Why Should You Care About Invasive Plants?

As humans we have a tendency to invent problems for ourselves, and issues related to the environment are no exception. Through the desire for ornamental plants coupled with a lack of understanding of how non-native species can become problematic, we have unleashed a plague upon ourselves and our ecosystem.

TrophicWeb

By Thompsma – Own work, CC BY 3.0

All life on our planet is interconnected. Plants are the basis of our food web, and all life on earth. Plants produce the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, they regulate the water cycle, are a source of medicine, and they store carbon helping to regulate climate. Our everyday life depends on plants.

Native Plants Support Native Insects

Native flora and fauna have evolved together over millions of years. The introduction of new species can displace natives disrupting the established and essential ecosystem services these life forms provide.

Many insects have evolved to be ‘specialists’ meaning that they breed on very specific types of plants. These plants are called host plants. A familiar example of this is found with monarch butterflies. They lay their eggs on plants in the Asclepias spp. family, commonly know as milkweed. While adults can feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers, their caterpillar offspring must have the leaves of milkweed to eat. There are thousands of other such examples of butterflies and other insects who have evolved to breed on specific host plants.

Native plants protect and restore biodiversity by supporting the insect species they co-evolved with. Here in the Northeast, that means oaks, hickory, beech, goldenrod, asters, milkweed, violets and many many other plants are what our valuable insects and the animals that feed on them need to survive. These native species of trees, shrubs and flowers support hundreds of types of insects – oak trees alone support over 500 types of moth and butterfly species. Goldenrod supports 115 species. Nesting birds need  thousands of caterpillars to feed their young. Only native plants can fill that need.

Non Native Plants Harm Biodiversity

According to Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware professor and author of Bringing Nature Home, “Over 3400 species of alien plants have invaded 100 million acres of the U.S, and that area is expected to double in the next 5 years.”

Biodiversity is essential to our survival as a species because without the plants and insects that evolved together in our area birds and other wildlife can’t survive. Non-native plant species support 29 times less biodiversity than native ornamentals.

In addition to impacting natural resources and the environment, invasive plants also impact the economy and human health.

Suburban Sprawl Has Decimated Vital Habitat

To date in the United States, we have at least 40 million acres of lawn. This does not include agricultural areas, roads and other impermeable surfaces or structures. We are taking what was once biodiverse landscapes buzzing with life and transforming them into sterile landscapes. Altogether we have converted an astonishing 95% of nature  to inhospitable territory, and still counting.

Combining this with the open spaces that have been over taken by invasive plants like Oriental bittersweet, Japanese barberry, glossy buckthorn, burning bush and Norway maple we have a critical situation. In regards to the issues facing our planet, including those of loss of soil productivity, deforestation, and species loss, thousands of scientists recently warned that “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

You Can Be Part of the Solution

Rather than feel overwhelmed by the issue, we should feel encouraged by the fact that each one of us can take action to reverse this trend, and restore biodiversity right in our own backyards.

Our suburban landscapes have the potential to be a haven for wildlife. According to Professor Doug Tallamy, professor and chair of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, “Even modest increases in the native plant cover on suburban properties significantly increases the number and species of breeding birds, including birds of conservation concern.” City dwellers can contribute to conservation too. Urban gardens and green spaces have been shown to help support vital insect species.

We can see real, tangible results in our own environments if we put in a little effort. By removing and monitoring for invasive plants, and planting native ones, we can increase the numbers of local wildlife that depend on them for breeding, food, and forage, while at the same time beautifying our surroundings.

Check out the helpful links below to get started on making a difference in your backyard and beyond.

New Hampshire’s Prohibited Invasive Plants

Attract Butterflies, Moths and Birds To Your Yard

Search For Native Plants

 

 

 

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Six Trees To Grow For Birds

Tree Oak Oak Leaves Foliage Autumn Autumn Gold

By Catherine Greenleaf

In the United States, natural habitat is shrinking by millions of acres each year, making our backyards the last line of defense for birds. But you can help birds and other wildlife by planting native trees.

Don’t buy into the hype promoted by the $60 billion a year horticultural industry, urging you to populate your property with expensive non-native, exotic, or alien “ornamental” trees. Instead, opt for planting trees that are native to your area. Native trees provide for birds on multiple levels. They offer shelter and protection, make great nesting locations, and provide loads of native insects, like caterpillars, for food.

The new buzzword is “biomass.” The more biomass in insects you provide, the more birds you will support and produce in your backyard. While the horticultural industry would like you to believe that wild birds exist only on seeds that come in a plastic bag, in reality a bird’s survival depends upon the rich protein of insects. Scientific research is now showing that ornamental trees confuse and exhaust native birds because they have no nutrition to offer, especially during nesting periods when parent birds are frantically looking for insects to feed their young. Here are six recommendations that will easily increase the biomass of insects in your yard and also increase the number of beautiful birds you see:

OAKS

The native Oak is one of the most important trees for wildlife, providing habitat for an astounding 534 species of Lepidoptera, or butterflies and moths, as well as their larvae. An Oak in your yard means there will be an abundant source of caterpillars for birds to eat and feed to their young. Oaks also produce acorns that feed squirrels, black bear, turkeys and deer, and the cavities in Oaks provide perfect nesting sites for Northern Flickers, Hairy Woodpeckers and Owls.

CHERRIES

Native Cherry trees, which include Black Cherry, Chokecherry and Pin Cherry, provide sustenance and shelter for 456 species of butterfly and moth, and their larvae. This tree feeds an abundance of wildlife with its flowers, fruits, buds and foliage. If you want the beautiful Tiger Swallowtail in your yard, then plant a native Cherry. A big favorite of the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Cedar Waxwing, Bluebird, Scarlet Tanager, and Baltimore Oriole.

MAPLES

The native Maple tree provides habitat for 285 species of butterfly and moth. It is unfortunate that some landscapers still insist upon promoting the Norway Maple, an alien tree that has escaped cultivation and is now rapidly displacing native trees throughout New England, while providing absolutely no sustenance to native insects or birds whatsoever. However, Sugar Maples and Red maples make excellent shade trees and provide stunning fall foliage, and their seeds and buds are eagerly devoured by many birds and mammals. Their twigs and bark are browsed by grouse, pheasant and chipmunks. Sap wells drilled by woodpeckers also provide nourishment for birds and insects, and Maple blossoms are a critical early season nectar source for pollinators. A big favorite of the American Goldfinch and Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

PINES

Native Pines provide for 203 species of butterfly and moth. In fact, butterfly and moth larvae love feasting on pine needles. The needles are also used for nest buildings by a number of songbirds. The seeds within pine cones feed quail, turkey, grouse, squirrels, chipmunks and birds. Because they are evergreens they provide excellent year-round cover for birds, especially during blinding snowstorms. Planting pines in your yard will attract Black-Capped Chickadees and Pine Siskins.

LINDENS

Lindens or Basswoods are one of the most underappreciated trees in New England. These beautiful trees bear creamy-white blooms in spring and early summer, providing nectar and pollen to pollinators like bumblebees and honey bees. There is nothing more delicious than Linden honey. The leaves are edible and its seeds are coveted by chipmunks, squirrels, and many other small mammals. The Linden supports 150 species of butterfly and moth, a real producer that will keep the birds in your backyard well-fed.

SYCAMORES

Sycamores play host to 40 different types of Lepidoptera. The fruit of the native Sycamore, or Plane tree, is packed with seeds. These seeds are a favorite of Purple Finches, Cedar Waxwings, Goldfinches, and interestingly, Mallard Ducks. Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds use the flowers a nesting material and prefer to build their nests in Sycamores, as do Yellow-Throated Vireos, Robins, Northern Flickers, Titmice, Tree Swallows, and Screech Owls.

This article was written by Catherine Greenleaf and appeared in Four Legs And A Tail magazine. Catherine Greenleaf is the director of St. Francis Wild Bird Center in Lyme, N.H.

Find more native plants to support wildlife by searching this National Wildlife Federation database.
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2017 Municipal Election Candidate Survey

The City of Dover municipal election is being held on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. At the urging of our supporters, we have conducted a candidate survey to find out where the city and school board candidates stand on the important issue of pesticide use that directly affects the health of our residents, children, visitors, pets and environment.

Cities everywhere, from Paris to Portsmouth, are calling for the end of the use of toxic pesticides on public property, and instead are choosing the proven and more economical organic approach for grounds maintenance. On Monday Sept. 18th, our neighbors in Portsmouth, NH passed a resolution to immediately eliminate the use of toxic conventional pesticides on public property, and to educate residents on the benefits of organic property maintenance practices. 

WHEREAS, It is in the interest of public health to eliminate the use of synthetic toxic pesticides on City owned land, ponds, and waterways; to encourage the reduction and elimination when possible of the use of synthetic toxic pesticides on private property through public outreach and education; and to introduce and promote natural, organic management practices to prevent, and when necessary, control weed problems on City owned land.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, In accordance with the City Council adopted EcoMunicipality status and following the City Council adopted Natural Step Process, City Staff shall immediately eliminate use of synthetic toxic pesticides in public places. In addition, City Staff will consult with the City’s Conservation Commission to prepare an outreach program outlining viable alternatives to synthetic toxic pesticides for the general public’s use. Staff shall also prepare an organic weed control program and implementation budget for City Council consideration as part of its Fiscal Year 2019 budget.”

Giving Portsmouth’s ‘non toxic’ resolution as an example, we asked the candidates to answer yes or no* to the following question: If elected to office, would you vote for the passage of a resolution, or creation of a policy just like this that would immediately eliminate use of toxic pesticides on municipal and school property in Dover?

CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

Mayor – Derek Dextraze – Yes 

Mayor – Karen Weston

CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL

At-Large – David Greene – Yes

At-Large – Lindsey Williams – Yes

At Large – Robert Berry – Yes

At-Large – Robert Carrier

Ward 1 – Michelle Muffett-Lipinski

Ward 2 – Dennis Ciotti – Yes

Ward 3 – Deborah Thibodeaux

Ward 4 – Marcia Gasses

Ward 5 – Dennis Shanahan – Yes

Ward 6 – Matt Keane – Yes

CANDIDATES FOR SCHOOL BOARD

At-Large – Kathleen Morrison

Ward 1 – Keith Holt

Ward 2 – Andrew Wallace – Yes

Ward 2 – Phillip Read – Yes

Ward 3 – Carolyn Mebert – Yes

Ward 4 – Zachary Koehler – Yes

Ward 5 – Matthew Lahr – Yes

Ward 6 – Amanda Russell – Yes

*Candidates left blank are either undecided or did not respond to our survey.

Sign the petition to expand Dover’s organic pilot sites citywide at https://tinyurl.com/ nontoxicdover

Disclaimer: Non Toxic Dover NH is a non-partisan volunteer group. Our survey is not an endorsement of any candidate.

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Gas Leaf Blower Noise & Pollution

300xMorePollutionGLB

A Quality Of Life And Public Health Issue

I live on a charming cul de sac in South Dover. We purchased our home last April, and I feel privileged to live in such a nice neighborhood with friendly people in a desirable location. Our neighborhood was developed starting in the nineteen eighties, and unlike newer developments today, many mature trees were left here, giving us a diverse array of birds and wildlife. My lot in particular has many native species that provide food and habitat to several species of songbirds. It is immeasurably pleasant to open windows on a nice day and listen to the sounds of woodpeckers, bluebirds, goldfinches and the like.

Unfortunately, during these warm months the peace and calm of my neighborhood is interrupted on a near daily basis, for hours at a time, and many times more than once a day. It is rare to have a day during the Spring, Summer, or Fall season that I do not hear the high decibel whine of at least one or more commercial gas leaf blowers (GLBs) being used on neighboring lots. As I write this, I am an hour and a half into listening to a landscaping crew hired by neighbors on the other side of our circle. The front of my home faces them, yet I can still hear them in the back of my home even with windows and doors shut. Now they’ve taken a break and I can hear another GLB somewhere in the neighborhood behind me as well. I must be honest, it’s incredibly irritating and distracting.

Noise Pollution

GLB_Scream

Landscape maintenance machines (mowers, leaf blowers) operate at levels up to 110 decibels – these levels far exceed the safe levels established by the World Health Organization, US Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health for the prevention of hearing loss and other adverse health effects.

I’ve observed workers operating GLBs without any hearing protection on many occasions, including employees of the city of Dover. Clearly worker health is a concern, as is that of the public. Many Dover residents work from home, work nights and sleep during the day, have young infants and toddlers who may be napping, or are disabled or convalescing from illness and so are subjected to this excessive noise, often for long periods. The crew across the way from me is now going on hour number four. Today is 70 degrees and sunny, with a light breeze. I am keeping my windows and doors closed because of the noise level. After a long New Hampshire winter, I’d prefer to have them open. I was informed by one of the staff at the Planning Department that Dover does not have any type of noise ordinance in place. Given the widespread use of GLBs and landscaping equipment from April through November, it seems reasonable that we should at the very least have some type of protection for residents subjected to these excessively high decibel levels. Noise is more than just a nuisance. Plenty of scientific research provides evidence on the relationship between environmental noise and health effects, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, tinnitus, and annoyance.

Air Pollution

GLB_SecondHandSmoke

In addition to the harmful decibel levels GLBs and other landscape maintenance machines create, another important concern is emissions. Gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment account for a significant portion of U.S. non road gasoline emissions that contribute to the acceleration of climate change.  The two stroke engine of a GLB has no emission control. In a two stroke engine the fuel has to be mixed with oil because it lacks an independent lubrication system. About 30 percent of the fuel the engine uses fails to undergo complete combustion. As a result the engine emits numerous air pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons. These pollutants escape from the engine in large quantities. Most of us are quite familiar with the acute effects of carbon monoxide, but the other gases are no less worrisome. Nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons both contribute to smog formation. Hydrocarbons are carcinogenic, and nitrous oxides cause acid rain. These engines also emit benzene, toluene, 1-3 butadiene, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. At least two of these are known carcinogens. GLBs According to tests conducted by Edmunds’ InsideLine.com, a consumer-grade leaf blower emits more pollutants than a 6,200-pound 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor at edmunds.com has stated, “The hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor. As ridiculous as it may sound, it is more ‘green’ to ditch your yard equipment and find a way to blow leaves using a Raptor.” Meanwhile, the landscaping crew is still here, six hours later. They did break for lunch at least, and to mow and use a large vacuum attachment on their truck that caused enormous plumes of brown dust to come out of the cover on the back of the truck.

Speaking of particulate matter, GLBs certainly kick up their fair share of the stuff. Dust, pollen, heavy metals like lead, fecal matter, and pesticides get launched into the air where they can linger for hours or even longer. The US EPA says; “Particulate matter (PM), also known as particle pollution, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that get into the air. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.” According to research from NYU Langone Medical Center in 2016, the annual economic cost of the nearly 16,000 premature births linked to air pollution in the United States has reached $4.33 billion. The number of premature births in the U.S. surpasses the rates in other developed nations. Even small amounts of particulate matter, below the levels set as safe by the EPA are shown to increase risk of intrauterine inflammation in pregnant women. This condition is linked to many negative health outcomes for their children, like neurodevelopmental disorders and asthma. These disorders last a lifetime.

The mow and blow crew have finally knocked off for the day, and it’s blessedly quiet here again. I hope that this brief overview helps you understand the depth of a problem I was unaware of for a long time. ‘Leaf blowers blow air, right? No harm there!’ Well, I was wrong because I was uninformed. But in today’s world we have an obligation to be informed, and to take action to change things that we can.

Things Individuals Can Do To Help

  • If you need to hire a landscaper, ask them to use rakes and brooms. Even better, ask them to mulch mow the leaves in place during the fall – this means less trips hauling leaves for them, and better soil plus lawn weed suppression for you. And even if you don’t hire a landscaper, you can still mulch mow them your self.
  • Use electric lawn equipment. They are quiet, less polluting, and require less maintenance in addition to being comparably priced with gas equipment.
  • Skip a step by using a leaf sweeper. A long forgotten but useful gardening tool, a leaf sweeper will pick up and bag leaves all in one step. They work on driveways and sidewalks too. Human powered, they cost nothing to operate, are quiet and do not pollute. They are also available in large models if you have a lot of area to clear.
  • Educate others. Now that you are informed about this needless form of pollution, let others know so they can also make better choices in the future. Setting a good example is sometimes all that is needed to start a conversation. Your neighbors may notice that yard work is now taking less time for you, and your lawn and flower beds look healthier. You have an opportunity to be ‘the Joneses’ in a way that benefits everyone.

REFERENCES
Burden of disease from environmental noise – Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe http://www.who.int/quantifying_ehimpacts/publications/e94888/en/

National Emissions from Lawn and Garden Equipment https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/banks.pdf

Leaf Blower’s Emissions Dirtier than High-Performance Pick-Up Truck’s, Says Edmunds’ InsideLine.com https://www.edmunds.com/about/press/leaf-blowers-emissions-dirtier-than-high-performance-pick-up-trucks-says-edmunds-insidelinecom.html

IARC Monographs http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/latest_classif.php

Yearly cost of US premature births linked to air pollution: $4.33 billion https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160329101031.htm

Even a little air pollution may have long-term health effects on developing fetus https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427095207.htm

More Pollution Than Cars? Gas-Powered Gardening Equipment Poses the Next Air Quality Threat https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/02/13/more-pollution-than-cars-gas-powered-gardening-equipment-poses-the-next-air-quality-threat/

Photos by Pollinator Friendly Landscaping

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2017 Curbside Weed Control

Another year in Dover, and with it, more glyphosate.

RoundupMixingPPE

A man mixes Roundup herbicide commercial concentrate

Once again, contractors will be spraying herbicides along the curb lines of our downtown area streets, sidewalks and parking areas on or around the first week of June, July, August, and September.

The city recently informed Non Toxic Dover that, ‘With regard to curb side weed control, we will be continuing with the same vendor used in the prior year.’

2016WeedResults

2016

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 3.08.25 PM

2017

Municipal Pest Management’s bid for option A was chosen in 2016, the products listed on the permit are as follows:

Roundup Promax (glyphosate)- EPA 524-579 MSDS

Rodeo Herbicide (glyphosate)- EPA# 62719-324 MSDS

Avenger Weedkiller (d-limonene) – EPA:82052-1 MSDS

The option chosen for 2017 is not listed on the public bid results. After inquiries to the city we have received this statement: “BioSafe is one of the products used by the contractor and their permit application indicates Round Up ProMAx, Rodeo Herbicide and Reward Herbicide for spot application, as needed.”

BioSafe is the maker of AXXE broad spectrum herbicide, an OMRI certified product. Had this been the only product being used this season it would have counted as a large improvement, however, with the other products in use it makes little difference. This is not an IPM option, nor is it an organic option. None of the bid submissions fit the true definition of IPM nor were they anything resembling organic. The bids were essentially all for option A. We are happy to see that another organic herbicide is being trailed, but testing out one each year on a couple of streets is much too slow a pace. A more efficient way would be to trial several different alternatives at once, and choose whichever work best. The neighboring city of Portsmouth has done this successfully. They tried multiple options and found two organic herbicides satisfactory for their needs.

Once again, a serious disappointment and not at all in line with the promises made in the Sustainable Dover initiative. As of this point in time, having had expert training sponsored by the non profit group Beyond Pesticides, we should expect more of the city than this. Public health and our environment should always be a priority when choosing how to maintain our streets and sidewalks as should the wishes of residents who have made it very clear they do not want to be exposed to the chemicals in these glyphosate based herbicides.

Glyphosate is recognized as a probable carcinogen and as being genotoxic – which means it causes damage to DNA that can lead to cancer. It is linked to numerous health effects along with its major metabolite (breakdown product) AMPA. Glyphosate is known to contaminate groundwater due to runoff and leaching like many other pesticides. Current science shows us that the whole formulations of the herbicide is far more toxic than the active ingredient alone, and there is no way to know what comprises the ‘inert’ ingredient portion of the formula. Are we to trust the manufacturer and the EPA who in recently unsealed court documents are shown to have colluded to hide safety issues with their flagship product? To learn more about glyphosate and Roundup, see It’s Raining Roundup…

Are you on the spray route? Here is the a list of streets that are usually sprayed, however residents whose streets were not on this list have spotted contractors spraying in the past, so please keep that in mind. Spraying has occurred late in the fall season as well.

Tell the city of Dover you want them to stop spending our tax dollars on toxic herbicides by signing our petition.

 

 

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Pollinators Need Your Help

pollinator_insects

Some uninformed people think that all insects are bad and need to be controlled. On the contrary, insects and other pollinators are an extremely important part of our planet’s ecosystem. The vast majority of insects are beneficial. Insects form the foundation of the food web, and with out them we’d be in big trouble.

Honey bees  in particular have dominated the headlines for several years now, due to unsustainable losses. Beekeepers reported losing 44% of their colonies from April 2015 to April 2016. Both winter and summer loss rates increased. Some winter losses are expected, but the current rates are unsustainable and summer losses are unusual as bees should be thriving during summer months. This is cause for serious concern.

But honey bees are not the only ones in trouble. Monarch butterflies have seen huge declines in recent years, as have fireflies, and the rusty patched bumble bee (bombus affinis) was just proposed to be listed for endangered species status. In fact, insect species are declining worldwide. Researchers attribute this to a variety of factors – climate change, modern agricultural practices, habitat loss and pesticide use. Some of these factors are not easily addressed, while others are very much within our control.

There are factors that we as individuals can tackle. What we do in our own back yards (and front yards!) can make a difference.

Here are some suggestions we can all implement ourselves to assist our valuable insect populations.

Ditch the pesticides!

pesticidefreezone_large

Seriously. This is one of the things we have total control over. Pesticides are toxic to our insect friends and totally unnecessary for cosmetic purposes. If you have an issue with ticks, fleas, mosquitoes etc. that needs control, there are many safer options that you can use. If a product is needed, choose the least toxic option and follow label directions exactly. See our pests and lawn pages for more info on safer products.

Plant bee and butterfly friendly plants

monarch_caterpillar_danaus_plexippus_on_asclepias_tuberosa_butterfly_milkweed_2284495213

When planning your garden, choose varieties of plants that are native to your area. These will help support pollinators with nectar and habitat, they will require less water and be more resistant to pests and disease than imported ornamental plants. Be sure to provide a variety of flowers to attract more types of beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. Milkweed is an important plant for any pollinator garden. Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family) is needed for monarchs to breed. They lay eggs on the leaves and the hatching caterpillars eat them until they are ready to begin metamorphosis. Other flowers are needed for adults to find nectar. Incorporating some native varieties of milkweed, which are lovely flowers in their own right, will bring  beautiful butterflies and more to your yard. The more variety you have, the more species that will visit your yard! Check out more tips on designing a pollinator friendly landscape here.

Leave The Leaves

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Insects need leaf litter for egg laying and hibernating. A leaf free yard is not going to provide habitat to beneficial insects. This is not to say all leaves must be left, in fact removing leaves from paved areas and along streets and gutters is very important. Decomposing leaves can add phosphorous to bodies of water creating algal blooms which harm aquatic life. Allowing leaves to decompose mulched on a lawn , or in a flower bed or other out of the way places in your yard will not have this problem – but the leaves you leave behind will provide places for insects like fireflies (who also appreciate a log or two left to decompose) butterflies and moths as well as returning organic matter to the soil as they break down. Simplify your Fall leaf cleanup routine, and you can enjoy a more diverse beneficial insect population visiting your garden.

Rake, Sweep and Mow, But Never Blow!

noglb

In addition to being horribly noisy, leaf blowers, especially gas powered, kick up dust, allergens, feces and other pollutants. This particulate matter can trigger asthma attacks and become lodged in the lungs where it can cause disease, including cancer. Leaf blowers high winds damage topsoil and disturb insect habitat. Pollinators are just one of many good reasons to just say no when it comes to these pollution machines. A pollinator friendly yard and leaf blowers don’t mix.

Provide Lodging

insecthouse

Give your insects a place to stay. Insect houses can be purchased, or you can make your own. There is no end to the design choices and the more variation in materials, the more tiny guests you are likely to have. Insect houses make a pretty addition to any yard or pollinator garden. Read more on pollinators and insect houses at Native Bees of New England.

Give Them A Drink

beewaterer

Kind of a no-brainer, yet frequently overlooked is providing a water source for insects. It’s as simple as putting out a shallow dish with some glass gems, large gravel, or rocks inside. Some people have even used sea glass. This will keep bees and other insects from drowning while looking good too. Just remember to freshen or fill on a regular basis.

We hope these tips will get you started in helping out our important insect friends.

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2016 Dover Curbside Weed Control

Despite much communication and resource sharing over the past year, the city of Dover will once again be having contractors spray herbicides along the curb lines of our downtown area streets.

downtown_dover

At least four times this season, usually around the first week of June, July, August, and September, herbicides will be applied to public areas.

2016WeedResults

Municipal Pest Management’s bid for option A was chosen, the products listed on the permit are as follows:

Roundup Promax (glyphosate)- EPA 524-579 MSDS

Rodeo Herbicide (glyphosate)- EPA# 62719-324 MSDS

Avenger Weedkiller (d-limonene) – EPA:82052-1 MSDS

The third product is an OMRI certified product which means it is an organic approved herbicide. Had this been the only product being used this season it would have counted as a large improvement, however, with the other two products in use it makes little difference. This is not an IPM option, nor is it an organic option. None of the bid submissions fit the true definition of IPM nor were they anything resembling organic. The bids were essentially all for option A.

A grave disappointment.

This means contractors are still using two herbicide formulations, both with the active ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate is recognized as a probable carcinogen and is linked to numerous health effects along with its major metabolite (breakdown product) AMPA. Glyphosate is known to contaminate groundwater due to runoff and leaching like many other pesticides.

Dover uses eight wells located throughout the city to pump groundwater from four underground aquifers. Will you know if there is glyphosate in your drinking water? The MCLG (maximum contaminant level goal) for glyphosate is 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb. Only when testing shows glyphosate is above this limit will it be reported. Anything above this limit must be filtered out, but no routine filtering of this contaminant is done below this level. Research shows harm from chronic exposure at even these low levels. To learn more about glyphosate also known as Roundup, see It’s Raining Roundup…

Here is the a list of streets that are usually sprayed, however residents whose streets were not on this list have spotted contractors spraying in the past, so please keep that in mind.

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Our city government welcomes input from residents. Ask them to investigate safer alternatives to conventional herbicide spraying. Contact the city council by clicking ‘Email Board’ under the photo. Contact the city manager here.

Facilities Grounds and Cemeteries has been given a list of alternative methods and products to try this season. Give them a call at 603 516-6480 to see how it’s going, and let them know you want to see those alternatives being used next season.  A convenient email form to contact Community Services can be found here.

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