Bringing Nature Home (March Book) by Douglas W. Tallamy

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The scribe “cut-off” Pat!   Sorry 😦

The clubbers gave the book a 4.5 star ranking out of 5

comments from those attending

  • The vocab. alone are a huge learning experience!  I learned so much about individual species that I hadn’t known in depth before.  Five stars awarded!
  • A terrific resource –  a book to return to time /7 again
  • Great read!   Looking to use as reference.  A must for those looking for re-informant of returning to natives.
  • Important book based on research.  Every gardener should read this.
  • I need to purchase a tree this spring so this is an excellent resource
  • Overall, I enjoyed the book.  Several sources explain which flowers attack which insects.  This book was novel because it gave the same type of information indicating insect preferenices for trees and shrubs.  He certainty made the case for moving toward  more natives and  away from grass.  Two problems for me were his recommending people get leaves from community sources without explaining the danger of doing so.  He also gave out misinformation about the harmlessness of glyphosate

 

 

  This book is highly supported by the Wild Ones for native plants

Foreword;  Using  grace and humor it talks about natural gardens.  It rich in concept and detail.

Preface:  Talk about hurting nature and biodiversity.

Chapter 1  Restoring Natives to Suburbia:  A Call to Action

  • the satisfaction of watching plant grow
  • gardener need to help protect wildlife
  • Some gardeners even rescue native plants
  • We the people must do better
  • our native plant will not be able to survive with alien insects (they will not eat)
  • we need to concentrate on our eco-system
  • all species needs space
  • Do we want an alien plant?  (like relocating them)
  • Gardening with natives is here.

Chapter 2:  The Vital New Role of the Suburban Garden

  • plants are earths lifeblood
  • think of oxygen and rain
  • plants use photosynthesis
  • energy that brings life
  • Many species of plant mean many species of animals
  • you need animals to eat some plants
  • Now insects are very nutritious.
  • Homeowners determine what plant stays or goes.
  • we need to benefit biodiversity

Chapter 3:  No Place to Hide

  • A bulldozer crushes toads and snakes during urban development
  • this destructions is for development of the suburbs
  • human Vs nature
    • beat back nature
    • don’t compromise
  • It’s difficult for natives to find some place else
  • We have lost our diversity
  • The drivers of diversity
    • # species is related to the size of it’s location
    • # of species is equilibrium (like on continents)
  • habitat fragmentation equals extinction
    • extension takes a while, but now it’s going faster because our biodiversity is running out
    • example was an island in the Panama canel
      • woodland creatures were cut off from the mainland
      • over 47 plant species were lost
  • How much land have we taken?
    • Our space is limited
  • We have taken it all
  • location 341 or 6%
  • 60%live in rural area in 1930 and has sank to 17.4% (2005)
  • In Pennsylvania only 1% of the land can be considered “wild”
  • Development has been accelerating
  • 2 million acres a year have been lost to development
  • there are 43,480 square miles of blacktop
  • Over 4 million miles of paved road ways
  • Delaware has lost:
    • 78% of freshwater muscles species
    • 20% of fish species
    • 31% of reptiles and amphibians
    • 40% of native plants (threatened)
    • 41% of the bird species
  • Looking at habitat lose.
  • Cars kill birds, or fly into cell towers
  • native birds are in deep trouble
  • Alarming Prediction:
    • 3 to 5% are undisturbed habit for plants and animals
    • we need  to modify how we are living
  • Easy solution:
    • have limited living spaces for plants and animals

Chapter 4    Who Cares about Biodiversity?

  •  Isn’t everything created for human good
  • Why do we need biodiversity:
    • we don’t need it
    • we need diversity so we can exploit it
    • thing should be preserved for ethical or moral reasons
    • It sustains us
  • biodiversity is explained by a rivet (plane) analogy
  • The question is how many rivets are needed
  • The Jenga hypothesis:
    • a species is like a Jenga block
    • will a species make the earth fall?
    • are they playing a keystone role?
  • for an eco system it looks at energy or being more productive
  • To date 50,000 alien species of plants and animals have come to North America
  • The tree from Australia Melaleuca has invaded the Everglades
  • Is it failing the ecosystem in the Everglades  (yes)
  • some plant have critical roles in some eco-system
  • biodiversity is a valued treasure
  • All the “stuff” needed to survive comes from “other” eco-systems

Chapter 5   Why Can’t Insects Eat Alien Plants?

  • insects are lost because of habitat
  • Three reasons why insect don’t ear alien plants:
    • they are unpalatable to insects not a random sample
    • the slow pace of adaptation (it takes time)
    • insects only eats plants that they are specialist and only eats one species of  a plant
  • Most insects are specialist where they share an evolution history
  • They don’t recognize different food sources
  • Alien plant don’t seem to be related to any of the native plant in North America
  • Insects are the majority of “plat eaters”.
  • Monarchs need milk weed
  • Our taste  buds work the chemical “taste” of the plant
  • 10% of insects are generalist
    • mixed gut enzymes or oxidases
    • detoxify plant defensive chemicals
  • Bio mass of these insects are low
  • Insects could decrease with lots of alien plants
  • This will also limit the amount of birds
  • Do alien plants harm birds?
    • lack of data
    • bird age
    • experience
    • grass vs. alien grass
      • with alien grass affected birds
      • alien grows slowly (some species), so lack of food, so fewer birds.

Chapter 6:     What Is Native and What Is Not

  •   If it’s been (grow) in America for a while, it’s a native plant
  • By definition a native plant that historically grew in North America
  • talk of planting zones
  • Let nature define nativity
    • rise of plant & animals to evolve
    • Alien plant will not pass on the energy (interacts with it’s community)
    • Talk about the Norway Maple (small time on continent)
  • Plants can be moved out of their ecosystem
  • Azalea insects from china probably won’t relate to Azaleas plants in the states
  • Alien plants will not fully support our insects  (slim chance)

Chapter 7:  The Cost of Using Alien Ornamentals

  • You might be supporting foreign disease from alien plants
  • bring bad pests
  • like chestnut blight (1876)
  • lots of animals, even song birds, like the chestnut tree
  • Japanese beetles started in 1916 with the import of the Asian iris
  • they eat over 400 plant species
  • enjoy snacking on foliage
  • Turf Pests
    • the Asiatic beetle
    • European chafer
    • oriental beetle
  • These beetles entered the US by unknow means
  • Insect that affects the Frazer fur
  • we need to protect our native species
  • alien that escape originally planted will grow quicker
  • over 5,000 alien plants
  • many of these plants become invasive
  • Pest Free plants don’t give back to the eco-system
  • Are invasive species really that bad?
    • it hurts our biodiversity
    • Smokey mountain have been invaded by over 300 species of alien plants
  • Do we need to limit the use of alien plants?
  • Especially “Bitter Sweet” (oriental)  brings down little trees
    • grows much faster
    • likes the sun
    • kills other plants with their vines
    • birds like the berries  (autumn and Russian olive) these create sterile fields
  • Mile-a-Minute:   it exploded  (White tail deer) zillions of berries are produced
    • grows really fast
    • uses supporting trees
    • blocks photosynthesis
    • strangles trees to death
    • member of the tear-thumbs
    • dies at first frost
  • Japanese knotweed
    • difficult to kill

Chapter 8:   Creating Balanced Communities

  • location 1144  21%
  • Favor native plants over aliens
  • will sustain our biodiversity
  • gardens to create more insects
  • keep all the garden stuff in balance
  • plastic plants are focusing on disasters…all diversity is gone
  • Don’t use insecticides
  • redundancy of plants leads to redundancy of the eco-system
  • using spiders to catch flies
  • prey needs to be available for predators
  • Jap beetles develop on bare roots
  • Do we use insecticides
  • Need to use nature to clean out your garden
  • need to control insect herbivores, by maintain them.
  • studies have shown that 10% of foliage damage takes place before a gardener notices (insect damage)

Chapter 9  Gardening for Insect Diversity

  • Insects are worth billion
  • There are about 4 million or so insects on earth (about 9500 species of birds)
  • only 1 percent interacts with humans in a negative way
  • The other 99% pollinate plants or returns nutrients to the soil
  • enrich the soil
  • Numbers:  insects are worth  about $57 billion each year For what it does to the soil/plants
  • We need insects for our own survival
  • Gardening for butterflies
    • butterfly bush (for mature butterflies)
    • two types
      • host
      • provides nector
    • host plants
      • milkweed
      • butterfly weed
    • Rudbeckias plant
    • Joe-Pye weed
    • plant buttonbush

Chapter 10:  Blending in with the Neighbors

  • Will I draw attention from neighbors
  • larger and more dense garden
  • lead by example
    • landscaping issues
    • 26%
  • lead by example
    • knowledge is value
    • adding plant diversity to your property
  • life begins with natives not aliens
  • field of goldenrod is good cover for wildlife
    • rabbits and geese to hide from foxes
  • get excited about nature and living things
  • Native gardens need not be so messy
  • makes greqt specimen plants
    • monarch butterfly
    • Mexican logging is hurting the species
    • include milk weed
    • more food = greater quanity
    • stop mowing milkweed
    • adopt a species
    • save local wildlife
    • organize a group to landscape needs

Chapter 11:   Making it Happen

  • More natives mean there will be more happier little critters
  • It’s a paradigm change for gardening
  • Follow rules of attrition
    • replace aliens with natives
    • start small
    • with new garden you are building a habitat for wildlife
  • Leaf litter is great
    • acts as a sponge
    • stop the flow of rain
    • keeps plants in garden well hydrated
    • provides fertilizer and mulching processes
    • creates food
  • Garden design that fight global warming:
    • CO2 in the atmosphere  slows the rate the suns energy is lost from atmosphere into space raising the temperature of the earths surface
    • The is more CO2 in the atmosphere than at any time in the past 10 million years.
    • Human consumption of fossil fuels has caused the increase in atmospheric CO2
  • Trees love CO2 to store
  • Mowing your yard causes much extra CO2
  • Choose your trees wisely
    • trees growing in your neighborhood
    • stay away from invasive trees
  • The value of plant diversity
    • for wildlife (like birds)
  • Fighting invasive species
    • need to jump right at it
    • uses roundup
    • invasive are fast growers

Chapter 12:  What should I Pant?

  • plant that produces the most insects
  • looking at host plant relations (using the moth)
  • Look at:
    • Oaks
      • White
      • Red
    • types of soil is a variable
    • oaks add to the diversity of insect herbivores
    •  provides food and shelter as well
    • Willows
      • like a shrub
      • 32% location 1748
        • 97 species in north America
        • attracts butterflies
    • genus Prunus
      • 31 species
        • Plums
      • moths, butterflies and inchworms
    • Birches
      • 16 species in North America
      • reach height of 70-80 feet
      • know for their barks (peeling)
      • good food for wildlife
    • Populus  Poplar
      • 8 Species in North America
    • Crab Apple
      • 4 species in North America
      • 1836 33%
      • only 4 are native
      • 24 moth species that only eat Malus.
      • These fruits are favorite foods for birds, deer, and other wildlife
    • berries
      • good after fire
      • give good landscape for wildlife
      • good fore hosting insects and butterflies
    • Maples
      • 9 species in North America
      • 285 species of insects
      • good color for landscape
      • promotes inchworms
      • Norway is the most sold shade tree in North America
    • Pines
      • 35 Species in North America
      • accent in the landscape (conifers) for winter
      • white pines can give a flat top look
      • species called the pine devl
    • Elms
      • 7 Species in North America
      • good shade and specimen tree, strong wood
      • Dutch Elm disease in 1930
      • Asian Elm was imported
    • Hickories
      • 12 Species in North America
      • different types of bark
      • produces tough nuts
      • hosts moths an butterflies
      • hag moth caterpillar like the Hickory as host
    • Hawthorns
      • Many species in North America
      • woody plant
      • provides food for birds and wildlife
      • 1994 location  36%
    • Alders
      • 8 species in North America
      • A willow tree
      • excellent boarder plantings
      • good for caterpillars
      • hosts over 150 insects
    • Spruce
      • 7 species in North America
      • produces seed for chickadees and other birds
      • In  summer it hosts over 150 species of moths and butterflies grow on spruce
    • Ashes
      • 16 species in North America
      • they are large
      • hosts many species
      • emerald borer from Asia  (1994)
      • ash yellow disease is killing both white and green ashes
      • Sphinx moths use ashes as host plants for their larval
    • Basswood
      • one species in North America
      • supports over 150 species of caterpillars
      • as a specimen their leaves and seed do much to nourish local wildlife
    • Hazelnut
      • 2 species in North America
      • many moths don’t have wings
      • The female is immobile
      • their energy goes into eggs
      • tasty nut for man or beasts
    • Walnuts and Butternut
      • 6 species in North America
      • In CA and Texas
      • produces large nuts for squirrels
      • use in informal setting
      • watch “tissues” of walnutss
    • American Beech
      • one species in /north America
      • support over 100 species of insects
      • beech can grow in deep shade
      • beech bark disease
    • Chestnut
      • 3 species in North America
      • Chestnut blight supports 125 species of Lepidoptera
      • produces edible nuts for wildlife Chestnuts

Chapter 13 What Does Plant Food Look Like?

  • there were over 52 species at the pond (where research paper was done   (for masters)
  • Only a female will take a blood meal (protein for heir eggs)
  • Grasshoppers and locust
    • 600 species north of Mexico
    • they jump from enemies
    • grass hopper eggs are laid in the ground ab=nd they hatch in the spring
  • Katydid
    • 123 speciess north of Mexico
    • females want their best mate they could find (by song   leaf like wings)
    • location 2193   40%
  • Tree and bush crickets
    • 28 species North of Mexico
    • diet is usually leaves
    • will eat eggs
    • sounds attack a female
  • Walkingsticks
    • 33 species north of Mexico
    • are motionless
    • wings or wingless
    • 12″ long at maturity (largest)
  • Plant bugs
    • 1750 specimens north of Mexico
  • Lace bugs
    • 140 species north of Mexico
    • they look annoying
  • Seed bugs and their relatives
    • 250 species north of Mexico
    • more saliva dissolves the seeds innards
    • large and small milkweed bugs
  • Box Elder bugs
    • 37 species north of Mexico
    • favor host plants
  • Leaf-footed bugs
    • number of species north of Mexico
  • Shield bugs
    • 200 plus species north of Mexico
    • lay huge amount of eggs
    • also called stinkbugs
  • Cicadas
    • 157 species north of Mexico
    • called 17 year locust
    • 17 year old nymphs
    • insert eggs into wooden tissues
  • Treehopper
    • 258 species north of Mexico
    • leaf beetles
      • when disturbed the bug jumps
  • Leafhoppers
    • 2500 species north of Mexico
  • Froghoppers and spittlebug
    • 54 species north of Mexico
    • more talk about the anus.
  • Aphids
    • 1450 species north of Mexico
    • plays an important role in transferring the suns energy from plants to larger animals.
    • population can get large because of reproduction (no matting)
    • Get nitrogen from the plants
  •  Leaf beetles
    • 1827 species north of /mexico
    • 30% of all animals are beetles
    • they are very good at eating plants
    • 2490  45%
    • there are over 34 times more beetles than there are birds
    • different plant support many types of beetles
    • beetles like different plant types
    • like root worms
    • larvae (feces)  is used to deter predators
  • Long-horned beetles
    • 900 species north of Mexico
    • takes a long time to reach maturity
  • Metallic wood-boring beetles
    • 762 species north of Mexico
    • develop in hardwood of trees
    • adults live about 2 weeks
  • Stag beetles
    • 24 species north of Mexico
    • they just use dead trees for a host
    • they are declining in numbers
    • They need dead trees
  • Bess beetles
    • 4 species north of Mexico
    • about 1″ in length about 1″ in length
    • live in large logs
    • they rub body part together for communications
  • June beetles, chafers,
    • over 628 species available north of Mexico
    • leaf chafers like the /jap beetle
    • June beetle is common at night in early July (large heavy body)
  • Click beetles
    • 965 species north of Mexico
    • look like a common insect
    • brown in color
    • they eat plant roots
  • Blister beetles
    • 400 plus species north of Mexico
    • called the /Spanish fly
    • sold as a aphrodisiac (for centuries)
  • Soldier beetles
    • 473 species north of Mexico
  • weevils and bark beetles
    • 3490 species north of Mexico
  • Moths and butterflies
    • 72 families
    • 12,000 species north of Mexico
      • butterflies are more streamlined
      • moths are typically fatter
      • moth antennas’ are feathery
      • moths usually have their wings over their abdomen
      • butterfly wings are more upright
      • 2747  or 50%
    • Sphinx horns have a horn on them
    • some eat other butterflies not just other plants
    • talk about “skippers having traits to moth and butterflies
    • black butterflies taste bad
  • The largest family of butterflies is Nymphalidaesome
    • 50 species in North America
    • milkweed (green, common, swamp, and purple)
    • monarch are in threat because if=of the overwintering habitat in the mountains
    • Acceptance of larval food
  • Sawflies
    • 1071 species north of Mexico
    • looks like wasps or caterpillars
    • they taste good for birds
    • they like yellow shirts (like a flower)
    • can develop on poison ivy
  • Arthropod Predators
    • talk about plant energy (like spiders)
    • big and small headed flies
    • the inchworm
    • spider could be 50% of birds food

stop paying pesticides companies to control these insects

Chapter 14:  Answers to Tough Question

  • Why can’t we let nature take its course and just leave the aliens alone?
    • Nature is defined in certain living areas
    • as humans we have changed the process
    • we need to right the wrongs
  • If birds eat the berries….why should I plant these species?
    • berries grow after bird poops
    • grow native berries!
      • dogwood
      • elderberry
      • arrow wood
  • Isn’t habitat destruction a more pressing problem than alien plants in the landscape?
    •  huge problem for all earth
    • plant native plants in garden
    • watch berry size  (maybe to big)
  • What’s wrong with leaving vines on trees?
    • woody vines cause problem
    • humans have changed the forrest
    • this could damage the growth of native trees
    • weight of vine could be snapped off because of the weighr
    • our destruction of forest habitats has thrown the ecosystem out of balance
  • If insects don’t like alien plants, why do I see so many bees and butterflies at my butterfly bush?
    • nectar is sugar and water
    • same as native plants
    • long and short neck bees
    • native plants show a statistical favor to native plants (location 2988)
    • honey bees are all alien
  • My hose sits on an eighth of an acre, is that enough
    • small plots are connected to other plots.
    • create a habitat
    • effects will be cumulative
    • yes you can make a difference!
    • location 3009 or 55%
  • Problem with deer eating every plant…..what about deer proof?
    • It’s tempting?
    • some natives deer don’t like
    • cars and starvation also affects deer population (only thing slowing)
    • maybe electric fences
  • Why are birds flittering in and out of alien plants?
    • birds need 3 thing to survive
      • protection from predators
      • nest sites
      • food
    • most important is food
      • insects needed
      • native plants
    • sometimes the birds don’t have a choice
  • If an alien plant has been in this country long enough, doesn’t become a native?
    • It’s all about:
      • not sharing an evolution history with the ecosystem (current)
      • it can’t just naturalize
      • native insect should be able to adopt
      • evidence has shown this dooes not happen soon enough

Afterword

  •  The Last Refuge
    • need to use plants that correspond to the wildlife
    • our gardens need native plants for our biodiversity
    • Each one of us can create the change
    • plant a native

 

 

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