Make Your Garden Wildlife Friendly

June 5, 2014IMG_0521

If you’re struggling to pick the perfect aesthetic for your spring garden, consider gardening in favor of the wildlife in your area. Wildlife friendly gardening can help boost your backyard ecosystem and even save lives.

Wildlife, especially bees, are experiencing a serious decline due to habitat loss and pesticides. Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting the pollination of many commercial crops and putting many fruits and vegetables at risk. This decline is expected to cost the United States $15 billion dollars worth of crops according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Tailoring your garden to meet the needs of honeybees and other creatures requires only a few simple adjustments:

Shelter: All critters need a place they can feel safe. This means rocks for low lying bugs, bushes for snakes, and trees for birds and squirrels. Evergreens are one of the best trees to plant because they remain full in fall and winter, providing the perfect place to hide year-round. Trimming trees less and letting the branches get lower to the ground also provide excellent shelter.

Water: Rising drought conditions aren’t just hurting your ability to water your garden every day, global warming is making it harder for wildlife to find adequate sources of water. Birdbaths, ponds, and water fountains are not only stunning accessories for a garden, they also provide fresh water for drinking and bathing.

Food: What kind of critters you want to attract will determine which food sources you want to focus on. If you want to help bring back the honeybee population, lavender, sunflower, borage, and yarrow would be your best options. Peanut plants and fruit trees are excellent sources of food for squirrels. Leafy green vegetation will attract more rabbits. Birds will feast on the pesky bugs that you may be tempted to terminate as well as fruits. Native plants will attract butterflies. Visit American Beauties to find what flowers are native to your region. However, if you don’t want these creatures bothering your garden, simply avoid planting these tasty treats.9713685067_2a14e239da_b

Pesticides: Pesticides do more harm than just killing unwanted insects. Animals you didn’t intend on hurting ingest them through their food and water sources. Pesticides have also been discovered to upset the reproductive systems of many aquatic animals. Choosing nontoxic forms of pest control is a much better solution. Eartheasy has many great ideas for pests ranging from earwigs to mildew and many more.

These simple fixes can make your backyard the coziest home in your neighborhood.

Malissa Stark

Photo Credit: Flickr/Daniel Kulinski

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