The preservation of our community is the primary concern of the Conservation Committee.
A few recommendations for landscaping while maintaining our natural environment follow.
- Fertilize in the fall using low or no phosphorus fertilizers.
- Consider planting native species first. Native plants require fewer pesticides than lawns, require less water than lawns, help reduce air pollution, provide shelter and food for native wildlife, promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage, and they save money. Check with your local nursery or your landscaper on varieties available.
Gardening in the Woods
If you have any woods around your house and want to take any steps to care for it, the most important thing you can do (in this writer’s opinion) is identify and remove invasive species and clear out the undergrowth. Use a web search to identify the following plants and start efforts to eradicate them. They will take over the woods and no native plants or wild flowers will stand a chance.
Garlic Mustard: Small white clusters of flowers. Very easy to spot in early summer and very easy to pull up (especially after or during a rain. These are extremely damaging and will take over. Garlic Mustard is a biennial plant. It flowers and drops seeds that bloom two years later. It may look as it you’ve gotten them all but you’ve got to pull them all up at two years in a row and then you’ll still have stragglers the third year. Go after these little devils!
Honeysuckle: The plant that grows here has white flowers in the spring, red berries in the fall and stays green through November. It is easy to spot in late fall as it will be the only green plant (except for evergreen trees) remaining. It starts as a small bushy plant but can grown quite large (15’ tall and wide). Get out in November to cut them out and then continue to cut them about every two weeks in the spring. You can also cut and then apply a systemic herbicide to destroy it. Kill these villains!
Nurturing the Oaks: Most of the woods here have been closed in by undergrowth to the point that seedling oaks cannot regenerate. If we want oaks to be among the mature trees here in 50 years, we need to thin out the under story. Honeysuckle, Grey Dogwood (native), Cherry (native) and White Ash (native) are taking over. Identify and thin out some of these (before they are 3 inches in diameter) and help baby oaks have a chance.
This information came from a meeting with Don Schmidt, Horticulturist at Illinois State University.
Swimmer’s Itch – Duck Mites
By: Darci Patton
In order to prevent a lot of worry and trips to the doctor, the Conservation Committee would like you to know a little about a common condition some people get after swimming at our beach. Little red, itchy bumps that appear sometimes within a half-hour after swimming are most likely caused by a stage of a bug cycle that lives in shallow, warm water. The larva penetrate the skin a little bit and cause an immune response very similar to a mosquito bite reaction. The bites are not hsarmful unless a secondary bacterial infection occurs. The itch may last two or three days and can be treated like any other bug bite. The “rash” is not contagious. Weather, water temperature, and the cycles of the organism make the problem worse from time to time. There is no need to worry. This is a common, old menace of beachgoers.