Many Americans’ lawn care routines focus on creating manicured monoculture lawns. They follow rules written into community bylaws that say lawns must be kept mowed to a certain height, be free of weeds and in perfect order at all times. Letting our lawns go natural helps the pollinators so much more.
Lawn Care for the Pollinators
A friend once told me she had a purple-flowering plant that was invading her lawn. Her photo showed lush spring grass and drifts of wood hyacinth. I could almost hear the birds chirping and the bees buzzing.
“That’s beautiful,” I said. “Really?” she asked, relieved. “I was hoping you would say that. Is it okay if I just let it grow?”
I suddenly realized she wanted my professional permission to let her own lawn naturalize! Although she lives at the end of a dirt road in rural Vermont, free of rules from any homeowners association, she was afraid of breaking the "lawn rules."
“Yes,” I confirmed, “let it grow!”
7 Plants That Attract Beneficial “Bugs” to Your Garden
• Violets (Viola spp.), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia) and red clover (Trifolium pratense) attract butterflies
• Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) attracts ladybugs
• Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) draws in hoverflies
• Thyme (Thymus spp.) attracts parasitic wasps
Pollinators, predatory bugs and parasitoids are all beneficial insects that can be attracted to your yard with the right plants. Pollinators are necessary for the reproduction process of many plants. Predators and parasitoids help get rid of damaging insects. And many insects become food for toads, spiders and birds. Keeping our lawns more natural attracts wildlife.
Erica Bowman is a landscape architect based in Vermont.