Apr. 22, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS FROM DOUG TALLAMY’S LATEST BOOK, “NATURE’S BEST HOPE”

HIGHLIGHTS FROM DOUG TALLAMY’S LATEST BOOK, “NATURE’S BEST HOPE”

 Doug Tallamy’s newest book came out in February just in time for our 'stay-cation.  His basic premise is that WE, you and I, are Nature’s Best Hope because we can create gardens that create a welcoming haven for our endangered pollinators.  Since pollinators are responsible for pollinating 2/3 of our plants that provide food, fabric and medicine, the need to save them is not simply altruistic, it is for our own survival.  His last chapter is entitled “What Each of us can do” and I have summarized some of his recommendations below. Obviously his book provides detailed information to learn how and why.

 

SHRINK THE LAWN

Most landscapes have more space dedicated to lawn than anything else.  Unfortunately, lawns do not provide habitat or food for our pollinators.  Lawns take a lot of fuel to mow and often take a lot fertilizer to stay green.  Lawns do not absorb storm water run-off, so the fertilizer runs into our natural water sources.  Anytime you add plants to your property, you absorb more of your rainwater and prevent run-off.  He generally recommends reducing lawns by 50% with more plants, whether it's trees or new garden beds.

REMOVE INVASIVE SPECIES https://www.brandywine.org/conservancy/resources/invasive-plants

https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Conservation/WildPlants/InvasivePlants/InvasivePlantFactSheets/Pages/default.aspx

PLANT KEYSTONE GENERA https://www.nwf.org/

NativePlantFinder/Plants http://www.panativeplantsociety.org/

BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR PLANTINGS

Keep in mind if you are planting annuals or perennials for pollinators, they won't see 1 or 2 lonely plants from flying overhead. Plant a drift or mass that can be seen from above. The more diverse trees, shrubs , perennials, vines, and annuals you plant, the more pollinators you will attract.

PLANT FOR SPECIALIST POLLINATORS https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/Plants/1284

Scientists have learned that many pollinators are specialists, meaning they specialize on particular plant groups. The poster child for this concept is the relationship between monarch butterflies and milkweed plants.

 

CREATE CATERPILLAR PUPATION SITES UNDER YOUR TREES

More than 90% of the caterpillars do not pupate on their host plants. Instead they drop on the ground, so treasure your leaf litter, leave a fallen log or tree stump, and/or decorate with large decorative rocks. Replace store-bought mulch with natural leaf litter mulch.

DO NOT SPRAY OR FERTILIZE