Managing Trees and Shrubs in Your Habitat


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Inevitably, the trees and shrubs that you planted will grow, expanding their canopies and coverage. They will also reproduce through seeds or root propagation, becoming more crowded and competing for sunlight, moisture, and nutrients.

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Managing Trees and Shrubs in Your Habitat

  1. 1. I nevitably, the trees and shrubs that you planted will grow, expanding their canopies Managing Trees and and coverage. They will also reproduce Shrubs in Your Habitat through seeds or root propagation, becoming more crowded and competing for sunlight, moisture, and nutrients. For more nature habitat information Visit these helpful websites: Consumers such as insects A Plants Home and fungi – including some A Birds Home disease organisms – will take A Homesteaders Home advantage of the food sources provided by the plants. Food chains will develop as the ecosystem becomes established. Deer browsing could control or diminish plants in the understory. Newcomers that were not included in your original habitat plant may take root. How Do You Manage Your Wildlife Habitat Over Time. First, give your trees a healthy start. Plant them properly by digging ample holes and providing plenty of loose soil. Do not fertilize at planting time. Be sure to prune dead and dying branches and roots as you plant. You have selected appropriate plants for your wildlife habitat and arranged them with sufficient space and light in your habitat plan... How do you manage your habitat over time.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 1 A Plants Home
  2. 2. Control weeds around effective in controlling Creeping Phlox seedlings. Because weeds grow grasses and broadleaf faster and often taller than weeds: young seedlings, they compete for moisture, nutrients, light, (1) pre-emergent, soil-applied and space. Weed control is chemicals, and crucial in the first 3 to 5 years after planting. You will need to (2) post-emergent prevent weed growth within a 2 chemicals applied to foliage to 4 ft. zone around seedlings. of weeds. is an appropriate resident. If it Here’s how: is not, remove and destroy it. Check with your county s Remove all vegetation agricultural extension Waiting until invaders are well around the tree site before service for information on established will make more planting, either by recommended chemical weed drastic removal methods cultivation or using a general control around tree necessary. herbicide like Roundup in the plantings. fall. s Weed around your trees. Control Overly s Control weeds after Cultivation is probably the Successful Plants planting. You can kill weeds least effective method of Some of the plants that you by mulching around seedlings controlling weeds, as one introduce into your wildlife with sawdust, wood chips, should avoid digging close to habitat may be fast growers bark, or composted leaves. the tree in order not to and may threaten to take over damage roots. your plot. Be sure to make the mulch layer about 6 in. thick to Weeding by this method also Ground covers such as keep weeds from reappearing. must be done 3 to 5 times creeping phlox, barren per season. strawberry, and foamflower s Apply herbicides, but only eventually need to be thinned. when needed, in the proper Even wild bleeding heart, which amount at the right time. Remove Invasive Plants has a delightfully long flowering Two types of herbicides are If aggressive invaders gain a period, can overwhelm us in foothold at your habitat site, time. they may compete more successfully than your desirable “Before long, editing becomes plants. central to the garden’s maintenance, and the best red Suckering or clonal trees like pen is a fearlessly used sassafras and black locust and compost pile," writes Susan wildflowers like white wood aster Dumaine in Woodland Gardens . and hay-scented fern can significantly change the ground When plants get out of hand, layer. she “stands ready to smother them with mulch-topped strips The best way to deal with of old carpet when necessary." aggressive invading species is to recognize them early and remove them as they appear. Nurture Welcome Volunteers Use lists of your area’s invasive Seed dispersal through wind, exotics published by your state water, or animals will also bring native plant society to desirable newcomers to your Foamflower determine whether a newcomer habitat. If they are© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 2 A Plants Home
  3. 3. encouraged, they can bring Bob Lavell, a WindStar Wildlife threaten the survival of your welcome changes and a greater Habitat Naturalist, has found plants. variety of native plants to your that “fences" made of several setting. rows of monofilament fishing line Well-known problems include attached to plastic poles deter oak wilt, gypsy moth Plants that you planned to deer. caterpillars, spruce bud worm, have growing in certain places dogwood anthracnose and may also move to new areas, The animals are baffled by this hemlock woolly adelgid. Contact producing unexpected colonies. invisible obstacle, which stops or your county extension agent to trips them, and they usually find out how best to treat these “You begin to realize that the avoid the area once they’ve had problems. garden is asserting its a run-in with the fence. independence – the sign of a healthy garden," writes Wayne Species like rabbits and Prune Womack in Woodland Gardens. squirrels can also change the You may need to prune for species composition of plants reasons of safety, health, on your site by browsing, digging, aesthetics, or stimulation of Control Animal Damage and burrowing. (Squirrels plant a fruit production. All woody Animals can significantly lot of trees!) When beavers build plants shed branches in alter your habitat and its a dam, the rising water levels response to shading and plantings. With no predators, around a stream kills nearby competition. deer populations are exploding, forests. and humans are squeezing them These branches, which do not out of their habitats, as well. produce enough carbohydrates Control Insects from photosynthesis, die and Though we might want to and Diseases are eventually shed. The attract them to our habitat Insects and disease resulting wounds are sealed by sites, they can do considerable organisms are part of the what is called woundwood. damage to seedlings and to the natural forest ecosystem and understory of a forest, creating actually contribute to biological a browse line 4 or 5 ft. above diversity. But in a small garden, the ground. they can wreak havoc and REFERENCES s Woodland Gardens. Shade Gets Chic. Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, 1995 Control Insects s Henderson, Carrol L. Landscaping for Wildlife. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Nongame Wildlife Program – Section of Wildlife, 1992 s USDA, How to Prune Trees, U.S. Forest Service publication NA-FR-01-95 s USDA. Homeowner’s Guide for Beautiful, Safe, and Healthy Trees. U.S. Forest Service publication NE-INF- 58-96© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 3 A Plants Home
  4. 4. PRUNING GUIDELINES (1) Prune when branches are broken off by wind, snow, or ice, producing ragged wounds that do not seal. You can increase the strength, longevity, and overall health of the tree by substituting pruning for absent natural healing processes. (2) Prune living branches late in the dormant season or very early in spring before leaves form. This allows maximum wound closure in the growing season after pruning, reduces the chance of transmitting disease, and discourages excessive sap flow from wounds. Chemicals emitted from recent wounds can actually attract insects that spread tree disease. Wounded elm wood attracts bark beetles that harbor spores of the Dutch elm disease fungus; wounds on oaks attract beetles that spread the oak wilt fungus. (3) Prune shrubs regularly. Pruning is also the key to maintaining the long-term health and shapeliness of shrubs. If you remove older stems regularly as the shrubs reach maturity, you will encourage the development of young shoots. This will also allow shrubs to function as small trees, arching over pathways and framing views. (4) To save the current year’s flower crop on flowering trees and shrubs, prune immediately after flowering. (5) If your shrub needs a fresh start, it can be cut back to the ground, either just after flowering or in late winter. The shrub’s stored energy will then be directed into the production of new wood. This article was written by (6) Use sharp tools and make clean cuts. Maryland Master Wildlife Habitat Naturalist Elaine Friebele. (7) Make proper pruning cuts at a node. A node is the point at which one branch or twig attaches to For more information or for the name of a Master Wildlife Habitat another. (In the spring of the year, growth begins at buds, and twigs Naturalist in your area, please grow until a new node is formed.) For proper pruning technique, contact: request the brochure, USDA, How to Prune Trees, U.S. Forest Service publication NA-FR-01-95. WindStar Wildlife Institute (8) Avoid topping – the practice of cutting large upright branches at E-mail: right angles between nodes, to reduce the height of the tree. To regulate the tree’s size and shape, start pruning early in the life of the tree. WindStar Wildlife Institute is a (9) Leave dead trees (snags), fallen trees, and perches. national, non-profit, conservation A snag is a bird’s idea of a fast food restaurant – a perching place organization whose mission is to filled with available food. The bark and soft wood of dead trees, help individuals and families whether standing or fallen, are home to the larvae and adults of establish or improve the wildlife many types of insects. habitat on their properties. Scores of birds and mammals use snags for nesting and perching Photography by Thomas G. Barnes sites, territory establishment, and a food source. A snag should be Extension Wildlife Specialist & at least 6 in. in diameter and 15 ft. tall. Associate Professor of Forestry, University of Kentucky© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 4 A Plants Home