bdn robinIf you read last week’s blog about Doug Tallamy, that University of Delaware professor who advocates planting native trees and shrubs, you might have realized that there were a few key ideas missing.

You might have thought that letting bugs and caterpillars chow down on your shrubs and trees might be going a bit far just to plant native species. Why should you have all those bugs and caterpillars all over your yard, after all?

Nature loves a balance, though, and provides birds to eat those bugs and caterpillars that would love to have your plantings for breakfast, lunch and dinner with the occasional in between meal snacks. In fact, each bird needs hundreds of bugs and caterpillars to feed their chicks. Chicks are hungry and they tell you about it!

But if you spray your shrubs and trees even with the best organics, you’re going to make sure those bugs and caterpillars will be dead meat – and your birds will go elsewhere.

Then what should you do?

I can never remember spraying anything on our trees and shrubs growing up; we lived in the country and we had a lot of shrubbery and a lot of different trees and plenty of birds.

Those were before the days of seeds treated with chemicals such Roundup and other seeds that grow plants that might have killed off a large percentage of our pollinating bees.

I cannot recall any shrub or tree damaged by bugs or caterpillars. Nature kept everything in balance.

We limit our use of even organic pesticides; we only used a pesticide on our ornamental lilies last year; we did use home remedies on our climbing rose – vinegar and dish soap – for black spot.

bdn caterpillar 2Perhaps we don’t need even organic pesticides; Mom Nature does a good job of controlling and balancing her plants, bugs and birds.