Blog : The Buzz: Five Tips for a Bee-utiful Lawn

By Katelyn | Aug 12, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

Honeybees are dropping like flies. According to Greenpeace, wild and domestic honeybees pollinate about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, yet - despite their vital role in helping create much of the food we eat – the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports American honeybee keepers lost 42 percent of their colonies for 2014-2015, with losses of 34 percent for 2013-2014, 45 percent for 2012-2013, 28 percent for 2011-2012, and 36 percent for 2010-2011.

“Simply put, we need honeybees and we need to do something about their dramatic decline,” said Jason Lefebvre of Purely Organic Lawn Care, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “The good news is that every one of us with a lawn can take a few simple steps to look after the pollinators. In turn, bee-friendly landscaping is inherently safer for our kids, our pets, and ourselves.”

Here are Purely Organic’s five steps for a bee-utiful lawn.
 

  • EXTEND THE FLOWERING SEASON: Grow groupings of native plants that flower throughout the growing season – especially those that bloom early, like crocus, and those that bloom late, like golden rod – to give honeybees the longest and most consistent exposure to nectar and pollen.
     
  • DON’T FORGET THE FAVORITES: Bees tend to like single-bloom flowers in open or tubular shapes, like sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, cosmos, verbena, and honeysuckle.
     
  • EMBRACE CLOVER: Before all-grass yards gained popularity, lawns tended to be a blend of grass and clover. “Return to more natural roots, so to speak, and introduce white clover to your lawn,” said Lefebvre. “It’s relatively tame, handles foot traffic, is easy to mow, and is a great resource for foraging bees. White clover also increases nitrogen in the soil, which decreases the need for fertilizer – a classic win-win.”
     
  • WEED WITH CARE: Hand-weed or choose the least toxic product available and spot-spray where needed, avoiding blanket spraying the entire lawn. Also, make sure the product isn’t a non-selective herbicide, which will kill more plant-life than just the weed.
     
  • GO ORGANIC: Use organic options for every step of lawn maintenance, including fertilization, crabgrass reduction, grub treatments, and even tick and mosquito control. There are organic products on the market that do their job without harming bees or other beneficial insects like earthworms, that are just as effective as traditional selections.

Lefebvre says that homeowners should try to think of bees not as backyard pests, but more like gardening assistants. It’s why Lefebvre says homeowners should try attracting bees to their property instead of forcing them out.

“Encourage pollinators to make a bee-line for your lawn by incorporating just a few thoughtful changes here and there,” said Lefebvre. “These are easy modifications to make on your own, or you can work with a landscaping company like Purely Organic that’s in step with Mother Nature.”

Purely Organic Lawn Care was founded in 2003 after owner Jay Palladino made the unfortunate connection between his 6-week-old golden retriever puppy getting sick and the newly applied conventional fertilizer on the lawn at his Kensington home. The company has steadily grown in the years since, and now services commercial and residential lawns throughout the Seacoast region in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, offering organic fertilizing; weed, crabgrass, and grub management; tick and mosquito treatments; aeration; soil-testing; and lime application.

Purely Organic is a partner with the Green Alliance, a locally driven union passionate about bringing together environmentally-friendly businesses while also providing its members with discounts on green products and services. Green Alliance members save 10% off services with Purely Organic.

“Each of us doing our part to create and maintain a bee-friendly lawn is something we owe our kids and our dinner table,” said Lefebvre. “A Purely Organic lawn really is the bee’s knees.”

Green Alliance members save 10% on Purely Organic's services. Not a member? Join here!