Roots may lack charisma, but the hidden half of the plant world is getting new attention. Roots are natural carbon-hoarders--and carbon is a hot commodity these days.
That’s a convenient truth, especially in autumn. Like chipmunks and squirrels, roots begin adding to their stores in late summer.
Have you turned a new leaf when it comes to land care? Many people have. For instance, we plant for pollinators, choose native plants, reduce lawn sizes, and use electric equipment instead of gas-powered. Most of those changes take place within the confines of our properties without attracting negative attention.
The same is not always true for autumn leaves.
It's easy to dream of flowers in early spring and summer. But let's not forget that bees, butterflies, moths, and other pollinators need pollen and nectar from flowers during the fall months, almost until first frost. Birds, of course, need seeds and berries all year.
We’ve had a bit of rain this year, and most plants are acting like giddy teenagers after a six-pack of energy drinks. That includes native plants.
Who’d have thought a native plant would fail to mind its manners? In fact, when some natives get aggressive, they outcompete non-native invasive weeds. In the horticultural world, this quality is sometimes called “competitive exclusion.”
I drove past lots of parking lots filled with attendees at local graduations in June. Every year, the sight triggers a memory about June 1975. That year, I was a recent graduate of Penn State’s English program and I was riding across campus on my squeaky three-speed bicycle. I rode by an event at the agriculture school and decided to stop.
I live in a coastal town with abundant freshwater wetlands that drain to Long Island Sound. Beavers live here, too, and given their penchant for taking down ornamental trees and flooding driveways, their presence is not without controversy. They have never caused me trouble, but two beaver lodges on the cranberry bog inside a local state forest raised my curiosity.
If you find the tornado of information about climate change, species extinction, carbon capture, and ways to save the planet more than a bit dizzying, it sometimes helps to get grounded in history. The Wizard and The Prophet takes us back a century to times when many of these discussions began.
They weigh less than a pound, in most cases much less, and they make few sounds. Yet frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, and snakes have a big presence in the landscape.
Got bird houses? Lots of people do. But have you got owl houses or habitat?
Don’t mistake their small size for lack of importance in our quality of life. Queen bumblebees are among the earliest insects to emerge in our area, and their pollinating activity is critical to both them and us.