Many Nature Scoop readers have contacted me saying that they are seeing more Monarch eggs and caterpillars than usual this summer. Monarch Watch's prediction is that this year's Monarch population would be like the 2015-16 population or better. That's good news because it would be the highest number in six years, so help them on their migration south by planting late-blooming native plants, like native goldenrod, aster, browneyed Susan, woodland sunflower, Maximilian sunflower, wingstem, late boneset, tall coreopsis and blue mistflower.
Fall is great for planting. The USDA Plants Database is a handy guide to find out if a plant is native or not. Plant a few milkweed plants in between other nectar plants instead of planting them together so that Monarchs can scatter their eggs to help avoid predators. If you have Tussock moth caterpillars eating all your milkweed leaves and want to save them for Monarchs, you can plant dogbane (indianhemp). That would allow you to move the moth caterpillars to the dogbane plant because, unlike Monarchs, they can eat both milkweed and dogbane. For more gardening ideas, see Easily Start Your Sustainable Dream Yard.
As our weather changes due to drought, storm and heat, so will the plants that survive in our yards and the wildlife that depend on them. Birds are already shifting ranges. You can help your yard be ready for climate change by following tips from the National Wildlife Federation. With the increase in ground temperature, try adding a plant that is native just south of your region.
Good news: Wildlife continues to be protected from toxic methane pollution because Senators voted to prevent the repeal of a Bureau of Land Management rule that applies to new and existing sources of methane on federal and tribal lands. Its goal is to reduce 2012 levels of emissions by 40-45% by the year 2025. Read about why this is important.
- Tips for Fall Yard Care
- Organic lawn care: You don't need to fertilize if you applied corn gluten and let lawn clippings fall into the lawn, but you may apply composted poultry manure or other natural fertilizers from now until mid-November
- Instead of Peat Moss (a non-renewable resource taken from fragile bogs and wetlands) and Cypress mulch (to save our old-growth Cypress forests), use alternatives, like compost or hardwood mulch
- September is a better time than October to plant native trees and bushes because roots have more growing time
- Douglas W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home, lists the Top 10 Native Trees to Plant
- Chickadees show why birds need native trees
- Clean bird feeders: dip them in 10% Clorox 90% water, spray with water until all bleach is gone and completely air dry them in sun to get rid of all bleach and chlorine residue
- Leaving hummingbird feeders up for migrating hummers won't stop local birds from migrating. They migrate when daylight becomes shorter (in Ohio, leave up through Sept)
- Asian stink bugs are getting attention because they come into our house in mid-September to early November for winter, like Asian lady bugs. They only need 1/16" opening, so seal all cracks, from your roof to the bottom of your home. You can tip them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them
- Leave bird nesting material in your yard, like limb, leaf, fluff, moss, mud, 2-4" dry grass clipping and greenery (parts of plants)
- Help migratory birds by turning your outdoor lights off, or by using a motion sensor 11:30pm-5am from mid-August through the end of October
- Look closely in parking lots, and you may see dragonflies hovering over cars. The orange ones are Wandering Gliders and the black ones are usually Black Saddlebags. They are migrating
- Save Trees: Seasonal mail and catalogs will start coming in. Stop unwanted mail at Catalog Choice and Direct Marketing Choice
Please send your backyard conservation educational event with a link the month prior to the registration deadline (e.g. May 1 for June issue)
- 9/15-9/17, Ohio PawPaw Festival, native plant sale, exhibit, 11am 9/17 Barbara Velez Barbosa presents, Fee, Albany
- Reg now for 9/16, Preparing for Night, fee, Cincinnati Nature Center, Milford
- 9/20 11am-1pm, Keep Ohio Beautiful Day, Barbara Velez Barbosa Exhibits, Ohio Statehouse Plaza, Rain location: Atrium or Rotunda, Columbus