08-22-2019 Outdoors

Hunting Fall and deer hunting will be here before you know it. If you missed out on spring habitat work, don’t worry, there are still options available for putting in a great deer attractant for the fall. Summer is a great time to prepare to plant brassicas that can make a difference this year and in years to come. Forage brassicas are highly desired by deer and are planted in late to mid August. The term “brassica” covers turnip, kale, forge rape and swede. Brassicas are cool-season annuals that have high proteins (15% to 20% crude protein) and digestibility (65% to 80%). The brassica crop grows best on fertile and well-drained soils. More information on deer management and wildlife habitat can be found at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Spots of purple dot the edges of rivers, lakes, and ditches around southwest Michigan in the late summer. Many people enjoy the bright color of the purple loosestrife plant as they boat and hike around, but this plant is invasive and has been causing problems for native plants and animals since its arrival in 1850. “Lythrum salicaria” grows to about three to seven feet tall and has around fifty short stems with purple flower spikes on them. Purple loosestrife, as it is more commonly known, spreads rapidly through seeds and roots, pushing out native plants. This is also a problem for wildlife, which rely on native food sources and can’t eat the nonnative loosestrife. It is native to Eurasia, where the plant has natural beetle predators that keep the plant in check. In the United States and Canada, this beetle was not formerly present but has since been released as a biological control agent on the plant throughout the country. Research has been done to ensure these two small beetles will only eat purple loosestrife and hopefully control the population. Homeowners can help by not purchasing lythrum salicaria from nurseries and by planting native plants in their yards. Join us at Sarett with Ron Dudek for a Carnivorous Plants Program on Sunday, August 25 at 2:00 p.m. Attendees will learn about what makes these plants so unique, and can purchase a copy of his carnivorous plant book! Cost to attend is $7/adults.