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South Africans in Germany

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Gardening Rules

Did you know your garden and the local green spaces are living habitats for wildlife and insects?
If you cut back or trim your plants too soon, you are removing necessary pollen sources for insects, such as bees and butterflies. It can also reduce or eliminate habitat for birds and small mammals that are dependent on these  for food and shelter

According to Article 39 of the Federal Nature Conservation act (BNatSchG), excessive cutting and grafting of trees, hedges, shrubs, and woody plants are prohibited between 1 March to 30 September. This is referred to as Pflanzen-Schonzeit. 

You are allowed to gently trim vegetation for general care and maintenance. If birds are nesting a tree or bush, you are not allow to trim it.

Regional laws

Rules for gardening are also regulated by the federal states and sometimes also by the municipality. These can include the distance between trees, building a greenhouse, removal of lawn and bushes, stone gardens ( Schottergärten ) etc. Your rental agreement and home association rules can also dictate what you can and can not do. A common issue is plants or plant boxes on the balcony.

Some examples:

Legal

Schrebergarten (Allotment/urban gardens)

These are small inner-city gardens. Finding one to rent is extremely difficult. They are also known as Kleingartenanlae or Gartenkolonie. Wohnglück has an article on how to get a Kleingarten 

What else do you need to consider

 You are only allowed to mow your lawn from Monday to Saturday, from 7:00 in the morning to 20:00. You are not allowed to mow your lawn on a Sunday or public holiday. If your tools do not have the correct EU Environment labels, you can only use them from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 13:00 and 15:00 to 17:00. The fines are quite hefty.

When there are flowers like anemones, tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops, lily of the valley and other bulb varieties on your lawn, you need to wait until the flowers and the leaves have completely died before you mow the lawn.

Weed Killers: 
The use of weed killers is only permitted on agricultural, horticultural and forestry areas. Weed killers may not be used on paved surfaces. These include paths and squares such as sidewalks, park and cemetery paths, garage entrances, courtyard areas, sports facilities, communal and commercial areas of all kinds. It is irrelevant whether the herbicides are approved or are home remedies such as vinegar or road salt. Violators face fines of up to €50 000. See the plant protection act for more

Resources on the web

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