The Gardens in Winter | The Daily Standard Stories

Monday, December 12, 2022

Keep your garden wildlife friendly

Leslie Gatrell

Photo by Leslie Gatrell/The Daily Standard

A milkweed stalk stands in a small field on Friday. Plants can be reseeded for the next season and left standing over the winter to provide shelter for beneficial insects.

With winter in full swing, many gardeners are packing their tools for the season and waiting for seed catalogs to arrive.

However, gardens and outdoor landscapes are vibrant even in the dead of winter.

Ryan McMichael, an Ohio State University extension educator in Mercer County, provided some tips on how to keep gardens, landscapes, and other outdoor spaces suitable for wildlife during the winter months.

Residents may already be raking the leaves, but McMichael said there are virtues in leaving perennials, foliage, and other foliage intact.

“At the end of the fall season, many people like to tidy them up and remove the dead leaves. There are benefits to doing so. We can get rid of some things in the future, and a lot of people don’t like the unsightly look of dead leaves,” he said.

“On the flip side, they can provide beneficial habitat for some of the beneficial insects,” he continued. Depending, I’ll leave a few of them, you don’t have to cut them all to the ground.”

For example, McMichael says people who have ornamental grass may not like the way the grass looks during the winter months. He said he had a sexuality.

Photo by Leslie Gatrell/The Daily Standard

Leaving ornamental grasses, perennials, foliage, and other foliage intact during the winter can provide shelter for beneficial insects and small wildlife.

Many small creatures, such as bumblebees, hummingbirds, leopard geckos and toads, seek refuge in leafy blankets, according to the American Humane Society.

Leaving shrubs, perennials, and foliage around trees provides winter shelter for wildlife, snack bars for foraging birds, and potential nesting sites for rabbits in the spring.

Plus, if you leave plants such as milkweed alone in the winter, the plants can reseed the following year, McMichael said.

“Keeping them open helps you actually reseed the area, so that milkweed will continue to show up next year,” he said. and then its seeds need to be released, after which it will continue to reseed itself and come out for the next year.Milkweed is an important resource for our various pollinators (and) especially monarch butterflies. It’s wonderful.”

Beneficial insects can also hide and crawl inside dry planter stems and pods, he added.

According to the OSU Extension, other brushes, thistles, bark, grasses, and milkweed fibers are used to strengthen empty bird nests in winter, usually by deer or deer mice. to create a warm and protective shelter.

However, McMichael says those who have gardens may want to keep them clean to prevent disease the next growing season.

While many vegetable gardeners are thinking about the coming season, winter is often a difficult time to find food for nonmigratory wildlife, McMichael said.

Photo by Leslie Gatrell/The Daily Standard

Berry-producing trees and shrubs, such as this crabapple tree, provide food for wintering birds during the winter.

Shrubs, flowers, trees, and other plants that retain fruit or seeds are beneficial to birds, rabbits, squirrels, and other animals.

“The seed heads that remain[on the plant]can be a food source for a variety of animals,” he said. Many of our fruit trees and ornamental fruit trees … retain their fruit, which remains and birds can continue to utilize some of it as a food source.”

Fruit trees such as sumac, blueberry, black cherry, black gum, currant, wild holly, dogwood, hackberry, pokeweed, Virginia creeper, and juniper berry will provide fall and winter food for the tenders, according to the OSU Extension. .

For those who don’t have berry-producing trees or shrubs, the OSU Extension said live Christmas trees and wreaths can be “recycled” to provide a holiday treat to the birds.Christmas Trees and Wreaths You can place it in your garden, garnish it with a wreath of cranberries and raisins, and serve a seasonal buffet.

In addition to planting berry-producing trees and shrubs in the fall and winter, the OSU Extension says landowners can also provide warm water baths and berry-laden suet to help bluebirds overwinter. rice field.

McMichael suggested talking to local seed suppliers to find the best types of seeds to feed overwintering birds.

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