Rasberry bushes

Animal-Friendly Gardening In Autumn

How to prepare your flora so it's fauna-friendly for winter


In autumn, hedges are trimmed, plants are pruned and leaves are removed. But do the insects, hedgehogs and birds a favour and leave a few corners of your garden wild. For example, sunflowers, thistles, and other late bloomers can be left standing after they have finished flowering. Birds can continue to feed on the protein-rich seeds for a long time. In addition, butterflies and other insects find winter nests and shelter for their eggs and larvae in the flowering seed heads.

Offer retreats for hedgehogs and other wildlife

If you have a lot of pruning and foliage, build some small piles of leaves in quiet corners of the garden to provide retreats for hedgehogs. Toads, snails and insects also find shelter in such wild oases. 

Hedgehogs are on the lookout for a resting place in October. A dense, sheltered bush or a pile of twigs and leaves are wonderful for possible refuge. You can also quickly build a hedgehog castle yourself out of dead wood, moss, leaves and cones. To avoid disturbing the hedgehogs, try not check too often see if anyone has moved in.

It is not only for hedgehogs that you can create hiding places. In autumn, many insects and spiders are looking for a warm place and move closer to the house. Therefore, this is also the perfect time to hang insect hotels in the garden. Once the bugs have found a shelter, they are no longer attracted to the house – a benefit on both sides.

Provide food for cold periods

When gardening, you should not rigorously harvest everything, but leave some rose hips and fruit on fruit trees, wild roses or wild berry bushes.

Rose hips, pears, sloes and other fruits provide food for birds and other animals. On the other hand, hedgehogs are happy about protein-rich insects that feed on fruits.

If you want to please squirrels, you can always collect a few acorns, hazelnuts, beechnuts or chestnuts on your walks and store them somewhere dark and dry. In winter, you can then offer the squirrels suitable food at any time.

Squirrel in a tree eating a nut

No Go: leaf blowers and lawnmowers

In some gardens, leaf blowers are used to remove dead leaves from the lawn. But even apart from the fact that piles of leaves are very useful in a wildlife-friendly garden, we advise you not to use noisy machines. Because for larvae, beetles, spiders and numerous other ground-dwelling insects, leaf blowers are deadly. 

With leaf blowers, small animals such as mice or frogs also have hardly any chance of survival. If you want to pick up leaves, it is better to use a rake and shovel – this is not only animal-friendly but also keeps you physically fit.


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