Wisconsin Pollinator Newsletter-September 15, 2018

Protect Trees & Shrubs From Winter

Thermometer Hitting Below Zero Degrees Wisconsin’s harsh winter climate can cause severe damage to plants.

Winter sun, wind and cold temperatures can bleach and dry out evergreen foliage, damage bark or injure or kill branches, flower buds, and roots.

Snow and ice can break branches and topple entire trees.

Salt used for deicing streets, sidewalks and parking lots is harmful to landscape plants.

> Winter food shortages force rodents and deer to feed on bark, twigs, flower buds and leaves, injuring and sometimes killing trees and shrubs.

Here are steps you can take to protect trees and shrubs and minimize injury. Remember, it all starts with the roots. In the fall, right up to the first freeze, there are two steps you can take to ensure proper hydration and root protection. Understand that soil temperatures drop much more slowly than air temperature and that roots of most trees will begin to die if the soil reaches temperatures below 10

Fall Watering Plants to Prevent Winter Root Damage Fall Watering: Evergreens, newly planted trees and woody plants need to be watered frequently during the fall (especially during a dry fall season). During a deep freeze (when theground freezes) roots can no longer absorb moisture from the soil and become dependent on what they’ve stored in the fall. The primary cause of winter damage to evergreens is from dehydration. Evergreens don’t lose their foliage in the winter and will continue to transpire.If they haven’t stored sufficient water, they may suffer burning or browning of the foliage.
Learn More

Beekeeper's Corner

Physics for beekeepers: mold in a beehive
Your beehive seems too quiet. You pop the lid only to find mold everywhere. It cloaks dead bees in furry coats, pillows above the bars, and drifts down between the frames. It covers the surface of combs and binds the masses of dead bees together in a smelly mat. There is no doubt in your mind: mold killed your bees.

Treatment Free Beekeeping: A Practical Hands-On Approach
I am a 100% chemically-free beekeeper when it comes to varroa control in my apiaries.

Hive temperature vs humidity
Back in November, Bill Reynolds of Viking, Minnesota began monitoring the inside of his beehives for temperature. He purchased an inexpensive desktop weather forecasting station with three remote wireless sensors for his project, and he used a fourth sensor to monitor the ambient outside air. The data for the first weeks can be found in the post, “How do honey bees keep their hive warm?”

Storey’s Guide To Keeping Honey Bees. Second Edition.
This book starts as a beginner’s book with chapters on history, biology, locations, what equipment to get and getting bees.It moves on to seasonal management, harvesting honey and doing pollination for profit. It covers all the diseases and pests, and offers good ID of all of them.

Dividing Perennials

Dividing A Perennial Plant Many perennial plants grow in an ever widening clump. After several seasons of growing, these perennial plants will begin to die out in the center and look more like a ring than a clump. To keep the plants vigorous and blooming, a technique known as 'Division' is performed. Dividing perennial plants gives you healthier, longer lived plants and the bonus of more plants.

When to divide perennials depends on the type of plant and how quickly it's growing. You don't have to wait until your perennial plants begin looking like doughnuts. In fact, it's better if you don't. Keep an eye out for clumps that have grown 2-3 times their size within 2-5 years. Any over grown clump or any clump that has simply exceeded the space allotted is a candidate for division.

Spring is usually the best time for division, since the plants are actively growing their leaves are not so developed that the root system can't take a little disturbance and still feed the top of the plant. However, just as different plants can go different lengths of time before being divided, some plants, like peonies, prefer to be divided in the early fall.
Learn More

Fall: A Great Time To Plant

Fall Garden Ready for Planting In the wild, as wildflowers bloom and ripen into seed all summer and into fall, the seed simply falls to the ground and is "planted". Like fall-seeded lawns, a fall-planted wildflower seed has a chance to "settle" into your site during the winter, and is ready to burst into growth in early spring. This is why fall-planted wildflower seed is up and in bloom about 2 weeks earlier than spring-planted seed.

When a wildflower gardener tries to emulate this process, we do all we can to "help naturealong." That means, we clear the area, open the ground, provide good seed-to-soil contact for every seed, water if necessary, and do anything else to assure our seeding's success. It's easy and the work is the same as required for a spring planting. In fact, some people think fall planting is easier.

Planting Seeds in the GardenTwo big advantages to planting in the fall is that you have more time to plant and weed control is much easier. Here are 6 tips on fall planting:

When to Plant.
The ideal period for fall planting is roughly six weeks before the first hard frost. In northern areas of the country the ideal planting period might even be late summer.In general, the window of opportunity for most folks is during September and October. Why is fall planting so good? In the fall, the warm soil encourages root growth. Roots continue to grow through the winter until the ground freezes –in areas with mild winters roots may continue to grow. In early spring roots begin new growth or continue to develop at a faster rate and begin top growth. While the same plant planted in spring gets a slow start due to cool soils, the fall-planted plants arebecoming well established.
Learn More

Leaf Shredders: Product Review

Leaf Shredder Why A Leaf Shredder?
Mulch is regarded as an essential part of a healthy garden, and most experts agree that organic mulch is superior in most ways to inorganic. Mulch made from wood, leaves, and grass clippings infuse the soil with essential nutrients that your plants need to grow. A leaf shredder will substantially reduce the volume of leaves -- sometimes 15 to 1 reduction.

Either type makes it easier to maintain a clean yard and be environmentally responsible at the same time

The Top 5
Black & Decker High-Performance Blower/Vac/Mulcher ($, Rating 4.5/5)
WORX Electric Leaf Mulcher ($$, Rating 4.1/5)
Sun Joe Electric Leaf Mulcher/Shredder ($, Rating 3.6/5)
Flowtron Ultimate Electric Leaf Shredder ($$, Rating 3.7/5)
Eco-Shredder 14-Amp Electric Chipper ($$$, Rating 3.3/5)

Wisconsin Native Bumblebees

Wisconsin Native Bumblebee Pollinating a Flower Native Bumblebees. Bumble bees are one of the most recognizable and important pollinating insects in the world. The dense, fuzzy hair that covers their bodies as well as their unmistakable, helicopter-like buzz makes them a delight to observe. Wisconsin is home to 20 of the 250 known species of bumble bee. This guide will help you identify the 10 most important bumble bees in Wisconsin in addition to sharing some of the most important and fascinating biology about these lovely creatures.

Where Do Bumble Bees Go In Winter? A mated bumble bee queen overwinters in a small nest in the ground, just big enough for her. The nest is usually 2 to 6 inches below the surface, and the opening is often obscured by mulch or leaf litter. As temperatures get colder, she produces a chemical in her body (glycerol) that keeps her from freezing, and she remains buried all winter.

Emergence In The Spring. The queen emerges in the spring and searches for a site to use as a nest. Queens can often be seen examining holes in the ground or nests that have been vacated by other animals such as rodents or birds. The queen may go in and out of a potential site many times before moving on or finally making a selection. Once she has decided on a site, she begins building a nest, laying eggs, and foraging for nectar and pollen. At first, she does all the work by herself, but after the first batch of brood is hatched, the new workers assist in foraging, nest building, and raising their sisters. Eventually, the queen will have produced enough workers that she no longer has to leave the nest, and egg-laying becomes her full-time job.

The Endangered Bumblebee: n March of 2017, the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) became the first federally protected bumble bee species. This once common bee has all but disappeared over 90% of its range and is now rarely encountered. Habitat loss, disease, and increased insecticide use are all thought to be reasons for the decline of rusty-patched and several other once common species. A few small sanctuaries (such as UW Arboretum) still host the rusty-patch. Other species, including Bombus terricola, are also in decline.

Bumble Bee Life Cycle

* Spring: Queen emerges and locates nest, raises first round of female workers.
* Early Summer: Queen stays inside laying eggs, workers forage for pollen and nectar.
* Late Summer: Males and new queens emerge and mate. All but new queens die.
* Fall/Winter: Newly mated queens dig underground to hibernate until spring.
Wisconsin Bumblebee ID Guide