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Prepare your pollinator-friendly garden for winter

A garden that looks unkempt for the winter is a good garden for pollinators.

An executive order by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz directs state agencies to take measures to support pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Don Davis / Forum News Service
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As temperatures drop and winter is coming right around the corner, the thoughts of pruning, raking and weeding come to mind. However, pollinators would appreciate it if you did not prune, rake or weed. A garden that looks unkempt for the winter is a good garden for pollinators.

Did you know:

  • Most species of native bees will hibernate underground during the winter.

  • The offspring of some butterfly species spend fall and winter in a chrysalis, clinging to dried plant stems.

  • Certain butterflies will overwinter as eggs or caterpillars and bury themselves in deep leaf litter.

  • Other insects like ladybugs and certain species of bees spend winter in the hollow stems of old flowers.

Some helpful tips on winterizing your pollinator gardens:

  • Don’t cut back your dried stalks of perennials.

  • Don’t pull up dead annuals or weeds. This will trap whatever leaves blow by, which will create its own mulch to shield insects.

  • Add new perennials, including bulbs, trees and shrubs at a time in the fall when moisture can help establish the root systems

  • Don’t till, just leave it!

Let your pollinator garden go wild, and you will provide a safe place for many beneficial insects throughout the winter months.

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