Pollinators play a crucial role in gardening! Here are five easy things you can do right away to help pollinators and make your garden a hospitable place for them!
Most people are aware of the colony collapse of honeybees, but did you know that many other pollinators are also experiencing population decline?
This is mostly due to the loss of habitat and the use of harmful class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. We need to take this problem seriously because pollinators have an essential role in our food system. Approximately 30% of the world’s crops and 75% of all flowering plants require cross pollination in order for the plants to reproduce and bear fruit.
Pollinators help us with this crucial task so it is equally important that we help them survive!
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Help Pollinators ::
1. Limit your use of pesticides or even stop using them altogether.
Nectar and/or pollen are the primary food sources for adult pollinators and their offspring. Plants that are sprayed with insecticides can have those harsh chemicals present in their pollen and nectar which is poisoning the pollinators.
2. Avoid buying plants from big box stores.
This is an extra precaution you can take since it is very likely that plants from large garden centers and nurseries have already been treated with pesticides and insecticides before you purchase them.
Try finding a local nursery and make yourself familiar with their practices. Or check with local farmers who may have extra plants available to sell. Don’t be afraid to ask if they spray their plants with chemicals! Be an advocate for the pollinators!!
3. Actively create pollinator friendly landscapes.
Pollinators also need nest sites and over-wintering sites. Often they will find these places for themselves but you can also assist them by constructing a pollinator hotel. There are many helpful tutorials out there. Here is a starting place.
4. Attract native pollinators with native plants.
This is perhaps the most important action to take. Plants that are native to your region are better adapted to your local soil and climate and won’t require a lot of high maintenance care.
PRO TIPS FOR DESIGNING YOUR POLLINATOR GARDEN ::
- Create a diverse habitat with plants of various shapes, sizes, and colors. At the Carolina Homeplace Farm, we aim to preserve edge environments that already exist on our property, as well as actively creating other areas of biodiversity. These are two simple principles to keep in mind when planting for pollinators. If you live in an urban or suburban area, you may not have many edge zones but you can start by simply not eliminated all the clover in your lawn or leaving flowering ground vines in out of the way places.
- Most pollinator plants prefer full sun.
- Plant pollinator friendly plants on multiple sides of a garden area to encourage pollination of your fruiting plants.
- There’s power in numbers when it comes to pollinator plants. Group plantings of single species at will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered across your garden. Think:
- MULTIPLE LOCATIONS.
5. Consider bloom time and plant height.
Biodiversity need not be an overwhelming concept!
Bloom Time: plant so that there will be pollinating plants blooming in each season in order to provide a year round food source.
Plant Height: plan for plants that grow to different heights in order to provide structure to the garden habitat which attracts beneficial insects, including pollinators.
Different bloom times and plant heights means a diverse plant population.
As with any gardening venture, plant a few plants and observe. Use your observations of pollinator behavior to inform your next garden iteration. This is another good excuse to spend more time in your garden!
Suggested pollinating perennial plants ::
(for the southeastern U.S.)
- purple coneflower
- bee balm
- wild indigo
- golden alexander
- blazing star
- mountain mint
- black-eyed susan
- anise hyssop
- joe pye weed
- golden rod
- climbing aster
- New Jersey tea
- Oakleaf hydrangea
- purple passionflower
- Eastern Redbud
More info ::
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More in the Family Garden Series ::