Planning a Bird-friendly Yard

Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series about bird-friendly native gardening written by Wendy Diaz, EMGV. The third and final post, a plant list, will appear next week.

After a visit to my yard by representatives from the New Hope Audubon Society, I resolved to rid my garden of invasive species. My goal is to achieve Platinum Certification and, consequently, invasive plants cannot cover more than 10% of my property; an improvement from the Gold Level I received in August. A helpful guide on how to plan and implement a more bird-friendly yard, by selecting native plants that suit your needs as well as birds, is provided by the Going Native website1. A particularly useful tool is the plant selection guide that helps you select plants that fit your gardening needs and conditions so you can make your own plant list2.  A native plant is suggested just by entering your region, light requirement, soil moisture, leaf type, wildlife value target and bloom period.

This fall, the first plant to be removed is my non-flowering Chinese wisteria that I will probably replace with Audubon’s suggestion of a crossvine or trumpet vine. The second plant that I will take on will be the Big Leaf Periwinkle (Vinca major). About 1,000 square feet of my yard, beneath my hardwoods is covered with Big Leaf Periwinkle so I plan on using several plants to replace this ground cover in the part shady area with varying degrees of soil moisture. This will also increase the diversity of plants in my yard and year-round color interest. It is relatively easy to pull the Vinca major up by the roots, although they recommended mowing it first, because of the abundance of rain this year. Although I have already removed the Mimosa and Bradford Pear trees years ago, their former presence is evident by the frequent seedlings that still germinate in my yard, so this effort of eradication will require ongoing vigilance.

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Native fall colors of bright yellow Hickory Tree and orange Winged Sumac (behind deep green Magnolia).  Suggested replacements of Chinese Wisteria (circled in red) is crossvine or trumpet vine (lime green) with Fothergilla bush (light green) Photo taken by Wendy Diaz November 5, 2018
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Bluebirds in bird bath of home garden surrounded by invasive species of Big Leaf Periwinkle (circled in red). Suggested replacements of Frogfruit (evergreen), Crested Dwarf iris, River oats and Oakleaf Hydrangea (green). Photo by Christopher Diaz October 17, 2018
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River Oats North Carolina Botanical Garden Photo taken by Wendy Diaz October 7, 2018
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Brilliant fall color of Oakleaf Hydrangea in home garden. Photo taken by Wendy Diaz December 4, 2017
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Coral honeysuckle in home garden. Photo taken by Wendy Diaz April 23, 2018

 

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Hearts a Bustin’/Strawberry Bush, North Carolina Botanical Garden. Photo taken by Wendy Diaz October 7, 2018

Planting of the alternative native plants will occur gradually over time as I source the plants from area nurseries, optimize my budget and observe the plants’ performance ornamentally and ecologically. I already have some of the native plants and I will encourage them to spread and may propagate them.

 

References:

  1. https://projects.ncsu.edu/goingnative/howto/mapping/invexse/index.html
  2. https://projects.ncsu.edu/goingnative/howto/mapping/nplants/index.php
  3. http://www.newhopeaudubon.org/wp-content/themes/nhas/library/docs/native-plant-growing-guide-piedmont-nc.pdf

More Reading on Invasive Species:
http://ncbg.unc.edu/uploads/files/PlantThisNotThat.pdf

Where to buy Native Plants:

  1. https://projects.ncsu.edu/goingnative/howto/implemen.html#where
  2. https://growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu/growingsmallfarms-pollinatorresources/

One thought on “Planning a Bird-friendly Yard

  1. Pingback: Plant List of Native Alternatives to Invasive Species – Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Durham County

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