Pollinator Scavenger Hunt

Join the Parker County Master Gardeners as we learn about the importance of conserving our native pollinators. Did you know that 75% of our crops depend on pollinating insects in order to produce our food? Did you know that 75% of our blooming plants require a pollinator to produce seeds for the next generation? Pollinating insects are absolutely vital in Parker County. SPECIAL EVENTS on May 6, 2017 at the Weatherford Library, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., AND Pollinators in the Garden at Chandor Gardens (711 W. Lee Ave., Weatherford, 76086), 9:00 a.m. to noon. On May 12, 2017 is Native Pollinator Habitats at Clark Gardens (567 Maddux Rd., Weatherford, TX 76088), 11:00 a.m. to noon.

The honeybee may be declining, but there are literally thousands of species of native insects that pollinate plants in our county. Take a quick test and see if you recognize any pollinators in this grouping of insects?

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Butterflies
  • Moths
  • Flies
  • Ants
  • Beetles

If you answered yes to each of the insects above, then you’re exactly right. An insect doesn’t have to collect pollen in order to pollinate. It simply has to have a reason to go to the center of a flower. Our most effective pollinators are actively collecting pollen and nectar to feed themselves and their offspring, but there are hundreds of pollinating insects that are simply touching the flower as they go about their business. The Pollinator Scavenger Hunt is a great way to learn about native pollinators, and a fun way to pass that information along to next generation. So pull out your phone or your camera, find a group of children, and have a scavenger hunt! Everything you need is right here in this brochure. The Pollinator Scavenger Hunt focuses on butterflies because they are safe and friendly for even the most curious children.

Butterflies can be found in butterfly gardens on any warm day. We recommend the following locations: Get Map here.

  • Aledo/Annetta Community Projects
  • Azle Central Park Demonstration Gardens
  • Clark Gardens
  • Chandor Gardens
  • Extension Demonstration Gardens
  • National Vietnam War Museum Gardens
  • Weatherford Public Library Literary Gardens
  • Willow Park Gardens

Each of these Gardens is filled with plants that thrive in our environment, including plants that specifically support our native pollinators. Most of these Gardens are Master Gardener Projects, and most are Certified Monarch Waystations. Please be careful of our public garden areas by staying on the paths as you search for insects. Download our color brochure to help identify the local pollinators here.

Rules (there are none but these are suggestions)

Pre-School Children

Young children can easily identify a butterfly based on size and color. For example, a monarch is a large, orange butterfly; and a cloudless sulfur is a small yellow one. If they can identify a size and color, then they win. If you can snap a picture for them to look at more closely, that just adds to the fun and may allow them to match it to a picture.

Young School-Age Children

Young school-age children will be able to identify colors and designs on the larger butterflies so that they recognize the monarch or the swallowtails by name. If they are very still, they will be able to identify the smaller ones as they sit on flowers to eat. But the easiest by far is to snap a picture so they can compare the photo to the pictures. If they can put a name to three butterflies, they win.

Older School-Age Children

Older school-age children will be able to compare the butterflies they see to the pictures in the brochure and identify butterflies by name. They can also learn at least one fact about those butterflies, such as the months they are active in our county or the host plant where they lay eggs. If they can name four butterflies and remember one fact about each of them, they win.

Teens

For teenagers, there is no limit. Go ahead and surprise us! How many butterflies can you find? How many can you name? What can you tell us about them? Let this be a launch pad for your curiosity!

For Kids of All Ages

Thanks for participating in our learning adventure. We hope you have fun and learn something new. We also hope you’ll invite your friends to come out and play with the pollinators!

  • Fertilizers ~ Which One to Use?

    I am confused about the many kinds of fertilizers which are available in the local nurseries. For instance, I have pecan and peach trees, a vegetable garden, flowers and oak trees. Do I have to buy a fertilizer for each type of plant? Please list the best fertilizer for each plant type.

    Yours is not an uncommon question.

    People are confused by all of the fertilizer ratios and analyses on the bag. Folks fill the garage with pecan tree fertilizer for the pecan tree, garden fertilizer for the garden, grass fertilizer for the grass, etc.

    IT IS TIME TO STOP THIS INSANITY!

    We recommend one fertilizer FOR ALL PLANTS in the spring. The slow-release, sulfur-coated formulations will be the ideal fertilizer for ALL outdoor plants.

    The slow-release analyses available include:

    19- 5-9
    20-7-7
    21-7-14
    25-3-5
    22-3-3
    20-5-10
    15-5-10
    choose the cheapest which will cover the greatest area. Most of these fertilizers have a ratio of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 and are ideal for growing plants. What gives them the edge is the slow-release, constant feeding aspect of this type. The fast-release can burn plants if used in excess. Follow label instructions as to application rate or use as if it is not a slow-release formulation.

     

    For example, Extension horticulturists for years have recommended the use of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) for side- dressing actively growing, heavily producing vegetable crops and one pound of 21-0-0 per inch diameter of tree trunk, evenly distributed around the tree's dripline, for pecan and ornamental trees. There is not a significant difference, or enough of a difference, in nutrients between ammonium sulfate and 19-5-9, 20-7-7, 21-7-14, 22-3-3 and 20-5-10 to affect plant growth and performance.

    In fact, the slow-release formulations are complete (nitrogen - the first number, phosphorus - the second number, and potassium - the third number) fertilizers which are thought to be more beneficial than a one element fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate (21-0-0).

     

  • Fertilizing Red Tip Photinia or Nellie R Stevens Holly?

    When should I fertilize my Red Tip Photinia and my Nellie R Stevens holly and what do I use?
     
    Red Tip Photinia are not a recommend shrub for our area because of the endosporium fungal leaf spot due to the higher humidity in our county, and the Nellie R Stevens holly is a top quality plant for Parker County.

  • How Do I Keep A Healthy Lawn

    The three most important keys to obtaining a thick and healthy lawn are mowing, watering, and fertilizing. A thick and healthy lawn is the best weed control. The link below is for a publication written by Parker County Master Gardener Bob Starnes. "Turf Management Tips by the Month". This will cover Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grasses.

    Turf Management Tips by the Month

  • Meaning of the Numbers on a Fertilizer Bag

    The analysis is actually the three numbers you see on every fertilizer label – put there by law. These numbers represent the percentage (by weight) of the three major nutrients required for healthy plant growth, always in the same order: nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K).

  • Please Help With Bed Preparation for Parker County.

    BED PREPARATION: Now that you have a plan, it's time to prepare areas for planting. Adequate bed preparation is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of success in your garden. The principles described in this section apply to all kinds of planting, including turf grasses, shrubs, trees and vegetables.