Here in North and South Carolina, home and business owners take pride in their landscapes. Having a yard filled with trees, shrubs, and a colorful garden is not only attractive but also benefits our ecosystem. It helps provide food, shelter, and promote life for pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. With everyone becoming more environmentally conscious, attracting pollinators is one of this year’s hottest landscaping trends. Learn how you can get on board and help make your backyard a pollinator haven.
What Is A Pollinator?
By now we have all heard about the importance of helping to keep our pollinators from becoming extinct, but why and what does a pollinator actually do. A pollinator is one who does just that, pollinates. This is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male plant to the female plant. Once the pollen reaches the female flower, it produces seeds. This is how plants have offspring. But in order for the male’s pollen grains to reach the female, they have to rely on other elements such as wind, rain, and certain animals and insects. The animals and insects that are able to transfer the pollen grains from flower to flower are called pollinators. The most common pollinators include bees, hummingbirds, moths, flies, and even bats.
While not all plants rely on pollination to reproduce, there are over 70 percent that do. Many of them include common everyday food items such as:
- Wild cherries
- Sunflower seeds
Ways to Attract Pollinators to Your Ocean Isle Property
Use a Variety of Trees, Plants, and Flowers
So how do we go about attracting them to our Ocean Isle backyards? First, start with the basics. When designing your landscape, plant and grow trees, shrubs, and flowers native to our environment that also attract essential pollinators. Not only will this add a pop of color but it will create diversity attracting different species of pollinators to your property. Why? Like us, pollinators have their favorite flowers. This is because each species has different needs regarding the size and holes of the flowers they drink. For example, certain species of butterflies have short snouts and can only drink from shallow flowers. Other butterfly species drink from flowers that are deep such as tulips and daffodils. And if that’s not confusing enough, while butterflies are attracted to bright red and purple flowers with faint odors, bees are attracted to bright whites, yellows, and blue pastels with fresh odors.
Your best bet? Use a variety of annuals, perennials, bushes, and trees in different colors and shapes that will attract a diverse crowd and at different times of the year. A few great trees and plants that are sure to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds include:
- Butterfly bushes
- Queen Anne’s lace
- Elm tree
- Willow tree
- Crabapple, peach, apple, pear, and cherry trees
Every living thing needs water to survive and pollinators are no exception. Provide a shallow birdbath, pond, or other water feature on your Ocean Isle property to give pollinators a place to relax and drink. Looking to make your own? Take a shallow tray, line it with pebbles, and keep it filled with fresh, clean water. Be sure to change the water regularly so your new water source doesn’t turn into a mosquito breeding ground.
Bees and butterflies travel long distances in search of nectar. While bees are great at designing their own homes, other pollinators need shelter to hide from predators and weather elements. You can build your own or purchase butterfly, hummingbird, and bat houses at your local nature and home good stores. Butterfly houses should contain vertical slits for them to fit through and be placed approximately four feet high on a post, fence, or tree away from the wind. Post the house near the trees or plants butterflies are attracted to.
Bat houses should be mounted in an area that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight and located at least 20 feet away from tree branches or other obstacles and 12 to 20 feet above the ground. If you are close to a natural water source, post your bat house as close to it as possible to provide the best possible vegetation. You can find more information for all sorts of pollinator houses on Pinterest.
Use Pesticides Only When Necessary
When trying to attract pollinators to your Ocean Isle backyard, when fighting off pests, try to use alternatives to pesticides first. While pesticides have their value and are sometimes necessary, they kill all insects, even those considered beneficial. One alternative method includes introducing predatory insects including mantises, ladybugs, wasps, and certain spiders. These predatory insects will feed on the grubs, armyworms, and other pests you are trying to get rid of.
When pesticides are needed, we recommend calling in a professional who is trained and knowledgeable and utilizes Integrated Pest Management. If you do choose to use pesticides on your own, we suggest doing so in the evening when the bees are not active and never use pesticides when the flowers are in bloom.
For All Your Ocean Isle Landscaping Services, Call on the Professionals at Impeccable Lawns
When it comes time to work on your Ocean Isle area landscape, you want the help of Impeccable Lawns. Having been in the business for over ten years, we have a team of experts that will work with you to create and design the landscape you desire. Our landscape design services utilize a wide variety of elements to help create a beautiful yet functional outdoor space. We know and understand the native plants, trees, and flowers that grow best in our area and are ready to get to work for you. Visit our website to learn more, contact us via our online form, or give us a call at 910-575-5296.