Monthly Top Tips: April
8th April 2020
Garden safely this spring – check for hidden hedgehogs before mowing or strimming, and avoid harmful products.
With social distancing measures in place across the UK, many people are finding refuge in their gardens, and doing some spring gardening as a relaxing pastime. This time of year is also when hedgehogs are out of hibernation. They are active again from March and use April to build back up the energy they lost while hibernating, in preparation for the mating season.
How do I know if there’s hedgehogs in my garden?
Being mindful of hedgehogs when gardening is therefore essential; hedgehogs may be nesting in the garden in log, leaf or compost piles, or even long grass. It’s therefore vital to exercise caution when doing garden maintenance such as mowing or strimming.
Hedgehog carers and rehabilitators sadly see many casualties from strimmers and other garden equipment every year.
Using pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides or other chemicals in your garden may also harm local hedgehogs, so we strongly recommend avoiding these practices. Steep-sided ponds can also pose a threat to our prickly friends.
Here’s a few tips for keeping hedgehogs safe in the garden…
- For long grass or shrubs, begin by cutting/strimming to a height of a couple of feet, so that any nesting hedgehogs will be more visible.
- If using a pitchfork, be extremely careful and only put it where you can see where it is going.
- Even better, leave a patch of your garden wild and undisturbed to provide food and shelter for hedgehogs.
- Slug pellets, herbicides and wood preservers can be poisonous to hedgehogs, and decrease their natural food sources. It’s therefore best to AVOID any use of chemicals in your garden.
- Here’s some ideas for safe slug control in the garden.
- Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can get stuck in ponds if they fall in. Ensure your pond has either sloping sides or a designated exit route for hedgehogs.
- Going back to February’s Top Tip, avoid any loose netting in the garden, whether it’s a football net or plant netting.
If you haven’t already, why not download the free Hedgehog Street app, so that you can receive monthly tips and updates straight to your phone or tablet.