Biodiversity is defined as the variety of different animal and plant life in a specific habitat. A high level of biodiversity is usually desired when it comes to any kind of habitat. When a garden is biodiverse, it’s not only great for the environment and wildlife, but it has the potential to look amazing too, plus it can be preserved for future generations. Adding to the genetic diversity is important when it comes to increasing biodiversity. With urbanization expanding and taking over the natural landscape, it is important that we give back to nature where possible. To help you with this task, here are seven ways you can help increase your garden’s biodiversity.
Having bird feeders is a great way to attract birds to your garden. Knowing what wildlife exists within your area is a great start when it comes to feeding the birds correctly. Also, the weather can have an impact on what you need to provide for the birds. For example, if you are in a particularly warm environment, then making sure you provide birds with plenty of fresh water and shelter from the sun is important. In colder environments, water is also important as most natural water sources in cold environments become frozen over. But high energy feed and warm materials for bird boxes are also important in cold temperatures. Food, water and nesting boxes are important in all environments. Trees, shrubs and other plants that are native to your area are great natural choices for food and shelter and also increase your biodiversity while attracting an array of wildlife.
Butterflies are beautiful insects that add a splash of color as well as movement into your garden. To get butterflies, you need to have the right plants that make it a good breeding ground and the perfect place to raise their larvae. This means the plants you have need to be able to feed the larvae and you will also need to have nectar producing flowers for the adults to feed off. Another way to increase the number of butterflies in your garden is to not use chemical based pesticides on your flora, or the organic pesticide known as Bt, as these can damage and kill butterfly larvae.
Honeybees are the main type of pollinating insect, but there are many others to think about too. Starting off with attracting honeybees is the best place to start though. There are plenty of plants to consider putting in your garden to help attract bees and other pollinators, such as Fennel, Lantana and Bee Balm. If you enjoy being outside and like bees, you could consider raising bees and becoming a beekeeper. Again, avoid the use of pesticides in your garden. Understandably, honeybees and other types of pollinators are extremely sensitive when it comes to insecticides. Using natural methods to protect your plants is best if you want to be kind to nature and increase biodiversity.
As mentioned before, having fresh water in your garden is brilliant for birds. Bubbling or running water attracts them the most. Not only can they drink it, but they can bathe and wash themselves in it. Fresh water sources can also benefit other types of wildlife. For example, a small pond can house a range of marine species as well as attracting other types of aquatic life such as amphibians (e.g. frogs) and different insects (e.g. dragonflies). It can also provide the ideal environment for water plants to thrive, such as pond weeds. If you live in a location that sees a lot of wet weather, then a rain garden may be perfect for you.
Making sure the plants you add to your garden are native is important. Invasive species may be safe in your garden, but their pollen means they can easily spread into surrounding areas if the environment is suitable. Invasive species can cause a host of issues when released into a new habitat which can have detrimental effects on food chains and native species. So, not planting them or removing them from your garden is advised. One of the most damaging invasive species is honeysuckle.
Trees are a great addition to your garden and they are brilliant for increasing biodiversity. As good as they are, trees can also decrease biodiversity. If they grow too big, the branches and foliage can shade the ground below, reducing the growth of plants and shrubs beneath them. Making sure the branches are trimmed down and your tree growth is controlled is the key to keeping the tree while helping the species below to thrive. This is something that should be done by a professional tree service, such as kerrystreeservice.com. If you have a particularly large tree in your garden that you were thinking about removing, please consider getting in a tree service company to prune your tree to help maintain your garden’s biodiversity.
Having a biodiverse garden means you won’t have to use as many pesticides and weed killers. The beneficial birds, mammals and insects that exist within your garden will naturally keep pest species under control. There are also natural methods of controlling pests that you can implement when starting up your biodiverse garden, if other wildlife isn’t controlling the pest species sufficiently or during certain seasons where wildlife is less abundant. If you need to use a pesticide for any reason, then make sure it is the least harmful one you can find and choose one that is bee friendly. Good alternatives are insecticidal soap sprays and horticultural oils.
To summarize, the best way to increase biodiversity is to start with the primary producers. Plants, shrubbery and trees are the best place to begin, then you can cater for the creatures that these organisms attract. Doing your research on the native wildlife (both flora and fauna) so you can make sure you don’t do more damage to the life on the other side of your fence is very important. Making sure you don’t use harmful chemicals is also important. There are many natural methods you can follow to protect your garden from weeds and pests without harming the environment.