While folks may feel the need to run or swat when they see a bee buzzing around them, the truth is bees are a pretty vital bunch. In fact, our food, health and economic systems rely on them. In Minnesota, our apple orchards, berry farms and almond growers rely on pollinating bees to keep their crops healthy and consumers fed. Our livestock rely on bees to give them plenty of good foraging. And of course bees help all those pretty gardens grow, too. So we know bees are important, but how do we balance keeping them safe with effectively maintaining our properties?
The team at Minnesota Equipment knows you take pride in your land. Whether you’re farming, landscaping or simply maintaining your property, these bee-friendly tips can help you achieve your goals while doing a solid for our pollinators.
Kick the Chemical Habit
One of the big issues that bees are facing is the use of harmful fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.These chemicals can be useful tools when applied correctly and sparingly, but they can kill bees and other pollinators as well as friendly bugs. We rely on those critters to protect our food sources, wildlife and economy. Planting clover keeps your soil fertile without introducing chemicals and heavy metals that can harm bee life. Not only is clover healthy for bees and soil, it stays green all season with minimal water. Mix clover in with your grass seed for your lawn, and use clover for garden paths and spaces between crops. To control unwanted pests that pose a risk to crops, use biopesticides and look into the integrated pest management recommendations for your area. Instead of chemical herbicides, control weeds with mulch, vinegar solutions and use corn gluten meal in areas with well-established plants.
Boost Your Plant Diversity
Keeping a well-manicured property doesn’t mean you can’t have some variety. In fact, variety is great for your land as well as pollinators. Plant diversity in landscaping, farming and gardening improves the condition of your soil and groundwater, reduces erosion and invites helpful insect life into your space. These good bugs feast on the pests that pose a threat to crops and other plants. Use native flowering plants for cover crops, prairie strips and any unused areas of your property. If you’re around agricultural fields, just make sure to keep an eye on any weeds or invasive species. Employ crop rotation and interseeding, as well. This not only improves soil and pollinator conditions, it also boosts yields. Whenever possible, plant native and heirloom seeds that are more resistant to disease and more attractive to bees.
Refresh Your Mowing Plan
You can still use your favorite John Deere mower without disturbing bee and other pollinator nesting ground and food sources. In fact, mowing can help promote the health of properties with prairie grasses and flowers. If you have flowering prairie plants on your property, time your first spring mow to promote positive plant growth. Your local agricultural resource center will help you determine the best time to mow. For unused areas, wait until the vegetation has flowered before you mow. Find areas on your property, particularly near agricultural fields, that you can leave undisturbed, including around field edges, waterways, pastures and fence lines. This will give pollinators a safe spot for nesting, and makes it less likely that you’ll mow over a nest when you’re getting your work done. Throughout the season, spot mow or use your trimmer on noxious weeds, leaving space behind for pollinators to find refuge, and raise the height of your mower to cut off weed seed heads without disrupting pollinator habitats.
Maintain Your Bee-Friendly Property with Minnesota Equipment
Minnesota Equipment values best practices in property management. We carry best-in-class equipment that helps folks across Minnesota keep their land healthy and looking its best. From mowers and tillers to sprayers and more, we have the gear to help you easily incorporate bee-friendly methods into your property maintenance. With trusted brands like John Deere, Toro and STIHL, you’ll power up your chore list with professional precision. Find us in Rogers, Savage, Isanti, and Ham Lake, or on our website to find the best tools for a thriving landscape.