Westford Wildlife Watch – care means chemical-free lawns

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Our lawns need to be chemical free and mowed less frequently.

Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute in Cambridge has studied lawns and bees.

Moir found in a study he conducted in Springfield last May that “lawns mowed every three weeks instead of once a week resulted in up to two and a half times more lawn flowers, mostly clover. and dandelions, and a great diversity of 93 species of bees [“Hope for the Bees”, posted on May 20, 2021 on the Ocean Rivers Institute online website]

Moir says, “Established lawns shouldn’t need to be fertilized. They, like the meadows of yore, are quite capable of taking care of themselves.” He further found that fertilizing lawns or using herbicides or pesticides weakened them.

Moir added: “The toxins must follow the nutrients applied because [fertilized] the grass is addictive, thinner with less fiber, and is easy forage for pests. “

Natural grass lawns, containing lots of clover and other flowering plants, build the soil by exuding carbohydrates from the roots, Moir says.

This can build up to an inch of soil per year. And a healthy lawn sequesters carbon in the soil. Moir says, “For one ton of soil, grasses remove more than four tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Let lawns be good for our pollinators and our atmosphere. Using chemicals like Round-Up on lawns kills most of the beneficial micorrhizal fungi that bind trees and other plants together. The healthier the lawn, the more worms and insects can open and aerate it.

The lawn will then retain up to seven times more moisture. This is especially important in times of drought.

The Rose Kennedy Green Lane in Boston is completely free of chemicals, while looking healthy and green. It contains several species of grasses and other low plants which are pollinated by bees.

The same goes for Westford Town Common, so children can play freely on the grass. The City of Westford Policy on the Use of Pesticides states,

“… the City of Westford recognizes that it is in the best public health interest to manage the city’s properties through an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan which is an environmentally sound approach to suppress and eliminate pest populations in order to prevent them from causing health, economic or aesthetic damage; and encourage private owners to manage their property through the use of Biological Pest Management (OPM), a natural and organic approach to turf and landscape management without the use of toxic pesticides.

Moir concludes his article with this policy statement from Ocean Rivers: “We call for a complete cessation of the application of rapid-release fertilizer on established lawns, a complete cessation of nutrient pollution runoff that feeds harmful algal blooms and stops bioaccumulation completely. the food chain of toxins …. Go forward slightly and treat lawns naturally. “

A big thank you to all the fauna and flora reporters for the month of June.

Please send reports by July 26 for inclusion in next month’s article. You can call me at 692-3907, write to me at 7A Old Colony Drive, or email me at [email protected]

End of May reports

Marian Harman, Old Colony Drive. May 25, a walk at Snake Meadow Brook. Lots of young trees, both deciduous and pine, and lots of ferns and blueberries growing in the large area of ​​windfall.

Flowering: blueberries, Canadian Mayflower, starflower, polygala, bull lily, wild geranium, blueberries. Painted turtles basking on every sunny shore, root or rock in the stream – numbered 40 to 50.

Green frogs sounding like plucked banjo strings. Song: song sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, oriole, cardinal, red-bellied woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, downy woodpecker, blackbirds and red-breasted blackbirds in creek territory, two crows passing overhead. May 30, 40 degrees, rainy, windy.

Heard on Pilgrim Drive: crows, scarlet tanager, woodland pee, double-crested flycatcher.

Roy Perry, at Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, May 28, “Just as I was about to call it a day, a blue jay gave a single warning call and flew away … I looked around where the jay was and spotted the owl. I was lucky because the owl was facing me and there were no branches in sight. ” [Roy sent a good photo-MH].

June Reports

John Piekos, Dunstable Road, June 3, “Snapshot of wildlife, doe and fawn, stoat, groundhog, barred owl – busy week!”[great photos John-MH]

Leslie Thomas, Old Colony Drive. On June 4, a large turtle, at least two feet in diameter, was digging through the wood shavings in the back yard, laying eggs in the hole she had dug – I think it is a snapping turtle. “

June 24, beautiful white tailed doe in the back yard. Also, a wren nests in the crown on my doorstep.

Gerry DiBello, Court Road, June 12, “We have a hanging dish in our garden that we are filling with mealworms that attracted the bluebirds. We were just watching a male and female bluebird feeding two babies perched on a branch in the- above the feeder. Babies have spotted wings and a bit of blue on their tails. In another first, we built a blue bird house this year and either the family I just mentioned or another one. busy.

Marian / Bill Harman, Old Colony Drive. June 13, 70s, sunny, charming.

Ovenbird singing in the woods, robins nesting under our patio, double-crested flycatcher heard repeatedly, hermit thrush heard in the marshes, wood thrush heard across the street. Red-winged blackbird and cardinal couple at the feeder.

June 16, 70s, lovely. Snake Meadow Brook Walk: Scarlet Tanager, Pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Robin, Crested Tit, Chickadee, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Cardinal, Wood Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Veery , yellow warbler, catbird, Carolina wren, song sparrow, house sparrow, red-bellied woodpecker, blackbird, red-winged blackbird.

The robin parent feeds two babies in the nest below the bridge.

June 17th, walk to East Boston Comps, in the area of ​​the streetcar line to Burge’s Pond and Keyes Brook.

So beautiful, like a cathedral, very tall trees, glacial boulders. I was surprised to see that most of the trees in this area are oaks, not pines.

Seen or Heard, House Sparrow, Downy Woodpecker, Crested Flycatcher, Red-winged Blackbird, King Bird, Ant Bird, Crested Tit, Pileated Woodpecker, Baltimore Oriole, Red-eyed Vireo, Song Sparrow, Blue Jay, Hairy Woodpecker.

Plants: lady’s slippers, Canadian May flower, partridge, starflower, maple-leaved viburnum, sarsaparilla, twisted stem, Solomon’s seal, lowbush and highbush blueberries, wintergreen, yellow birch, hickory, some hemlocks, white pine , lots of witch hazel.

On June 22, baby blue jays chase the parents and squeal.

They look like their parents, but look like babies. June 25, 1960s, wet. Three baby blackbirds in a nest below the bridge are almost two large to fit in their nest.

Papa Robin spends a lot of time on the railing of our bridge watching out for intruders and guarding the nest. He chased a blue jay that landed on the railing and looked at the nest. Under the feeder, 10 gray squirrels (most never), a red squirrel and two chipmunks.

Fortunately, they don’t seem to be able to overcome our double baffle system. On June 26, the baby robins took flight today! They hopped on the lawn, looking helpless.

Tom Lumenello, Old Colony Drive. June 15, “The troglodytes are back, their feeding time with a nymph fly being served for lunch” [Tom sent a lovely photo of a house wren feeding young at his bird house-MH]

Bob Price, Stratton Hill Road, June 23, Bluebirds have fled their first brood. I think they are building a second nest now.

Sue Thomas, Old Homestead Road, June 25, “We saw what I believe to be a King Rail on our walk today by the pond at the bottom of Old Homestead and Long Meadow.

I had never seen one before and had to look for it, but the beak and color are quite distinctive. more like a rail king. I would never have seen him if he hadn’t surprised. ” [King Rail is very rare in Massachusetts and is an exciting report! MH]

Rosemarie Koester, Providence Road, June Report: Blue Jay, many blackbirds, two pairs of cardinals, lots of goldfinches, house finches and possibly purple finches, chickadees, crested tit, woodpecker: pair of red-bellied woodpeckers and of minor peak. Robins nest in the rhododendron bush.

I checked every day but Mr. Robin was fiercely protective and fidgeted loudly when I was near the nest. I finally stayed away. After two days of heavy rain, the nest was disturbed with a hole in the bottom and no birds. “

Pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks. The female chased the other birds from the feeder. The male is a little shy and easily hunted when the blackbirds arrive. Hawk flying above, lonely wild turkey every day, sometimes see three to six.

Snake in the back yard near the swamp. Mammals: deer in the woods behind the house, bobcats in the back yard, several rabbits eating my hosta and black-eyed Susans, gray squirrels chasing each other, lots of chipmunks. On Bridge Street, I saw a red fox.

Marian Harman is a member of the Westford Conservation Trust, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of Westford’s open spaces and trails. The trust welcomes new members and volunteers. Check out our website at westfordconservationtrust.org or visit us on Facebook.


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