Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Weeds in the Operation Pollinator Plots

A few weeks of warm weather have sped up the development of the OP plots.  I'm hoping to have at least a few blooming species within the next month, but for now the only things blooming out there are weeds.

You've probably seen the purple field invasion in the last few weeks.  These pictures aren't from my plots, but from a nearby fallow field.  Here's the purple painted culprit:

Purple deadnettle.  Sounds like a good name for a metal band.  According to the internet, you can eat this stuff!

Another likely suspect for the purple fields is henbit.  This weed can be a major problem in turf systems:

I've also seen quite a few violets in my plots.  This weed is very persistent, so I hope my plants start to crowd it out soon:

Finally, there are a handful of what I think is field pennycress.  Can anyone give me a positive ID on this plant?

And then there are these beasts.  These jerks really were in my plots.  You can see the bergamot foliage in the background.

Interestingly, there are many, many more dandelions in my control plots than in the other three wildflower mixes.

A good sign?  Another good sign is that the bergamot is coming on really nicely, even in sites that were struggling last year, like this one:

Can't wait until we start to see blooms!


  1. That first photo is what appears to be a beautiful field of wildflowers. For the benefit of the uninitiated, will you please explain that the so-called weeds are introduced invasive plants?
    So many people don't grasp the impact of non-native species! I spend lots of time talking about them. I very seldom see pollinators on non-native plants.

  2. Violets - weeds? I learned that these are important native host plants for the fritillary butterflies. Did I learn wrong?


    1. I am not sure about their function in terms of supporting fritillaries. While they are very attractive in the spring when they are blooming, they can be real weeds in turf. Very difficult to manage.


      Since their blooming period is so short and so early in the year, I don't know how important they are as a host for pollinator...