Creating a pollinator-friendly habitat in your backyard

(BPT) - Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats and beetles play an important role in producing healthy plants and food for people and wildlife. Without pollinators feeding on nectar and moving pollen from one flower to the next, most plants would not produce fruit or seeds.

You can attract pollinators to your lawn and garden by following these steps to create a pollinator-friendly backyard habitat.

* Grow a diverse assortment of trees, shrubs and flowers. Place water sources throughout your lawn and garden to draw a variety of pollinators to your yard, while providing them with food and sheltered nesting areas.

* Add color to your backyard. Each pollinator is drawn to specific plants based on its size, shape, color and scent. Bees are attracted to yellow and blue flowers, as well as fruit and nut trees with strong fragrances. Hummingbirds prefer large red or orange tubular flowers with no odor.

* Select flowering plants that bloom at different times to provide nectar sources throughout the growing season. Place plants in clumps to supply large areas of color and coverage that attracts pollinators.

* Choose plants native to your area to encourage healthy pollination activity. In the South, flowers from mint, oregano, lavender and other herbs attract bees, while pink azaleas and coral honeysuckle vines entice hummingbirds into your yard. In the Northwest, birds are drawn to flowering grape holly shrub and blue columbine flowers will draw butterflies into your outdoor space.

Pay attention to how you apply lawn and garden products. “When using insecticides, carefully read and follow label directions to protect pollinators,” says Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) - a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products.

Pollinators are as essential as sunlight and water in the production of flowering plants, many of which are important food sources. Support your backyard ecosystem while attracting pollinator populations and surrounding your home with colorful arrays of native plants.


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