Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth to News-Press... Earth to News-Press...

whacking off with the K Reka....
if you've ever wondered why we're losing bees, butterflies, bats and other important species, look no further than the News-Press "Home and Garden" writer and "master gardener", K. Reka Badger. Her latest hallucination is about weeds. She writes of her intolerance of plants that come from other places, like Asia or Austrailia, or because they have some prickly thingies on them. She wants her intolernace to spread out into the wilds and suggests if you see a weed, or what appears to be a weed, to get a sample and drop it off to the county ag, let's look at some plants she demonizes and the myths she spreads about them: blue gum eucalyptus trees are not weeds, they are simply a beautiful species that strikes fear in many due to the mistaken belief that they burn more than other trees..are these nitwits trying to tell me that they would rather stand next to a burning pine than a burning euc? silly, irrational fear... and the blue gums are home to protected species like owls and hawks and are favored by Monarch butterflies..there's no reason to destroy them; dandelions are survivors that nature wants to grow. Despite insane efforts to poison watersheds and landscapes, these hearty little flowers always come back...bees and butterflies like them and that's good enough reason to leave them alone!!
purple thistle is another lovely weed that grows everywhere..esp nice to see by the roadsides when I'm biking..purple and red finches use the seeds and silky innards of the thistle for nests...another good reason not to fear or hate this Ms. Badger, knock it off with the fear mongering and if you can't see the benefit of weeds, you need to get out more and observe nature..or get some professional help!  
Some of the benefits of weeds are listed below:
helping to conserve soil moisture and prevent erosion. A ground cover of weeds will reduce the amount of bare soil exposed helping to conserve nutrients, particularly nitrogen which could otherwise be leached away, especially on light soils.
food and shelter can be provided for natural enemies of pests and even alternative food sources for crop pests. The actual presence of weed cover may be a factor in increasing effectiveness of biological control of pests and reducing pest damage.
weeds can also be valuable indicators of growing conditions in a field, for example of water levels, compaction and pH.
weeds can be an important source of food for wildlife, especially birds. Bird populations have been declining on farmland over the last few decades and leaving weeds as a resource has been shown to help revive bird populations.
remember Reka,we're all native to Mother Earth and a balance among all species is the desired goal..

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