By: Sarah W.
I just read that 87% of all plants (not just the farmed crops that we eat) are pollinated primarily by bees – native bees that populated the earth long before humans made their appearance. If the bees and other native pollinators were to disappear, so would 87% of all plants. And that would be the end of us and most other multicellular species. So with this web of life in mind, here are a few things you can do to contribute to diversity and consequently to the survival of living beings.
Leave a goodly portion of your yard to the “weeds”, like goldenrod (wrongly accused of causing hay fever), milkweed, asters, joe pye weed, wild bee balm….* Insects prefer these plants, which are quite lovely, to many of the non-natives we like to plant.
Oak trees have been called a keystone species because they contribute so much to the food web. They have been shown to support many hundreds of caterpillar species. Do you love birds? Caterpillars are their main source of food, especially when raising their young. So if you’ve got an oak or two, you’re lucky. And by the way, don’t rake under them because the caterpillars need a soft area to burrow into for the winter. Or plant a native groundcover* around the base of the tree.
A massive lawn is not conducive to diversity, so shrink it, using some of the above ideas. If you want to know a lot more, read this book – Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy, which is conveniently available in our library system.
*Google Audubon plants for birds or Native plant finder