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Looking for a Natural Lawn Insecticide? Try Birds!

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

You probably wouldn't associate the local wild bird population as a positive contributor to natural lawn care, but you should! Following seeds, berries, and fruits, insects comprise a huge portion of the natural bird diet. If you haven't seen a bird feeding wriggling larvae, beetles, or moths to its young, look again. That's why many organic gardeners plot their gardens, side-yard beds, and lawns with care to attract a complementary wild bird population.

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Birds make great allies, but only if you're a friend to them. The most important contribution you can make to their happy presence is the provision of food, water, and shelter. In return, birds will scour your lawn at dusk and dawn, sweeping up a tidy amount of grubs, caterpillars, aphids, cutworms, crickets, earwigs, and other insects. In balance, they won't eat all of your insects, but can keep the infestation manageable without the use of toxic chemicals.

Attracting Birds to Your Lawn

Depending on where you live in the country, you can do your part to attract bluebirds, cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, swallows, warblers, and woodpeckers. Your winged lawn-care experts love dense cover. Provide evergreens or dense year-round hedges (junipers, holly, spruce and cedars) for perching birds and brush piles that keep the cats away from prairie birds. Cover plants that offer wind protection along your lawn will bring your insect eaters even closer.

Grow garden plants or set up feeders that offer birds a nice arrangement of seeds: sunflowers, yellow millet, suet, cracked corn, thistle, and peanut kernels. Plant an assortment of berries, flax, hyssop, amaranths, sunflowers, poppies, millet, and zinnia. And be sure to provide a source of water with a pond, bird-bath, or waterfall.


Gardeners' Net

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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