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562Re: [beemonitoring] Bee Lawn Mix Thought

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  • Karen Wetherill
    Feb 4, 2009
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      I am not working on anything personally, but out here in the west Rosemary
      Pendleton at the Rocky Mountain Research labs was working on a seed mix
      to follow prescribed burns which was mostly grasses but she was promoting
      peas from the Nitrogen standpoint. I will suggest to her that the
      pollinator standpoint might help her case. Karen

      On Wed, 4 Feb 2009, Liz Day wrote:

      >> What if highway departments seeded with a bee roadside mix that
      >> didn't require them to NOT mow or to treat any different than they
      >> do now....wouldn't that be an even greater impact than the few
      >> places where people tolerate weedy looking native plant plots and
      >> can afford the planting and upkeep?
      > YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!
      > Yes it would. The red clover on our highways (Indiana) seems to be
      > the only place to find Bombus. I hate those native tall grass
      > plantings, because they never seem to include good nectar plants,
      > just composites. And because sooner or later inevitably the highway
      > dept will need to redo the road, and then destroys hundreds of hours
      > of people's hard work. Also, when nectar plants ARE installed,
      > often the grasses grow so densely that they eventually wipe them out.
      > Whereas:
      > * Red clover is available commercially and can be planted mechanically.
      > * Red clover can be maintained by doing what highway depts are
      > already doing, except for not herbiciding.
      > * Red clover is not horribly invasive, like other exotics.
      > * Red clover seems to survive OK on the sides of roads, which are
      > usually compacted, alkaline, hot, dry, and generally lousy, where
      > some of the better native nectar plants would have a tough time and
      > might need a lot of care to get established.
      > * If red clover is planted and doesn't survive, or needs to be torn
      > up, nobody's lost anything.
      > * It blooms all season, and more than once, depending on the mowing
      > schedule, so is avail to bees often when other things aren't.
      > * At least it's pink, nicer than plain grass as you drive by.
      > I do not know about the question of bees being hit by cars.
      > An area of dense red clover by our highway near my place was
      > supporting B. auricomus. After they herbicided it, auricomus
      > disappeared. The clover came back (from the soil seed bank) but
      > after 4 yours auricomus is still missing. I now have the highway
      > dept committed to not spray that spot, FWIW.
      > The main places J. Grixti told me that her team found Bombus
      > throughout Illinois were not in natural areas but in red clover
      > areas. A previous season's search of the state by another worker,
      > who went only to natural areas, turned up few Bombus.
      > In Indiana, where prairies are NOT the native vegetation in most of
      > the state (it was woods), my impression is that many parks and
      > preserves contain few good bumblebee forage plants. Alarming to me,
      > I find bumblebees most easily on exotic invasives (autumn olive,
      > sweet clover) - the pest plants that most conservation groups are,
      > correctly, trying to get rid of. What happens when they
      > succeed????? YIKES.
      > YES, YES!
      > *a) White clover feeds Bombus in lawns. Even fervidus workers.
      > *) It attracts rabbits, which are interesting. (opinion only)
      > *) As with red clover, no different treatment is needed other than
      > what you were doing with your lawn already.
      > Again, I've visited prairie plantings where the ONLY Bombus forage to
      > speak of was the white clover in the mowed path and the sweet clover
      > on the edge of the planting. All the bumblebees were on these, none
      > were in the prairie itself. They hit the Monarda when it bloomed,
      > and then had to go back to whatever they were eating the rest of the time.
      > This is only my opinion, and I am not a native plant restoration expert.
      > Liz D.
      > Indianapolis, Indiana, east-central USA
      > -------------
      > Happy Darwin Day!! Feb. 12.
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