critter friendly yards

Soon I'll be moving, and while I will take a few of my smaller
Japanese maples etc. and put them in part of the front yard, I am
thinking I want most of my yard to be populated by
critter-friendly plants--ones that provide food, nesting
spots/shelter for birds and beasts. Currently the large back yard
is rather barren, with pines at the back and toward the side, so I
have a decent amount of open space to chip away at. Depending on
where I plant, and the things I put in eventually providing shade,
most of this will be in sun or partial sun. I don't think that
area is arid or particularly moist. I am in the Boston area and
like to allow for all contingencies, so I generally plant things
that are for zone 4. Fairly carefree but not horribly invasive
would be pluses.
I am starting a list of possible plants but wonder whether folks
here have some recommendations. Sites and books would also be
most welcome. Thanks!
Reply to
Jean B.
You really ought to live there at least a year before doing any major planting. Spend your first season planting foundation shurubs, you're not likely going to want to move those. In your zone spruce trees are a safe bet, and spruce is deer proof. But I'd wait on shade trees until you get a feel for where the sun strikes, how the ground drains, and have a chance to think about any structural additions like fencing, sheds, and even adding a room... and you'll need time for planning in case you want a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and berry bushes, etc.
Reply to
brooklyn1
Super idea and I agree. Wait until you've lived in your new home to make sure the lay of the land sort of thing.
I would recommend raspberries if there's a variety for your Zone. Not only do you get fresh berry for jellies and pies, but come fall the stalks make a good place for small bird to gather and eat oatmeal, corn etc. Mine let me know about it if they go without breakfast!
Donna in WA
Reply to
Lelandite
Can't help with specific plants but here in Oz, the way to encourage wildlife is to think in layers like ground hugging, understorey, middle layer and tree canopy and some fallen material like logs where lizards can shelter. 'Course that's always dangerous if you don't want snakes, but it is good for lizards, small marsupials, birds and middle sized animals. The middle layer and canpoy should enclude a mix of open foliage for the bigger birds and close coverage where the little birds can hide from the bigger birds who like them for breakfast. Do you have a local birdwatching group that may have site information for those who want to encourage birds? The same things that many birds like is also what other fauna aften likes.
Reply to
FarmI
Thanks for the reminder. I KNOW that is the reasonable approach, and it is what I have done before. I am just so eager.... And working on the level of privacy in some areas would be nice.
Reply to
Jean B.
Nice to see you here, too! :-)
I have a friend who is an avid bird-watcher, so I can ask her for guidance. I have become somewhat aware of the layering, but I should put together a cohesive plan to achieve that.
Maybe you don't think I'd be crazy to start a brush pile!
Reply to
Jean B.
In your zone right now is a good time to check the nurseries for sale items, especially the big box stores, where often plants are slashed 50% and more this late in the season... even if you aren't sure where to plant you can heel them in pot and all until spring.
Reply to
brooklyn1
Without knowing the size of your property and it's terrain it's difficult to make specific suggestions as to type of plants, but you might consider spending this winter perusing the various on-line resources and make a list of those plants in each catagory that appeal to you and will fit within the constraints of your property (also a good idea to take notice of your neighbor's plantings with focus on what parts of your property they shade. For example you may like Norway spruce and sycamore but those are only suitable for very large areas, like at least 5 acres... even if they will fit on an acre they won't look very attractive all squished in... and I wouldn't plant any trees in a location that were they to fall they could hit your house... and think about plant roots, you don't want them invading your foundation/septic. Don't let those tiny nursery plants fool you, they grow. Also not knowing your age makes it difficult to suggest what age plants and their growth rates you should be considering... it makes little sense for someone say over fifty to be planting saplings and expect to sit in their shade. Then it may be best to purchase larger/older specimens and pay to have the nursery plant them... even those listed as fast growing trees don't really grow all that fast... a typical red maple sapling can take 30 years to become a shade tree... and you kinda hafta cut growth rate claims by half, they assume the most ideal conditions, they don't account for poor growth years; droughts, floods, wind/ice storms... an early hard frost can easily set a tree back 3-4 years growth. I'd leave the small saplings and tiny bare root trees for the cash strapped youngsters... you need to weigh the dollars saved against the years lost.
Reply to
brooklyn1
I was at one this morning--mostly to get a free-standing bird feeder. I was thinking it looked very barren, but I didn't venture up the side where they stash the trees. I will do so.
I have a few here that I haven't planted because I knew I'd be moving. Another few that I just put in mulch, again because I knew I was moving. Plus a few small ones that are planted--one inappropriately (they apparently didn't loosen the material around the root ball) and a few so near the walk that they will probably be ruined by the movers.
I guess I should deal with those first. But yes, this is a great time for sales on plants, so I will see what's around.
Reply to
Jean B.
Yup. I am big on researching plants and have begun to do so.
I am torn between larger and smaller plants having read that sometimes the smaller ones will do better and thus catch up to some degree with the larger ones.
I will be 60 in January. I guess that is a factor to some degree. I'd like to have some nice views in my lifetime. OTOH, I also believe in planting for the future--even the distant future. I am reminded of this when I drive by the house I lived in when I was a kid. My dad planted some red maples, and they are now nice trees. The big oaks that were there have mostly come down, so it is very lucky he looked ahead.
Reply to
Jean B.
"Jean B." wrote in message
You too :-)) I noted your name but didn't know if you chose to acknowledge our aquaintance out of context.
Do a hunt on terms like permaculture, layering and wildlife in google on US sites and that may give you some ideas. If that doesn't work I know I have a seen a number of Oz ones which explain the concept as it applies to farms (for biodiversity reasons) and, although the plants would be different, and the concept applicable to broad acreage, there is no reason why the same hting couldn't be applied to a yard - let me kno wif you'd like me to do a hunt for you and provide cites.
Nope, not at all. Even I have a brush pile which given our snake problem, I know I probably shouldn't.
Reply to
FarmI
"Jean B." wrote in message
We have foudn that oaks grown from acorns grow like stink if watered in our hot summers. We also planted a windbreak last spring of tube stock (at least 500 plants) about a ft high for the biggest and this summer some of them are already about 4 ft high. They were all Oz natives though so that may not be a lot of help.
It sure is! We too think about how long trees will take to grow, but there is a Japanese poem of which I am fond which says it all (although I can't remeber the line splits so you'll just have to put them in yourself):
'A man truly understands the meaning of life when he plants a shade tree under which he knows he will not sit.'
He truly understood the meaning of life.
Reply to
FarmI
I once saw a tv program dealing with yard habitat. Came away with the idea that diverse heights in plants have something for everyone. So have grass, scrubs, small and large trees and they will come. Can be appealing to humans too.
Here is a site that touches on water as well.

Bill
Reply to
Bill who putters
That's the right idea, appealing to multiple species.
Long time, good to.
Reply to
Charlie
Why not? I like you!
Oh, I enjoy googling and researching!
Heh. Well, this will NOT be near the house at any rate. I THINK I have absorbed that I actually want to discourage critters from being in that area! I wonder how close is too close (in terms of ground cover, etc.)?
Reply to
Jean B.
That's neat. I do have some baby oaks here and will try to snag some of them. Of course, without their leaves, they may be hard to identify!
Such a person does have to have a vision that extends past his/her lifespan!
In that regard.
Reply to
Jean B.
Thank you, Bill! This pretty much parallels my current thinking, but gives me some tangible clues.
BTW, my Japanese maples... Sniff. I will be very sorry to leave my moonfire, especially. My shishigashira is the one that was incorrectly planted, while the sango kaku will be in peril. I will put these and others in one small area of the front yard. I do still love them, although my thoughts on what I should be doing have evolved over the years.
Reply to
Jean B.
In article ,
The observation seems to be universal.
A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. -- Elton Trueblood (1900-1994
The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. -- Nelson Henderson
He that plants a tree loves other besides himself. -- Thomas Fuller
To plant trees is to give body and life to one's dreams of a better world. -- Russell Page
What does he plant who plants a tree? He plants the friend of sun and sky; He plants the flag of breezes free; The shaft of beauty, towering high, he plants a home to heaven anigh. For song and mother-croon of bird, in hushed and happy twilight heard - The treble of heaven's harmony. These things he plants who plants a tree. -- Henry Cuyler Bunner, the Heart of the Tree
The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reply to
Wildbilly

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