Using Wildflower Strips to Enhance Native Pollinators and Other Beneficial Insects that are at Risk due to Increased Chemical Interventions Designed to Control Spotted Wing Drosophila, Drosophila Suzukii
The site preparation for this SARE grant took longer than expected. We reworked and reshaped the field in the spring of 2014. Then in late spring, we started working the ground once per week for four months. The plan was to kill emerging weeds over the summer for a weed-free fall planting. However, early on we noticed heavier than expected weed pressure, especially from brambles. By early fall, we realized the site would have to be reworked and the brambles would need to be sprayed into the fall for good control. We felt the site was not adequately prepared for a long-term habitat commitment. Because of this, we decided to delay planting the plugs until spring 2015.
In early November, we did however plant the site with rye grass, to prevent erosion and for soil health. We also planted five spruce trees, in addition to the ones already there, to act as a buffer to protect the habitat from residue from a nearby blueberry field. We also planted beach grass around the remaining areas of the pond for erosion control and habitat.
We have no results to date because of the delay in planting. So far we have learned that site preparation is more time consuming than one would think, especially on sites with woody perennials.
WORK PLAN FOR 2015
The rye will be terminated by either mowing or crimping. This decision will be made by how dense the rye stand becomes. If it is a good stand, we will crimp it so it can be used as mulch; otherwise we will just mow it.
The irrigation for this area will be done next.
The main part of this SARE grant – the planting of native plugs, grasses, and seeds – will be done in May of 2015.
In mid-June and again later in the summer, Esther Durnwall, from Michigan Wildflower Farm, will come to help us identify the weeds from the plants on the site. With that knowledge, all summer long, the site will be weeded.
Michigan State University will come in three times (once a month) over the summer to count bees and natural enemies in the planting. Michigan State (Rufus Isaacs) felt this type of monitoring was the best plan, since the sticky traps don’t capture the bees well. If we need something to compare with the new planting, Michigan State said they would also identify a control area and do bee/natural enemy counts there too. They would not provide a species list, but they would give a sense of diversity based on groups of bees and natural enemies (e.g., green bees, bumble bees, honey bees, carpenter bees, etc.) as well as total abundance of both.
Along with Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University, we will host a field day in September.
Because of the delayed planting, this project so far has only been shared with Dr. Rufus Isaacs and Dr. Emily May, both from Michigan State University’s Entomology department.
After the spring planting of 2015 is done, we will have at least one outreach day. People will be able to view the different varieties of wildflowers and grasses, and we will provide a walk-through with a focus on identification of native pollinators and beneficial insects.
Hopefully after implementation of the project, and the collection and analysis of data is completed, an additional field day will take place.
Judy Rant was featured in the 3rd edition of SARE’s Managing Cover crops Profitably book. See the attached pages 182 and 183 for the excerpt from the book.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Wind Dancer Farm/Double R Blueberry Farm
14810 Woodside Trail
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Office Phone: 6168425079