Today, you accommodated the nice built-in chicken crownbeard and the not-so-nice non-native Japanese drag grass.
You additionally accommodated the benign soldier beetle.
Information on these breed is address of Helen Hamilton, columnist of “Wildflowers and Grasses of Virginia’s Coastal Plain” and accomplished admiral of the John Clayton Chapter, Virginia Built-in Bulb Society, and Kathryn Peterson-Lambert, affiliate member.
Learn added about the wildflower book at http://wildflowersofvirginia.com and the affiliate and its year-round contest at http://www.claytonvnps.org.
With a anniversary array like a ragged chicken mop, chicken crownbeard, Verbesina occidentalis, is accessible to recognize, according to Hamilton. Although accompanying to sunflowers, this affiliate of the Aster Ancestors has alone a few chicken ray flowers, usually two to four, generally angled astern from a centermost of baby chicken deejay flowers. The wide, egg-shaped leaves, positioned adverse anniversary added on the stem, accept anyhow asperous edges and breeze into “wings” on the stem.
This built-in abiding occurs in every canton in Virginia and blooms August through September. The ambit is from Maryland south to Florida and Texas.
“It grows in a lot of habitats — woodlands, fields, roadsides – and does able-bodied in the home garden, at the aback of the abiding bed or in a meadow setting,” says Hamilton.
“The bulb is abounding and connected blooming, abacus a accumulation of aureate blush to the backward abatement garden. It is somewhat bedraggled and needs some space, back it can abound to 9 anxiety tall.”
There are two added breed of Verbesina: wingstem (V. alternifolia), and white crownbeard (V. virginica).
These plants are all associates of the aster family, with usually antiseptic ray flowers and a axial deejay abiding with tiny flowers, aloof like sunflowers and asters. Abounding insects delving the alloyed anniversary petals for ambrosia and pollen. The deejay flowers of Verbesina are beneath and about arranged, and assume to be decidedly adorable to soldier beetles, generally apparent alliance alike while the changeable is eating.
Soldier beetles are benign in the home garden back both the adults and the larvae are bloodthirsty and augment on added insects, according to Hamilton. The adults eat aphids, caterpillars, grasshopper eggs, mites and added baby pests. They augment on ambrosia and pollen in backward summer and aboriginal abatement plants, but do not accident foliage.
Colored ablaze chicken to red with amber or atramentous wings and trim, the beetles are evocative of British uniforms, which is why they are frequently alleged soldier beetles. The black-and-yellow coloration, somewhat akin wasps, may assure them for predation by birds, and they bury a actinic that makes them distasteful. They are additionally alleged “leatherwings” for their soft, cloth-like addition covers.
“They resemble lightning bugs but cannot aftermath flashes of ablaze in the backward June evening,” Hamilton said.
Like all beetles, soldier beetles go through a complete alteration — proceeding through egg, larval, apostolic and developed stages, she said.
In backward summer, females drop eggs in clammy clay or in blade litter. They anon bear into larvae and overwinter in that form. In the spring, the larvae bear and casualty on insect eggs, larvae, worms, slugs, snails and added baby bacilli in blade litter, bulb debris, apart soil, and added areas of aerial humidity.
The larvae are long, attenuate and worm-like with indentations in anniversary anatomy segment. They are aphotic amber or gray and arise ery because of tiny close bristles all over. Larvae overwinter in clammy clay or bits or beneath apart bark. In the fall, they can alluvion indoors, gluttonous a adequate abode for the winter. If you see them in your house, aloof ambit them up and abandon outdoors. Weather stripping and caulking can be acclimated to allowance openings they may use.
In aboriginal summer, the larvae pupate and appear as adults in backward July, which is the aboriginal time gardeners will see these benign insects – larvae and pupae are rarely seen. The adults are alive through August and September, agriculture on ambrosia and pollen in abatement garden plants and bloodthirsty on aphids which accept been parasitized by wasps, abject bugs, and added garden insects.
“There is a affluent and important association at the clay akin area the soldier beetle larvae alive and feed,” Hamilton says.
“To advice soldier beetles and added benign insects survive, accommodate them with abiding plantings with undisturbed, mulched soil, and add amoebic abstracts as needed.”
Invasive drag grass
Japanese drag grass is so bellicose alike deer do not eat it.
Stilt grass, Microstegium vimineum was alien into the United States about 1919 and is accustomed in 16 states, occurring on beck banks, fields and ditches, according to Peterson-Lambert.
“I accept apparent drag grass absolutely assertive the mural in forested abundance meadows,” she said. “Drastic measures are alleged for eradicating drag grass.”
The bulb is an anniversary grass akin a baby aerial bamboo that matures 2-3 anxiety alpine and is accessible to cull out of the ground.
Its leaves are anemic green, lance-shaped, absurd and about 3 inches long. Wind-pollinated, anniversary bulb produces 100-1,000 seeds that abide applicable in the clay for at atomic three years. The seeds can be agitated by water, clay and gravel, nursery-grown plants and the anxiety of animals including humans.
To ascendancy its advancing spread, drag grass can be mowed, alluringly August-September, back the plants are beginning but afore berry is produced. It can additionally be duke pulled.
“The botheration with automated ascendancy such as hand-pulling is that this grass thrives in abashed sites and increases in volume,” Peterson-Lambert said.
“Hand-pulling again charge be again and connected for abounding seasons until the berry coffer is exhausted.”
Stilt grass can additionally be advised with glyphosate (Round-up is one) or grass-specific herbicides such as Clethodim, so the bulb is dead to its roots, according to experts. Use articles labeled for wetland use, and chase instructions carefully. Spray alone on calm canicule or wind alluvion can accidentally abuse adorable plants.
“There are no biological controls and its attendance in forests is craving deer and added wildlife,” Peterson-Lambert says.
Contact Kathy at [email protected]
Sept. 13 lawn/garden expos
•Go Blooming Expo. Learn about eco-friendly articles and accept to speakers on how to garden advantageous and blooming during the Go Blooming Expo sponsored by Newport News adept gardeners 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at Brittingham Midtown Association Center, 570 McLawhorne Drive (mid-town Jefferson Avenue), Newport News. Additionally featured: 70 vendors, farmers market, raffles, hands-on demos, rain workshops, children’s crafts and face painting, ask-a-master agriculturalist berth and aliment trucks for lunch. Free, accessible to public. http://www.nnmastergardeners.org or 757-591-4838.
•Landscape Extravaganza. In affiliation with the Go Blooming Expo, the York/Poquoson and Newport News addendum offices sponsor the Mural Extravaganza with built-in bulb able Helen Hamilton speaking about “Native Plants of Virginia” noon-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13. Workshops at 10:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. affection “Hot and Cold plants for Pollinators” by Chesapeake addendum abettor Mike Andruczyk, “Sustainable Landscaping by Henrico addendum abettor Lisa Sanderson, “Eco-Smart Lawn Care” by York/Poquoson addendum abettor Dan Nortman and “New and Underused Plants by Eric Bailey of Landscapes by Eric Bailey in York County. Free, annals in beforehand by emailing [email protected] or alarm 903-8878.
Native bulb events
•Bill Portlock, chief drillmaster with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, talks about bay wetland habitats during a affair of the John Clayton Chapter, Virginia Built-in Bulb Society, at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16 at the York Canton Library, Route 17 at Battle Road. Free, accessible to public. http://www.claytonvnps.org.
•Native bulb able Donna Ware leads a airing on the Colby Swamp Trail in Freedom Park on Saturday, Sept. 20. See ernut in fruit, log bracken and big tooth aspen, amid added sights. Accommodated in the Freedom Park Interpretive Centermost parking lot at 9:30 a.m. The cruise involves walking beneath than a mile. Freedom Park is at 5537 Centerville Road in James City County. To register, alarm Donna at 565-0657 or email [email protected]
Kathy Hogan Van [email protected]
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