By Rosie Townshend-Carter
Sept. 26, 2014
Jackie Waddell has a message for anybody looking for the perfect lawn going into winter.
You could be doing more harm than good, says the executive director of the Island Nature Trust.
“When you rake up leaves it takes away hiding places for wildlife.”
The Island Nature Trust held an information session Sept. 18 at the Confederation Arts library.
The most important thing is to leave it as natural as possible, said Waddell.
“Lawn is such a yawn.”
Ryan Johnstone agrees. He is a fish and wildlife student at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. A messy yard is a happy yard, he said.
“Wintering should definitely be done as natural as possible.”
You’ve probably seen people rushing to get one last lawn cut in before the first snowfall, Johnstone has a tip: Don’t.
“Let the grass grow out and leave it. It helps the root system.”
Although you may not know it, your yard is home to a wide variety of native species. Foxes can often decide to build their den in your own backyard.
“You can stand your old Christmas tree up in the backyard, it’s great for foxes,” Waddell said.
As for feeding those foxes, steer clear. Feeding such animals can lead to them being nuisances and relying on you for food, she said.
“Do not feed any animals that you see hanging around your yard.”
Don’t let the presence of a fox annoy you, they often feed on mice, which helps to cut down on the number trying to get cozy in the walls of your home.
Feeding birds is O.K. You can sprinkle a handful of birdseed or hang up a bird feeder.
Johnstone suggests covering any special shrubs in your yard to protect from frost.
“Wrapping the trees in burlap helps to insulate them.”
By following these tips it will help to ensure your backyard will preserving its own mini ecosystem throughout what looks to be a harsh winter.