Wisconsin Pollinator Newsletter-March 7, 2019

Mulch Basics

Mulch the Garden Mulch is any type of material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. It is used to:

• Retain moisture in the soil
• Suppress weeds
• Keep the soil cool
• Make the garden bed look more attracting
• Potentially improve the soil's fertility

Organic mulch will decompose and have to be replaced, however in the process it will also improve your soil’s fertility and, of course, its organic content. The dryer and woodierthe mulch, the slower it will decompose and the less nutrients it will give to the soil.

Bark mulches are best used around trees, shrubs, and in garden beds whereyou won’t be doing a lot of digging. These woody mulches don’t mix well into the soil and it can become difficult to have to keep moving them aside to make way for new plants. They will last longer than finer organic mulches. Dyed wood mulch is made by grindingup old pallets and other trash wood, and may contain arsenic, creosote and other nasty stuff. It is the lowest quality mulch you can buy.

Compost and Composted Manure can be used anywhere, as long as they are relatively well composted and weed free. You can use them as a coating of mulch or simply side dress plants with them during the growing season, to insulate and give a boost of slow released nutrients.

Learn More

Beekeeper's Corner

Bees Can Do Math
A team of entomologists is asking what all those extra nerve cells are good for after finding that bees can do the kind of fundamental mathematics once thought to distinguish humans and the primate animals they most closely resemble.

Herbicide May Harm Microbiome of Bees
Glyphosate perturbs the balance of gut bacteria in honey bees and increases the insects’ susceptibility to lethal infection.

Minerals And The Bees’ Needs
Rachael Bonoan and colleagues at Tufts University have been studying the impacts of salt and other minerals on honey bee health for several years. This work is spurred by historical observations that honey bees often choose murky water sources over pristineones, arguably reflecting a search for resources that are scarce in pollen and nectar.

Trees That Help Pollinators

Trees That Help Pollinators Consider the incredible quantity of nectar produced by a tree in bloom. Now consider the compounded effect of many trees blooming in strategic sequence throughout the growing season.Trees can provide excellent food for honey bees and many other pollinators, Your top choice should always be regionally appropriate. A tree that’s comfortable in its environment is much more likely to be a healthy tree.

On added advantage is that many trees flower early in the spring when sources of pollen are scarce. Adding anearly flowering species can provide a source of pollen for pollinators. Check out the resource for a list of species and their flowering times.
Tree Listing

Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

Fall Garden Ready for Planting The WisconsinNative Plant Nurseries listing was compiled by the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The list provides information on Wisconsin nurseries that primarily carry native plants.

This list is a long catalog that may seem formidable but in digging through the l ist I found some gems and I encourage you to take some time to look it over. There are just a samplingof what I found on the list.

Agrecol Nursery Midwest ecotype seeds and plants, most of which are Southern Wisconsin ecotype. They sell grass, sedge, legume and forb seed and plants for prairies, savannas, wetlands and woodlands

Prairie Nursery
Features an extensive catalog of native plants and seeds with detailed plant profiles. They have 'No Mow Lawn' seed and a useful FAQ.

Kinnickinnic Natives
Specializes in growing Lady’s Slippers and local ecotype prairie, woodland, and savanna species from Pierce and St. Croix Counties in Wisconsin

Kesters Wild Game Food Nurseries < br /> Sells native wetland plants in quantity and native seed as well as non-native species for wildlife plantings..

WI Native Plant Nurseries

Join A Wisconsin Beekeeping Club

Wisconsin Beekeeping Clubs
Joining a beekeeping club or association is a great way to learn more about bees and beekeeping. It is extremely useful to join a local beekeeping group. It is invaluable to meet other experienced beekeepers to exchange ideas and opinions. There is often the opportunity to borrow equipment, share swarm removal duties and buy supplies in larger, more economical quantities.

Some of these people are experts, they know how to deal with the situation in a safe way for you, and the bees. It’s often said that if you ask 6 beekeepers a question, you’ll get at least eight answers.

Help Homeless Mason Bees

Mason Bees (genus Osmia) are a type of native bee that’s quite common throughout most of the U.S. They are usually a little smaller than a honeybee, and typically metallic blue or blue-black in color. They get their name from their habit of nest-building, which is to seal off the cells where they lay their eggs, with a mortar-like application of mud.

Mason bees are very effective pollinators. Just two or three females can pollinate a mature apple tree! Mason bees will also work in cool or rainy weather when Honey Bees are more likely to take the day off.

Encourage Mason Bees in your garden by placing a Mason Bee House in your yard. See the KITS section on the RESOURCES page.