Sunday, December 31, 2006

Beneficial Insects and Native Plants.


I found a great research project website at the University of Michigan. It is about enhancing biological predator controls in gardens and on farms using native plants. It started in 2002 and has results for 2005. There are graphs showing numbers of insects found on the plants at peak flowering time. The plants are named including some exotics and there is a grass control area.
Beneficial insect pages give information. Plant pages give pictures and graphs.This is of course of interest mainly to midwestern growers, but I think give a good idea of how natives to an area can be of benefit.

Spend some time going through the pages it is very interesting.


Excerpt...
we wanted to determine if a succession of flowering species could be found that provide pollen and nectar resources over much of the growing season. We selected 43 native Michigan plants based on their reported bloom period and ability to survive in agricultural habitats. All of the species selected historically grew in prairie or savanna habitats (scattered trees with an understory of prairie species). These habitats have been largely replaced by agriculture in Michigan and share similar soil, climatic, and structural conditions as field and orchard/vineyard crops.

What do "small," "medium" and "large" numbers mean? They refer to how many insects were collected per meter square in a 30 second sample. Small means less than 2 insects; medium indicates 2 to 10 insects, and large suggests greater than 10 insects.

About project...
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/plants/about.htm

Plant list...
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/plants/menu.htm

3 Comments:

Blogger Colleen said...

I read this study a while ago. Isn't it fascinating? And the plant list is awesome. I'm basically choosing my plants for this year based on this list. My property belonged to an older lady who had almost no plants here and a lawn that was religiously sprayed every year. When we moved in four years ago, honestly, the only wildlife we saw were squirrels, flies, and mosquitos. We've been working on bringing wildlife back, and in just the last few years, it's gotten much better. I love your site, btw!

17/1/07 12:08 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Hi Colleen. I found the information very useful.Being able to see the actual connection between insect diversity and native planting is an important step in "getting" the usefulness of these plants.
Have you read 'The Forgotten Pollinators' by Stephen L. Buchmann, Gary Paul Nabhan and Paul Miroch? I read this book a few years ago and though it is a bit dated now by the recently released study on pollinators it still stands as an important work and was probably instrumental in begining the quest for understanding.It certainly moved me to begin seeing insects as part of the wildlife a garden habitat should assist.

18/1/07 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is remarkable, rather valuable message

10/12/09 10:55 PM  

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