How to Attract Pollinators to Your Colorado Springs Backyard

By now, we have all heard the importance of protecting and helping our essential pollinators. With over 75% of the world’s flowering plants relying on pollinators to grow, it is a crucial process in the production of most fruits, nuts, and berries on which humans and wildlife depend. At Green Vision Lawn Tree and Pest, we are often asked what individual homeowners can do to help. With years of experience in the lawn care and landscaping business, we put together a list of helpful tips and ideas on how you, as a Colorado Springs home or business owner, can help attract and protect pollinators to your backyard.

What Is Pollination and Who Are the Pollinators?

First, what is pollination, and who are pollinators? Pollination is how many flowers reproduce. It is a process that happens when pollen grains from a flowers’ male parts are moved to the female part of the same species. Once the pollen reaches the female plant, it produces seeds. But in order for the male’s grains to get to the female, they have to rely on external contributors such as wind, rain, and our essential pollinators. The most common pollinators in Colorado Springs include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, moths, and flies. The list doesn’t stop there; ants, wasps, and even beetles also help pollinate.

Are There Certain Foods That Rely on Pollinators?

Everyone is aware of the importance of honey but are there other foods at stake? Can pollination really be that important? The truth is, the list of foods that rely on pollination is surprising. Here is a list of foods we would be in jeopardy of losing if not for pollination:

  • Honey
  • Tree fruits such as apples, peaches, apricots, plums, lemons, limes, and cherries
  • Bananas, melons, mangos and papaya
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries
  • Onions
  • Almonds, cashews, and coconut
  • Beans including green beans, kidney, and lima beans
  • Tea
  • Vanilla
  • Sunflower and sesame oils
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Almonds, cashews, and coconut
  • Avocados
  • Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, and brussels sprouts
  • Sugarcane
  • Agave
  • And the most important three as far as this writer is concerned:
    • Chocolate, wine, and coffee!!

So now that you understand the importance of pollination and pollinators let’s discuss a few tips on how you as a Colorado Springs landowner can help attract and protect pollinators in your yard.

Tips To Attract Pollinators to Your Colorado Springs Backyard

Plant a Variety of Trees, Plants, and Flowers
Plant a variety of trees, plants, and flowers throughout your yard. Like us, each pollinator has their favorite flower. A few species of butterflies have short proboscises or snouts and can drink only from shallow flowers, while others can drink from deep flowers like tulips and daffodils. Butterflies are typically attracted to brightly colored plants, including red and purples. They prefer fresh, non-overwhelming scents such as aster, verbena, daisies, and bee balm. Hummingbirds are attracted to red and orange plants. Their long beaks allow them to feed on funnel-shaped flowers. Bees prefer yellow, blue, or white plants with fresh, mild odors. 

Plant a variety of spring and fall-blooming plants in various colors, sizes, and fragrances to attract the largest audience and give them all a chance to thrive. Your landscape will not only be attractive to pollinators, but it will be full of vibrant colors, fresh smells, and vibrant life. Also, try to avoid non-native plants as they may not provide local pollinators the same consistency they need to survive as natives. A few common plants, trees, and shrubs attractive to pollinators include:

  • Fennel
  • Milkweed
  • Dill
  • Goldenrod
  • Aster
  • Bee Balm
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Coneflower
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Lavender
  • Marigolds
  • Zinnias
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Hydrangeas
  • Elm tree
  • Willow tree
  • Buckthorn
  • Crabapple, peach, apple, pear, and cherry trees

Provide Shelter
Encourage pollinators to visit your Colorado Springs landscape by providing nesting sites for them. Have dead branches or limbs? Leave them. Deadwood makes an ideal home for bumblebees, wasps, beetles, and ants. Instead of cleaning up your garden in the fall, leave it till spring. Perennials and grasses left standing provide shelter for overwintering bees, ants, and other crucial insects essential to our ecosystem.

Don’t live in an area with a natural habitat? You can purchase or design your own man-made shelters. Butterfly, hummingbird, and bat houses can all be bought at local home and garden stores. If you’re feeling artistic, several sites online also include instructions for designing your own. Butterfly houses should contain vertical slits wide enough for butterflies to fit through. Place them four feet high on a post, fence, or tree away from the wind. When putting up a bat house, try and mount it in a location that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight and at least 12 to 20 feet above the ground. Hummingbirds do not typically use man-made shelters. However, if you utilize other methods to bring them upon your landscape, they will often create nests around your home.

Provide Water
Provide your pollinators with a place to take a quick drink. You can do this by putting out a birdbath or installing a permanent water feature. If using a birdbath or other type of water in a container, be sure to change it out frequently, or you risk the stagnant water becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Remove Invasive Plants and Other Species
Invasive species are any living thing that does not naturally occur in a specific area, which for us means native to Colorado. Non-native plants and other species compete for food and other resources, often carry diseases that impact the health of our native species (think the Emerald Ash Borer beetle), prey on native species, and can prevent them from reproducing. If they do enough damage, they can destroy the entire food chain and ecosystem.

How can you help prevent this? Know what types of plants are invasive and noninvasive to the Colorado Springs area, remove those on your property that do not belong, replant with native plants or seeds and avoid planting invasive plants on your landscape. And always remember, what may be a native plant in one region is not necessarily native in another.

This is just a small list of the invasive plants growing in Colorado Springs, but here are a few of the most common:

  • Yellow Toadflax
  • Meadow Knapweed
  • Purple Loosestrife
  • Yellow Starthistle
  • Japanese knotweed
  • Baby’s breath

On the other hand, a few common plants that are native to Colorado Springs and attract pollinators include:

  • Goldenrod
  • Aster
  • Indigo Bush
  • Coneflower
  • Sage
  • Bee balm
  • Butterfly bush

For This Year’s Lawn Care Needs, Call on the Professionals at Green Vision Lawn, and Tree Pest

For all your lawn care and landscaping needs, you want Green Vision Lawn Tree and Pest. Our lawn care is customized to fit the needs of each customer. Our team is trained, experienced and knowledgeable on the different types of grasses and native and non-native plant species that grow in Colorado Springs. Our comprehensive six-step lawn fertilization program combines the proper nutrients and weed control in the right quantities to ensure your turf remains healthy and weed-free. Not only will your landscape attract pollinators, it will also look lush, thick, and emerald green.

Contact us to learn more about our lawn care and lawn fertilization services. You can reach out to us online or give us a call at 719-453-2000.