Why should I use native plants?

Native plants are adapted to the growing conditions in our area. Because they are naturalized to our weather, soils, and insects, native plants require no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and provide a better and more natural habitat for wildlife.

What are the benefits of hedgerows?

Natural hedgerows, traditionally used as property boundaries and for livestock containment, have been rapidly disappearing from the Eastern Shore landscape. Hedgerows provide travel corridors, nesting, and brood rearing areas for wildlife and help to reduce the harmful effects of farm runoff. By blocking the wind, they also help control erosion and reduce thermal stress for both wildlife and humans. Backyard hedges make great living privacy screens.

What are some recommended trees and shrubs to plant in a hedgerow?

Planting hedgerows with fruit-producing shrubs and evergreen shrubs and trees creates a windbreak that provides cover, nesting, and food supply for many of our songbirds. Eastern red cedarsouthern wax myrtle, and American holly hold their leaves and needles throughout winter and are excellent trees for a hedgerow. We also recommend elderberry, persimmon, viburnums, and many other species. Give our office a call at 410-822-5100 for a more complete listing of plants that may work in your area.

What is the stringy plant material that is floating up on my shore in early spring? Will it harm the fish?

It is most likely a branched, filamentous green-tufted seaweed called Cladophora. As the tide recedes, this fine, intricately branched photosynthesizing plant can be seen draped over logs, branches, rocks, and other debris in the intertidal zone. As they degrade, aquatic plants consume oxygen, which fish need. However, amounts and timing are important. Small amounts of decomposing vegetation earlier in the year will not cause the oxygen inversions that can occur during hot summer months. At this time of year, large numbers of red, blue, or green unicellular algae can occur due to farm fertilizer runoff, erosion, and high rainfall. It is this oxygen inversion that causes fish kills. Remember, though, these activities have been occurring for millions of years and there are inbuilt self-regulating mechanisms. It is man’s activities that have created the imbalances (like seasonal nutrient pulses) that lead to wider fluctuations in the system.

How can I get rid of all this green stuff that’s choking out my fish pond?

First off, what is it? Secondly, do you really want to get rid of it? If it is more like filamentous green strands, it is most likely SpirogyraSpirogyra can be controlled if needed by scooping the hairlike material out with a net. Yes, it is an arduous task. How about encouraging more ducks or even swans to visit the pond site? Waterfowl find this an acceptable food. If your green stuff is more structured, with many branches and small leaves along a weak central stem growing up from the bottom, then it is a type of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). Common milfoil is one that is non-native and can be controlled. If you need an area to fish in, then use an SAV saw or piece of chain to clear out a section of the pond. A person on either end on opposite sides of the pond can drag a section clear in a short amount of time. The weed will grow back in time but will allow a fishing spot for a while. Remember, aquatic plants oxygenate the water and provide habitat for fish and many organisms . Chemicals added to a pond are not selective and will kill all of this important habitat.