9Proven Ways to Winter Proof Our Gardens for Beneficial Insects
During the spring and summer months, beneficial insects do a great job by rendering their service that benefits us greatly, whether it is a home garden, plant nursery, farmland, or whatever type of garden project we are involved with, beneficial insects make their presence felt by protecting our garden plants from garden insect pests or by ensuring that our fruits trees, flowers, and other garden plants received the pollination that was needed to produce a great harvest.
Now that the warmer month has passed and as we enter the winter season it’s our time to render our service by providing a safe haven for them that will ensure their safety from the freezing weather that can have a negative impact even quickly killing them off.
Our gardens they render their service to during the warm season can now be turned into a place of refuge for them, to accomplish this does not require much on our part just a few small changes to our gardens that will benefit our garden insect friends in huge ways.
1. Making Use of Fallen Leaves
Fallen leaves are a garden’s gold mine that can be worked in many areas of the garden including being used as compost, but fallen leaves can also be used for insects to overwinter. When raking leaves allow some to remain this action will keep beneficial insects including their eggs safe and warm as they are protected from the harsh winter months. Leaves that are diseased and insect-infested should not be used to discourage their spread but through disposed of.
2. Hold Back from Trimming Grass and Perennials
If you have not done so as yet hold back on trimming your flowering plants, the flower heads are filled with seeds that birds can use as a food source during wintertime. The tall stems of perennials can be used for the development of the eggs and the cocoons of butterflies.
Grass that’s left uncut or cut to a certain height will serve as safe haven for beneficial insects to hibernate and lay their eggs, this safe haven will allow the eggs to overwinter grow, and hatch so when the warmer months return they will emerge to assist your garden and protect your garden plants.
3. Using Twigs
Twigs can be gathered and used for the protection of ladybugs, gather as many twigs as possible twigs should be different sizes. Make a pile or stand them up followed by filling the gaps in between with twigs of smaller sizes, grass, and leaves. Ladybugs will feel right at home, this is a great project for kids as they are educated about wildlife and how to care for them.
4. Using Flower Pots as a Safe Haven
Locate a dry spot such as an overhang that gets some sun, now use an old terra cotta pot and place the pot sideways or on its side, and pack lots of dry hollow stems into the pot. Now ensure that the pot is stabilized with small stones. Bees will see this as a safe haven during the winter months and will seek safety inside of the hollow stems sealing the hollow stems with mud as they overwinter.
5. Installing Cool Season Plants
Including Cool Season Plants in your garden will act as a safety net for pollinators and will work best where the winter season is mild. Plants such as hyacinth, primrose, snowdrop, calendula, crocus, rosemary, Oregon grape, beebalm coneflower, zinnia, foxglove, lavender, goldenrod, etc…. will provide nectar for bees. The installation of these flowering plants will not only act as a food source but will fill your winter garden with an array of colors.
6. Include a Bird Feed
Including a bird feeder is a great way to provide for birds, at times during the winter months may be tuff for birds to find food but a bird feed is a delightful buffet that will not only attract them but keep them happy. When installing a bird feeder make sure that the feeder is high above the ground to protect birds from some of their predators for example dogs and cats. Every few days or every other day check the bird feeder and top up with bird feed if needed.
7. Constructing a Log Pile
Both wildlife and insects love decaying wood which presents an opportunity for you to construct a log pile, insects and wildlife use this type of wood for shelter. Look for different sizes of sticks, logs, and wood. Locate an area in your garden that’s moist and shady, and pile the material ( wood, logs, and sticks) in this area. Seal or stuff the empty spaces between the logs with grasses, leaves, and more rotting wood. This safe house will attract many types of beneficial beetles.
8. A Bug Hotel
A Bug hotel is a great way to house many types of beneficial insects, these hotels are popular and are used in many home gardens. You can build your very own bug hotel or purchase from your plant nursery or garden center.
9. Using Lawn Clippings
Driend lawn clippings can be used to protect beneficial insects, simply ensure that the grass you’re using did not get treated with weed and feed. Once collected pile the clippings at the back of your garden or an area that is used as waste. Beneficial insects will use this pile as a harbourage.
The final word on how to protect beneficial insects in the winter
Protecting beneficial insects during the colder months will be of great benefit because remember these beneficial insects rendered their service to us by protecting and helping to promote plant life so let’s do our part to help them weather the winter months so when spring arrives they will once again emerge from their hiding place once again to do what they do best and that is protecting our garden plants from garden insects pests as they help to pollinate our garden plants so we can reap a bountiful harvest.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.