Did you know that many pollinators, including bees and butterflies, take refuge in your leaves, dead plant stems, and ground over the winter? Birds are also feasting on seeds from last year’s plants!
While it’s tempting to start spring clean-up as soon as warmer days start arriving, cleaning up yard material too early means you may be sending many pollinators and other insects to the landfill/yard waste and away from the habitat where they are providing many benefits. Consider waiting to do your spring clean-up until the daytime temperatures are consistently (>7 consecutive days) above 50 degrees Fahrenheit to help protect these important species.
Try these insect and pollinator-friendly practices:
- Carefully rake leaves into a loose pile to protect overwintering insects.
- When you cut back stems, leave 12-18 inches of standing stem to provide nesting habitat for this season – they will soon be concealed by new growth.
- Instead of piling yard waste at the curb to be collected, consider placing leaves and cut dead stems in a corner of your yard, or tie a bundle of stems to a fence, to allow pollinators to emerge when they are ready.
- Wait to mulch so that you do not block the emergence of insects and pollinators burrowed in the soil.