A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team Leader
So, my first comment is “nothing can compete with well managed grass in the northeast”. If you manage and feed your grasses correctly, they will outcompete everything else. If you have weeds, it is because the grasses are not being managed as well as they can be. They are lacking a good cutting schedule or nutrients. Depending on the weed, cutting them on a timely basis will help a lot. Most weeds we deal with are annuals. They live one year. You cut hem before they go to seed then you have that many less weed seeds next year. Do that a few years in a row and there are “no” seeds left to germinate. Now, that does not work on perennials. They will be harder to deal with. Call me and we can discuss how to handle them. It will depend on the weed.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team Leader
I was struggling for a good topic this week when I guy walked in and started asking me about reseeding a field. How to do it, what he should use, etc. I think there are still enough people out there making hay on a lot of Bradford County fields so I will hit that topic this week. First off, we need rain! For non-farmers, how could you ask for a better year? Warm, dry, just beautiful weather. For farmers and gardeners, not so much.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team leader
Enough said, right. The Troy Fair. The biggest event to hit Bradford County since (I don’t know, dinosaurs?? LOL). We have rides and animals and attractions and (oh yea) FOOD. It is not an official count, but I think we have been going at this for just shy of 150 years. That is a long time. The fair is an enjoyable time for whatever reason you go. There will be cattle and sheep and chickens and whatever animals you can think of. We will have the normal- fish, snakes (I hope. I have to catch them yet and NO these ones in the picture are not the ones that I will have at the fair!), critters, and educational stuff. I hope to see you there. If you are a regular reader, you can feel free to stop in and tell me what a wonderful job I am doing, or that I have lost my mind and don’t have a clue what is going on out there in the real world. Either way, I will enjoy the conversation.
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Team Leader
Are you one of those homeowners that have very difficult areas to mow? A bank? A ditch? A wet area? Around trees and obstacles in the lawn? Have you evaluated all the alternatives (not that there are really that many) to deal with this? We could still find a way to get it mowed. This alternative keeps it looking good, but it takes some effort. We could just let it go, and who wants to do that? It looks ugly (to us), right? Or we could just spray it and kill what is there. That sounds like the easiest way to deal with it. No hard work. You only have to do it once (probably). However, do you understand all the ramifications with this option? I am not going to get into the debate of whether sprays are harmful to the environment or not. That is for another time. What I do want to do is give you some cold hard facts about some of the results of doing this.
By: Dan Rhodes, Education Coordinator
In many cases, we here at the Conservation District frown on making blanket statements that describe surprisingly beneficial native wild plants as weeds when they often have important roles to play in the environment. A ‘weed’ plant after all is simply a plant growing on the landscape where it’s unwanted from a human perspective. Many beneficial wildflowers such as goldenrod, New England Aster, jewelweed, ragweed, boneset, Joe-Pye weed, daisy flea-bane and many others, are often removed by private property owners without hesitation in favor of ornamental flowers and plants they deem to be more aesthetically pleasing. The problem with this kind of thinking is that these so-called ‘weed’ plants are incredibly important sources of highly nutritious food for wildlife like deer and as sources of nectar and pollen at critical times for pollinators like honeybees. This all being said, there are dozens of species of invasive plants that are NEVER going to be beneficial in any scenario if they are found growing in Bradford County.
Reprinted from Forest Fridays- a DCNR publication.
by Ryan Reed, Natural Resource Program Specialist, Bureau of Forestry.
Just a few years ago the topic of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was at the forefront of natural science and media inquiry in Pennsylvania. CCD is the term applied to the sudden deaths of entire honeybee colonies, many of which are domesticated hives. The phenomenon of CCD portended the potential for massive losses of food production capability, as domesticated bees (through pollination) are responsible for a reported one-third of all the food we eat. CCD has no doubt affected food supplies and cost.
Research points to multiple reasons for CCD, suggesting a synergistic effect between these factors, which include chemicals like insecticides and herbicides, parasitic mites and other pathogens, and loss of habitat.
Reprint from Forest Fridays, DCNR newsletter.
By: Ryan Reed, Natural Resource Program Specialist, Bureau of Forestry.
The term “weed” has a very negative connotation in the eyes of most gardeners and horticulture professionals. Merriam-Webster defines a weed as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing.”
I’ve spent countless hours, with many a subsequent back ache, pulling weeds in my gardens. They grow relentlessly it seems, and every spring I know the task begins anew.
By: Miranda Neville, Agricultural Resource Specialist
Looking at the farmers in my life, some were born in to a seventh generation legacy while others chose to be first generation farmers but they all have one specific thing in common. No matter how long they have been farming they will spend their lives building their operation to create a legacy all their own. If (emphasis on ‘IF’) the day comes that they decide to retire or step back from farming, they want to be sure whoever takes the reigns will love and appreciate it just as they do. Finding someone who will take pride in what they do and who shares a passion for agriculture and their land is a rarity. So how does someone who spent their life cultivating their hopes and dreams (not to mention their life savings) ensure their legacy will live on?
By: Kevin Brown, BCCD, Ag Team Leader
We had a meeting at the Fire Hall a couple weeks ago where we talked about no till gardening, stormwater control, rain barrels, rain gardens, pollinators, and the like. At the end of the meeting, one of the attendees came up to me and had a story about a neighbor spraying their “weeds”. It reminded me of a couple stories that I had that were very similar. His story went like this: He is a farmer and he uses herbicides. He has neighbors that have various opinions on sprays. We all do. He tries to be as conscientious as he can be with what he is using. He needs a license to use them, he has to go through training, and he knows any herbicide he is using as well as anyone can. He has a neighbor that is anti-Roundup to the max. Some people are. Is it media or facts? I don’t know, and it is not the reason for the article. For this person, sprays in general can be used, but Roundup is (insert your worst verb or pronoun here). As he was working his field one day, he witnesses his neighbor come out with their sprayer, fill it, go spray “weeds”, and come back to refill. They do this maybe 3-4 times before he decides he needs to go talk to this person. As he is asking about what they are doing, they tell him that “at least it is not Roundup!!!”. He asks to see what they are using, and how much. He informs them that the amount that they had already used probably could have done an entire field, not the little, tiny area that they had covered. The response was, “But I want it DEAD (GONE)!!!”. So, Roundup is bad, but putting 10x the amount of herbicide needed on an area is ok??? (And not the right spray for the job either) I have had the exact same conversation with other people, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share at least a couple of comments on this topic.
By: Joe Quatrini; Technical Team Leader; BCCD
Have you ever seen something that was different than what you’re used to and thought “Hmm, that’s different it must be BAD!” Maybe you’re not even sure what you’re looking at but you decide you should hate it, just because it’s a change or you don’t understand it. Unfortunately, it’s almost what our brains are trained to do these days, especially in today’s society. We see something and judge it before we even try to figure out what it is. We often see this when it comes to projects we’re part of.
Take for example one initiative we are working on to help our municipalities and private landowners reduce flooding and prevent costly damage when storms hit. This initiative has to do with making stream crossings bigger. “What’s a stream crossing?” you ask. Great question and thanks for asking! A stream crossing is where a road (or a driveway) and a stream (creek, brook, run, river, etc.) intersect or cross one another. If you drive on a road and look out the window and see a stream coming right at the road and you don’t get wet, that probably means that stream is flowing through some type of pipe or bridge under the road. Obvious, right?
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District