Is it too early to start garden clean up (for pollinators)?


Hi there, given the warm weather we’ve been having lately I’m wondering if its safe to start with garden clean up/prep. We want to plant a pollinator garden, but much of the reading I’ve done has said to wait until night time temps are consistently above 10 degrees. Obviously we are planting the garden for the pollinators so I don’t want to harm the hibernating/over wintering ones just because we’re impatient to start gardening!! Thank you!


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardeners with this the timely inquiry. We can certainly understand your impatience to get started on the new pollinator garden. While the weather this week in has been unusually warm, the average last frost date in Toronto falls between April 30th and May 4th so there is probably some colder weather to come before reaching the threshold of consistent 10-degree nights.

It also depends on what you mean by garden clean up. Established garden beds don’t need much clean up as decomposing leaves and stems will improve the soil. Loosening matted leaves to allow new growth to emerge and cutting back dead stems using the ‘chop and drop’ method is what is recommended.

Here are some links with information on preparing a new garden bed and to Pollinator Gardens: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

How do I prep flower bed soil

Pollinator Gardens: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

April 13, 2023