Spring Flowering Plants for Pollinators

Earlier this month I announced the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification program. We hope that you will consider certifying your habitat or start the process of planning one in your landscape. One of the important sections of the application is plant selection.  Your pollinator habitat must have plant diversity and plants blooming during the spring, summer and fall months.

Spring Flowering plants that bloom in March, April and May are extremely important for early pollinators such as mason bees, honey bees and queen bumblebees.

MJ

Acer rubrum – Red Maple

Allium textile – Textile Onion

Aquilegia canadensis – Columbine

Baptisia australis – Blue False Indigo

Baptisia australis v. minor – Dwarf False Indigo

Ceanothus americanus – New Jersey Tea

Cercis canadensis – Redbud

Chionodoxa sp. – Glory-of-the-Snow

Cornus sp. – Dogwood

Erysimum asperum – Western Wallflower

Geranium maculatum – Wild Geranium

Leucocrinum montanum – Starlily

Lindera benzoin – Spicebush

Lithospermum incisum – Narrowleaf Stoneseed

Malus sp. – Apple, Crabapple

Phlox andicola – Prairie Phlox

Phlox bifida – Sand Phlox

Phlox divaricata – Blue Phlox

Phlox hoodii – Spiny Phlox

Prunus sp. – Pear, Plum

Prunus virginiana – Chokecherry

Pulsatilla patens – Pasqueflower

Rhus aromatica – Fragrant Sumac

Rhus trilobata – Skunkbush Sumac

Rubus sp. – Blackberry, Raspberry

Salix humilis – Prairie Willow

Sanguinaria canadensis – Bloodroot

Senecio plattensis – Prairie Ragwort

Sheperdia argentea – Buffaloberry

Thermopsis rhombifolia – Prairie Thermopsis

Viola pedatifida – Bird’s Foot Viola

Yucca glauca – Yucca, Soapweed

Programs for Pollinator Conservation in Rural Areas

More than 30 percent of our food relies on insect pollination, which is overwhelmingly provided by bees. Recent research has shown that wild native bees, which number more than 4,000 species in North America, contribute substantially to crop pollination on farms where their habitat needs are met. –Using 2014 Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation

Penstemon in Bloom

Penstemon is one of the many native flowers blooming on Spring Creek Prairie in June. Beautiful!

Rural residents play an important role in protecting pollinator habitats. Using 2014 Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation provides information on how you can encourage pollinator habitat in rural areas.  Congress recognizes pollinators are a crucial part of healthy agricultural and natural landscapes and the 2014 Farm Bill reflects the importance of pollinators.

For assistance with your farm or acreage pollinator program and more, contact:

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Cherry Creek Habitat Weather Station

Tyler Williams is a Nebraska Extension Educator in Lancaster County and has an educational focus on climate resiliency. He recently installed a weather station in the Cherry Creek Habitat. Now we have access to weather information 24/7 from our habitat. Thank you Tyler!

View our weather station information at our website:

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/bees.shtml

MJ

weatherstation

Weather station in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.

Learn more about our weather station:

Pollinator Weather Station

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification

I am so excited to make this announcement and proud to be part of this Pollinator Habitat Certification team. Here at our office, we plan to certify the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat and I want to also certify my home pollinator garden.

MJ

Do you love gardening and want to help pollinators?  Consider developing your landscape into a pollinator habitat. This month, a team of Nebraska Extension horticulture professionals, led by Extension Educator Natalia Bjorklund, launched a new program called Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification.  This program gives Nebraskans an opportunity to certify their garden and promote pollinators in their community.

To certify their habitat, gardeners need to provide spring, summer and fall blooming plants that support pollinator needs, a water source, shelter, nesting sites and restrict pesticide use. Gardeners will be asked to make a commitment to protect pollinators and provide a diverse plant community that will result in a pollinator habitat.

This program is open to Nebraska  homeowners, schools, businesses, parks,  homeowner associations, farmers, acreage owners and community gardens.

Please visit the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification website to view the certification application. http://entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification

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Monarch caterpillar on swamp milkweed.

habitataster15

Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat Summer 2015

Happy Arbor Day!

Today is Arbor Day. If you are planting a tree today or this weekend, consider planting a tree that would benefit pollinators.  Trees to consider include: oak, red maple, crabapple, black cherry, American Linden, hackberry, plums and eastern redbud.  If you do not have room for a tree consider planting shrubs. Shrubs that are good for pollinators are: dogwood, sumac, buttonbush, seven sons flower, elderberry and viburnum. The Nebraska Forest Service has an excellent website to help you with tree selection, tree planting directions and tree care. Visit them at: http://nfs.unl.edu/

MJ

oak

Oak tree

button

Buttonbush flower.

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Seven sons flower.

red bud tree

Eastern redbud tree.

Spring in the Pollinator Habitat

Spring is here at the pollinator habitat.  Many of our native plants have started to grow. Prairie ragwort, shell-leaf penstemon, bee balm and purple poppy mallow are all leafing out.  The wild plum is blooming! Approximately two weeks earlier than last year.

MJ

Monarch Numbers Up, More to Do

monarchswampmilkweed

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed.

We received good news today.  Monarch butterfly numbers are up in their wintering grounds in Mexico. But there is much we need to do to keep them off the endangered species list. We need to increase habitat for them in their summer breeding areas.  Nebraska is right in the middle of this important location in North America.

This week I was invited to a Monarch Summit.  The Monarch Planning Team held a two day summit for discussion to begin on a Nebraska Monarch & Pollinator Conservation Plan. Invited speaker,  Dr. Chip Taylor, Director of Monarch Watch gave us Monarch statistics and shared helpful guidance to get us underway forming a plan for Nebraska.

There is plenty we can do now. This spring, plant milkweed and native plants. Reduce the use of pesticides. Create a pollinator habitat in your landscape. Learn more about the Monarch Waystation Program at MonarchWatch.org

MJ

 

New Year Resolution-Help Pollinators

Happy New Year!


Here are a few ways you can help pollinators this year. This is a resolution that will be fun and easy to keep.
Offer a Drink
Bees need water to drink. Create a water feature with rocks for insects to land. Be sure to keep birdbaths clean and change the water three times per week when mosquitoes are breeding.
Plant Native
Plant native plants in your landscape. There are so many amazing plants to choose from. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: plains coreopsis, pasque flower, pitcher sage, purple coneflower, smooth aster and rough gayfeather.
Bloom all Season
It is important to have native flowers blooming the whole growing season. Pollinators need plants blooming March through November.
Plant Milkweed
Monarchs need our help. Provide food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are several milkweeds to choose from: butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, whorled milkweed and swamp milkweed.
No Chemicals
Protect pollinators by eliminating pesticides from your landscape. Plant native plants that have few pest or disease issues. Maintain a healthy soil by composting. Healthy soils produce healthy plants.
“Bee” Involved
Learn more about organizations that support pollinators such as Pollinator Partnership. You can participate in citizen scientist programs for pollinators such as Bumble Boosters-University of Nebraska, Bumble Bee Watch-Xerces Society, The Great Sunflower Project-San Francisco State University and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project-Monarch Watch.

MJ

Bird Feeders

Today I placed our sunflowers seed bird feeders and thistle seed feeder in the habitat.  First, I cleaned and disinfected our bird feeders.  It is important to do this to prevent the spread of bird diseases. Take a minute to read over these recommendations of feeder maintenance and hygiene by Audubon.

MJ

Disinfect your feeder and birdbath: To keep pathogens at bay, immerse your seed feeder or birdbath in a nine to one water-bleach solution, rinsing it thoroughly, one to two times per month. In the presence of outbreaks, disinfect twice as often.
Empty water from your birdbath every day: Brush or wipe it clean and rinse, then refill the birdbath with fresh water.
Discard old seed and hulls: When you clean your feeder, get rid of the old seed. Rake or sweep up any uneaten hulls on the ground. The disease-causing Trichomonad protozoan, for example, can live for up to five days in food and several hours in water.
Avoid overcrowding: If possible, provide more than one feeder and spread them out. Crowding only expedites the spread of disease, so give the birds variety and plenty of room. Source: Audubon

Fall in the Habitat

We were treated to a beautiful fall day in the pollinator habitat yesterday. I took advantage of this, by weeding and a little fall clean up.  Not too much clean up, it is good to leave some plant material and leaves.  It is important not to disrupt overwintering areas for beneficial insects. I also planted wildflowers seeds.  A Master Gardener had secured a donation of seeds for us to use. In the collection was purple coneflower.  Thank you Kay! I collected seeds earlier in the fall from the habitat.  So I planted shell-leaf penstemon and whorled milkweed too.

MJ