October Newsletter

October 19, 2023

The Difference Between Grey Stripe and Black Oil Sunflower Seed

Both the grey stripe and black oil sunflower are part of the genus Helianthus, the common annual native sunflower with the familiar late summer golden flower!

The black oil sunflower variety has the smaller seed and is valued for its higher oil content. As a bird seed, black oil sunflower seed provides higher fat and calories. The seed hull is easily cracked open. This seed is the overwhelming favorite of most all songbirds at your feeder.

Large mammoth sunflowers yield the striped seed, a larger seed with a thicker grey striped hull. This seed is the traditional edible seed found in trail mixes or in baked goods. As a bird seed, the hard shelled grey striped sunflower can be a deterrent to the house sparrows, starlings and some blackbirds who will usually give up and find a feeding station with easier choices. Jays, titmice, cardinals, grosbeaks and woodpeckers love striped sunflower and can handle the tougher, larger shells.

Terra Depot’s premium blends – our House Blend Supreme and our Cardinal Chickadee blend are loaded with both types of the sunflower seed and are well suited for tube, platform or hopper feeders. The blends or the straight seed come in bag sizes from 10 to 50lbs.

A Beautiful Ohio Native – the RED Maple – Acer Rubrum

There are 9 important native maple trees supplying seeds and nesting sites for many birds and host multiple species (250+) of Lepidoptera. These trees are prized for their presence and function in eastern landscapes. Familiar examples include sugar maples (Acer saccharum) in higher elevations and more northern reaches of the eastern zones; silver maples (Acer saccharinum) in the lower, wetter regions.

The red maple (Acer rubrum) has a place in all these areas of eastern North America. In addition to providing wonderful shade, beautiful yellow, orange and red fall colors, the maple supports the huge variety of forest loving inchworms, moths and butterflies.

The red maple is a fast growing, upright tree eventually forming a dense oval crown with heights to 50-80ft.

We have planted 2 dozen 8ft tall (3 gal pots) beauties this fall along our northern property line. This is an area that has suffered the loss of many ash trees over the last 15 years. We are leaving the standing dead wood which has created an incredible but temporary habitat for cavity nesting woodpeckers. Adding the red maples will reestablish a wind screen, restore habitat and will fill in an underused section of our property that tends to be wet in the spring and unsuited for much else.

Digging a $100 Hole For A $50 Tree!

First we marked the spacing we wanted – about 40ft apart; we called Massillon Cable knowing there was a buried line in the area. They responded quickly and located the line so we weren’t in danger of damaging the cable.

We followed the advice to make a $100 hole for a $50 tree. That means digging the hole at least 2x the size of the plant container. Since it was a pretty big project, we rented an auger which really helped this old back of mine! I mixed compost with good topsoil for backfilling. The trees were watered in as we planted. The tree depth remained level to the soil line. I hand graded to surface soil to direct any surface drainage towards the trunk, and lightly mulched the surface with dried grass clippings to help retain moisture. Warren made a 100 gal water wagon so we can keep the trees well-watered as they get established over the next few seasons.

Can’t wait to see these beauties grow and thrive.

What are Indian Meal Moths?

Indian Meal moths are annoying little insects that can be found in any wild bird seed. Seed becomes a host for the moths to lay their eggs, the larvae hatch and feed on the seed, the larvae then spins a small web-like cocoon and enters the pupa stage before turning into the adult moth. A few here and there in your seed is to be expected. However, no one wants to open a bag of seed and be welcomed with a face full of fluttering moths, and you especially don’t want them getting into your pantry. It is more of an issue going into fall after seed may have been stored over the long hot summer.

In our last newsletter, I detailed how important it is to deep clean any seed or suet feeders periodically. The same applies to any seed storage containers you may have in your garage.

When the bin is completely empty of seed, get out the soap and water, make sure all seams, rims and surfaces are free of any debris. Rinse well and let the bin dry completely in the sunshine before refilling. A deep cleaning like this will break the moth cycle and prevent a bad infestation.

If there are signs of moths that remain, Terra Depot sells very effective disposable pheromone traps that can inconspicuously help rid your storage area of this nuisance. Moths are lured to the small trap and are captured on the sticky interior surface.

If you ever do notice a few larvae in the seed – just use it up, a little extra protein for the birds won’t hurt a thing.

Share This With Family And Friends…

The Canton Audubon Society will award a $500.00 scholarship to attend a 2024 session at the renowned Hog Island Audubon Camp along the beautiful Maine coastline. The selection will be made in a few weeks and is open to a student or adult with a keen interest in environmental or nature studies.

The application process is simple. Click on the links to get more details and the application form

Holiday Open House Schedule

Each Saturday during the holiday season will be a festive and relaxed time to shop for lovely gifts, stock up on the winter essentials of our delicious seed and suet and visit with us while sampling our raspberry shortcake cookies and other tasty refreshments! We will have a fire in the fireplace and maybe Bess and Ivy will meet you at the door!