If your garden is anything like mine at the moment, the warm, damp weather makes for ideal growing conditions and I feel I am constantly playing catch up to keep the surging growth under control.
As well as being a haven that we can relax in, our gardens are an important sanctuary for wild animals and gardeners need to tread carefully at this time of the year to avoid disturbing or harming the wildlife which may be living in their gardens.
Every year we receive calls about wild animals with distressing and often fatal gardening related injuries which in most cases are completely avoidable.
Quick checks for wild animals and their nests in the long grass or foliage could be all that is needed to prevent young animals from being abandoned and save others from losing a limb – or life.
At Donaldson’s, we see a range of wildlife gardening casualties including a toad with its hind legs chopped off by a strimmer, a hedgehog burnt in pampas grass clearance, a blackbird speared by a garden fork, and recently a toad stuck in a watering can!
Hedgehogs are one of the most affected as they curl up into a ball when they sense danger and can be hard to spot in the grass.
Overgrown hedges are often nesting sites for birds so it is worth checking to see if there are any nests before cutting them back.
Taking two minutes to check for wildlife before strimming, mowing or cutting could save an animal’s life or prevent its nest from being destroyed. You never know what might be hiding away in the undergrowth.
To help avoid wildlife injuries, avoid cutting hedges whist birds are nesting, check for birds or their nests before clearing scrub, think about whether you need to cut brambles or trees, or if it can wait, keep drains and swimming pools covered, remove sports and garden netting and store it in a safe place when not in use.
It is also worth keeping some areas of the garden wild and untidy as many animals rely on leaf piles, compost heaps and even weeds for nesting and food. Frogs and toads like overgrown ponds and tidying them now could disturb their eggs or newly hatched tadpoles.