Planting To Attract Local Wildlife and Benefit Your Ecosystem
As land development and habitat destruction accelerate at a seemingly exponential rate throughout the country, we must do what we can to help our local wildlife populations.
When it comes down to how you attract local wildlife to your yard, the main factors to consider are planting native species and incorporating a wide variety of plants. Beyond that, you can break down the attractions based upon each animal's specific needs and preferences.
The Garden Goods Direct team is here to provide you with a simple guide to making your yard a wildlife-friendly place while also benefiting your ecosystem this planting season.
Importance of Planting Native Species
Choosing species that are native to your area is one of the most important steps in planting to both benefit your local wildlife and your environment as a whole.
Plants that are native to your area have developed a harmonious relationship with your area’s local wildlife over thousands of years. Therefore, planting them is the best course of action when it comes to supporting the wild animals in your area.
In addition to attracting and supporting your local wildlife, native plants work to control water runoff while also maintaining a healthy soil with their deep root systems that elevate areas with otherwise compacted soil.
Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions like soil quality and weather patterns, they also generally require less watering and fertilizing than non-native plants. Natives are often more resistant to insects and disease as well, and so they are less likely to need pesticides.
With plant-less yards and empty lawns, wildlife are more likely to feel threatened and exposed to the elements. To provide the important needs of food and shelter, work to fill your lawn with garden beds of native plants and grasses, bordering pollinator friendly bushes, and fruit and nut producing trees!
In adding these elements to your yard you can work to recreate the natural habitats of local wildlife. Also, with certain plants supporting specific species, adding a variety of plants to your yard will allow for a more diverse range of creatures.
When Planning for your landscape projects this season, be sure to incorporate a wide variety of plants to offer the best habitat for your local wildlife. The most ideal native wildlife habitat will include a diverse range of trees, shrubs and perennials.
Attracting Pollinating Insects to Your Yard
Next in our steps to creating a wildlife-friendly landscape is to choose plants that pollinators love! Before we go into depth on how to attract these pollinating organisms, it’s important that we first explain why we’d even want them in our yard in the first place.
Beyond their beauty and charm, pollinators like bees and butterflies are a prized contributor to our world by means of crop growth and food production. Without pollinators we would not be able to produce a majority of fruits, nuts and berries. Additionally, over 150 of the U.S.’s crops depend on our pollinators. Lastly, our pollinators are crucial in the reproductive success of over 75% of the world’s flowering plants.
Now that we’ve covered their importance, let’s talk about how to entice these all-so-powerful pollinators. Our first tip of advice is to select a variety of colors and shapes when shopping for your garden. This step will work to attract a variety of different pollinators to your yard. Next, we recommend planting flowers that bloom at different times of the year–such will ensure nectar and pollen sources will be plentiful year-round!
A few examples of pollinator plants to add to your yard this season include hostas, daisies, and lavender. If you are specifically looking to attract butterflies, we suggest planting bright flowering shrubs like butterfly weed!
For a look at more pollinator-attracting plants check out our pollinator plants collection.
Attracting Birds To Your Yard
Birds bring countless benefits to our ecosystem including added pollination, along with pest, rodent and weed control.
Like with the benefits of our insect pollinators, Birds that sip nectar work to pollinate a wide variety of plants. This extra boost of pollination can give flowerbeds an added boost of color and an overall more plentiful garden. This in turn will attract even more pollinators! Birds that eat a variety of insects including aphids, mosquitos, spiders, grubs and slugs, can eliminate the need for use of harsh chemicals and insecticides in your garden.
Some key factors in attracting birds to your yard beyond planting native plants include utilizing bright colors in your crops of choice. Birds are easily attracted to bright colors, specifically those of their own particular feathers. Choose plants with bright foliage, blooms and berries to make your yard a safe haven for local birds.
In addition to bright colors, birds are drawn to dense shrubs and trees. It’s also important to incorporate plants of varying heights, for different species enjoy different vantage points specific to their own kind. Some great bird-friendly plants to add to your yard include Birch, Dogwood and Crabapple trees, as well as Winterberry and Honeysuckle shrubs. Incorporating bird specific elements like nesting boxes, bird baths and bird feeders would also up your chances of attracting birds to your yard. Add a water source to your yard and you might as well call it a public spa for your winged friends!
Attracting Woodland Creatures To Your Yard
Last but not least on our list of wildlife to attract to your yard are the furry woodland creatures of bunnies, hedgehogs and foxes. The main reason you’d want these little guys in your yard, other than to admire their cuteness, is similar to the benefits that birds provide– natural pest control and a balanced ecosystem!
The best way to attract these woodland creatures to your yard is to create plant shrubs and trees that provide both shelter and food for these animals.
A great example of a tree that will both shelter and feed a variety of species is the Willow Oak Tree. The Willow Oak Tree is a hardy American classic, providing shade and elegance to any landscape. The tree’s acorns work as a primary food source for a multitude of species.
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All in all, whether you're an animal lover, or you’re just simply working to better your environment, just remember: the key to a successful garden that attracts wildlife is very dependent upon your selection of plants! Choosing a variety of plants that are native to your area is the best way to produce a yard that keeps your local wildlife coming back for more.
The Garden Goods Direct team has a wide variety of trees, shrubs and perennials to provide you with the necessities to make your yard a sanctuary for all living things this growing season!
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