Be bugged this spring! Prep your garden to attract pollinators
Many people gleefully spend springtime outdoors. Yet nature isn’t only abuzz with people – insects join in the festivities, pollinating plants and flowers.
You can plan your backyard to be a stop along their busy schedule this spring and summer by planting insect-friendly plants in your garden. By adding certain kinds of flowers or plants, you can watch pollinating insects and birds visit these vibrantly colored resources. As you plan your garden this spring, there are a few considerations:
- Consider the kinds of plants you want in your garden. As the old saying goes, “Look before you leap.” Are you a gardening novice or master? Where are you going to plant your garden? What size is it going to be? Do you want a garden, or just a few plants? By planning your garden’s size and location, you can seek out the plants and flowers that will go in the area. Factors such as exposure to sunlight, space needed for growth, and soil nutrients are critical considerations for the plants in your garden to thrive. Additional tips are offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Incorporate indigenous flowers and plants. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation features a list of pollinator friendly plants by state for ideas on native plants that you can add to your garden to support pollinators such as honeybees, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds and more. By adding native plants to your garden, you can have greater success in making sure that they grow and appeal to local pollinators. They are accustomed to indigenous plant and flowers, and they can be sure to get needed nutrients. In turn, the pollinators can better support plants that can thrive in the area.
- Factor in the maintenance as flowers and plants grow. During the season, you will need to watch for pests and other issues that may harm your plants. Which brings an important warning: be careful when considering the use of pesticides! Many pesticides can unintentionally harm insects and other wildlife, including the pollinators that you may be attracting to your garden. You can seek out organic approaches to treating harmful pests in your garden. If you see parasites or other issues, consider the pros and cons associated with treatments.
By taking the time to plan, you can maximize your garden to support local insect populations (and more!). Pollinators are invaluable to local plant life (the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in 2016 that honey bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops each year!). By taking a few steps to plan in the spring, you can look forward to pollinators peppering your plants all season long.