Using Nature To Assist Nature

Using Nature To Assist Nature

Using Nature To Assist Nature. I'm Greg Martin with today's Fruit Grower Report.

WSU Tri-Cities Native Plant Greenhouse Manager, Gretchen Graber has been working on a unique project. She has been looking at finding native plants to use around vineyards in the same idea that vineyards would plant roses as an early warning system for pests and disease.

GRABER: It is an interesting concept and I hadn't heard of the indicator plant concept. People traditional plant roses and it's a French - a European tradition. We've adopted it here but it really doesn't actually work because we don';t have the right species of mold and we don't have as many mold here in this arid type of environment.

Graber is working with native plants to see if she can give the natural ecosystems a boost.

GRABER: These native plants, they're already adapted to the weather, soil conditions of our area. They really need to be looked at, I think, as more of a resource than they actually are being used currently. These plants have an evolutionary relationship with certain types of insects and specifically parasitic wasps.

These tiny wasps are not bothersome to humans but actually lay their eggs inside other more damaging insects, killing them in the process.

GRABER: So it's kind of like a hedge idea or a living fence. If you have a large diversity of native plants you generally assume that you will be able to harbor a host of these native insects whether they're parasitic bio-control insects or pollinators.

That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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