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Q:What are the pretty purple, white and lavender flowers blooming all around the area?

A: Unfortunately, you are probably referring to invasive Dame's rocket. This plant spreads profusely by fine seed, quickly covering vast areas where it smothers out native plant species in grasslands and forest edges where it thrives. This plant is regulated as invasive in Wisconsin and should be pulled before it goes to seed to help prevent its rapid spread.

Q:Four weeks ago I had many orioles visiting my feeders. Now they've all vanished?

A: As they arrive in May, orioles are extremely vocal and aggressive, making them highly noticeable. As June arrives, many people assume the orioles have moved on or disappeared. In most cases, the birds are simply nesting, remaining silent so as not to draw attention to their precious and vulnerable young in the treetops above.

Q:The monarchs are back. Is it too late to plant milkweed?

A:It's never too late to plant milkweed in your yard and garden.

While planting seeds at this time will not produce much in the way of growth this season, potted milkweed plants can be purchased from a number of local nurseries throughout the state.

Select from orange milkweed, also called butterfly weed, common milkweed, swamp milkweed and other, less common varieties.

Monarchs are attracted to milkweed for two purposes. These plants serve as the only host plant for their caterpillars, meaning this is the only plant monarch caterpillars will feed upon. Additionally, the sweet nectar of milkweed blossoms provides a food source for adults throughout spring and summer.

Q:How often should I change and clean my hummingbird feeder?

A:During the summer season, ideally clean and change the water in your hummingbird feeder at least every two weeks. A diluted bleach solution works best. Be sure to cleanse all parts of the feeder.

Ask the experts

BY ROB ZIMMER


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