wildlife plantings for this year

maifleur01January 9, 2010

Currently am looking through my catalogs for plants that provide both shelter and food for various critters but when mature will have little foliage arround the base. I have narrowed to two different crabs but need plants that I can intersperse with my tree peony collection. I realize what ever I plant will take about three years to rise above many of the plants. Any suggestions?

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How about whatever variety of blueberry that does well in your area? And wild rose? I understand that both of these provide food and some cover for birds. Also, the American Cranberry bush that does well in the Northeast.

Our neighbor has a sumac, also, which after a few years provides a lot of cover for the birds, and in the fall the berries ripen and are all eaten by the birds (this year robins in particular).

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:21AM
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I have roses of various sorts. Most blueberries do not have the structure I need although I do have several plants. They are too bushy and want a more acidic soil than the tree peonies. Sumac I already have to make a type of zatar it and elderberries have a habit of sending runners/roots out and trying to take over the world.

I have been thinking of the american cranberry and have tried several times to get it started but are you referring to the short plant or the viburnium? I planted lingonberries last fall for the second time and they seemed happy before it became so cold. I have been thinking about planting some hosta's for rabbit cover under my cherry trees.

I don't want a plant s that will take over the world so many of the bird food plants are out. I am currently trying to decide if I really want to keep the various sweetbriars I have around my yard. I have at least two types one that the birds eat the other so far they have not touched.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 2:09AM
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What height range are you looking for? I've been looking at a wide variety (and thinking about what I have in my garden) but need to know how tall would be too tall, what would be too short.

Also, would you consider evergreen or just flowering plants?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 9:04AM
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Also, hosta do look nice around a tree or along a walkway, which is where we have it, with flat stones around the hosta. They do grow quickly though, as you probably know. We planted ours too closely together many years ago and so have to thin out the plants periodically. Otherwise they are a very low maintenance plant. And there are many varieties to choose from, some with larger leaves, which make good cover. Also, we've put some on our hill to help with erosion.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 9:22AM
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Hubby likes the large leafed hostas, I love the mini's.

The size I am looking for is something that will eventually grow above the tree peonies and be somewhat dense in leaf and winter structure. Most tree peonies grow between 18 inches and 4 feet. The plants should not be nutrient hogs although some of the tp's roots go deep many send the roots out in rays. There are a few that send out runners but so far I have not been able to aquire them.

The last time I had it checked most of my yard was neutral, not acid, not basic. So I am able to play around with the various requirements. Depending on where the tp originated and were crossed with most are slightly acid loving but some prefer basic or even alkaline.

I do have a pin oak that is starting to show a crack at the base, as many of them do when they reach a certain age, probably planted 1954-56. I will have to be taken out before it falls in the street. My lot is supposed to be 100x190 but measures slightly larger and I layer my plants but want something for the ones I aquired last fall to give the critters food/shelter.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 7:33PM
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I guess I would check out the American Cranberry bush (vibernum). It will tolerate most soils, and variable sun/shade situations, but does need moist or wet soil.

The shape of the bush when it is somewhat grown is like a tree, (full grown about 8-12') so less foliage at the bottom than at the top. The flowers that precede the berries are really pretty white, and the berries are a pretty red that, as they freeze through the winter, become late-winter food for birds, much like winterberry I guess.

I bought three of these plants last summer and they grew pretty well in my garden (without much attention I'm sorry to say!). I am waiting to see how they make it through the winter.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 8:07PM
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I just got a Highbush Cranberry this fall. There aren't too many choices of shrubs that hold their berries for the birds in Zone 4.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 8:35PM
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dirtboy58(Zone 7 MD)

How about mahonia repens? I've got native holly growing at the base of our hackberry tree. As long as it gets a little moisture during dry spells and not too much late day sun, especially in winter. It seems to do pretty well here in Colorado. Some years are better than others for the yellow blossoms (depends upon late spring freezes).


    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 12:19PM
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My viburnum trilobums are staying pretty close to the ground so far but maybe their form will change as they get older. Have you checked out viburnum prunifolium or v. lentago yet? I think either of those might work.

Here is a link that might be useful: google images of viburnum prunifolium

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:17PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

If you wanted, any of the viburnums can be trimmed up more into a multi-stemmed shrub form.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 7:59PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

maifleur, If the pin oak falls in the street, your city/county will get rid of it for you! At least, that is how it is here. If a tree falls in our yard, we are responsible, but if it falls in the street, it is taken care of for us. Unfortunately for us, all our leaning trees are leaning toward the house-oh well- and the diseased ones needed taking care of before they fell.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 4:45PM
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Here the city bills you for at least part of the cost unless it is during a wind storm. The tree is straight up and very nice except from experience, other trees in the same area, I know it is starting to rot internally because of the crack in the base.

Because they are not common here I am thinking of two columnar service berry trees. I have an aversion to viburnums along with them being planted so frequently. I and trying to add more diversity in my plantings. Am wondering about several medlars. I have found a couple with different ripening times. I am concerned if they will set fruit because of flowering too early.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:21PM
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