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Old 05-06-2011, 07:15 AM   #1
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Default Updated Bill Cullina Biodiversity all-stars

Now strongly influenced by Doug Tallamy, this list is valuable for anyone starting out on a quest to attract more wildlife and make their property friendlier to insects, micro-organisms, and wildlife of all kinds.

Also, as is typical of anything Cullina writes, there is a clarity and poetry to his every utterance.

Biodiversity All Stars — New England Wild Flower Society



"Since plants are the keystone of any ecosystem that is, they provide food directly or indirectly for just about every other living thing plants are really the key to enhancing or diminishing biological diversity. Invasive plants are so insidious and so successful because very few things eat them. A field of grasses, wildflowers, berried shrubs and ferns that is overtaken and completely dominated by multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) undergoes a direct decrease in biodiversity as plant species are lost and an indirect and much more catastrophic decline as all those insects, birds, mammals, bacteria, fungi, rotifers, nematodes, etc. that had evolved relationships with the displaced plants find they no longer have food and shelter."
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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OMG Jack, great series of articles by Cullina! Now I'll be reading all morning...lol.
Someone will probably take Bill up on that idea to score plants but wouldn't that encourage people to plant the highest scoring plants and not utilize the less scoring plants thereby sabotaging the very function of filling all the niches and creating the sort of backup system at which biodiversity is most accomplished?

Biodiversity All Stars
last modified November 10, 2010
Bill Cullina lists his Top Ten
By Bill Cullina


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However, we need not stop at ten, for many native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers are highly biopositive. It would be a great project for someone to develop a point system for each species that could ideally be tied to geographic region so you could give your landscape a biodiversity potential score. An oak, for example might score 100 points while a Norway maple would score -100. Until then, if in doubt, try to select the more common, locally native plants and plant a variety of woody and herbaceous species that are suitable for your conditions. That done, I am confident your yard will be a healthier, more diverse place.
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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[QUOTE=Gloria;90829]OMG Jack, great series of articles by Cullina! Now I'll be reading all morning...lol.
Someone will probably take Bill up on that idea to score plants but wouldn't that encourage people to plant the highest scoring plants and not utilize the less scoring plants thereby sabotaging the very function of filling all the niches and creating the sort of backup system at which biodiversity is most accomplished?

For sure, but I'm confident that anyone who went for these first ten would then want to continue with other exciting selections. Or, should I say - I hope?
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:30 PM   #4
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Terrific article! I find this kind of ranking very useful for helping me choose where to spend my very limited gardening dollars. Where can I get the most bang for my buck, biodiversity-wise?

I would also like to put together some lists of best plants to replace the baddies, ie. what are the best candidates to put in when that monster multiflora rose is gone?

One of the toughest things about my yard's rehabilitation is that the birds have definitely benefitted from the cover provided by the rampant honeysuckle and multiflora roses. I'm clearing them out and replacing them with natives (many of the ones on Bill's list in fact), but in the meantime the birds seek shelter elsewhere.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
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One of the toughest things about my yard's rehabilitation is that the birds have definitely benefitted from the cover provided by the rampant honeysuckle and multiflora roses. I'm clearing them out and replacing them with natives (many of the ones on Bill's list in fact), but in the meantime the birds seek shelter elsewhere.
papercarver,

When I first started removing the multifora rose and Japanese honeysuckle, I was very concerned about how it would affect the wildlife. One thing I found beneficial was to create a brush pile out of their "carcasses".

Also, sometimes I cut them out or girdle them and leave them in place to lessen the impact...and continue to provide structure and shelter.

If I could remove them and replace them with full-sized natives, that would be ideal...however, that is not how it works...at least not on my budget. The changes I've made have been beneficial, however, after three years, I still have several Japanese honeysuckle to remove. I'm concerned that my concern about removing them, has allowed them to continue to seed themselves around the area. The few remaining have to come OUT...luckily I have several native shrubs that I got from friends with several acres. I divided some of their red-osier dogwood and some blueberries. The dogwoods are already a fair size--although not as wide as mature ones would be.

Until I get more native shrubs, the brushpile idea is great. Brushpiles are good even if one is not removing anything.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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Terrific article! I find this kind of ranking very useful for helping me choose where to spend my very limited gardening dollars. Where can I get the most bang for my buck, biodiversity-wise?

I would also like to put together some lists of best plants to replace the baddies, ie. what are the best candidates to put in when that monster multiflora rose is gone?

One of the toughest things about my yard's rehabilitation is that the birds have definitely benefitted from the cover provided by the rampant honeysuckle and multiflora roses. I'm clearing them out and replacing them with natives (many of the ones on Bill's list in fact), but in the meantime the birds seek shelter elsewhere.
A couple of choices for replacement of removed multiflora roses are the red mulberry or the alternate leafed dogwood. Both will supply much more for wildlife than the alien roses ever have, and both are much more appealing to the eye. Chokecherries are also a good substitute, but need protection from rabbits when first planted, as they will eat them bark and all when they're young. I know this from personal experience, and have placed rabbit fencing around the ones i now have.

Of course, a viburnum like arrow wood or Viburnum nudum, or any of the native viburnums is a good choice.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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A couple of choices for replacement of removed multiflora roses are the red mulberry or the alternate leafed dogwood...Chokecherries...Of course, a viburnum like arrow wood or Viburnum nudum, or any of the native viburnums is a good choice.
I have lots of cornus alternifolia coming up around our property. There are a couple that are about 6 ft tall already, but none that are very mature. There are also a few chokecherries that can fill out now that (most of) the invasives have been removed. I've added a couple Viburnums...but need to add a LOT more. They were bare root seedlings, so none are blooming yet.

I'm not familiar with mulberry, but have been meaning to look into it after seeing it suggested here several times.

I can't wait until our property is full of wildlife attracting natives...with nary an invasive in sight. Hopefully, there will be tons of beautiful birds, butterflies, bugs, mammals, herps, etc.

I've already noticed several things coming up from seed where I did not plant them...and the more I remove the invasives the more room there is for natives to naturally fill in.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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I have lots of cornus alternifolia coming up around our property. There are a couple that are about 6 ft tall already, but none that are very mature. There are also a few chokecherries that can fill out now that (most of) the invasives have been removed. I've added a couple Viburnums...but need to add a LOT more. They were bare root seedlings, so none are blooming yet.

I'm not familiar with mulberry, but have been meaning to look into it after seeing it suggested here several times.

I can't wait until our property is full of wildlife attracting natives...with nary an invasive in sight. Hopefully, there will be tons of beautiful birds, butterflies, bugs, mammals, herps, etc.

I've already noticed several things coming up from seed where I did not plant them...and the more I remove the invasives the more room there is for natives to naturally fill in.
The native Red Mulberry (White Mulberry is a pernicious alien) is sometimes use to protect fruit stock from birds. The mulberry fruits are their favorites, and the heavy production of the tree/shrub insures that there will be plenty for them to eat without them bothering, say, one's blueberries.

My problem is that I too love the taste of the mulberry, and it's very difficult to get some with the birds flocking to it as they are wont to do.

It's a great plant and, unlike the chokecherry, is not rabbit candy in the winter months - at least I've not had to protect the plants as I recommend you protect those chokecherries you say you have.

Red mulberry may be the most desired fruit of the summer from a birds perspective.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #9
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The native Red Mulberry (White Mulberry is a pernicious alien) is sometimes use to protect fruit stock from birds. The mulberry fruits are their favorites, and the heavy production of the tree/shrub insures that there will be plenty for them to eat without them bothering, say, one's blueberries.

My problem is that I too love the taste of the mulberry, and it's very difficult to get some with the birds flocking to it as they are wont to do.

It's a great plant and, unlike the chokecherry, is not rabbit candy in the winter months - at least I've not had to protect the plants as I recommend you protect those chokecherries you say you have.

Red mulberry may be the most desired fruit of the summer from a birds perspective.
Thanks, jack...good to know.

You really make me want to grow it...and maybe taste it myself. So, I finally did my research, both online and in my Plants of Pennsylvania book. The book says its range is mostly in southern counties...we live in a northern county. The one online source showed spotty populations...none specifically in our area, but within 15 miles. I think I'll probably add it...not much chance I'll get a local source though.

Hmm...as for protecting my chokecherry, I haven't really noticed much problem with rabbits yet...but I'm wondering if you are talking about chokeCHERRY or chokeBERRY. For some reason, I can imagine rabbits eating the bark of chokeBERRY (Aronia sp.) more easily than the chokeCHERRY (Prunus virginiana).
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:32 AM   #10
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papercarver,

When I first started removing the multifora rose and Japanese honeysuckle, I was very concerned about how it would affect the wildlife. One thing I found beneficial was to create a brush pile out of their "carcasses".

Also, sometimes I cut them out or girdle them and leave them in place to lessen the impact...and continue to provide structure and shelter.

Until I get more native shrubs, the brushpile idea is great. Brushpiles are good even if one is not removing anything.
I hadn't thought about killing them but leaving the carcasses in place - not a bad idea. I am a huge fan of brush piles - actually I am an avid brush pile WATCHER : plenty of wildlife action in a brush pile all year long.

Recently I cut down a real monster of tangle - an ancient honeysuckle that had a 15' foot diameter and was climbing into a red cedar as well, plus a huge multiflora rose entangled within the honeysuckle (sadly, a gigantic fox grape was a casualty as well, but I've got tons of fox grape around so it will almost certainly come back). Within 24 hours of reducing this mess to a brushpile, I had catbirds and wrens using it as a snackbar.

I actually have found it emotionally moving when I rip out these invasive tangles and then a few weeks later I find native plants sprouting on the newly sunny ground. The most intense experience like this was when I spent 2 days clearing out a huge stand of japanese barberry (I think I lost a half pint of blood in the process!) one fall. The next spring a huge swath of maidenhair fern appeared where the barberry had been for years. If there was ever any question in my mind about the value of ripping out all of this invasive brush, that cleared it right up.

It's been three weeks since the big honeysuckle came out and I've got arrowwood seedlings and a few jack-in-the-pulpits coming up on the bare ground...

Actually, the "plan" for that spot is to move some elderberries and maybe some hazelnuts, but jack is making me think about the distractive charms of huckleberries (it would be lovely if the wildlife might leave me a few blueberries from the field next to this spot)...
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