One morning this spring in Toronto, we found the streets and sidewalks transformed into a tapestry of colours. The winds and overnight rains left all kinds of colourful yard waste from trees and shrubs.
It occured to me that this provides a great opportunity to both reduce pests and draw in beneficial insects. This could be done by collecting the debris and scattering it as a top dressing for the lawn or garden. This should be at least 6 ft away, as a buffer, from the perimeter of the house or other structures.
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Tapestry of colorful seeds, flower petals, and other tree debris yesterday after a rainy and windy night. This was on Toronto roads and sidewalks. We'll use some as feed for beneficial insects. #beneficialinsects #mast #tapestry #toronto #roads #sidewalks #maple #keys #seeds #petals #linden #crabapple #cherryblossom #petals #fertilizer #nutrients
The colourful debris consisted of green seeds of silver maple, green and red seeds of Norway maple, yellow flowers of sugar and black maple, yellow and burgundy sheethings from new linden growth, pink petals of decorative crab apples and lighter pink petals of cherry blossoms. To see all this at once because of a windy night, rivaled fall colours for the short time that these colours remained vivid.
The nutrient level is high in these assorted tree masts. The seeds are especially high in nutrients since they are whole grain - great feed for decomposer insects.
This could work against us by attracting mice along with black legged ticks and the Lyme disease that they carry, other diseases that they carry, as well as other unwanted insects.
We could also use this nutrition to attract beneficial insects and other decomposer organisms by relocating it to the lawn or garden. The seeds can and do sprout but the germination rate is not always so high since we are not planting them. Morever, these weed seeds, when they do sprout, are very easy to remove. One yank and these strong stems take out the roots.
The remaining maple seedlings, when pulled out, will dry out if in place while providing some shelter and structure for other beneficial insects. Decomposer insects will leave soil-enriching frass to fertilize your soil. The insects themselves will support predating types of beneficial insects.
Even better, many song birds are insectivorous.
We can get the best of both worlds by working to exclude pests while attracting useful insects and allies - pests of other pests!
No bags needed for this yard waste. Not much work is involved - for example, no need to go through all the work that entails composting.
Do move the the waste away from the house and other structures. Then, let nature do its work. Later in the summer, you may discover little helpers, coming out of your well-nourished garden, feeding on plant pests!
This is in essence what Pest UnHABITAT is about - I work with the full range of options to provide balanced pest management. Call me at 647 394-4743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need pest control whether it is related to indoor or outdoor pests, or at the interface between the two to exclude them in the first place.
In the next blog posts, I will discuss various seasonal pests, including weeds and wildlife, as well as some exciting seeds of plants to enhance our ability to attract pollinators and various beneficial insects.
Happy spring gardening and be sure to follow and like me on the facebook page, twitter, instagram, snapchat, google, LinkedIn and our upcoming youtube channel!