How Do White-Tailed Deer Change Ecosystems, Anyway?

Credit:  Robert Woeger ,  Unsplash Some facts about deer  An adult white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus , that might weigh between 100 and 150 pounds, must eat about 8-12 pounds of fresh forage every day. They eat a wide range of plants, from flowers to shrubs, to tree saplings, and in oak woodlands, acorns. All of these plants share the characteristic of a certain softness: deer lack upper front teeth, so their browsing involves a sort of mashing and tearing unlike the cutting and biting employed by many other herbivores, large and small, from rabbits to cows. It’s easy to identify deer-browsed areas, once you know the signs. Often there are browse lines at about four feet, below which everything looks as though it’s been trimmed—mature trees and bushes lack lower limbs and leaves, saplings remain stunted, if not eaten to the ground, and flowering plants have lost buds and flowers. In addition, there might be few flowering plants or shrubs, and a preponderance of grasses, sedges

Native Gardens through the Seasons: A Virtual Walk

In-person garden walks, as wonderful as they can be, only offer a "snapshot" of a garden on one day in a particular season, usually summer.  Missing are the daily and weekly changes that make up so much of a native plant garden's place-specific beauty.

The annual West Cook Wild Ones/Interfaith Green Network garden walk has traditionally been held in early August. When the pandemic forced cancellation, we decided to go virtual. This enabled three experienced native plant gardeners to show how our gardens grow and bloom over time, from the freshest spring ephemerals to the asters and goldenrods of early fall, and everything in between. I was thrilled to be on the same program as West Cook Wild Ones president Stephanie Walquist and board member Candace Blank.

This might be a perfect time to "visit" our gardens, while dreaming about spring and planning your own. You'll find it here.

Comments