Aiding pollinators in your landscaping is fun and ensures their survival.
Why Pollinators Matter
Did you know 40% of the food we eat depends on insects to pollinate them? Because those insects don't hang around gardens or farms only when humans need them, we must entice them to stick around all growing season by planting pollen-producing blooms. Happily, they're easy to grow and beautiful to human eyes, too.
Leave Some Leaves in the Fall
In fall, rake some leaves to a back corner or under shrubs for free mulch to protect shrubs and tree roots from winter damage. They’ll nourish those plants—and decomposers in the soil’s food web, too, from worms to firefly larvae! If piled 3” to 6” deep, they’ll ensure a safe, insulated winter home for some species of moths and butterflies, and a safe haven for the eggs, cocoons and chrysalids of other species. Learn more here. (Photo from Wikimedia)
Leave a Few Bare Patches of Soil, Too
We know we just asked you to cover some bare soil with fall leaves. Why are we asking you to leave some soil bare, too? Some solitary bees and bumble bees live in the soil, and can't burrow into heavily vegetated or mulched ground. Leaving a few bare patches under other shrubs or in other out of the way places makes a big difference. (Photo by Katerina Martinova)
There's no getting around it: Pesticides kill the "good bugs," like ladybugs and pollinators, too. Even the pesticide companies who train their staff to aim for the soil, thinking they're avoiding airborne pollinators, are poisoning the pollinators who live in the soil. Strive to live in harmony with nature, even if it means a few more insects in the garden and having to clean the gutters and refill the birdbath more frequently.
Leave Some Pruned Branches & Stems
Some native species of bees build nurseries in the cut ends of woody branches and stout stems, such as shrubbery branches and sturdier wildflowers. In the spring, when trimming shrubs, prune and leave a few branches, like in this photo. And, in the fall, prune and leave some stems from Purple Coneflowers, Black-Eyed Susans, etc. Vary their heights, 6"—24" above the soil. Learn more, below, on bee nurseries.
Encourage Native Bees' Nurseries
Here's a cool project that will fascinate you and your kids! Just follow these easy instructions and you'll have mama bees and their "Cinderella daughters" raising babies in your yard in the spring, summer and fall!