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How Gardeners Can Help Pollinators

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7 Gardening Tips Recovered

Every food source and habitat provided can help pollinators rebound from the challenges they face. You can provide food and habitat in your backyard—or even in your windowsill—to help pollinators thrive.

Here are seven ways to make your garden a haven for native pollinators:

  1. Use pollinator-friendly plants in your landscape. Shrubs and trees such as dogwood, blueberry, cherry, plum, willow, and poplar provide pollen or nectar, or both, early in spring when food is scarce.
  2. Choose a mixture of plants for spring, summer, and fall. Different flower colors, shapes, and scents will attract a wide variety of pollinators. If you have limited space, you can plant flowers in containers on a patio, balcony, and even window boxes.

  3. Reduce or eliminate pesticide use in your landscape, or incorporate plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control. If you use pesticides, use them sparingly and responsibly.

  4. Accept some plant damage on plants meant to provide habitat for butterfly and moth larvae.

  5. Provide clean water for pollinators with a shallow dish, bowl, or birdbath with half-submerged stones for perches.

  6. Leave dead tree trunks, also called “snags,” in your landscape for wood-nesting bees and beetles.

  7. Support land conservation in your community by helping to create and maintain community gardens and green spaces to ensure that pollinators have appropriate habitat.

Learn more online or contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for information about selecting plants for particular pollinators.

More Information

National Biological Information Infrastructure Pollinators site Leaving NRCS
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Leaving NRCS
North American Pollinator Protection site Leaving NRCS
USDA National Agroforestry Center pollinator articles Leaving NRCS
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pollinator Protection site Leaving NRCS
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pollinators site Leaving NRCS
U.S. Forest Service Pollinators site Leaving NRCS
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Leaving NRCS
NRCS Wildlife Habitat Management Institute Native Pollinators brochure (PDF, 4.7 MB)