Landscaping a Small Yard For Wildlife
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Landscaping a Small Yard For Wildlife

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Trying to attack the whole project at once is a sure way to become discouraged and make expensive mistakes. Take some time to study your ...

Trying to attack the whole project at once is a sure way to become discouraged and make expensive mistakes. Take some time to study your
property, think about what wildlife you want to attract, and what personal interests you want to nurture.

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Landscaping a Small Yard For Wildlife Landscaping a Small Yard For Wildlife Document Transcript

  • T rying to attack the whole project at once is a sure way to become discouraged and Landscaping a Small make expensive mistakes. Take some time to study your property, think about what Yard For Wildlife wildlife you want to attract, and what personal interests you want to nurture. For more nature habitat information Find out where your property Visit these helpful websites: lies on the USDA Hardiness Zone maps printed in most A Plants Home plant catalogues, or available A Birds Home A Homesteaders Home through your county Cooperative Extension Service office. What kind of soil do you have, how much sun reaches your yard, what amount of rain falls in your area, and what structures are alreaady in place. Native Is Best A word about “native" plants. Wildlife evolved with plants through the centuries, so a lot of native vegetation is uniquely suited to meet the needs of specific wildlife. In addition, native plants tend to thrive in their natural habitat, be less prone to disease, and less in need of chemical treatments. WindStar Wildlife Institute emphasizes the merits of native plants, but we realize that there are sometimes other considerations. Although nurseries are beginning to carry more native plants, they can be hard to locate for purchase. Perhaps you’ve purchased a home which enjoys only a traditional mowed lawn and clipped Those that flower may not be as “flashy" as some of the evergreens. It looks nice enough, but you’re developed cultivars. They may interested in gardening, feeding the birds, and not bloom for as long a time, or making your yard a welcome spot for a variety of may have an unstructured growth habit. Some “exotics" wildlife. Where do you start. (plants which originated in other parts of the world) are© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 1 A Plants Home
  • bound to appeal to you, and color, or the consistency of Spruce is a Favorite many will also appeal to wildlife. evergreens. Birds and small mammals love the spruce for food, nesting, For example, birds love the In our 1/4-acre plan, the and winter shelter, especially if berries of Japanese holly, and lower right corner shows a the branches are allowed to butterflies can’t resist the windbreak of Colorado blue grow to the ground. If nectar of the Oriental butterfly spruce. Used properly, an positioned correctly (usually to bush. Just be careful not to evergreen windbreak can fulfill the north), they will indeed introduce exotic plants which many functions. It will screen break the path of the wind and are invasive and have a off an undesirable view and/or keep your home warmer in tendency to crowd out the give you privacy throughout winter. For visual interest, it’s natives. the year. especially nice to combine 1/4 Acre Plan This brochure contains a 1/4 Acre Habitat Design wildlife-friendly, landscape design for a 1/4-acre yard. It will give you a starting point, but you are encouraged to adapt it to your own vision. As we go through the various elements of the plan, we’ll point out why each is important, and consider alternatives that can fill the same purpose. We have chosen primarily native plants. A trip to your local library or plant nursery will provide many more suggestions. When you are ready to choose your plants, it’s often best to start with trees. Their cost will vary according to their size at the time of purchase. Once they’re in place, you don’t want to have to move them, so think carefully before getting out the shovel. Is the tree appropriate for the soil conditions and amount of sunlight. Have you planned for it’s mature size. Will it crowd your house or other trees, or eventually shade that spot where you had hoped to put a flower garden. Is it evergreen or deciduous (losing its leaves in the fall), and how will that affect whatever is nearby. Are you interested in flowers, fall© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 2 A Plants Home
  • evergreens of various heights, Crab Apple Best For Wildlife berries. The maple produces colors, and textures. Don’t limit Most native trees, such as seeds that are eaten by several yourself to pines and other the crab apple at the top of the species, and turns striking conifers. There are a number of yard, bear fruit that is more colors in the fall. Since both are broadleaf evergreens that are suitable for wildlife than for deciduous, they will shade the worth including in your plan. human consumption. The willow house in the heat of the oak, also in the upper section, is summer, but not block the Along the lower left side of an oak, not a willow. Many warming sun in the winter. Once the drawing are three peach species of wildlife enjoy nut again, think about the mature trees. Fruit trees benefit both trees, and acorns are a special size and whether or not any people and wildlife, and you can favorite. Be sure to consider tree will block a favorite view choose from a wide range of the mature size of any nut tree, from the house. heights and types of fruit. Also and be careful about planting consider the color of the black walnuts because they The flower gardens don’t have flowers, whether or not the fruit release a substance that is specific plants indicated, but will be eaten or just decorative, toxic to many other plants. there are many selections that the need for chemical will appeal to both butterflies treatments, the length of time The sugar maple and dogwood and hummingbirds. Choose a it will take to bear fruit, and in the central part of the yard color scheme that appeals to whether it needs another of the are both versatile. The dogwood you and group plants to create same species nearby to ensure has lovely spring blossoms, and blocks of color. fertilization. birds will feast on its autumn Some suggestions for this area include: s Lantana (Lantana camara) Recommended Deciduous Trees and Shrubs s Pentas (Pentas lanciolata) s Cosmos Name Scientific Name Height Benefits For Wildlife (Cosmos sulphureus) American Holly Ilex opaca 40 Red berries; slow growing Joe-Pye weed s (Eupatorium spp.) Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica 8-10 Berries (male and female) s Purple coneflower Creeping Holly Grape Mahonia repens 2-3 Berries (Echinacea purpurea) Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis 40-70 s New England aster (Aster spp.) Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana 30-50 Blue berries s Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus 80 Seeds, sap, cover; fast growing s Butterfly weed Juniper Juniperus Short Many varieties (Asclepias tuberosa) Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia 7-15 Nectar s Butterfly bush (Buddleia) Oregon Grape Mahonia aquifolium 6-8 Blue berries s Buttonbush (Dephalanthus occidentalis) Wax Myrtle Myrica cerifera 5-20 Berries (male and female) s Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 3 A Plants Home
  • s Bee balm (Monarda didyma) of lawn near the house, but it for all wildlife. You may not have offers little for wildlife, requires room for a pond, but a birdbath s Scarlet Sage effort and money to maintain, or fountain will see lots of (Salvia coccinea) wastes water, and encourages activity. It should be kept clean the use of polluting chemicals. and be placed within 5 of a tree There are many kinds of or shrub to allow escape from shrubs illustrated throughout Less lawn is better for both predators. the yard, and variety is one of you and the environment. For a the most important low-growing alternative to Benches and paths through considerations when grass, consider the many kinds the garden let you wander and landscaping for wildlife. of ground covers available, such rest to enjoy your creation. as cotoneaster and creeping By offering a wide selection junipers. If you have corners The WindStar Wildlife of flowers, fruits, and heights that can be left taller, many Institute publication, How To of plants, you will appeal to native grasses provide shelter Create A Wildlife Habitat Plan the greatest number of and seeds for birds. For Your Property offers a different species. step-by-step guide. Some other Man-made structures can titles in this series which might Fruiting shrubs near the add decorative accents to the be of help to you include: windbreak include inkberry (Ilex garden and at the same time glabra), bayberry (Myrica contribute to your wildlife s Butterfly Gardening; pensylvanica), rugosa rose habitat. In this design, trellises, (Rosa rugosa), and blueberry s Landscaping for Birds; arbors, and lattice screens (Vaccinium corymbosum). All of support vines which bear Essential Elements of a s these are native and favorites flowers for nectar, berries for Wildlife Habitat; of birds and other small wildlife. birds, or provide nesting sites. s Homes for Backyard Birds; Some are duplicated in the Bittersweet (Celastrus upper planting areas, along with orbiculata, an exotic that may s Creating a Wildflower shrubs planted for their nectar, become invasive), climbing rose, Meadow; and including spicebush (Lindera clematis (native version is benzoin) and sweet pepperbush ligusticifolia), and trumpet s Creating a Wildlife Habitat (Clethra alnifolia). The creeper (Bignonia capreolata) Plan. spicebush has berries for birds, are shown in the plan. Other and the white flowers of the choices include Virginia creeper This article was written by sweet pepperbush will attract (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Maryland Master Wildlife Habitat butterflies. The red twig yellow jasmine (Gelsemium Naturalist Cathy Gilleland. dogwood (Cornus siberica), while sempervirens), coral For more information or for the not native, provides wonderful honeysuckle (Lonicera name of a Master Wildlife Habitat red color in winter and birds sempervirens), and grapes. Naturalist in your area, please enjoy its autumn berries. contact: Nesting boxes placed around WindStar Wildlife Institute the property will encourage Group Plantings birds to raise families in your E-mail: wildlife@windstar.org To Increase Appeal habitat. Additions like a dust http://www.windstar.org In most cases, groupings of and grit area for birds or a mud trees and plants will be more puddle for butterflies may not pleasing to the eye and more sound charming to humans, but WindStar Wildlife Institute is a appealing to wildlife than the wildlife will come in even national, non-profit, conservation individual specimens standing greater numbers. organization whose mission is to alone in a sea of lawn. Mowed help individuals and families grass is nice for people, and you establish or improve the wildlife Feeders are an obvious habitat on their properties. may want to maintain an area addition, and water is essential© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 4 A Plants Home