July 22, 2024

How to Keep Your Yard Pollinator & Wildlife Friendly

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Most homeowners know that healthy pollinators are needed to pollinate their vegetable gardens, flowers, and fruit trees. Some plants are wind pollinated such as the white pines that sometimes overwhelm our yards with bright yellow pollen in the spring. However, native pollinators such as bees, flies, butterflies, and moths are key for a healthy garden and yard.

Just as important, our native songbirds need healthy and abundant insect populations to raise their nestlings. Songbirds come to our backyard feeders to devour bird seed, but they depend upon an abundance of healthy insects to raise their nestlings. Baby birds need the protein of insects to grow into healthy adults.

Here are some suggestions to consider when managing your yard:
Plant mainly local native flowers, shrubs, and trees. Native pollinators have not evolved with cultivars and ornamental plants.
Reduce areas of empty lawn. Grass is a desert for most local wildlife, and costs more energy, chemicals, and time to maintain. Native shrubs require less maintenance and are adapted to local conditions.
Avoid or limit pesticide use that kills non-target insects.
Plant native oaks, one of the best trees to provide habitat for insects and birds.
In the fall, don’t be too much of a “neat nick.” Leave a few brush piles and logs to provide habitat for insects, as well as cover for wildlife such as toads and salamanders. Dead trees (in safe locations) provide nest cavities and food for insects and birds. Goldfinches will thank you for not cutting the seed heads of flowers such as purple coneflowers. Leaves in flower and shrub beds will become home to many pollinators over the winter. Removing all your leaves will remove valuable habitat.

For more information on how to provide important pollinator and wildlife friendly habitat, contact the Rehoboth Land Trust at info@rehobothlandtrust.net.  You can also check out Professor Doug Tallamy’s book Nature’s Best Hope from Blanding Library. The Xerces Society, dedicated to invertebrate conservation, has many resources as well at www.xerces.org.  

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