Wisconsin Pollinator Newsletter-August 5, 2018

Gather Seeds From Native Plants

Gathering Wild Seeds in Fall One way to acquire native plants very cheaply is to collect your own seed. This can come from plants you or a neighbor already have, or from plants growing wild in your area.

Please bear in mind that you do not want to destroy a native plant colony, or compromise creatures which depend on seeds as a food source. Take no more than 10% of the available seeds. If there are signs that someone else has already collected (trampled grass, stripped or removed seed heads) you should not take any more.

General guidelines for seed collection<

Wait until the seed is ripe. Often the seed will become hard, dry and dark in colour. The parent plant may show signs of dying back. Some seeds may have already dispersed.

In some cases, you can pull or shake off the seeds. In other cases its easiest to cut off the seed head and clean it at home later.

Keep seeds dry. Put them in a paper (not plastic) bag or envelope until they are completely cleaned and dried. Once the seeds are cleaned and dry they can be kept in plastic bags, preferably in a dry cool dark place. Remember to label them carefully with the species, the date and the location where they were collected…especially if you plan to donate a portion to NANPS Seed Exchange.

Most seeds mature in the fall and are intended to germinate the following spring. It is often necessary to persuade a dormant seed that it has been through a winter. The exact requirement for each species can be looked up, but the commonest is cold damp stratification. This means moistening the seed and placing it in a cold environment
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Wood Violets, Viola Odorata

Wood Violets, Viola Odorata Viola are nostalgic, the flowers you remember from your grandmother's garden. Some are sweetly scented, others jump up in surprising spots and all offer glorious spring color. Delightfully happy in woodland settings in some shade or in sun with adequate moisture.

Violets bloom in early spring and provide a source of food for early-emerging pollinators when little else is available as winter recedes

Violets are any of the over 500 species of flower in the genus viola with heart-shaped petals. They are wonderful woodland plants that are easy to grow. Violets make a garden smell wonderfully and can be used for culinary and decorative purposes. They can also be used as perfume.

Growing violets is easy and with care they have many uses in the garden. Wild violets make great accents around trees, near water sources, and beds. They also make excellent choices for instant ground cover in a woodland garden. They can even be grown in containers. Both the leaves and flowers (which bloom in late winter and early spring) are also edible and rich in vitamins.
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Fertilize Organically: Fish Emulsion

Fish Emulsion Fish emulsion benefits to plants and ease of use make this an exceptional fertilizer in the garden, especially when making your own. For more information on using fish emulsion on plants and how to make fish emulsion fertilizer, please continue reading.

What is Fish Emulsion?

Using fish for fertilizer is not a new concept. In fact, settlers at Jamestown used to catch and bury fish to use as fertilizer. Organic farmers across the globe use fish emulsion in place of toxic chemical fertilizers.

Fish emulsion is an organic garden fertilizer that is made from whole fish or parts of fish. It provides an NPK ratio of 4-1-1 and is most often used as foliar feed to provide a quick nitrogen boost.

Homemade Fish Emulsion

Making your own fish emulsion fertilizer may seem like a daunting task; however, the smell is well worth it. Homemade fish emulsion is cheaper than commercial emulsions, and you can make a big batch at one time.

There are also nutrients in homemade emulsion that are not in commercially available products. Because commercial fish emulsions are made from trash fish parts, not whole fish, they have less protein, less oil, and less bone than homemade versions that are made with whole fish, making homemade fish emulsion benefits even more amazing.
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Enter To Win Save the Bees t-shirt

Send Letter to Dept of Transportation Wisconsin roadsides are largely devoid of native plants and the beauty they once engendered as we travelled our roads. The WI Department of Transportation (DOT) has chosen to replace the natural flora with non-native grasses and forbs.

Restore native flowers and shrubs along Wisconsin roadways. Ask the Department of Transportation to stop planting non-native grasses.

Restore the natural beauty of our State by using native plants along roadways and earn a chance to win this t-shirt . Contest ends August 31, 2018. Three shirts will be awarded.

Native Aquatic Plants

Native Aquatic Plants Native aquatic plants are at the root of healthy lakes, and are essential for good fishing and clean water. Plants provide a place to live and food for fish, birds, frogs, turtles, insects, and many other kinds of wildlife. They also produce the oxygen needed by fish and other underwater animals. They also help preserve water quality by using nutrients—like phosphorus—that would otherwise be available for algae growth, protecting shorelines from erosion, and holding down lake-bottom sediments with their roots.

This list is a long catalog that may seem formidable but in digging through the list I found some gems and I encourage you to take some time to look it over. There are just a sampling of what I found on the list.

Role of Aquatic Plants in Lakes

Plant growth is important to the character of the lake, and to all other organisms that live in the lake. Emergent and floating-leafed plants are valued for their aesthetic qualities and help provide a more “natural” buffer between a developed shoreline and the open water.

Plants are primary producers, that is, they take sunlight and nutrients in the water and convert them into energy to grow and produce oxygen—necessary for fish and many other underwater creatures—as a byproduct.

A lake’s “littoral zone” describes the shallow water area where rooted and floating aquatic plants (also called macrophytes) can grow because sunlight can penetrate to the lake bottom. Large algae are also included in the macrophyte community. In lakes where the lake bed is too rocky or sandy for rooted plants to anchor themselves, or wave action is too severe, there may be few macrophytes.
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Native Wild Plum: Prunus americana

Native Wild Plum: Prunus americana The Wild Plum produces showy white blossoms in spring for early-emerging pollinators and creates red fruit in summer like other plum trees. It does not require coddling to thrive. This tree is a tough native; it grows wild in the eastern and central areas of the country and thrives in plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. You can propagate the wild plum from hardwood, softwood or semi-softwood cuttings.

n early spring the tree produces lusters of 5-petaled, white flowers. Toothed, oblong leaves fill out your tree for summer, quickly followed by the 1-inch, red plums that ripen in early in the season. In autumn the leaves turn yellow to red for great fall color. Branches and twigs are an attractive dark reddish-brown, so even through the winter months there is a decorative quality to your plum tree.

The plum flesh is yellow and although suitable for eating raw, is best used in preserves and jellies. Of course if you choose to leave the fruit on your tree, birds are sure to make use of it.

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