Sunday, October 11, 2015

Native Plant Reserach

There are a couple of studies being done in the native plant world that have peaked my interest.

Native Cultivars vs. Native True Species
Kim Eierman interviews Doug Tallamy in his project to see if Native Cultivars hold up to their True Species counterparts. Basically they plant a cultivar in the middle of a ring of the true species specimens. This way it would unlikely for the insects to miss their host unless they were actively avoiding the cultivar.

Overall I don't think this will show any surprising results. Cultivars are often just clones of a particular species with the desirable traits. There may be one or two cases where one or two insects have lost a taste for a particular cultivar but I doubt there will be anything shocking to report from this.

Mt. Cuba Center tests out Reforestation Methods

Delaware Online is reporting the Mt. Cuba Center is starting a 20 year long study to compare different reforestation methods.
Mt. Cuba Center staff designed each test plot with a different reforestation technique, including two plots which serve as controls for the experiment: one left to natural forces to reforest itself, called natural succession, and one planted with a commonly used technique, orchard-style planting where trees are placed 10 feet away from each other and the grass between them is mown regularly.

Other plots have different combinations of planting densities and planting types: an orchard-style planting with no mowing between trees; densely planted canopy trees; orchard-style canopy trees and understory trees; and densely planted canopy trees and understory trees.
It's an interesting question for sure, and I really hope their study goes without any acts of god. The article doesn't mention them using any evergreens or species that jump out at me as being fire resistant for example. Also wind storms and hurricanes seem to be becoming more common for the area, so here's hoping nothing like that happens. For a study that's going to take 20 years to complete it would be an awful shame if a Deer screwed it up.

I wonder with the plots that are not being mowed, whether they're planting into lawn or something more wild such as a meadow, and whether or not it would be beneficial to also have a plot with a meadow seed mix thrown down before hand to see if the tall grasses and wildflowers does anything to help or hinder the trees and shrubs.