Hosted by Naturalist David Mizejewski
Spring has sprung, which means that the birds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife neighbors have too! With spring also comes the barrage of advertisements for the latest sprays and services to eliminate “pests” in your yard. Join Naturalist David Mizejewski to better understand the dangers pesticides can pose to pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, while also learning some of his tips, tricks, and easy ways to employ organic gardening practices that won’t harm wildlife in their place.
Recorded April 29, 2021.
Our webcast participants submitted so many great questions for this webcast! Please know that we will be working through the answers and a member of our team will reach out if you submitted a question that we didn’t have time to address live. In the meantime, here are a few top answers.
Any advice for organic container gardening?
First, no space is too small to garden for wildlife! Native perennials that offer nectar and seeds can be grown in containers. With a big enough pot so can many shrubs and even small trees! In terms of pesticides, the advice is no different for plants in containers, don’t use them. Containerized plants often do require some additional fertilizer to keep in good health.
Is there anything we can do to help monarch populations other than planting milkweed?
Absolutely! Here are three things you can do:
1. Monarchs caterpillars feed on the leaves of milkweed, their only host plant, but the adults feed on flower nectar. You can help by filling your landscape with lots of blooming native plants. Be sure to include some plants that bloom in spring, some in summer and some in fall to provide three seasons of food for monarchs.
2. Avoiding insecticides in your yard, period.
3. Plant native trees in your yard and support community tree-planting efforts to provide important habitat for migrating monarchs who need shelter at night or during periods of high winds and bad weather.
What is a natural way to control poison ivy?
Poison ivy may have a bad rap, but it’s a native plant and over 60 species of birds and mammals consume its berries. If it’s growing where you’re not going to come in contact with it, it’s totally fine to leave it. If you do need to remove it, there are a few options. Poison ivy can grow as groundcover or it can climb trees as vines. If the stems are small enough, you can hand pull it. Dress in long pants and sleeves and wear gloves and put any pulled poison ivy in a plastic bag in the trash. If the vines are too thick to pull cut them at the base and continue to remove any new growth from the stump until the plant dies. Extreme cases might be situations where you do need to use herbicides. Use a product designed to kill woody plants that you can brush directly on cut stems, directly targeting the plant rather than broadly spraying, and follow the applications on the label.
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