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Wild Bunch – Please, no pesticides!

Hi, this is Jane from the Wild Bunch. Do you fret about weeds in your street or neighbouring gardens, or do you see unmown lawns, or flowers sprouting from roadside verges as something to celebrate? Certainly our pollinators – bees, flies, moths – welcome the resulting blooms as a source of food. Birds will feast on insects drawn to the flowers and will welcome seed heads later in the year. But one person’s ‘natural and wild’ may be another person’s ‘untidy and neglected’. And even the best of havens for wildlife need a little management at times. Brambles and nettles, though great for wildlife, can quickly swamp an area, cutting out light and so reducing the range of plants that thrive. They may also cause access problems for people with pushchairs, wheelchairs or walking aids.

So, when the time comes to do some gentle tidying, how best can we go about it? Firstly, we should all try to avoid using weedkillers and pesticides. There is growing evidence of the long-term effects of chemicals such as glyphosate– in particular in relation to the risk of cancer. Some countries – such as France – have banned its use altogether, while other places, such as New York, restrict it. Frome’s Hoedown project is a great scheme, stopping the need for the use of glyphosate by having monthly street-tidying sessions. We can use the same method in our own gardens or local open spaces. Digging out, hoeing off, or just frequently cutting back new growth to the ground will reduce and eventually kill off most plants. Overgrown lawns or even areas of rough grass can easily be brought back into shape by regular mowing, rather than spraying and reseeding. But if removal of grass is essential, then digging and lifting (a great way to keep fit!) or covering with a thick layer of cardboard and mulch will both result in a weed-free and, more importantly, pesticide-free soil bed ready for planting. The more we can do to reduce the need for using pesticides and herbicides in Frome the better for our wildlife, our health and that of the town’s children.

If you would like to join the Wild Bunch, share ways to encourage wildlife in gardens and local open spaces, receive the newsletter, or suggest topics for the monthly gatherings, just email fromewildbunch@gmail.com. Our next gathering is part of Frome’s Great Big Green Week, on Thursday 13th June from 2pm onwards. We will be in the grounds of Christ Church, next door to Frome Town Hall. Come and see the work being done to increase plants for pollinators in the church yard and perhaps bring a picnic! We look forward to seeing you.

3 June 2024
Last Updated
28 May 2024
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