Today’s NYT has a fabulous opinion piece on Garden Club of America’s Partnes4Plants program and Weed Wrangle.
This partnership of Weed Wrangle and P4P was started by Cacye McAlister of the Garden Club of Nashville with funding from the Garden Club of America’s Partners4Plants program and other local partners. The idea is to remove invasive plants and replace them with native plants nationwide.
I also learned about the Uprooter in the article! A tool built to make yanking out invasive plants, even small trees, easy. when you can remove plants by pulling them out you don’t need pesticides, and the soil is healthier when you put your new native plants in. The native plants are necessary for our insects, amphibians, and birds, and they are part of our horticultural heritage.
Today’s NYT has a fabulous opinion piece on Garden Club of America’s Partnes4Plants program and Weed Wrangle.
I am looking forward to speaking to Friends of Fremont Pond, the Village of Sleepy Hollow, Pleasantville Garden Club, Garden Club of Irvington on Hudson, Pollinator Pathway Project in Irvington on March 16th! So pleased to be supporting the really great work these groups are doing.
Dealing with whiteflies can be very challenging, especially in greenhouses or in warmer climates like Florida. Here are some tips on how to get rid of them, without synthetic chemicals.
In New York State or similar temperate areas whiteflies are not usually a severe problem outdoors because they are kept in check by natural predators and cold winters. Occasionally, however, they get out of hand, often in a vegetable garden that was started in an infected greenhouse.
In Florida where the rugose spiraling whitefly used to be a problem, the fig whitefly is now destroying plants.
In this situation choosing plants that are not hosts, and eradicating weeds that are, is a great strategy, but not always possible. How do you know which weeds are hosts? See where the whiteflies are hanging out.
Over fertilization fuels whitefly growth. Don’t fertilize unless you have to.
Keep the plants healthy, good soil, the right amount of water, and preventing heat stress make the plants stronger and less susceptible.
Beyond that, a certified organic horticultural soap or certified organic oil such as neem oil can help. Because there are so many eggs on the bottom of plants, it is difficult to treat them all and repeated treatments are often necessary. Here are some references.
In greenhouses here is what you need to know.
Whiteflies don’t survive without plant material (including weeds). They don’t survive in soil. So getting rid of all of the plants and cleaning floors and benches will help.
Nip them in the bud! Get rid of them before there are too many. Yellow sticky cards will let you know early on that they are there.
Don’t over fertilize, keep your soil healthy, water correctly, and avoid heat stress.
In a greenhouse beneficials are effective.There are 2 tiny wasps that parasitize whitefly nymphs – Encarsia formosa (greenhouse whitefly) and Eretmocerus eremicus (sweetpotato whitefly). You either need to identify which whitefly you have (see article from KY) or get a mix of the wasps.
Certified organic horticultural soap and certified organic oil such as neem can be used, but again, difficult to get the whole plant and have to keep repeating. And of course, these kill the beneficials, too.
And here is a reference for greenhouses.
Many thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Lamb for this incredibly helpful information.
A new meta analysis done by researchers at Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, show a 41 percent increase in risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in people with significant exposure to glyphosate.
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is the 7th most common cancer in the United States. It is one of the more common cancers in children and young adults, but the risk increases with age. 74,000 will be diagnosed in 2019 and 20,000 of these will die. One in 42 men and one in 54 women will get this disease.
Cancers have many causes, and exposure to chemicals is not the only cause of this disease, but this study shows it increases the risk above the aforementioned baseline numbers by 41 percent.
Since glyphosate is present in most people’s blood, think of how we could potentially decrease even the baseline by eliminating or drastically reducing our exposure in our water, food, and directly in our gardens.
According to the Xerces Society homeowners use neonicotinoid pesticides in concentrations as much as 120 times what farmers can legally use. In January the journal Environmental Health published a study showing that these chemicals are found in our food and water. In fact we have known since 2015 that they are present in at least 63 percent of streams in a nationwide study. But a study published this January in Environmental Science and Technology shows that chlorination and alkaline hydrolysis during water treatment chlorinates the pesticide and its metabolites. This forms chemicals such as desnitro-imacloprid, which is much more toxic to people that the original neonicotinoid pesticide.
In a review published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, chronic exposure to neonicotinoids was associated with autism, tremors, and developmental disorders.
So not using neonicotinoids in your garden and not buying plants that have been treating with these pesticides which stay in the plant and continue to be toxic, not only protects the bees and other pollinators, but our families, too.
In an article for E & E News Ryan Lambert, a guide for hunters and fishermen in the Louisiana delta of the Mississippi River, said ducks don’t show up in Louisiana when farmers drain shallow wetlands in the upper midwest and Canada.
Lambert says “It’s bad for our ducks, it’s bad for our fishing, it’s bad for the algae blooms and our dead zones, because now you don’t have no filtration,” he says as his black Labrador, Kenley, retrieves the fallen pintail.
“The farmers say draining doesn’t affect anything because ‘it’s not connected,'” he continues, gaining steam. “It’s not connected? Shoot! Everything north has to come south. That’s the way it works.”
Moreover, “If everything goes down the drain tiles they have up there, it goes into canals, and the next thing you know, it’s in my Mississippi system,” he says. “There’s nowhere to keep the water, so it all flows down here.”
Lambert says he wishes federal regulators would “come down here and see the cause and effect of what they are doing” by rolling back Clean Water Act protections.
A staunch conservative, Lambert feels strongly that everyone from both parties needs to protect water quality.
A little bit of work now, during the winter, will set your garden up to welcome spring without needing synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
– Make sure your soil is protected. I like leaf mulch for this. Because of the incessant rain in my area, we didn’t finish spreading our mulched leaves over our garden beds until December.
– Did you have an insect problem on some of your small trees or shrubs last summer? Apply dormant spray after leaves have dropped to kill overwintering insects and fungi. Certified organic sulfur lyme spray or horticultural oil are commonly used, depending on the plant and the problem. But remember that all insecticides, even these, also kill beneficial insects, so only use locally where you have had a problem.
– Protect your plants from deer, rabbits, and other pests that are running out of easy food during the winter. If the plants are stronger, they will be naturally more resistant to pests.
CBS News interviews Dr. Trasande, a pediatrician at NYU about his new book. He said endocrine disrupting chemicals including pesticides are one of the major reasons children on playgrounds are fatter now than they were 40 years ago. He says that we should not gamble with our health, and preventing exposure to these chemicals is much easier than changing diet and exercise regimes. He likened our knowledge about these chemicals now to that of lead and tobacco decades earlier.
We are SO thrilled to announce that we have the privilege of working with The Garden Club of America to decrease pesticide usage on yards and gardens across the United States. The Garden Club of America has always been about conservation and environmental stewardship since its founding in 1913. The GCA’s Conservation Committee has advocated to prevent the cutting of roadside trees for billboards, to save the redwoods, and for parks.
With this initiative led by club President Dede Petri, National Conservation Chair SaSa Panarese, and National Affairs and Legislation chair Hollidae Morrison, clubs across the country will work to decrease pesticide usage by members and in their communities. This is a wonderful partnership, because club members are the trusted experts on yard and garden aesthetics and care in their communities. With more turf than corn or soy in this country, this can make a huge impact on water quality.
Additionally, members will strive to increase responsible drug disposal so that pharmaceuticals don’t leach into our water.
With knowledge, we can work together without it costing more, to have cleaner water for our families and communities. So send your friends and community members to the Garden Club of America web site to learn more about the work the GCA is doing and to pledge!
Additionally, President Dede Petri has collaborated further with National Audubon President David Yarnold. The National Audubon Society will also support the Healthy Yard Pledge, and the Garden Club of America will support the Audubon Native Plants for Birds initiative.
States along the Mississippi River are facing lakes smothered by toxic algae growth and pollution of well water to the point where it is undrinkable according to an article in the Journal Sentinel.
Ten years after a government task force set to curb nitrogen and phosphorous pollution (mostly from fertilizers) by 45 percent to help both local waterways and the Gulf of Mexico, the river is getting more polluted despite millions being spent to try to curb the pollution. This is fueling the dead zone in the Gulf, because the nutrients lead to increased algae growth. Bacteria feast on the algae, multiply, and consume the oxygen in the water, leaving it uninhabitable for fish. According to the article this dead zone has increased to 5,572 square miles.
The states are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Each was required to develop their own plans for reducing nitrogen and phosphorous in the river, but this has not effectively happened.
Homeowners in the Mississippi watershed can lead the way, not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in their yards and gardens, and protecting wetlands with native plants that absorb nutrients, and educating their friends and neighbors about the problem and solutions.