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Ask Our Chief Ecological Officer a Question

Ask Our Chief Ecological Officer a Question

Have a "burning" question about ecological restoration for our Chief Ecological Officer, Nick Fuller? How does something work? How to get the most out of your ecosystem with Flywheel Ecology? How to control invasive species with less herbicide? How can I use native plants to combat invasive specie? Controlled burning? Any ecological restoration question.

Nick will answer your question and share it “live” and unrehearsed on video and/or post on our page. Please submit your own question through the form on this page and Nick will answer those chosen by our editorial staff. Please leave your first name, location, and email address so we can credit you for asking.

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Ask a Question
  • As far as I can tell all of the thistles growing in my local area are invasive, such as bull thistle and Canada thistles. What can I do to try to establish any kind of native thistle? I live in Zone 4, about 80 miles west of a Green Bay, Wisconsin. (My property, has woodland and meadow areas, but nothing that would be considered wetland.)

    Hey Jennifer!  Thanks for looking into the often misunderstood native thistles. I believe the species you would be looking for is Cirsium discolor. This plat is a biennial so it is pretty easy to establish from seed. The hard part is finding the seed unless you have an established population.

    That plan is an exquisite nectar resource for monarch butterflies and a multitude of other pollinators.

    We are currently out, but we may be able to source it from a partner nursery if the amount was high enough or we can probably point you in the correct direction. Email us at if we can help on that front.


  • Do you have recommendation for removing non-native ground covers like Ivy (Hedera helix), Bishops Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) , Periwinkle (Vinca) and Lily of the Valley without using herbicide? are these groundcover considered invasive? I know these groundcovers can spread into nearby natural areas and can be aggressive in the garden, but they're in so many gardens / nurseries. Do you recommend removal vs control in some areas?

    Hey Denise,

    Please find your answer here!

  • Hi Nick, I have two questions. I have some buckthorn and oriental bittersweet on my property that I need to remove. I've been pulling the bittersweet out by hand and I bought some of the black buckthorn bags which I plan to use. Is there a certain way that these pullings/cuttings need to be disposed of? My second question is about Canada Thistle. What's the best way to keep it under control, and are there any particular native plants that I can plant in the area to combat the thistle? Thank you!

    Hey Sara, please find your answer here

  • I have some native plant beds that were previously lawn and now have a pretty heavy layer of hardwood/shredded mulch (because I didn't realize I should be putting in groundcover plants). Should I work on removing the hardwood mulch? is it okay to leave it?

    Hello, Please find our answer here

  • HI Nick, I have a property with native trees (ie. Hackberry) that hasn't been managed, and the hackberry have spread, casting a lot of shade. I want to add more diversity, so should I cut some of the smaller hackberries down, stump grind or girdle the trees, and add seed to the newly open spaces where the trees have been removed. How long do I have wait before seeding since there will be a lot of hackberry tree roots in the vicinity? Thanks!

    Hello Deinse! Please find our answer here

  • How do natural areas in DuPage County save tax payers dollars while at the same time improve the environment?

    Click Here To See Our Answer

  • How can I control Honeysuckle without herbicide use?

    Click Here To See Our Answer

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