Wait to clean up your garden
Once the weather starts getting warmer, we’re all itching to get out in that garden!
But please resist the urge to do your garden clean up until the weather is consistently 50*F/10*C. Many bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are currently overwintering in dead leaves and hollowed out stems of last year’s plants. If you clean out your garden now, you will literally be throwing away this year’s pollinators and other beneficial pest-munching insects.
When you just can’t wait any longer to do your clean up, there are ways to do it in a way that will help protect these overwintering insects.
Cut the plants gently and place them loosely on your compost pile or on an angle up against a fence or tree where they won’t be disturbed. The insects can then emerge when it’s safe for them to do so.
Keep an eye out for cocoons or other nests when doing any pruning of shrubs, bushes and trees. If you see a cocoon or nest, leave that branch intact. You can always trim it back later in the season.
Don’t mulch too early. If you put your layer of mulch down too soon, you could block the insects overwintering in soil burrows as eggs, larvae, or adults. Again, wait until the temps are consistently 10*C/50*F to put any mulch down so that they’ve had a chance to emerge.