Why should I use native plants?

Native plants are adapted to the growing conditions in our area. Because they are naturalized to our weather, soils and insects, native plants require no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and provide a better and more natural habitat for wildlife.

What are the benefits of hedgerows?

Natural hedgerows, traditionally used as property boundaries and for livestock containment, have been rapidly disappearing from the Eastern shore landscape. Hedgerows provide travel corridors, nesting and brood rearing areas for wildlife and help to reduce the harmful effects of farm runoff. By blocking the wind, they also help control erosion and reduce thermal stress for both wildlife and humans. Backyard hedges make great living privacy screens.

What are some recommended trees and shrubs to plant in a hedgerow?

Planting hedgerows with fruit producing shrubs and evergreen trees and shrubs will act as a windbreak and will provide cover, nesting and food supply for many of our songbirds.Eastern red cedarSouthern wax myrtle and American hollyhold their leaves and needles throughout the winter and are excellent trees for a hedgerow.We also recommendelderberry, persimmon, viburnums and many other species. Give our office a call for a more complete listing of plants that may work in your area.

What is the stringy plant material that is floating up on my shore in early spring? Will it harm the fish?

It is most likely a filamentous, branched, green-tufted seaweed called Cladophora. As the tide recedes, this fine, intricately branched photosynthesizing plant can be seen draped over logs, branches, rocks and other debris in the intertidal zone. All aquatic plants, when they degrade, consume oxygen which fish need. However, amounts and timing are important. Small amounts of decomposing vegetation earlier in the year will not cause the oxygen inversions that can occur in the hot summer months. At this time of year large numbers of red, blue or green unicellular algae can occur due to farm fertilizer runoff, erosion and high rainfall. It is this oxygen inversion that causes fish kills. Remember though, these activities have been occurring for millions of years and there are inbuilt self-regulating mechanisms. It is man’s activities that have created inbalancing (like seasonal nutrient pulses) that lead to wider fluctuations in the system.

How can I get rid of all this green stuff that’s choking out my fish pond?

First off, what is it and secondly, do you really want to get rid of it? If it is more like filamentous green strands it is most likelySpirogyraSpirogyra can be controlled if needed by scooping the hairlike material out with a net. Yes it is an arduous task. How about encouraging more ducks or even swans to visit the pond site – waterfowl find this an acceptable food. If your green stuff is more structured with many branches and small leaves along a central weak stem growing up from the bottom then it is one of several submerged aquatic plants (SAV). Common milfoil is one that is non-native and can be controlled. If you need an area to fish in then use an SAV saw or piece of chain to clear out a section of the pond. A person on either end on opposite sides of the pond can drag a section clear in a short amount of time. The weed will grow back in time but will allow a fishing spot for a while. Remember, aquatic plants provide habitat for fish and many of organisms and oxygenate the water. Chemicals added to a pond are not selective and obviously will kill all of this important habitat.