Austinites are once again challenged to create wildlife-friendly yards using native plants, but with an added challenge of supporting our pollinators with specific plant palettes and garden husbandry.  This year, make a home for bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, hummingbirds in your backyard.  For additional resources to assist with pollinator plant species, see Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s plant database at wildflower.org/plants and for additional resources for Central Texas pollinator plants visit: http://www.wildflower.org/collections/.  For Pollinator Partnership’s regional plant guides visit http://pollinator.org/

To enter the Pollinator Challenge, submit this form below or submit the form via mail using address: Wildlife Austin, 919 W. 28 ½ St. Austin, TX 78705

Upon completion of the Challenge, please request a pre-paid “Butterfly Crossing” sign.  Sign may be picked up at 919 W. 28 ½ St.
 

Don’t know your neighborhood? Visit http://ancweb.org/anc-resources/neighborhood-groups
Don’t know your watershed? Visit http://www.austintexas.gov/GIS/FindYourWatershed

Has your habitat already been certified with National Wildlife Federation?
Would you like Wildlife Austin to mail you a prepaid application to certify your habitat?

Nectar and Pollen Sources: Pollinators need a diversity of nectar and pollen sources to sustain them. How do you provide food for pollinators?  Choose plants that provide pollen and nectar sources from early spring to late fall and with various flower shapes.  Avoid hybrids and cultivars; usually native plants are the best providers of nectar and larval food.  Planting in clumps rather than single plants is more attractive to pollinators.

From the lists below, select the pollinator friendly native plants that you have on your property. Check all that apply:

Spring and Fall Flowering

Fall Flowering

(Check at least 6 species, with 2 flowering in spring, 2 flowering in summer and 2 flowering in fall.)

List which butterfly caterpillar species you are hosting on which plants. List 2 or more.

Safeguard pollinator habitat by using integrated pest management practices and reducing invasive plants.

Did you know that invasive plants threaten pollinator habitat by endangering the native plants that pollinators require for survival? Invasive plants that move from our yards to woodlands and natural areas threaten diversity vital to pollinator survival. We can help by not planting invasives and removing existing invasives on our properties.

How do you safeguard pollinator habitat in your landscape?

Poisoning of non-target insects, including bees and other pollinators is an often overlooked factor of pollinator gardening. Even products approved for organic gardening (e.g. Rotenone, BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Spinosad) are very toxic to pollinators. If a pesticide is made to kill insects it will not discriminate between good species and bad species and many residential and garden pesticides do not include butterfly or bee toxicity on their labels. When purchasing your plants, ask the nursery if they use pesticides. If they do, ask what kind. If they don’t know, assume that a pesticide has been used. Remember, some systemic pesticides can be toxic to pollinators for 120 days or more!

Do you use pesticides?