Using robotic lawnmowers in a way that protects hedgehogs and butterflies

Garden Life

More and more of us are turning to robotic lawnmowers to keep our lawns tidy. But despite them saving a lot of time and tedious work, they can be harmful to some of the animals that live in our gardens, such as hedgehogs, bees and butterflies. Protecting wildlife is easy, as long as you keep these few tips in mind.

 

The animals that live in your garden have their own needs, which may differ from yours as a gardener — but keeping everyone happy is not as difficult as you may think. Here's how to make sure hedgehogs and other wildlife feel at home in your garden without having to sacrifice regularly mowing your lawn:

It all starts with the design

Whether you use a traditional lawnmower or a robotic lawnmower, a shorter lawn means fewer safe spaces for hedgehogs, bees and butterflies. However, just because you have a robotic lawnmower, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't have a wildlife-friendly garden. With the right garden design, it's easy to create shelters for insects, hedgehogs and other animals: Try including hedges, shrubs and sections of wild flowers. The summer blooms in these wild areas are not just lovely to look at — the pollen and nectar attracts a whole host of insects that will help pollenate your garden, so you'll also have a great fruit harvest!

 

To separate these areas from your lawn, simply lay the wire for the robotic lawnmower in the desired location and sow a mix of wild-flower seeds in the area where you want them to grow. If you have the room for some larger wild areas, how about installing some beehives?

 

Here at GARDENA, we've enlisted the help of a local beekeeper and now keep honey bees at our headquarters — and there's no shortage of robotic lawnmowers in use there! We've reserved part of the garden to use as a wild flower meadow, and every year we produce around 600 kilos of the finest honey for our employees to enjoy.

Mow during the day

Here's another simple trick to help ensure small hedgehogs and your robotic lawnmower do not get in each other's way: Only mow your lawn during daylight hours, as hedgehogs are crepuscular and nocturnal animals. It is very rare to see them out in the open during the day. A robotic lawnmower that runs overnight may be a danger to them, whether they hear it or not. If they don't notice the robot, then they don't have chance to react. Even if they do hear the noise of the lawnmower, their response is no more helpful: Rather than attempt to escape, a hedgehog will roll up into a prickly ball — which in this case won't protect them from injury.
If owners of robotic lawnmowers set schedules for their device in the GARDENA smart app, they are much more likely to see nocturnal animals in their garden.