Monday, August 12, 2013

The August Natal Grass Challenge

I'm  spending any rainless late afternoons I can weeding the newer lupine bed of Natal grass.
The idea is to give the lupine seeds in the ground from this year's flowering season a chance to propagate.
The Natal grass had a head start since it wasn't thinned earlier so I hope I can keep up with it once the initial work is completed.
I've put about seven hours in so far and have finished nearly half of the bed.
The survival rate of this year's seedlings has been low, but that was not unexpected. The weeding at least will give the next batch a fighting chance.
I'd also like to have the site looking presentable for the Central Florida Naturefest tour in early October.
The reason this site is a problem is because of the adjacent fire lane that is covered in Natal grass and will remain so until a canopy is re-established, but that will take years.
Perhaps more aggressive mowing of that section would help to suppress the seed heads. I don't know. This is one fecund, tenacious exotic.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Moth Among The Momordica

I was checking the plants in the sandhill area over the weekend when I saw something fly in the tangle of exotic vegetation that surrounds the preserve's endangered habitat.

It was a small moth, but what kind.

I got a brief look at saw that it was one of a group of moths with a tufted-looking tail  (anal tufts to you lepidopterists out there) , a Melonworm Moth (Diaphania hyalinata).

This common species is found in squash and melon patches, which is why it was thriving in a tangle of Momordica, an exotic vine that produces squash-like fruit.

New species to the invert list, by the way.   .