will kill a lobster. Laboratory testing has shown that lobsters are particularly sensitive to insecticides, even minuscule amounts.

While this is not the only factor in the decline of lobsters and other aquatic species, scientists, fishermen and the seafood industry have all voiced concern about the potential link between pesticides and the loss of a once healthy industry. Just another good reason to spray yourself, not your landscape.

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Glow on, Flashy Friends

July 20, 2018

July Comet!  Marsh Imp! Twilight Bush Baby! There are at least 170 different species of fireflies in the US, and they have great names. 

Did you know that different species of fireflies have their own flash patterns? 
Did you know that firefly larvae live in the ground and are voracious predators to slugs, snails and aphids – providing natural pest control.

Remember poking holes in jar lids and hunting for fireflies in a field swarming with them? Since 2010, scientists have been observing a steady decline of firefly populations and believe it is cased by habitat loss, light pollution from cities and vehicles, and of course, pesticide use.  

How to help our flashy friends, and restore the population on your property? Provide habitat, like leave mulch, and a water source, like a bird bath.  Turn your unnecessary lights off at night, and kick the toxic pesticide habit.  Don't Spray. 

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How you can help save these species, and your own. 

Here's the real buzz, we need native bees in order to survive as a species. 

There are 4,000 native bee species in the United States and they are responsible for 80% of the pollination of flowering plants and for 75% of fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in this country. Here's more buzz, most are stingless and no one has ever had an allergic reaction to a native bee sting. 

What can YOU do to help save native bees?

- Do not use chemicals in your yard and garden.
- Plant native flowers that bloom early in the spring like bloodroot, wild geranium, shadbush and spicebush when bees are foraging for nectar. Dandelions are another favorite of native, pollinating bees.
- Leave your biomass: turn a fallen tree into a log wall. Leave hollow reeds in an unused corner of the yard. These make great nesting spots for native bees.
- Do not buy plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids
- Ask your local garden supply stores to stop stocking products that contain them.

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Let Sleeping Logs Lie

June 01, 2018

The Living Dead

If dead standing timber it isn't going to fall on your house or car, leave it. In a state of decay, the tree is still a great home for the living, providing shelter to a multitude of wildlife from microbes and fungus to birds of prey. As it slowly disintegrates, it will feed the soil beneath.

Eventually the old tree will just fall over, continue to rot and provide habitat for ground-dwelling creatures. Remember, encouraging biodiversity is part of what makes a PRFCT place: each inhabitant has a role in a nature-based system. Removing biomass from your property is removing the food that your landscape has provided for itself. (And it's better than anything you can buy in the store!)

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