Turning A New Leaf Conference 2015

Downingtown, PA

I drove down about 90 miles from se PA to visit the conference held by the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council on Friday the 13th 2015 in Towson, Maryland at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel that dealt as always with ecological sustainability and native plant - native plant landscaping. I met the famous Larry Weaner, whose company does excellent native landscape restorations in the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The ecological approach to gardening and landscaping is different than the conventional; the latter can be bad for the environment with lots of spraying, fertilizing, too much lawn, and other aspects.

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Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Too bad local government officials and HOAs weren't required to attend. I have a friend who's husband taught hort at the Hershey School. They changed their whole property to natives with a large pond. Almost immediately the borough council started sending them violations for weeds. No LOL here. He ended up doing a presentation on sustainable landscapes and water conservation to the council, literally shaming them to silence. I think they also had there property certified as a wildlife habitat.
What turf Holly and I have is a mixed culture and never gets watered. A lot of local farmers have started participating in leaving buffers to waterways recommended for the Chesapeake watershed, as well as using methods to curb nitrate runoff. If they are getting landscapers involved as well it will help. While bucolic, a chem lawn running right to the edge of a stream can be a source of nitrates and pesticides.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Redefining the "conventional approach" to be more eco-friendly is definitely an education issue.. not just in terms of "no no mustn't do this bad bad" but also in terms of promoting attractive and beneficial alternatives.

Thanks for posting, Rick! I hope you'll report on some of the more effective or novel suggestions you found at the conference.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

good to know these events are taking place

Downingtown, PA

Thanks all! I was trained in conventional ornamental horticulture from the University of Illinois in the 1970's. I have not entirely left it. While I embrace the American Native Plant Movement and really love so many native plants, I am not one of the purists. I still grow annuals, from tropical places, in some spots and I have a very few Eurasian plants. I don't weed and feed my mostly Kentucky Bluegrass, a grass species from Europe, lawn with lots of White Clover and some other lawn companions, and the lawn was reduced to half after I created woody and perennial beds. My middle middle income residential neighborhood is conventional with lots of lawn around. I enjoy going out and killing off invasive Eurasian plants in the wild and encouraging the natives.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I do mu small share, working at a Home Depot, by discouraging people who
always go to the Scotts fertilizers first (The "N" is always ridiculously high)
and encourage the customers to buy "Milorganite" instead.

I use it--I promote it--and I am very happy with my lawn because that is all I use.
And--I can, really, see the palate-full of Milorganite shrinking much faster
than it ever did!

Yes~! Gita

Downingtown, PA

Milorganite comes from Milwaukee, WI, processed and dried sewage and it has been around since the 1970's. It is a more gentle nitrogen source that is good. I wish Home Depot would stop selling Callery Pear that is so invasive into the wild and is brittle-wooded.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Rick Webb---
WHAT is "Celery Pear"????? hat does that have to do with lawns???

Thank you for supporting Milorganite as well. I try to sell as much as I can of it.
Compared with the high-priced Scotts products--Milorganite is a gem!
You get a 35lb. bag of it, at the HD, for $12.78. Look in the lawn fertilizer aisle.
It is a clean product. Non-toxic in any way. Organic...Non-burning--apply it any
time of the year--No watering in needed--Safe for all the waterways--can be used
on your beds--and is also a deer deterrent. They "smell it" and go away.

Scotts cannot even get close to that price! It is SO expensive! It is too high in "N"--
no matter what formulation you buy. like--WHO needs a fertilizer so high in "N"
at this time of year??? Spring? maybe-but not in the fall. It is all a money grab!
Besides--the price is out of the world for any of their bags. Small ones?~ $27.
Biger ones--~$45-$54. What a rip-off.

There are many other products that will feed your lawn instead, Be smart!
look into it!
Thank you for your support of Milorganite. Spread it around..teeee//heee....:o)

Pics are from 2013---

1--My front lawn , in April 2013, after one fertilization with Milorganite

2--My back lawn--which hardly sustains a lawn at all because of all the Maple roots--
also in April 2013.

Granted-that ALL lawns look better in spring due to the rains and moisture.
BUT--It is the only time I feed my lawn all year. And I use Milorganite.

This message was edited Nov 23, 2015 10:43 PM

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Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

It's Callery, not Celery. It is the Asian pear that the Bradford Pear was bred from. Initial result was sterile but had branches very prone to breaking, so the genetics were tweaked to reduce this trait. Unfortunately, it turns out that it could then cross with other pears, producing essentially the original Callery Pear. This plant has become highly invasive, quickly forming expansive. impenetrable thickets. Driving on I-270 in the spring one sees acres of white adjacent to interchanges where this plant has displaced virtually everything else. This resulting plant is so thorny that only small animals can enter these thickets of flora mono-culture. Below is a photo taken of the property of the most recently constructed high school in Leesburg, Va. Acres and acres.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Early spring drives along I 95 and 50 also show appalling acres of CP. I just can't wrap my head around how many there are.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Too true Sally, I think it's worse than the "tree of heaven", Ailanthus. Introduced as the perfect sidewalk shade tree, to beautify neighborhoods. Ailanthus sprouts from the roots and is as hard to control as Chinese Wisteria. In the wild it just chokes everything else out. The best way to kill it is dig up a root and stick it in a cup of RoundUp, and let it commit suicide. This is limited scale control if there were something like an Ailanthus silk moth, or rose rosette we could use it, but it would require environmental studies which take years. Rose rosette kills domestic roses as well as multiflora infestations, so farmers love it, but not rose enthusiast, not at all. Rose rosette could effect roses like mildew effected impatience a few of years ago. They will basically disappear from the home garden. All kinds of factors are involved, such as how long the virus, bacteria, or in some cases predator remain in the environment, these as well as other factors decide whether a natural control is released.
Are you familiar with the "love bug" in Fla. It was released without study to control mosquitoes, not smear you windscreen.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I've heard of lovebugs...now
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Ric, there is an Ailanthus silk moth brought to Eastern U.S. in an attempt to establish a domestic silk industry. Not sufficient numbers to control this dreadful plant. Too bad, these moths are huge and beautiful. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samia_cynthia

There is also a moth that is native to the South that has adapted to eat Alianthus and has gained a common name associating it with that plant. They are small but very colorful. We see them here from time to time, but again in insufficient numbers to be a meaningful control. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailanthus_webworm

Downingtown, PA

Gita's Kentucky Bluegrass lawn looks good from Milorganite.

If there were a fruitless Callery Pear, I would not mind it in urban landscapes or around shopping malls. I am glad Tree-of-Heaven (Chinese Stinktree) has something else to feed on it and I hope it can bring some control. I have enjoyed myself cutting down invasive woods plants. It is like a fun hobby to me. I love killing back both wild Callery Pear and Tree-of-Heaven. I also get after lots of Amur Honeysuckle, Japanese Multiflora Rose, Autumnolive, Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Honeysuckle Vine, Japanese Knotweed, and some others.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

"I love killing back both wild Callery Pear and Tree-of-Heaven. I also get after lots of Amur Honeysuckle, Japanese Multiflora Rose, Autumnolive, Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Honeysuckle Vine, Japanese Knotweed, and some others."

A local park here once had a Weed Warrior program; I got a park pass for helping with that under rangers direction. Good times.



This message was edited Nov 28, 2015 10:40 PM

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

We just took down several mature Ailanthus in our tree line, and now I'm dealing with the suckers. I swear, I had no idea what the adult trees looked like... the leaves were too high to get a good look at and didn't really look like the young trees anyway. Our arborist broke the bad news to me on his first walk-through, but we waited until the construction behind us was finished, as the trees did somewhat block our view of the new houses. Now I've put a dozen new "understory" trees in that corner, mostly fruit-bearing natives. :-)

I'm also gradually removing the honeysuckle bushes, planting replacements near them and cutting the honeysuckles back for now, and in another year I'll cut them to the ground and dose with RU. They do serve a purpose, both as screening and as a food source for the birds (who love the red berries), but I'm phasing them out.

Downingtown, PA

Amur Honeysuckle and other Eurasian woody plants that bear fruit in fall and winter don't usually have as good a fat content in the fruit to benefit the American bird species properly.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Good point, Rick.

I know the idea of leaving known invasives in place is distasteful, but it seems like phasing them out is better than clearing them out all at once... there's just not a lot of wildlife space in our neighborhood, especially after the recent construction, so my little cottage garden and treeline is an oasis. I don't want to remove even berries of lesser food value before replacing them with other fruits.

I figure the chokecherry, elderberry, dogwoods, etc. that I'm putting in will be better... but I'm planning to leave pruned-back honeysuckle there for another year while the baby trees get settled in. I'm doing the same at the other end of the treeline where I've put a bunch of azaleas and rhodi's. Little trees do the same sleep, creep, leap thing as perennials, so I figure that should be OK as long as I make sure the new trees get plenty of water. Or is amur honeysuckle so thuggish that I should knock it out of the way asap?

Downingtown, PA

Gradual is fine to rid of invasives for the most part, as Amur Honeysuckle. A few like Oriental Bittersweet are best killed off as fast as possible.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Oriental Bittersweet appears the most plentiful in invasive biomass around here. It is seriously everywhere. Certainly in the top five.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Oriental bittersweet is one of the few major invasives we don't have in our neighborhood. The road we live on, however, has a 8-10' hedge of autumn olive all along much of it. I can cut it to the ground only to see it grow back to full height in just a few months. Need a full size tractor and a logging chain to rip out the roots.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

David, I think I have read somewhere that autumn olive is very sensitive to broadleaf treatments such as weed and feed. There was a good bit of it in our neighborhood years ago but as people tried improving their lawns it has all but disappeared. There is still a bit of it around but even it is looking shabby.

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