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Pollinators Plus
Museum & Pollinator Habitats
Why planting trees, here and now, is wrong . . . dead wrong!

It isn't that planting trees in and of itself is bad or wrong. Planting trees is extremely important. The problem is that too many organizations in southwest Ohio are overly focussed on planting trees, while we are in the middle of an environmental catastrophe that is far more pressing than the need to plant more trees.


 Now let me explain why planting trees in southwest Ohio is such a bad thing to do at this time.

We must stop planting trees, and instead invest our limited resources in removing what is preventing our trees from planting themselves!!!

It all has to do with the catastrophically invasive Amur Honeysuckle shrub(and other invasive plants). It has to do with limited available resources (funding, volunteer labor, etc.). It has to do with highest priorities.

Here’s the problem:
Amur Honeysuckle has become the dominant plant growing throughout southwest Ohio, and much of the Midwest. It is bad for several reasons. First of all, it replaces all other plants (with the exception of a few invasive evergreen ground covers). It replaces all of the flowering plants that bloom at different times from early spring through late fall. These are the plants that pollinators, birds, and other wildlife depend on. Along with preventing the seeds of other plants from germinating, it also shades out existing plants until they die. Although it does not grow tall enough to shade out the trees growing in our woodland areas, it heavily competes with them for water and nutrients. This leaves the existing trees growing in our forest areas weaker, and far more susceptible to attack by insects and disease.
So not only does AH prevent new trees from germinating, it causes existing trees to die per-maturely. So, then why is it so bad to be planting trees right now? I’m glad you asked.

Everywhere I look, trees are being planted in existing or potential pollinator habitat. AH has taken over and effectively “killed” almost all of the pollinator habitat in southwest Ohio. To plant trees in the very last few remaining pollinator habitats (or potential pollinator habitats) is wrong, dead wrong! What about all of the trees we are losing, and what about our existing trees lost ability to reproduce and regenerate themselves?  Don't we need to replace them?
That is precisely the point I am trying to make. Why go out and plant trees in our last few remaining pollinator habitats, while AH covers so many acres of land where trees are trying to grow and regenerate themselves?

We need to focus all of our resources (funds, volunteers, etc.) on removing AH everywhere it is growing so that the trees that are growing will live longer, and produce new trees themselves as they naturally should and would. 
Am I making my point clear? Remove the AH, and our existing trees will live longer, and they will produce far more new trees than what we could ever plant ourselves. We must stop planting trees, and instead invest our limited resources in what is preventing our trees from planting themselves.

If we are to plant any trees at all (and that is a very big if), then we should only be planting them on private commercial properties where mowed lawn areas currently exist. But even those areas would be much more useful if planted in pollinator habitat, but that is another article.

What else can we do?

1. Help get the word out and open the Pollinator Plus Museum to help further raise awareness about pollinators and the threats they face, while raising substantial revenue to wage an all-out war on invasive Amur Honeysuckle.

2.Produce a comprehensive video documentary that clearly shows how bad AH (and other invasive plants) have become in southwest Ohio and beyond, while explaining what can be done to begin to fix the problem.

3.Develop and demonstrate new ways to add value to the material (invasive AH) being removed in order to help offset the cost of removing it.

If you agree with the point I am making, and think others need to read this article, please share it on Facebook. Together we can make a difference, but only if we try, and it certainly helps if we’re doing the right thing.

Everything green in the image above is Amur Honeysuckle. Rest assured that there are no tree seedlings or saplings growing, no native spring wildflowers growing, and the days of the taller trees growing are numbered.
As if the loss of all other plants wasn't bad enough, look at the risk for soil erosion. Once AH establishes itself, the ground beneath it is entirely bare and unprotected.
How can we rationalize investing in planting trees, when our forest lands look like this? This woodland should be planting its own trees, but it can't. We must prioritize the removal of AH!!!