Learn About Plants

…and How They Support Wildlife

(we’re working on this page)

Shrubs

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal nesting in shrubbery

What is the difference between trees and shrubs?  “Generally, trees are over 20 feet tall and have trunks more than 2 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet about the ground. Shrubs are smaller than trees and often have many small, woody, bark covered stems rising from the base.” [1]

The way we see it, the biggest differences are: 1) shrubs are smaller than trees and easier to plant and prune, 2)  they are usually an under-story to trees and 3) shrubs are usually denser.

Carolina Wrens Nesting

Carolina Wrens nesting in box holly

Shrubs have the same benefits as trees with regard to providing food, shelter and places to hide. In addition, because they are denser and lower, they can provide wildlife corridors and safe harbor to many different kinds of wildlife.

Some birds, e.g. hawks and owls prefer to nest very high up, so trees would be their preference.  Others, such as Northern Cardinals [3] and Carolina Wrens [4], prefer to nest lower and in more of a thicket like shrubs.

And, just like with trees, favor native plants when selecting shrubbery.

Annuals and Perennials

We’re really talking about ‘gardening for wildlife’ here, and there is an unlimited supply of excellent material on this subject.  Here are some things that have helped organize our information gathering:

Decide who you want to attract. aaa

Diversity is good. aaa

Plant for all seasons. aaa

Plant for multi-purpose. aaa

Plant things to be eaten. aaa

Use natives when possible. aaa

Stay away from chemicals. aaa

Ground Cover

Natives

References

[1] National Park Service: Trees and Shrubs
[2] Utah State University Extension Service: What Is a Tree?
[3] Cornell – All About Birds: Northern Cardinal Habitat
[4] Cornell – All About Birds: Carolina Wren Habitat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s