Calling all gardeners! Bees, butterflies and other pollinators need more habitat and you can help! Click here to apply for a Pollinator grant!
Can you imagine a world without berries, apples, oranges or almonds? Hardly! But without honeybees, butterflies, ants and other pollinators to keep a healthy ecosystem in place, it could happen.In fact, research shows that for every three bites of food, one is the result of the work of pollinators.
So if you've ever wondered what pollinator - friendly gardens are all about - or why you should have one - heres the FYI on a DIY pollinator garden.
All flowering plants require pollination in order to reproduce. Pollinators help by transferring pollen from the male anther of a plant to the female stigma so that fertilization and seed production occur.Some plant species don't need help with the pollination process. These are known as self-pollinators. Others do fine with a little pollination help from wind or water.
But certain fruits and seeds, such as blueberries, wild strawberries and sunflower seeds, require help from insect or vertebrate pollinators, such as hummingbirds, beetles and bees.
Problems & Perils
Unfortunately, both insect and animal pollinators are in decline.Scientists theorize that aggressive growth of invasive species, disease, lack of nutrition, misuse of pesticides, and loss of natural habitat may be the cause of pollinator decline.
What You Can Do
The good news is that every one of us can help increase the pollinator population and promote pollinator diversity by doing these three simple things.
Plant a pollinator-friendly garden.
The best way to attract pollinators is to provide nectar and pollen sources by planting clusters of flowering plants.
- Pick plants with different colors and shapes to bring more types of pollinators to your garden. To start plants off right, use a 50:50 mix of native soil and Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil.
- Choose a variety of plants to
- ensure continuous bloom cycle, providing spring-to-fall food and nectar.
- Plant native plants when possible because they require fewer pesticides than non-native plants. Talk to your local nursery or cooperative extension agency about which plants are best for your region.
- Protect plants from mites, whiteflies, aphids and more with Miracle-Gro® Nature's Care® Garden Insect Control.
Create habitats and shelters.
Pollinators need nesting sites so make sure your lawn and garden both have ample options.
- Leave undisturbed areas at yard perimeters, including grassy areas and dead tree limbs, if possible.
- Put out a birdbath or other clean water source to lessen pollinator stress and travel time.
- Set up bee blocks by drilling various sized holes into preservative-free wood blocks.
- Plant an array of colorful flower shapes and varieties to attract a diverse collection of pollinators.
- Keep nesting materials available throughout your yard, including leaves, petals, moss and mud.
Use pesticides correctly.
Control products have their place-it's the misuse of them that can impact the pollinator population. Here are some tips for proper pesticide use.
- Let native predators help manage your pest problem.
- Always read and follow package instructions, including application amount and timing.
- Choose the right kind of product to deal with your pest problem, but let natural predators like praying mantids handle such pests as moths and mosquitos.
- Keep control products away from water and sensitive habitats.
- Learn more about regulatory compliance and Scotts® product responsibility.