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Related VIDEO: https://youtu.be/8gDeNufc58Q
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Michelle Wisdom stepped up when loss of habitat meant the nation’s
pollinators were in need of food and housing.
A video from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture explains Wisdom’s
search for ways to incorporate bulbs and other flowers into lawnds and other turfgrass
areas as a means of providing much needed habitat for pollinating insects.
Watch the video: https://youtu.be/8gDeNufc58Q
Wisdom conducted the research for her master’s thesis in horticulture.
Bees may be the most widely recognized pollinators of flowering plants, and they are
the main pollen spreaders for fruits and vegetables, according to information from
the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. But many animals help spread pollen
Pollinators face challenges from environmental contaminants, disease and parasites.
But the most pressing challenge is loss of habitat.
Beginning with an idea from Mike Richardson, professor of turfgrass horticulture,
Wisdom began by looking for efficient methods to plant large numbers of bulbs. She
found that opening a trench with a sod cutter, tossing them in and covering them up
Wisdom observed them to see if bees or other pollinators would use them early in the
spring. She was delighted to see bees feeding on the flowers as early as February.
Wisdom also wanted to find flowering plants that could coexist with bermudagrass or
buffalograss during the insects’ active season. “A succession of blooms is best for pollinators,” she said. “Most require diverse
pollen sources for good health and a season-long succession of food sources.”
Wisdom discovered that a combination of bulbs, white clovers and a couple other flowering
plants that provided a succession of blooms worked well. In addition to contributing
to pollinator habitat, the white clovers are legumes that make their own nitrogen
and leave enough of it in the soil to help fertilize the grass.
So far, the plants have persisted for two years in her test plots.
Those who want a nice, green, manicured lawn will probably not want clover and other
plants popping up through the grass. But results of Wisdom’s research will be useful
to homeowners who don’t mind growing flowers in their lawns to lend a hand to pollinating
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Media Contact: Fred MillerU of A Division of AgricultureArkansas Agricultural Experiment Station(479) firstname.lastname@example.org