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Large Tree Nympha (Idea leucone). UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.

Landscaping Backyards for Wildlife

June 5 is World Environment Day. This year, to celebrate, why not think about the wildlife environment of your own backyard—literally?

ReceLarge Tree Nympha (Idea leucone). UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.ntly, the article Landscaping Backyards for Wildlife: Top Ten Tips for Success was updated on AskIFAS. Written by Mark E. Hostetler, Gregg Klowden, Sarah Webb Miller, and Kara N. Youngentob, and published by the UF/IFAS Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, this article gives information on how to create and maintain habitat and attract native wildlife such as birds, butterflies, and more to your backyard. Below are a few of the tips.

Limit the amount of lawn

A landscape with different heights of vegetation, creating vertical layering.A standard lawn doesn’t offer much in the way of cover or food. But more diverse vegetation on the ground brings more animal life, and it may require less maintenance. Check out the AskIFAS site for ideas on how to establish a butterfly garden or Florida-Friendly Landscape in your yard!

Provide water

A male Cardinal at a birdbath, sprinkler, and birdfeeder. A water source will attract all kinds of animal life, and they can be an attractive element of your yard, too. A birdbath or pond are popular options, and if you’re looking for a small project, we have instructions for how to build your own solar-powered water feature!

Plant native vegetation

Native vegetation is already adapted to Florida conditions, which means they require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Plus, because they’re a part of a local natural community, they’re less likely to spread in a harmful way!

Manage pets

Cats and dogs are excellent hunters and can seriously unbalance the local wildlife populations if allowed to run free outdoors unsupervised.

Reduce pesticide use

Too much pesticide use in your yard can disrupt the wildlife diversity without being as effective as you want. Use targeted spot treatments, encourage predator insects, and consider plants that deter pests. For more information, see https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_pest_management.

AskIFAS puts out new information and ideas for your landscape every day. Keep up with the latest at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.