Rethinking Spring Clean-up

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Clean up, Spring clean up.

Hold your rake!  Clearing out your garden can backfire–you are removing the building blocks of soil and harming if not destroying beneficial insects that found a safe place in your garden during the winter.  You can learn more about some of these animals in this post: What’s in a Leaf Pile.   Read the below photo tutorial to learn how to get your garden ready for spring and summer, but without destroying the beneficial animals that could be there.  2017 update:  Having learned about cavity nesting bees from Heather Holm and Xerces Society, it’s important to keep some stems standing to provide places for them to nest and overwinter.  


Spring Clean Up Page 1Spring Clean Up Page 2
The same garden in the summer--it loved the way it was treated during spring clean-up.

The same garden in the summer–it loved the way it was treated during spring clean-up.

Stems left standing are a preferred resting spot for birds, including this female hummingbird who would take a break after nectaring at nearby Cardinal Flower.

Dark stems were cut last year. They will be taken down during the summer but kept in the garden near the plant just in case another generation of bees uses the stems. However, there will be fresh stems cut for them.

Small Carpenter bee about to enter a stem to nest.

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