EAB now in St. Louis County

By Marcia Myers

Emerald Ash Borer damage Photo by Daniel Herms, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Emerald Ash Borer damage – photo by Daniel Herms, The Ohio State University, Bugwood Images

Not surprisingly, officials confirmed that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) resides in St. Louis County. Previously, the beetle was found in St. Charles County and the City of St. Louis. As time goes by, the beetles are expected to kill all untreated ash trees in the infested areas.

As you may know,  EAB was discovered in Michigan in 2002. Before that, scientists didn’t even know what was killing the trees. The beetle is not a problem in its native East Asian habitat. However, in the United States, EAB’s voracious appetite has killed millions of trees in 27 states. The larvae disrupt the flow of water and nutrients by eating the inner bark and then the tree dies. Unfortunately, people have helped the beetles spread by moving firewood.

A recent article in the New York Times online summarizes two studies trying to understand how East Asian ash trees repel the beetles naturally by using chemicals. Are the North American ash trees (1) not producing high enough levels of chemicals, (2) not using chemicals in the right balance, and/or (3) not making the chemicals fast enough? 

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Landscape Challenge completed in record time

By Marcia Myers

Volunteers planting and mulching

Volunteers planting and mulching

Weather conditions were perfect for the Landscape Challenge 2015 planting, with just enough previous rain to make the ground easy to dig and an early morning temperature in the 50’s on a sunny day. As volunteers arrived, designer Jeanne Cablish placed native plants from Missouri Wildflowers Nursery in the designated locations.

Homeowners Rosalie and Terry had prepared the site in advance and greeted volunteers. In addition, Scott Woodbury, Curator of Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, was on hand to provide guidance on planting and overseeing the project along with Jeanne and the homeowners.

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Artist Megan Singleton makes papermaking with native plants look easy

By Kathy Bildner and Peggy Whetzel; photos by Kathy Bildner

For variety, Megan added some blue-dyed fibers and ox-eyed sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) to the original paper pulp.

For variety, Megan added some blue-dyed fibers and ox-eyed sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) to the original paper pulp. Click any image for a larger version.

With a generous dose of materials, expertise and patience, Megan Singleton led a free papermaking workshop in the McKinley Meadows garden at 2257 Missouri Street on Saturday, August 22. You may recall the day as one where outdoor events might be better attended in a boat. Although a downpour dampened the proceedings somewhat, 15 people, including six kids, got a chance to try their hand at making paper from native plants.

“People were very wet when they left,” said Megan. Her damp hair pinned up, she seemed unfazed by the weather. Nor did the rain discourage the kids from a friendly fight with a few peas picked from the community vegetable garden on the site.

To prepare for the workshop, Megan harvested leaves from copper iris (Iris fulva) and blue iris (Iris virginica) to get fiber for making paper. The plants were growing nicely in the native plant beds that were installed last spring with a Wild Ones grant.

Megan then chopped the leaves into one-inch segments and soaked them overnight. Next, the leaves were cooked in soda ash to remove the non-cellulose material from the fibers. Rinsing the resulting material until it no longer felt soapy, she processed it to separate the plant fibers.

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Got native plants or seeds to spare?

Flyer for the native plant sale at Schlafly Bottleworks on September 26, 2015By Mitch Leachman

The second annual Native Plant Expo and Sale will be held Saturday, September 26th in Maplewood at the Schlafly Bottleworks from 9 am to 2 pm.

This FREE event is a great opportunity for you to share your native plant wealth with others at the St Louis Audubon Bring Conservation Home table. Their Habitat Advisors (many of whom are Wild Ones members) will be on-hand to distribute the plants/seeds and facilitate swaps.

Please keep the species separate and label all containers clearly.

For additional event details and contact info, download the flyer.

A Case for Pussytoes

By Dawn Weber

American Lady butterfly on Prairie Pussytoes

American Lady butterfly on Prairie Pussytoes – photo by Dawn Weber

Pussytoes is a low-growing native groundcover with understated spring blooms and silvery-green leaves that resemble the soft pads of a cat’s paw. Field or prairie pussytoes, botanically named Antennaria neglecta, are native to the north east and north central US as well as much of Canada. Just a few inches tall, they appreciate full sun to light shade, and dry to average soil.

Without a doubt, there are showier native plants. So why make room in your garden for this unassuming little plant? Because pussytoes is one of the host plants for the American Lady butterfly.

American Lady butterflies need pussytoes. Tiny just-hatched caterpillars cannot travel very far for food, so the female butterfly lays her eggs on a host plant that the new caterpillars can eat.

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