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University of Minnesota Extension

Planning a pollinator-friendly yard

As spring progresses and we follow Governor Walz’s #StayHomeMN order, many people are looking for ways to get outdoors and attract wildlife, particularly pollinators, to their yards and gardens. Luckily, UMN Extension and the UMN Bee Lab are ready for you!

Not sure where to start?  Try taking this short quiz to find out how pollinator-friendly your yard is currently. To get more detailed suggestions, check out the new Habitat Assessment Guide for Pollinators in Yards, Gardens, and Parks produced by the Xerces Society in cooperation with the University of Minnesota Bee Lab. Funding for the production of the guide was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Choosing what to plant will depend on many factors such as your soil type and available sunlight, but this plant list from the UMN Bee Lab suggests flowers that bloom from early spring to late fall. It’s important to provide floral resources for bees with different activity periods and plan for continuous blooms.

In addition to providing pollen and nectar for pollinators, have you given them a place to live? Leaving bare ground, leaves or brush, and plant stems create nesting habitat and provide a place to safely lay eggs for the next generation of pollinators.
If the cost of installing pollinator plantings is a concern, you can apply for reimbursement through the Lawns to Legumes program, managed by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and Blue Thumb. 

Britt Forsberg is an Extension program coordinator based in St. Paul, MN. Her work focuses on native pollinators, and she oversees the Minnesota Native Bee Atlas.

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