Gardeners urged to cut back on cutting back their greenery

Gardeners urged to cut back on cutting back their greenery

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There has become something of a fashion lately for perfectly manicured gardens, but one charity is urging Britons to go against the grain and let at least some of their green space go wild this summer in a bid to help wildlife.

The RSPB wants people to restrain themselves when it comes to cutting back their bushes, shrubs, trees and lawns, especially with power tools and harsh secateurs.

It has warned that hacking back this greenery can cause harm to birds' nests and reduce hiding places for creatures including hedgehogs and slow worms, as well as creating problems for birds that are still feeding chicks or have fledglings that are still finding their feet.

"With some birds nesting from March through to the end of August, it's important that garden clearance is delayed until September at the earliest. In many cases a little planning and sparing a thought for wildlife could reduce disturbance. We'd like everyone to simply ask themselves 'do we really have to cut it back right now?'" a statement said.

The charity pointed out that not only will this give a helping hand to Britain's wildlife, but it will also result in a much easier summer for gardeners, even if it is in only one patch of the back garden.

Other tips recommended by the RSPB included leaving out a shallow dish filled with fresh water in which birds can bathe and enjoy a drink, and putting up insect hotels to encourage minibeasts in.

Last November, the environment secretary Elizabeth Truss presented a strategy designed to encourage people to do more to help the country's bees and other pollinators.

It recommended cutting grass less often and leaving patches of land to grow wild with plants like stinging nettles and dandelions on which insects can feed as well as picking up cuttings when lawns are mowed so that plants have chance to flower.

The strategy was drawn up amid concerns that the UK has lost 97 per cent of its wildflower-rich grasslands since the Second World War.