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Old 03-03-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
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Default Nation Wide US Policy on Plants

"Only Native Plants, Food Crops, and Specialty Need Plants will be allowed to be commercially grown and sold."

Realistically what is preventing this from becoming our national policy on plants? Or at the very least a starting point. Obviously we're not legalizing marijuana but it would fall under the specialty needs plants section. This section also includes plants needed for paper, bio fuels, and scientific research.

The ornamental industry still has plenty to pick from. Agriculture is unaffected unless you're growing grass or nonnative ornamentals. Surely we must have a native grass that can replace the standard species in a lawn.

What do you all think?
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:07 PM   #2
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Interesting idea.

How do we get the ball rolling?
"If suburbia were landscaped with meadows, prairies, thickets or forests, or combinations of these, then the water would sparkle, fish would be good to eat again, birds would sing and human spirits would soar." ~ Lorrie Otto
~ A Native Backyard Blog ~
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:10 PM   #3
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The Wisconsin legislature flap would be nothing compared to the uproar this would stir up.

It could happen some day, but not until the future food crisis is traced to loss of native species diversity.

From what I've been reading, there are no native cool season grasses that will tolerate constant grazing (mowing). It's the lawn itself that has to go.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:26 PM   #4
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I don't think we have a good enough handle on the native plant thing just yet. Too many questions about diversity within species and the way plants travel during climate change. Wind and water as well as birds and other creatures may transfer plants continents away. Humans are only one of the ways plants may hitch a ride.
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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Old 03-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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I'm reading this book Evolutionary Conservation Genetics Jacob Höglund.

It is about understanding genetic variation and population persistence. It seems that when species are isolated for a long time and numbers of individuals get very low, inbreeding depression often becomes a problem with extinction becoming a very real probability.
Some genetic rescues have taken place by introducing species from other populations that might not have otherwise interacted.
Sometimes this works out well. Other times it causes problems.
As advances in molecular genetics and genomics continue, understanding of when a lack of genetic variations are problematic becomes a management tool.

There is so much more to learn but education seems to me to be the answer for now.
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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Old 03-14-2011, 05:21 PM   #6
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I was at Lowe's today. On a single rack, they had autumn olive, privet and heavenly bamboo. This is why we can't get a national policy. The nursery industry is in cahoots with the invaders.
There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, this is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar. - Lord Byron

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Old 03-14-2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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Mr. I Love the Ants,
What a great idea and topic for a thread! I was watching TV last night and saw a commercial for Home Depot. The whole thing was about 'feeding' your lawn and getting it green. Like this is such a terrific thing! Problem is, the majority of folks out there think this way!!

I don't know if humans, esp. Americans, are ready to give up their lawns.

ps. Did you go to the Native Plant meeting on Saturday? How was it?
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:57 PM   #8
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I get so tired of this French Versaille landscape. It's a lawn with some gardens and this is boring, especially when it's done wrong and on such a small scale as the average American Home. At least with Cottage Gardens we have a diversity of plants. And there's no reason why ornamental flowery plants couldn't be the natives of the region to help attract the insect life and maintain a population of pollinators. Even cultivars would work here, and that brings to the meeting.

bridget1964, I did go to the meeting and enjoyed the debate on cultivars vs natives. Really it was a debate on cloning plants over growing them from seed. The man in favor of cultivars made the most sense to me but his argument falls short when looking into the mater a little farther.

There are fundamental problems with using cultivars that prevent the average consumer from planting natives. For starts cultivars are simply plants that are cloned, typically by division or cutting. This is usually a plant that has a unique or uncommon flower or leaf color, a dwarf form or something special to it. In the case of native cultivars I don't have any problem with this. Finding a native cultivar at a nursery though is like picking a random numbers.

Using Rhododendrons as an example who can say weather Aglo, Angle Powder, Bluenose, Bubblegum, My Mary, Golden Shower, Pioneer Silvery Pink, Pride of Split Rock, are native? None of these are labeled with the species name, and honestly all look the same to me when they're in 3 gallon pots.

In the case of some natives, there are endangered species that have cultivar counterparts. But should the cloned cultivar make up 50% or even 90% of the total population?

Where the Cultivar guy started to shine for me was after the meeting at the plant sale, where he had a flat of Helonias bullata, Swamp Pink! He had successfully grown more than 50 seedlings and I'm happy to say I bought three of them... then on the car ride home thought about how illegal that probably was. I did some digging, and it is generally implied that it is illegal to collect seed and plants from the wild, however, it's also sort of implied that people were collecting seed and propagating this plant, at least through division, before it was illegal and that seed stock is okay to sell. It's really weird that I couldn't find an official source for the state of New Jersey saying simply "It Is Illegal!" So I hope he's able to continue propagate this plant every year and it could eventually become a common rain garden staple.

Also at the meeting there was a geologist who talked about the New Jersey Pine Barrens. I didn't think geology could be that much fun. It was an odd discussion though always on the verge of becoming boring but there were enough interesting facts to keep my attention. He explained why there is an abundance of vernal pools, and springs in New Jersey. Basically the leading theory is it used to be a desert and those are former sand dunes. This evolved into a talk about our most infamous one, called the New Jersey Blue Hole. Basically people who swim in this spring that's only 3' deep and 70' across mysteriously sink in and drown. And no one knew why until they realized all the rare types of moss growing along the water was releasing a neurotoxin into the water year round.
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