don't use lawn fertilizer with phosphorus

Keep our waterways clean: look for zero on lawn fertilizer

Do you like swimming or fishing or clean water in general? Then help our lakes, rivers and creeks by not spreading phosphorus on your lawn. If you fertilize your lawn, look for a bag with a zero in the middle. Fertilizer labels have three numbers. The number in the middle is the percentage of phosphorus in the product, such as 22-0-15. Excess phosphorus has made many waterways in New York State un-swimmable and un-fishable, according to the New York State…

white oak (Quercus alba) L. with acorns

Help save life on Earth by planting trees & more; see POLLINATOR

There are things you can do to help save life on Earth, and the newest edition of POLLINATOR is focused on the many ways we can help. POLLINATOR magazine is produced by the Pollinator Conservation Association, a non-profit based in Western New York. One thing we keep hearing about is planting trees, said Lynda Schneekloth in the article “Nature Based Climate Solutions” in the Winter 2020 edition. Schneekloth is professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo and longtime climate, social and…

lesser celandine in yard

Kill lesser celandine before it flowers; look for it now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Don’t wait until you see the pretty yellow flowers. Look for lesser celandine and get rid of it now. If you want to use an herbicide, you must do it now before the plant flowers. Why you should get rid of lesser celandine If you’re not careful, lesser celandine can spread until you have no grass or other plants in your lawn. Even worse, it can spread into wild areas and wreak havoc there. Lesser celandine…

deer in backyard

Don’t feed deer in WNY: It’s bad for them, bad for people & illegal!

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you feed deer in your backyard or at a park, you could be harming them instead of helping them. Bringing deer together at feeding sites increases their risk of contracting communicable diseases, such as chronic wasting disease, from other deer. That’s why the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) prohibited deer feeding anywhere in New York State back in 2002. Recently the DEC adopted a new regulation to provide a clearer definition of what…

clouds

Measure a tree or take a photograph of clouds for NASA

You can contribute important scientific data to NASA and help scientists studying Earth and the global environment. While NASA can use tools such as satellites, citizen scientists like you can add data that they don’t have. Use the GLOBE Observer App. It currently includes four main tools: Clouds, Trees, Mosquito Habitat Mapper and Land Cover. Clouds By photographing clouds, recording sky observations and comparing them with NASA satellite data, you can help scientists gain a new perspective on clouds that satellites…

wrapping paper

Before you buy wrapping paper, consider this: Can you compost it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those glossy wrapping papers are so pretty when they’re on a package, but what happens to the gift wrap after the package is opened? You might think that adding wrapping paper to your compost pile is a great way to use up the paper, but think again. Some wrapping paper can actually contaminate your compost with heavy metals– and that could affect your garden, too. Many kinds of gift wrap contain heavy metals such as lead,…

holly raguza, Bugwood.org

Good news: No lanternfly infestations found, but your help is still needed

The good news is that there hasn’t yet been a documented spotted lanternfly infestation in New York. That’s wonderful because the spotted lanternfly can damage many kinds of plants. In addition, it can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact our forests, agriculture and tourism. Your help is needed to keep this invasive and destructive insect out of our area, according…

Halloween bat

Bats: spooky creatures or garden helpers?

It’s Bat Week, time to raise awareness about the important role bats play in our environment and our gardens. What you might not know about bats All of New York State’s bats eat insects. A single little brown myotis bat can consume 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour! The bat is the only mammal that can truly fly. (Flying squirrels glide, but don’t fly.) Bats are extremely long lived, compared to mammals of similar size. The oldest documented one was…

bumble bee on goldenrod by Stofko

Identify and help native bees in your garden

Did you know that the native bumble bee is more effective than honey bees at pollinating crops such as tomatoes? That’s just one reason gardeners should care about native bees, according to the Wild Bee ID. Another reason gardeners should care about native bees is that pollinator populations have been declining at alarming rates all across the continent, primarily due to habitat loss and pesticide poisoning.  The makers of the Wild Bee ID app hope that gardeners in North America…

chickadee in tree

Do you love birds in your garden? Check out new WNY site

by Connie Oswald Stofko Learn more about the birds that visit your garden with the new website Birds on the Niagara Frontier. It is designed to promote interest in birding and wildlife conservation in Western New York and Southern Ontario. The site was created by Gerry Rising, retired University at Buffalo math professor who has been bird watching for more than 80 years, and Michael Noonan, a retired Canisius College professor of Animal Behavior who has produced a dozen films that…