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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Are you nurturing Super Weeds?

GMO’s and RoundUp Cause Super Weeds
(And many more problems)


Think globally,  act locally
Research shows that herbicide-resistant weeds are aggressively taking hold in much of the U.S. and threaten U.S. crop production, as well as residential yards. More than half of U.S. farms are battling glyphosate resistant weeds. A survey by Stratus Ag Research shows glyphosate resistant weeds were found in 33 million acres in the U.S. in 2010. The acreage jumped to 61 million in 2012. Today, more than half of U.S. farms are battling the problem.

The toxic chemical glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp and other herbicides, has been viewed as a cheap, effective way to grow weed-free plants. “But those days are over, weed resistance to glyphosate is becoming more widespread” warns Iowa State University  scientist Mike Owen.

“One of the greatest threats to yield loss and food security - on a local and global basis - is the development of herbicide-resistant weeds,” said Arlene Cotie, Bayer Crop Science. “It is a growing global problem that is changing agronomic practices and threatens the long-term viability of economical weed control and food production.”

This "super weed" problem isn't just happening on farms, it's occurring in parks and residential yards too. We hear more about it from agribusiness simply because researchers and big agricultural growers keep better records (especially year-to-year) than a typical homeowner.

“In the Midwest, we see new populations [of weeds] every season that demonstrate resistance to numerous herbicide classes,” said Aaron Hager, University of Illinois. “We find resistance is not necessarily limited to one herbicide, but in certain species we find resistance to multiple herbicides, effectively eliminating many of the options farmers would have to try to control these populations in their crops.”

“Herbicide-resistant weeds are an unconventional threat that we must fight with conventional and unconventional methods,” said Bayer’s Harry Strek. “Accumulated resistance to multiple herbicides complicates the matter. We recognize that chemicals are often only a short-term solution.”

As you see from the above quotes, the toxic chemistry industry is now acknowledging the drastic and expensive consequences of Genetically Modified Organisms and glyphosate, the key ingredient in RoundUp and other herbicides. The truth is that there are better (and often less expensive) ways to kill unwanted plants.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Where in the world did those green parrots come from?


 

Monk Parakeet
For several years, Denton has been home to groups of totally wild Monk Parakeets. They’re in several places in northeast Denton, and their range is slowly expanding to other parts of north Texas. It’s the most widespread parakeet (it's actually a parrot) in the country, and the only species that builds a large, communal nest (some weighing up to several hundred pounds). First-time viewers often think it's someone's pet that escaped. But it’s not native to the U.S., and probably escaped from a broken crate (or similar) when it was smuggled into a port somewhere (nobody knows for sure)  Actually, the only two parrot species native to this country are both extinct.

 

Pipevine Swallowtail
Yes we have no bananas       Butterflies love spoiled bananas – don’t ask me why. They also go for mushy fruit like over-ripe pears and peaches. (but don’t leave them outside too long or you may have other visitors). This is what becomes of fruit if nature takes its course – animals eat some and the rest nourishes the soil.

 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.