Leave the Leaves!
We realize that in our neighborhoods many feel that raking leaves is a necessary part of property upkeep. But bumblebees and many butterflies, moths and other beneficial insects need the leaf little in order to survive the winter. When you rake up all of your leaves and bag, shred or burn them, pollinators who overwinter in the leaf matter are disrupted.
The following presentations by Rochester Pollinators are full of valuable, practical tips and information about the importance of learning to tend our landscapes in the fall in ways that help beneficial insects while still providing you with ways to tidy your yard and garden.
Leave the Seed Heads on Your Native Plants
After the growing season has ended, you can support birds and pollinators in mind by leaving the seed heads on your native plants for the following reasons:
- to help feed the nonmigratory birds--many die because of lack of food
- butterflies like the swallowtail leave a chrysalis that will emerge in the spring
Renowned pollinator expert, Heather Holm, writes about the concept of "soft landings" which she defines:
Soft landings are diverse native plantings under keystone trees (or any other regionally appropriate native tree). These plantings provide critical shelter and habitat for one or more life cycle stages of moths, butterflies, and beneficial insects such as bumble bees, fireflies, lacewings, and beetles. In addition to plants, soft landings also include leaf litter, duff, and plant debris.
Check out this Soft Landings PDF from Holms' website. It contains more detailed infographics about this concept and helpful native plant lists for creating your own "soft landings."