Re: [beemonitoring] Bee Lawn Mix Thought
- 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.
> * 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.
One big issue out here, in the more arid west, is fire. Highway
shoulders and medians mowed to reduce the incidence of wildfire. People
chains and tossing cigarette butts have started several wildfires.
Fire wise programs also suggest people should keep their lawn mowed a good
distance from the house (~50' if I remember correctly) in case a fire starts
their home will be more safe.
From an ecological perspective we don't have enough fire on our
some research suggests the bees do just fine in fire-prone ecosystems, but try
telling suburban homeowners the grassland/shrubland/forest behind their house
could use a prescribed burn or two.
Its a great idea!!, cheap, easy, conservation-minded, but unfortunately not
politically practical from where I sit. I hope you have a better climate for
Quoting "Kuehn Faith (DDA)" <Faith.Kuehn@...>:
> Jennifer Hopwood conducted a study on roadside restorations in Kansas
> as potential sites for bee conservation: Biological Conservation
> 141: 2632-2640. 2008. Savings in mowing (and herbicide, I would
> presume) costs were not within the scope of her study, but
> maintenance costs can be obtained from State Highway departments.
> Ernst Conservation Seeds in Meadville, PA has a special mix, #168
> "Northeast perennial & annual wildflower mix" that was especially
> formulated for roadsides. You can probably find this mix at their
> website: www.ernstseed.com<http://www.ernstseed.com>
> One issue that would need to be addressed when considering bee lawns,
> especially in suburban settings, is the existence of development
> ordinances that state that grass cannot be over 8 or 12 inches in
> Faith Kuehn
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
> Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 1:46 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [beemonitoring] Bee Lawn Mix Thought
> From what I have seen of the urban pollination/pollinator world, the
> concentration of research, advice, and management has focused on
> flowering plants, both in remnant parkland and in garden plots. All
> good. Bees are found in surprising places and easily surpass
> butterflies in abundance and kinds. But. Places that are gardenable
> and convertible are limited, particularly compared to paved areas and
> lawns. Paved areas are of limited use for pollinators, of course,
> but lawns, while ignored by the average bee urbanite, are not. We
> have sampled lawns on the National Mall and elsewhere and found bees
> in abundance. What are they doing there? I think it has a lot to do
> with prostrate flowers such as clover, purslane, and spurge plus the
> quick bloomers such as dandelions and plantains.
> What if someone would develop a bee lawn seed mix?
> Wouldn't that potentially have a higher impact on the number and
> kinds of bees in urban areas than the high effort, high cost, high
> maintenance (but, yes, very pretty) pollinator garden? Particularly
> if most people don't want to go to the effort?
> 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?
> Sam Droege sdroege@...
> w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
> USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
> BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705
> Watching hands transplanting,
> Turning and tamping,
> Lifting the young plants with two fingers,
> Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,--
> One swift movement,--
> Then plumping in the bunched roots,
> A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping and turning,
> All in one,
> Quick on the wooden bench,
> A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,
> Once, twice, and a faint third thump,--
> Into the flat-box it goes,
> Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:
> The sun warming the fine loam,
> The young horns winding and unwinding,
> Creaking their thin spines,
> The underleaves, the smallest buds
> Breaking into nakedness,
> The blossoms extending
> Out into the sweet air,
> The whole flower extending outward,
> Stretching and reaching.
> - Theodore Roethke
> P Please don't print this e-mail unless really needed.