What Is A Butterfly Bush?
A butterfly bush is a small tree or shrub that grows up to three feet tall and wide. They are common in many parts of the world including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, North America and Europe. There are two types of butterflies that use these trees: the milkweed caterpillar (Pieris brassicae) which feeds on them, and the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). These butterflies have been around since ancient times and are considered symbols of spring.
Milkweed plants grow throughout most of the year, but they are particularly abundant during the summer months when their leaves turn bright yellow. The milkweed plant produces tiny white flowers that attract butterflies to feed on it. The caterpillars (mature butterflies) emerge from the foliage and fly away to pupate in the soil where they will eventually develop into adults and lay eggs.
These butterflies live only one week each year and spend the rest of the time hibernating. Their wingspan is just over 1/2 inch (13 mm), so they cannot fly very far. They are found mainly in Mexico, Central America, and southern United States. The monarch butterfly is often called “king of butterflies” because its population has increased dramatically due to human intervention such as planting milkweed along with other plants that attract them.
Monarchs are herbivores, which means they only consume plant life. The adult butterflies eat the flowers, leaves, and fruits of the milkweed, while their larvae feed on its leaves. The caterpillars have tiny hairs that contain a poison, which they use to defend themselves from predators. A fully-grown caterpillar will have turned into a chrysalis by the time it is ready to pupate in the soil.
The Importance Of Pruning
Pruning is the act of cutting, removing, and shaping shrubs and trees to encourage new growth. It is important to provide proper care for these plants since they are a vital part of the ecosystem. Native monarchs feed on their foliage. They also provide homes and shelter for other animals such as birds, mammals, and reptiles. The flowers produce nectar that attracts bees to pollinate them.
Without these plants, many animals would go hungry and the food chain would collapse.
If you are new to pruning, start with a plant that is not very large so you can get the hang of it. Always use clean tools since diseased plants can be harmful to you and your family. It is important that you sterilize your tools before using them on another plant. You should also wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and apron. Always prune shrubs and plants during the spring or autumn (fall) since they grow more quickly during this time.
It is best to learn from someone who already knows how or read books on the subject before attempting to do it yourself. You may also contact your local cooperative extension office, nursery, or garden center for advice.
Pruning is an art form that requires a certain amount of skill and finesse. Different pruning jobs require different tools, but you can buy an entire set since they are not very expensive. The following are some of the tools used by professional gardeners and shrub owners.
Hand Shears: Hand shears are ideal for deadheading, which means cutting off spent flowers so that the plant will put its energy into developing healthy new growth. These are also called pruning scissors and are used for more precision work such as shaping and cleaning up shrubs.
Pole Pruner: The pole pruner has an extendable pole attached to it so that you can reach high branches. It is used for pruning trees and large shrubs.
Bypass Lopper: This tool has sharp blades that “bypass” or cut across each other as they close. This helps to make a smoother cut. This tool is for cutting thicker branches than those that the pole pruner can reach.
Anvil Lopper: This type of lopper has a blade that slams against an anvil, or hard surface, as it closes. This tool is not very common since it is not as effective as the bypass lopper.
Loppers are used for removing small branches and thin vines. They are also used for cutting away dead or diseased wood. There are several types of loppers including the common straight and curved blade varieties. Some have handles that are straight while others are curved to fit more comfortably in your hand. It is a good idea to use loppers with pole pruners since they do not extend as far as the pole pruner itself.
Pruning is an important part of shrub and tree maintenance. Without it, plants cannot grow or develop properly. Pruning also prevents trees and shrubs from becoming diseased or damaged. It is important to learn proper pruning techniques before attempting it yourself.
Most people think that pruning is a chore, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult task. With the right tools and proper practice, you can learn to prune like a professional. It is important to learn proper techniques to ensure the health and safety of your shrubs or trees.
When you prune a plant, there are several points to keep in mind. When you prune too much, you risk damaging or even killing the plant. If you don’t prune enough, the shrub will not grow properly and it could become overgrown and diseased. Most plants need to be pruned every year for the first few years after planting. After that, they only need to be pruned every two or three years.
When pruning, it is important to observe the plant first to see how it grows. Some plants tend to grow very tall, while others stay short. The way the branches grow can also be very different. Some shrubs spread out, while others have branches that lean. These are all things you need to keep in mind when pruning so that the plant has the correct shape and size.
When you are ready to prune, make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing. Long pants, closed-toe shoes, and gloves are a must. Having a shirt or coat that is tucked in will help keep you from getting scratched. It is important to be safe when you are pruning so that you don’t get hurt.
Before you get started, it is also a good idea to have a bucket or bag handy for the branches that you cut off. This will make it easier to dispose of them after you are finished pruning.
When you’re all set, choose a branch that needs to be pruned. Make sure that the shrub is “ready” and needs pruning. It is a good idea to get help from an adult if you aren’t sure if a shrub needs pruning.
Prune dead, diseased, or damaged branches first. These are usually the ones that are broken or hanging on by a thread. Cut them off right above the spot where they attach to the shrub. Make sure that you disinfect your pruning tools between branches using a bleach and water solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
Sources & references used in this article:
Time of pruning effects on cold hardiness of butterfly bush by JC Warr, GJ Keever, DA Findley… – Journal of …, 2004 – meridian.allenpress.com
Growth and flowering response of butterfly-bush to Cutless by GJ Keever, CH Gilliam – Journal of Environmental …, 1994 – meridian.allenpress.com
Production and invasion of Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) in Oregon by J Ream – 2006 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu