With the return of the sun and spring which is just around the corner, we all really want to take care of our garden. But be careful not to endanger the animals…
As the warm and sunny days of spring begin to return, many gardeners eagerly look forward to tending to their beloved outdoor spaces. From mowing the lawn to trimming hedges and pulling weeds, there’s always plenty of work to be done. However, it’s important to remember to approach this work with a mindful and cautious approach, taking care not to inadvertently harm the small inhabitants that make their homes in our gardens and lawns.
From tiny insects to small animals like hedgehogs and birds, there are countless creatures that call our gardens home. These small inhabitants play important roles in maintaining the delicate ecosystem that exists in our outdoor spaces, pollinating plants, controlling pest populations, and providing vital nutrients to the soil. As such, it’s crucial that we take steps to protect them and preserve their habitats as we go about our gardening activities.
Simple steps like avoiding the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides, leaving small patches of wildflowers or grasses untouched, and being mindful when mowing or trimming can all help to preserve the delicate balance of our gardens and the natural world that exists within them. So as you head out to tend to your garden this spring, take a moment to appreciate the small inhabitants that call it home and take steps to ensure that they continue to thrive for years to come.
Mistake No. 1: trimming hedges
One of the most tempting tasks for gardeners as spring begins is trimming their hedges. After a long winter, the hedges have likely grown wild and unruly, and it can be satisfying to give them a good pruning. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution during this process, as the month of April marks the beginning of the nesting period for many bird species.
François Thoumy, an expert from the LPO Bretagne, warns that pruning hedges during nesting season can have serious consequences. Birds often build their nests in the branches of hedges, and pruning can easily knock down or damage these fragile structures, leaving the eggs or young chicks vulnerable to predators. Additionally, pruning can leave nests in plain sight of predators, increasing the risk of harm to the baby birds.
While there is no official regulation prohibiting individuals from trimming hedges before the end of July in France (when most young birds will have left the nest), it’s important to remember that many bird species are protected. Most sparrows, for example, are considered protected species, and disturbing their nests can result in legal consequences.
So, as tempting as it may be to trim your hedges in the early spring, it’s best to exercise caution and wait until the nesting season has passed. By doing so, you’ll be helping to protect the delicate balance of the natural world in your garden and ensuring the safety and well-being of the birds and other wildlife that call it home. Remember, there will still be plenty of time to tackle your hedge-trimming tasks later in the summer!
Mistake No. 2: mowing the lawn carelessly
One common mistake that many people make when caring for their gardens in the spring is mowing the lawn carelessly. Unfortunately, this can have serious consequences for the wildlife that calls your garden home, particularly hedgehogs.
Every year, rescue centres see an influx of hedgehogs that have been injured by lawnmowers. These small, spiky creatures are particularly vulnerable during the early spring months when they are just emerging from hibernation and may be hidden in long grass or other areas of the lawn.
To avoid harming these delicate creatures, it’s important to exercise caution when mowing the lawn. Before you start, take a close look at the lawn to make sure that no hedgehogs or other small animals are hiding in the grass. If possible, start mowing from the center of the field and work your way outwards, giving any creatures that may be hidden in the grass a chance to escape to the safety of the edges.
By taking these simple precautions, you can help to protect the delicate balance of the natural world in your garden and ensure the safety and well-being of the creatures that call it home. So, before you fire up the lawn mower this spring, take a few moments to look around and make sure that you’re not inadvertently putting any wildlife in danger.
Mistake No. 3: Making a Spring Cut to Your Garden
When it comes to caring for your garden, it’s important to remember that you’re not just tending to a collection of plants and flowers – you’re also creating a thriving ecosystem that’s home to a diverse range of wildlife. From birds and bees to hedgehogs and other small mammals, your garden is an important habitat for many different creatures.
To ensure that your garden remains a welcoming and supportive environment for wildlife, it’s important to think carefully about the way that you care for it. For example, instead of mowing the entire lawn or trimming all of the hedges, consider leaving a square of grass or tall grass and untrimmed plants. This will provide important habitat and source of food for insects and other small creatures, which in turn will help to support the entire food chain in your garden.
Similarly, it’s important to be mindful of the impact that your actions can have on the wildlife in your garden. For example, if you have a pile of wood at the bottom of your garden, it’s best to wait until summer begins to put it away. This is because the pile of wood may be home to a litter of hedgehogs, and if the mother is disturbed, she may abandon her young.
By taking these simple steps and being mindful of the needs of the wildlife in your garden, you can create a beautiful, thriving ecosystem that will provide a home for a wide range of creatures. So this spring, as you tend to your garden, take a moment to think about the impact of your actions and how you can create a welcoming and supportive environment for the wildlife that calls it home.