Pollinator-Friendly Gardening

By Susan Littlefield

Are you concerned about the decline in both honeybees and native pollinators? Want to know what you can do to help? The Penn State Center for Pollinator Research has a helpful website with lots of information on the problem and suggestions for actions for individual gardeners.

As part of their public outreach, the Center has developed a program focused on encouraging home gardeners to support suitable habitats for native pollinators. Pennsylvania residents who implement the suggestions are eligible to apply for pollinator-friendly garden certification. But even if you live elsewhere, the program offers information and strategies that can be adapted to other parts of the country.

Step one is providing food for pollinators by choosing plants that provide nectar and pollen from early spring to late fall, as well as those that provide food for larval stages. Second is providing water sources for pollinators; third is providing shelter such as dead wood, rock piles, and bee boxes. The fourth step is to safeguard pollinator habitat by removing invasive plants and reducing or eliminating pesticide usage. The website provides links to many other sites with additional information on implementing these steps in your own landscape.

For more information on pollinator-friendly gardening, go to: Center for Pollinator Research.

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