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Mar 06

[ARCHIVED] Help Us Celebrate Earth Day

The original item was published from March 3, 2023 12:34 PM to March 6, 2023 3:23 PM

Right of Way Restoration Info Sheet  Spread Wildflowers Info Sheet Evergreen Understory Info Sheet Evergreen Understory Info Sheet

As the days grow longer and warmer, many of us are eager to get back outside and celebrate the return of spring. Earth Day is one of my favorite spring celebrations. Plants that have been dormant all winter are emerging from the ground, bees and butterflies are busy collecting pollen from new flowers, and bright green leaves adorn formerly bare tree branches.

While Earth Day is still over a month away, we’re starting our celebration plans early! A regular Earth Day activity is planting trees and flowers, which is always a great idea, but late April can be a challenging time for the plants.

Like a lot of us, most plants go dormant in the winter. As soon as spring comes, they start to “wake up,” growing their roots, branches, leaves, and flowers. If you try transplanting plants while they’re growing, it can cause stress and reduce their chances of survival. The best times for planting in your yard are late winter/early spring (just before the plants wake up) or early fall (after most plants have gone dormant but before continuous hard frosts).

So, instead of stressing out plants for Earth Day, we’re encouraging folks to plant something now! That way, you can spend Earth Day enjoying new blooms and growth. To help get you started, PCD created four do-it-yourself activity pages for different urban habitat projects. By following the step-by-step instructions, you can create your own patch of urban habitat without too much time or money.

  • Right of Way Restoration - What to do with the patch of grass next to the road outside of your house? Transform this narrow strip into urban wildlife habitat and fill it with trees and flowers!
  • Evergreen Understory - Do you have big evergreen trees shading out your yard and dropping needles, making it hard for other plants to grow? You can have it all by planting an understory with plants specially adapted to thrive under shady and mature evergreen trees.
  • Spread Wildflowers - Replace your grass with wildflowers! Pick out a portion of your yard, remove the grass, sprinkle seeds, and then watch the flowers grow. Bees and butterflies will thank you for it.
  • Wild Hedge Row - Hedges give us privacy, shade, and quiet from our neighbors. Why not also make a hedge row that attracts birds, butterflies, and other wildlife?

Most of these projects start with removing turf grass, which can be done with some cardboard and wood chips. Check out our tips on how to sheet mulch to learn more. Also make sure to explore Pierce County’s local nurseries to find plants for your project.

As you get ready to stick your hands in the soil, we want to see your progress! Post your before and after pictures on Instagram or Facebook, tag PCD, and use the hashtag #PCDUrbanHabitat. Everyone who tags us on social media before Earth Day will be entered for a chance to win a one of two $100 gift cards from Gardensphere.

Join our Earth Day celebration by picking out your project today. Happy planting!