THE HUMBLE dandelion is an annoying weed to some gardeners but if you’re a bee it’s spring gold.
And Limerick City and County Council is delaying the start of its annual grass-cutting programme in certain areas to let the dandelions and other wild flowers flourish and help give bees and other pollinators an early food source.
The Council signed a framework agreement with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to formalise its long term commitment to support pollinators in Limerick.
The plan is a cross-sector initiative, led by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, with local authorities, farmers, businesses, schools and local communities to support pollinators such as bees.
Ireland depends on pollinating insects to pollinate crops, fruits and vegetables — but many pollinators are now threatened with extinction.
Last summer, Limerick City and County Council began implementing the plan by leaving three pilot areas of public land develop into Wild Flower meadows at Corbally Meadows, Childers Road and College Park.
The species diversity in these areas was studied by Dr Tom Harrington, botanist and all were found to have a range of plants of value to pollinators, in particular at Corbally Meadows.
In addition to the wild flower meadows, grass cutting will be delayed in a number of public areas to allow the dandelions to flower.
These include Curraghgower Park, Arthur’s Quay Park and part of Mungret Park.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr James Collins said: “It is very important that we care for our environment. Scientists have shown that bees are crucial to maintaining crops. They are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats.”
Limerick City and County Council has become one of the first local authorities in Ireland to officially partner with All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, leading the way in ‘pollinator protection.
Michael Sheehan of the Council Parks Supervisor said: “There’s huge interest from the public in pollinators and an awareness that we have to take action now. The strength of the Pollinator Plan is its evidence-based guidelines which give clear advice on how each sector can improve their land for pollinators.”
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