By Julie McConnell, UF/IFAS Extension
If you are looking for an excuse to delay firing up the lawn mower for a few more weeks, consider participating in No Mow March! The UF/IFAS Northwest District Horticulture team has launched this initiative to promote pollinator habitats and there are several ways you can participate. I know what you’re thinking – there is no way my HOA would give me a pass on mowing my lawn – and that’s ok because we have other activities you can do to support pollinators.
In the late winter and early spring, we start to see a lot of insect activity, but sometimes the flowers are lagging behind limiting pollen and nectar resources. Urban areas lacking large tracts of natural areas with native vegetation also reduce food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. The good news is that gardeners can help fill in those gaps. Here are some ways you can provide resources for pollinators:
• Skip mowing areas with wildflowers, limit lawn mowing if practical
• Plant flowering plants that bloom throughout the year. For early spring consider pansies, snapdragon, spirea, Walter’s viburnum, azaleas, or saucer magnolia
• Limit pesticide use and always follow label instructions
Install a pollinator hotel https://go.ufl.edu/11mki2w or leave some areas of soil undisturbed and bare for ground-dwelling bees
• Monitor and observe your lawn and landscape for pollinators – be a citizen scientist (see below for details)
iNaturalist is a website and app by National Geographic and California Academy of Sciences that gathers information about all types of species in our environment from plants, insects, mammals, and amphibians, to reptiles. It is an easy way to record your observations and it also helps with identification. Simply take clear photos of plants or wildlife and upload them to your iNaturalist account on a desktop or mobile app. Don’t worry if you are not sure what you snapped photos of it will help you! With iNaturalist you can join groups or projects and we hope you will contribute to our No Mow March Project which can be found here https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/no-mow-march.
For more information about No Mow March visit https://go.ufl.edu/nomowmarch.
An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Andra Johnson, Dean. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.
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