Native and Hardy Plant Species Bring In the Birds
If you are a nature lover and enjoy watching birds come visit your home, I am sure you encourage them by filling a bird bath or bird feeder. You can also help birds and all other forms of wildlife by selecting drought tolerant, native, and hardy plant species.
Plants native and hardy to the soils and climate of West Michigan provide the best overall habitats and food sources for wildlife, while generally requiring less fertilizer, less water, and less effort in controlling pests. Native plants may support 10-50 times as many species of native wildlife as non-native plants.
Reducing the need for water and chemical inputs can maintain or enhance biological diversity. Wildlife gardeners concerned about conservation should strive to incorporate the type of plantings as much as possible in their plans.
When you think of native trees in Michigan you probably think of red maples and white pines, but there are many trees with ornamental value producing beautiful, showy feathers that eventually produce berries and seeds – food for our feathered friends. Good examples of these are the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) and the crabapple (Mauls), both gorgeous trees which produce blooms and fruits.
Birds eat many of the fruit, berries, and nectar that come from other types of landscape plants also. As for shrubs, there are plants like winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) and numerous species of the genus Viburnum that fit into this category too. There are several perennial choices, such as blanket flower (Gaillardia) purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia). These come in many shapes, sizes, and colors with new varieties created all the time. These flowers all produce a lot of seed and nectar.
So, take care of the birds by using native, hardy, and drought tolerant species. This will allow the birds to take care of your plants – after all, birds are pollinators too!