Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Plant a Wildflower Habitat for Pollinators this Fall

fall wildflowersFall-blooming asters and goldenrods provide important habitat for pollinators. Many of these beautiful flowers thrive in sunny fields, roadsides, and woodland openings while a few prefer partial shade.

At home, simple changes to your lawn, garden, and landscaping can help increase and improve fall pollinator habitat.

In the garden, try planting native seed mixes or leaving a few goldenrod stems instead of weeding them out. In the yard, choose to be pesticide-free and consider leaving no-mow edges or patches in your lawn to grow over time.

common goldenrod and a pollinating Cerceris waspEncouraging a diversity of native asters, goldenrods, and other fall-blooming plants provides a pop of color into October. It also provides pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, and other invertebrates. After the blooms go to seed, leave plants standing to provide overwintering habitat.

Learn more about how to protect pollinators in New York.

Photo of late September wildflowers at Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area by Katherine Yard. Common goldenrod and a pollinating Cerceris wasp from Wikipedia.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

3 Responses

  1. Lisa Salamon says:

    Our ADK roadsides and medians provide large swaths of asters, goldenrod and other pollinator habitat. The State, county and local DOTs/road crews need to postpone mowing until after the killing frosts and/or only mow a few feet in on the roadsides. They currently mow and destroy this important fall habitat in September/early Oct. Let it Bee!

    • Boreas says:

      I agree! Wet areas that cannot be mowed easily should be planted with native wetland species instead of grass to give them a head-start on invasives. Drier areas should be planted with a mix of native grasses and wildflowers. Strips of existing medians can be planted or over-seeded with native grasses and wildflowers and allowed to spread and not mowed for several years.

  2. Kristina Hartzell says:

    Another easy way to care for pollinators in the fall is to simply not rake. Instead of gathering and disposing of all the leaves in your yard, consider leaving them in place. This creates a dynamic landscape that overwintering pollinators can snuggle into for the winter. Pollinators much prefer a ‘messy’ yard and garden.

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