As a team member, I contribute a monthly posting to the Native Plant & Wildlife Garden blog. This latest post is so important that I’ll repeat it here. If just one or two of these tips are followed, when they wouldn’t have been otherwise, I’ll be a happy camper.
The good part of wildlife gardening is that it is easier, less time intensive and much cheaper. There are no leaves to rake, no sticks to pick up, no dead trees to take down, no guilt trips for not getting the bulbs in the ground in the fall.
It’s time to heal the earth. Happy native-plant wildlife gardening.
A Message From Wildlife To Humans: Our Recommended ‘Do Not Do’ List
Sometimes it’s as important to know what ‘not to do’ as it is what ‘to do’ in the wildlife garden. With that thought in mind, here’s some simple tips wildlife, if they could speak, would pass along to people:
- Do not surround your properties with fences.We have a hard enough time moving around and finding food. Plus, we get snagged and separated from our young.
- Do not rake your leaves or pick up your sticks. We hide and feed in the leaf litter, and it creates new top soil.
- Do not plant bamboo and other non-native plants that displace our native plant food sources.
- Do not kill native vines like poison ivy, virginia creeper, and native grape vine. They provide us with important food.
- Do not dead-head your native perennials. Their seeds provide us with food in the winter.
- Do not plant non-native bulbs, like daffodil and other narcissus, tulip, snowdrop, and crocus. They do us no good. (Do plant native alternatives as shown in the Dr. Eckel’s comment below. Here’s a link where they may be available for purchase.)
- Do not trap and kill us, even if we’re not your favorite creatures. We may look different and have undeserved reputations (snakes, bats, mice, raccons, groundhogs, opossum, coyote, etc) but we all provide important ecosystem services.
- Do not take down dead trees, called ‘snags’. They provide vital cavities for nesters and perches for many species, including predatory birds.
- Do not use plastic ersoion control netting. We get caught in it.
- Do not worry so much about aesthetics. Pretend you’re us when you plan your gardens. We’ll reward you with our presence.
- Do not give your wildlife ponds steep slopes. We can’t get out easily and often drown.
- Do not mow more often than you have to. Mowers cut us and lawns provide us no benefit. Meadows and shrublands are great alternatives and provide us with food and cover.
- Do not let other people dissuade you from following these tips. (Better yet, perhaps you have a simple tip to add in the comment section below.) Local township ordinances need to change if we are to survive.