Keeping Pollinators in Mind

There is something about a warm spring day that sends everyone outside.  As much as we want to get working on those spring garden tasks, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It may be warm enough to coax us outside, but our native pollinators aren’t ready to take a chance just yet.  Bumblebees and ground-nesting bees will be out and around once our flowering trees and shrubs start to bloom but will still need to keep warm during our chilly spring nights.  Many other pollinators may need the warmth of May before they emerge.

Perennials

Before cutting back the perennials from last year, wait just a few more weeks to allow our beneficial insects who are using your garden for their habitat to make it through the unpredictable weather of early spring.  Many native bees and other friends spend the winter snuggled in the hollow plant stems in our garden.  Cutting the plants too early will disturb pollinators before they have a chance to properly wake up.  Wait until you see new growth emerge from the base of the perennials before you reach for your favourite pruners.

Leaf Litter

Wait a few weeks before raking leaves out of your garden beds.  Many beneficial insects such as ladybugs have spent the winter under the leaves.  As you rake, keep a watchful eye for insects and try not to disturb them.

Mulch

Since many of our native bees are ground-living bees, adding mulch too early will prevent them from emerging once the sun warms things up.

As much as you want to get outside and get working in the garden, take some time to observe your garden coming alive this spring.  As you wait to clean it up, enjoy the fact that you are encouraging a heathy population of beneficial insects and pollinators that we all love to see in our outdoor spaces.