The National Wildlife Federation

DonateDonate
}

Create

Maintain Your Habitat

Once your site is certified, you will need to make sure it is maintained.

Make a plan of what needs to be done and by whom. Your habitat will need watering, weeding, and other maintenance throughout the summer and following school year. Also include sustainable gardening practices in your maintenance plan.

Regular and Ongoing Maintenance:

  • Watering: This is most important just after planting and during drier parts of the year.
  • Cleaning and Refilling: Bird baths need to be cleaned and refilled regularly. In the hot summer months, this should be done every couple of days to guarantee a good source of water and mosquito control.
  • Weeding/Removing Invasive Exotics: Your site does not need to be weed free, but if invasive exotics are ignored, they will cause you more problems later.
  • Cleaning Feeders: Whether it is a seed feed in winter or a hummingbird feeder in the fall and spring, it is important to keep your feeders clean.
  • Removing Litter: Litter gives the impression that your site is unimportant, which can lead to vandalism.
  • Maintaining compost pile

Custodial staff may help but most projects should include students, parents, educators and community members. Plan some planting and maintenance days or make a schedule for regular volunteers, especially in summer when people tend to go on vacation.

Seasonal Maintenance Plan:

Winter

  • Keep water source free of ice (if applicable)
  • Clean old nests from bird nest boxes
  • Put up new bird nesting boxes
  • Build bat boxes and bird boxes and feeders
  • Make labels and signs for the habitat
  • Design your habitat landscape and any new additions
  • Plan Spring projects

Spring

  • Check soil conditions (adjust as needed)
  • Check everything for winter damage
  • Conduct cleanup and planting day
  • Clean up habitat and remove litter
  • Plant perennials and shrubs
  • Monitor nest boxes
  • Add mulch (as needed)
  • Obtain and train volunteers to handle summer maintenance

Summer

  • Fertilize plants with compost
  • Be sure to water!
  • Keep bird baths and ponds filled
  • Remove weedy invasive plants
  • Harvest vegetables and some flowers

Fall

  • Divide and replant perennials
  • Plant bulbs
  • Plant trees
  • Mulch or cover young trees and plants for winter
  • Clean up habitat and remove litter