The leaves are falling, and soon many species of pollinators will be looking for places to nest over the winter. If you have a yard, there are many ways you can help them hibernate safely!
- Leave some areas of leaf litter in areas protected by wind, where pollinators and other creatures will shelter for the winter.
- If you have heavy leaf cover on your yard after the trees drop their leaves, it’s a good idea to remove the leaves, as it can smother the lawn.
- Lighter leaf cover can be mulched by a mower. Mulching makes it easier for the pieces of leaves to remain on the grass and decompose, providing nutrients and keeping leaves out of our local waterways.
- Keep leaves out of the street! Dead leaves are high in nutrients, and when they oversaturate our lakes and ponds in Roseville, the excess nutrients create algal blooms that threaten fish and invertebrates.
- Remove leaves the old-fashioned way (with a rake), or try an electric leaf blower! Gas-powered landscaping tools are run by motors that lack catalytic converters, which are installed on automobiles to help neutralize some of their pollution – a California Air Resources Board study found that using a gas leaf blower for one hour emitted the equivalent amount of air pollution as driving a Toyota Camry 1,100 miles.
- Leave some seed heads and stems standing! Stems provide places for cavity-nesting pollinators to overwinter, and birds and other critters will snack on the additional seeds when food is scarce over the winter.
- Garden beds are a great place to leave extra leaf litter, which acts as both a natural mulch and fertilizer for your plants.
- Fall is a great time to over-seed your lawn with additional grass seed, or even better, native prairie seed mixes.
- Avoid use of fertilizer on your lawn, or choose zero-phosphorus fertilizers. Excess nutrients from fertilizers are one major reason why we see algae blooms on our lakes and ponds in Roseville.
Learn more at https://www.mwmo.org/news/fall-yard-care/ and https://beelab.umn.edu/create-nesting-habitat