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Written by Terry Spraque   
Oct 01, 2017 at 03:00 AM

BACKYARD NATURALIZATION - Attracting Birds and Other Wildlife Species to Your Premises


 As environmental awareness increases, it is only to be expected that some of this interest might be directed to our own backyards. There are concerns about what we are putting on our properties to create that "perfect lawn." Do we need a perfect lawn? What can we do make our properties, be they large or small, more attractive to wildlife? And how much is too much of a good thing? This page will attempt to address the increasing interest we are taking these days in naturalization our backyards, how to attract wildlife, how to manage what we have, and how to dissuade those species we don't want. It is all about doing things "naturally", with native species of plants, natural fertilizers, composting - all those things all of us should have started doing much earlier in our lives. Watch this page regularly for more tips on how you can enhance your property and make it more attractive to wildlife. 



 

NATIVE SHRUBS AND TREES

Native plants are species that were found in this area before European settlement. Many of these plants still grow in the wild, and planting them will attract a wide variety of wildlife to your property, including songbirds and small mammals. Here are a few species of trees and shrubs to consider:


SHRUBS

Grey Dogwood    Cornus racemes    This shrub grows to about 2 metres in height and prefers full sun, and does well on wet, moist or even dry soil. The creamy white flowers appear in late June, and white berries appear in August.                             

Wildlife: Songbirds eat the berries, deer and small mammals browse the twigs.

 

Red Osier  Dogwood    Cornus stolonifera     This shrub is recognizable by the bright, red branches. It reaches a height of 2 metres, and prefers moist to wet soil and full sun. Flowers are white appearing in late June. Berries are bluish-white and appear during August & September.                             

Wildlife: Songbirds eat the berries,  deer and small mammals browse the twigs.

 

Elderberry    Sambusus canadensis     Reaches heights up to 3 metres. Requires sun but tolerates shade.  Moist or wet soils preferred. White, heavily scented blooms occur in July.                              

Wildlife: Birds & small mammals eat berries. Good source of cover for nesting. Deer & rabbits browse.

 

Staghorn Sumac    Rhus typhina     A large shrub or small tree growing up to 6 to 10 metres. Requires sunlight and dry to moderate soils. Leaves turn red in fall. Berries can be made into a tasty sumac jelly or sumac lemonade.           

Wildlife: Songbirds eat the berries.

 

Serviceberry    Amelanchier spp       Usually a shrub, but can be grown as a tree. Requires full sun to partial shade. Prefers moist to dry soils. As a member of the rose family these shrubs are very showy when in bloom.                             

Wildlife: Berries are an important summer food for birds. Deer browse the twigs.

 

Nannyberry    Viburnum lentago   Grows up to 5 metres. Will grow in shade, prefers wet or moist soils. Flowers are creamy white, blooming in late May and June. Bluish-black berries appear in August to September. 

 Wildlife: Songbirds eat the berries, and use thickets for cover and nesting. Deer & rabbits browse twigs.

 

Choke Cherry    Prunus virginiana Grows from 2 to 6 metres in height. Prefers full sun to partial shade. Choke Cherry will  grow in dry, wet or moist soils if well drained. The dark red/black cherries appear in August to September.                             

 Wildlife: Berries are eaten by birds and small mammals.

 

Pussy Willow    Salix discolor   This shrub is two to three metres in height. Prefers wet or moist soils. Grows in full sun or partial shade. The catkins appear in spring.                              

Wildlife: Offers nesting and shelter to a variety of birds.

 

Winterberry    Ilex verticillata     Erect shrub 3 to 4 metres in height. Tolerates shade, prefers wet or moist soils. Flowers are green or yellowish-white, blooming in late May. Bright orange or red berries appear in August to October.                           

Wildlife: Flowers attract bees, migrating birds enjoy berries.

 

Highbush Cranberry    Viburnum trilobum      Grows to a height of 2 to 4 metres. Full sun is preferred along with moist, well drained soils. White flower clusters appear in June to July. Bright red fruit appear in August to September.     

Wildlife: Flowers attract bees. However, only a few species are attracted by the fruit.

 

VINES

Climbing Bittersweet Celastrus scandens Woody vine growing up to 7 metres. Prefers full sun to partial shade. Grows best in dry to moist soils. Orange/yellow berries in September/ October.                                                         Wildlife: Birds eat berries.

Virginia Creeper            Parthenocissus inserta    Woody vine growing up to 8 metres. Tolerates shade and is found in wet, moist or dry soils. Bright blue berries appear in August and September.                                                         Wildlife: Birds and chipmunks eat berries.

 

GROUNDCOVERS

Bearberry       Arctostaphylos uva-ursi     Trailing evergreen shrub. Grows in dry or moist soils in partially shaded areas. Small pink or white flowers in May to July. Red berries in fall.                                                                 Wildlife: Birds eat berries, deer browse foliage.

Wintergreen    Gaultheria procumbens      A low evergreen ground cover. Wintergreen prefers moist soils. Grows in sunlight and partial shade. White flowers appear in June to July. Red berries appear during August and September.                                                                                                                                                                        Wildlife: Birds eat the berries. Deer feed on berries and leaves.

 

TREES

Green Ash    Fraxinus pensylvanica      Reaches heights of 10 to 15 metres. Green ash will grow in full sun to partial shade on wet or moist soils. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.                                                        

Wildlife: Winged seeds are important food source for many species of winter birds.

 

Silver Maple     Acer saccharinum      Reaches heights of 15 to 25 metres. Requires sun for growth. Prefers moist soils. Leaves turn pale yellow in fall. Popular shade tree.                                                        

Wildlife: Seeds eaten by birds and small mammals.

 

Red Maple   Acer rubrum   Attains heights of 20 to 25 m. Requires full sun and wet or moist soils. Leaves turn yellow or deep red.                                                        

Wildlife: squirrels and birds feed on seeds.

 

Sugar Maple      Acer saccharum     Grows to heights of 20 to 30 metres. Requires sun but is shade tolerant. Prefers moist well drained soils. Leaves turn gold to scarlet in fall.                                                        

Wildlife: Seeds eaten by birds and small mammals

 

Red Oak     Quercus rubra   Reaches heights of 18 to 25 metres. Requires sun, prefers dry soils. Leaves turn brilliant red in fall.                                                         

 Wildlife: Acorns are good food source for birds and mammals.

 

White Birch     Betula papyrifera    Grows between 15 to 25 metres in height. Requires full sun and well drained soils. Bark is red/reddish-brown when young, turning creamy white with age.                                                      

Wildlife: Seeds & winter buds eaten by many birds.

 

Silver Maple      Acer saccharinum      Reaches heights of 15 to 25 metres. Requires sun for growth. Prefers moist soils. Leaves turn pale yellow in fall. Popular shade tree.                                                        

Wildlife: Seeds eaten by birds and small mammals

 

Hackberry     Celtis occidentalis        Reaches height of 12 to 18 metres. Grows in full sun to partial shade on dry, moist or wet soils. Bark is greyish brown with corky ridges.                                                         

Wildlife: Birds feed on seeds and berry-like drupes.

 

White Pine   Pinus strobus      Can attain heights of 12 to 18 metres. Requires sun but will grow in partial shade. Prefers moist to dry soils. Clusters of five bluish-green needles.                                                        

Wildlife: small birds and mammals feed on cones.

 

White Cedar  Thuja occidentalis        Grows to heights of 12 to 18 metres. Prefers full sun to partial shade. Prefers moist to wet soils.     

Wildlife: Deer browse on young foliage. Cover for birds and small mammals.

 

Eastern Hemlock      Tsuga canadenis    Grows to a height of 20 to 25 metres. Requires sun but tolerates shade. Eastern Hemlock prefers wet or moist soils. Bark is reddish and scaly.                                                          

Wildlife: Provides cover, deer browse on needles.

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Don’t know where to go to obtain native trees and shrubs and wildflowers? Obviously you want to consult someone who is dedicated and knowledgeable in this field. Two great native plant nurseries in the local area:

1)  NATURAL THEMES, Frankford: Whether it’s gardening with native plants or attracting wildlife to your backyard, Natural Themes, is a good place to go for information and a selection of high quality, affordable plants. Owner and proprietor Beate (Bea) Heissler is well known in the Quinte area, having been involved as an educator at the H.R. Frink Centre, north of Belleville, for many years, Natural Themes offers a wide variety of woodland, meadow/prairie and wetland species including wildflowers, ferns, sedges, grasses, shrubs and vines as well as native deciduous and coniferous trees.  Natural Themes Website 

2) FULLER NATIVE AND RARE PLANTS, Belleville: Peter Fuller propagates and grows perennials, ferns, grasses and bulbs native within a 100-mile radius of the nursery. "We practise ethical seed collection and all plants are nursery propagated," says Peter Fuller. "We promote the conservation of wild plants and the maintenance of genetic diversity in plant populations. We provide advice and resources for using native plant material in home gardens." Fuller Native and Rare Plants website

 

Last Updated ( Oct 01, 2017 at 07:29 AM )
 
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November 22, 2017 5:18 pm