To Attract Wildlife, Garden From Ground Level to Tree Canopy

In this Yahoo News article, Jim Zwack, director of technical services for Davey, adds that trees play an important role in biodiversity. 

Posted: Sept. 22, 2015 

By Dean Fosdick, Associated Press 

To attract wildlife to your garden, plant in layers, year-round, from ground level to tree canopy.

Birds, animals and insects need food, water and shelter to survive. In a garden, that means a mix of flowers, shrubs and trees.

"Plants are more than decorations, and landscapes are three-dimensional, not two-dimensional, if you layer the landscape," said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware. "Leaf litter from that accumulation also builds a healthy soil and that's very important."

"Sustainability" is a buzzword used today by many landscape designers. It applies to vegetation particular to its site, attractive, adapted to local conditions and requiring little maintenance.

"The perception by many is that a sustainable landscape takes care of itself, which is far from true," said Chris Enroth, an Extension horticulturist with the University of Illinois. "When I teach sustainable landscaping, I ask the audience when they hear 'sustainable' to instead think 'resilient.'"

Enroth doesn't subscribe to the native-plants-only landscaping approach if the exotics brought in aren't invasive.

"There is nothing wrong with mixing native plants with plants adapted to your site," he said. "In fact, that is likely to be what can make your garden so dynamic and unique while still being part of a local identity and ecology."

Important ways to create biodiversity in the landscape also include:

— Planting in layers using different dimensions and plant types as well as leafy and evergreen species. Incorporate a variety of plants in every layer.— Doing your research. "Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a great nectar source for butterflies but is native to Asia and not a host for butterfly caterpillars," Enroth said. "A better option would be milkweed, which is a host to the monarch butterfly, and a nectar source for adult monarchs and various other nectar feeders."

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