WHAT IS A POLLINATOR GARDENPLANNING YOUR GARDENABOUT OUR GARDENPOLLINATORSCONTESTS

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WHAT IS A POLLINATOR GARDENPLANNING YOUR GARDENABOUT OUR GARDENPOLLINATORSCONTESTS

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Pollinator Garden Maintenance: Your Year-Round Guide

Pollinator gardens, like all gardens, require maintenance, and if you can make time to work on the garden year-round you will have less work to do during the busy summer months and your garden will yield better results for you and pollinators. 

To help you get the most from your pollinator garden we put together this year-round guide to pollinator garden maintenance. 

Spring

If you’re familiar with gardening you might think spring is the time to clean out garden debris, but that isn’t the case with pollinator gardens. Bees, birds, and butterflies all use old garden material for nesting habitat. While you can remove some of last year’s dead plant material, make sure not to disturb nests or cocoons and instead, focus on these tasks:  

  • Start composting! You’re going to want to avoid chemical fertilizers. Using natural compost can go a long way towards improving the health of your garden. Composting is also a great way to cut back on kitchen waste heading to the landfill and to learn a lot about backyard biology. 

  • Mix mulch and compost into your garden soil, this will improve your soil health, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizer.

  • Plant early so that pollinators will have food sources sooner.

Summer

During the summer, the work you’ll need to do on a pollinator garden is very similar to what a regular garden would require. However, you won’t be spending time fertilizing with chemicals or spraying pesticides. Do these tasks instead:

  • Remove weeds and replenish mulch by hand. Be sure to leave some areas of soil mulch-free and undisturbed so that ground-nesting bees have space to use.

  • Examine plants frequently for signs of insect damage and remove any leaves or flowers that show signs. In in the event of an infestation, carefully apply insecticidal soap to the areas under attack.

  • Prune or thin any plants that might be at risk of taking over the garden, a diverse garden is a healthy garden.

Fall

Similar to the spring, conventional gardens are cleaned out in the fall. But with pollinator gardens, it is important to leave the majority of organic waste in the garden. This is because garden debris is used as building material for pollinators' nests. If you notice some plants didn’t perform well during the summer, now is the time to remove those plants but leave lots of dead leaves, flowers and stems for the birds and insects. Spend time performing the following:

  • Divide and spread out perennials.

  • Add mulch.

  • Remove plants that performed poorly.

  • Lay newspaper over grass in areas that will become gardens to prepare for next season.

  • Plant any trees and shrubs you plan to add to your landscape.

Winter

Winter might not be your ideal time to be in the garden, but there are still tasks you can be doing.

  • A lot of trees and shrubs can be pruned in early winter, even after the first snow has fallen.
     
  • Plan for next season's garden. This can be inside with pen and paper and can be as elaborate as mapping out your garden, or as simple as listing the plants you hope to plant.

There you have four seasons worth of garden work to keep you busy and that will help bring pollinators of all types to your yard. Check out these other articles if you need some help choosing the right location for your garden or selecting plants that will support pollinators

During the summer, the work you’ll need to do on a pollinator garden is very similar to what a regular garden would require. However, you won’t be spending time fertilizing with chemicals or spraying pesticides.

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