Category Archives: In The Garden

A “Safe” and “Natural” Insect Control That Also Kills Bees

The results we present here show that the native British bumble bee B. terrestris is remarkably susceptible to two commercially available entomopathogenic nematode pest control products. Both products caused very high levels of bee mortality after only 72 h of exposure, with the first deaths evident after 48 h. This result was unexpected: the susceptibility of bees to entomopathogenic nematodes such as Heterorhabdidtis spp. and Steinernema spp. has never previously been reported. (Click on image or title for full story)

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Orchards Can Reduce Pesticide Use By Planting Flowers

Researchers have found they can control one of fruit growers’ more severe pests, aphids, with a remarkably benign tool: flowers.

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Birds Choose Backyards With Native Plants

When nonnative plants replace natives, entire food webs are disrupted by the loss of specialized plant-eating insects—the most important food for animals ranging from other insects and spiders to reptiles and amphibians to mammals and birds.

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The Natural GMO: An example of a naturally transgenic food crop

This finding draws attention to the importance of plant–microbe interactions, and given that this crop has been eaten for millennia, it may change the paradigm governing the “unnatural” status of transgenic crops.

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Which Trees On Your Lot Affect Home Sales

Believe it or not, the types of trees in your yard can impact your ability to sell your home.

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Weeds And What They Tell About Soil

Simply by observing the most prevalent weeds that are growing in a specific area, they can indicate if the soil is acidic or alkaline, whether the soil is a healthy, balanced soil, or if it’s depleted. Weeds can indicate a poorly draining soil, or a soil that is unable to retain moisture. Weeds can even indicate if the soil is unbalanced, being overly rich in one nutrient and deficient in others.

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Climate Change Is Changing Your Garden

The Third National Climate Assessment confirms that landscapes across the country are changing rapidly. The report predicts that “species, including many iconic species, may disappear from regions where they have been prevalent or become extinct, altering some regions so much that their mix of plant and animal life will become almost unrecognizable.”

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How Backyard Landscapes Could Save Biodiversity

You have probably never thought of your property as a wildlife preserve representing the last chance we have to sustain plants and animals that were once common throughout the US. But that is exactly the role our suburban and urban landscapes are now playing – and will play even more in the near future.

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Biochar: Green Miracle or Not Living Up To The Promise?

But there are still many questions about biochar, particularly in terms of making sure that it is affordable and has positive effects. In some studies, the material has actually reduced yields. Part of the difficulty is that biochar can be produced from all kinds of biomass and at different temperatures and speeds, which leads to huge variation in the substance — and in results.

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Mulch Type Matters To Pollinators

Results showed that mulch type had specific effects on pollinator and crop performance, and suggested that certain types of mulch may be more conducive to squash bee nesting than others.