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Old 12-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default Native plants provide winter food for wildlife

Native plants provide winter food for wildlife
By Marci Degman, The Hillsboro Argus
on November 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM, updated November 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Native plants provide winter food for wildlife | OregonLive.com
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For a lively, complete habitat in your landscape, itís important to include native plants that provide food for wildlife. Itís easy to find plants that provide berries in summer, but much more difficult in winter.

The native snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus, is often still covered with white fruit in November. The snowberry can quickly form a dense thicket and is best planted where it will have space, such as along bank or driveway. The birds love the snowberries, but the fruit will disappear with the first hard freeze.

Rosehips are able to withstand harsher conditions and will hold on into winter. The hips are edible even after they have shriveled from frost. Native roses, as well as species roses, will produce hips, and...
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:22 PM   #2
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After seeing the pileated woodpecker, bluebirds, and robins enjoying the berries of our dogwoods, I'm really looking forward to finding more natives that will hold their fruit into (and throughout) the winter. I'm assuming winterberry holly is one of them, but I think only one of the five I put in survived--I'd put them in the first summer here, I think...and that was before I was protecting things from the rabbits and deer. So, I've got to get more of those, and would love suggestions of other berry producers that will sustain wildlife throughout the winter.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Staff View Post
Native plants provide winter food for wildlife
By Marci Degman, The Hillsboro Argus
on November 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM, updated November 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Native plants provide winter food for wildlife | OregonLive.com
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I have a goodly number of Viburnum trilobum here, and they never fail to get flocks of hungry late winter birds in February, when food is scarce on other plants. It seems the berries become desirable only after they have frozen and thawed a number of times. Of course, in addition to being a godsend to the birds when food is quite scarce, they are also beautiful to look at with the blood red color being highlighted agains the snow of winter. Then in the Spring, the catbird arrives and always builds his nest in one of the viburnum shrubs...
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
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I have a goodly number of Viburnum trilobum here, and they never fail to get flocks of hungry late winter birds in February, when food is scarce on other plants. It seems the berries become desirable only after they have frozen and thawed a number of times. Of course, in addition to being a godsend to the birds when food is quite scarce, they are also beautiful to look at with the blood red color being highlighted agains the snow of winter. Then in the Spring, the catbird arrives and always builds his nest in one of the viburnum shrubs...
I've been wanting to get a few species of Viburnum and quite a lot of them. I will definitely look into V. trilobum. I know I've seen it for sale, but wasn't sure of its range. Great to know it lasts into February for beauty and for food.

I know how you love your catbird. I'm looking forward to seeing mine again...I have started calling him R2D2 because of his squeaks and whistles.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:54 AM   #5
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There are so many different varieties of viburnum. They are all wonderful. I found nannyberry growing in my hedgerow and transplanted some to my yard. I love catbirds. They arrive every spring and raise their young here. Does anyone feed them anything like grape jelly?
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:16 PM   #6
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We are on the southern edge of the native range of V. trilobum here, I just planted one this fall. It's nice to hear of all its great qualities Jack. I have to say I love Viburnums too, their wildlife value is high and the ornamental qualities of many of them is too. I have acerifolium, bracteatum, dentatum, trilobum, prunifolium and rufidulum, that's a lot of "ums"! Some are mature, some new, all very cool.

Chokeberry I think is another one that the birds leave for last, hmmm I wonder if the name is any indication?
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:08 PM   #7
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I, I almost forgot the showiest one, Viburnum nudum - possumhaw viburnum. I have a bunch of those with another variety for cross-pollination to ensure lots of fruit.

Also consider bayberry, American mountain ash, inkberry and winterberry.
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:04 PM   #8
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The berry bushes, I should use more of those around here, but until then, what I'm doing this year is I collected a lot of acorns. I store a 2 gallon buckets worth in various places along the deer trail, just a pile on the ground. When we got our first icy snow this year, sure enough the deer already knew where to find the cache. I suspect the squirrels might have helped find them first...not sure who got there first.

Acorns are a natural food, easily collected while raking leaves...by locating a pile of acorns the animals take full advantage of the concentration.

Another thing I do is walk along with a rake near a large white oak and by simply raking the snow in some places it quickly reveals the leaves and the naturally fallen acorns within. Luckily I only have to contend with 4-5" of snow.

Next time I find a bunch of fresh acorns fallen, I think I'll try to dry store some sacks of them to be used thru-out the winter.

Another thing I'm trying this year that the blue birds seem to like very much, is raking or shoveling my huge compost pile in the middle of the snow time. The birds don't rush in till I'm done revealing some areas within the pile. But as soon as I walk off, I counted a half dozen of the things dancing up and down from the tree limbs to the pile. I made sure when I was digging that if I found a grub, I would kick out so the birds could find it easy.

Wildlife gardening doesn't have to cost any money!

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Old 12-13-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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I love catbirds. They arrive every spring and raise their young here. Does anyone feed them anything like grape jelly?
I have put out grape jelly and orange halves out for Baltimore orioles...but the catbird is welcome to it too. [I've yet to see anything come to it...but I have seen the orioles at the orange before--I put that near the blueberries they were already going for...I guess I should try that for the grape jam (we don't eat jelly) there too.]

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There are so many different varieties of viburnum.
I know there are, and, so far, I only have two species, I think. I've been wanting to get more.

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We are on the southern edge of the native range of V. trilobum here, I just planted one this fall. It's nice to hear of all its great qualities Jack.
Yes, thanks, jack, for getting me really excited about this beauty.

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Originally Posted by linrose View Post
I have to say I love Viburnums too, their wildlife value is high and the ornamental qualities of many of them is too. I have acerifolium, bracteatum, dentatum, trilobum, prunifolium and rufidulum, that's a lot of "ums"! Some are mature, some new, all very cool.
I think I have V. acerifolium (that I got as a division from a friend...but I need more to improve genetic diversity)...and another tree-like one from a different friend (I got a piece of a sucker, and this should be its third year, so, I'm hoping it takes off this year)...I have to identify it again.

As for the others, I did buy a couple bare-root viburnums a couple of years ago, only to find that I inadvertently picked a species whose range is a good bit south of me. (Did plant them, but like many things they have to make it with little attention from me...so I don't know that they made it, but I could be wrong.

I'm going to have to get back to researching and find out which of those "ums" are native to my area.

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Chokeberry I think is another one that the birds leave for last, hmmm I wonder if the name is any indication?
I think you might be onto something.

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I, I almost forgot the showiest one, Viburnum nudum - possumhaw viburnum. I have a bunch of those with another variety for cross-pollination to ensure lots of fruit.
I'll check into that...for some reason, I'm thinking that is the "tree-like" one I was thinking of--but, honestly, I have no idea. Viburnums are not my strong point.

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Also consider bayberry, American mountain ash, inkberry and winterberry.

I definitely want more of the winterberry...and I think I was looking into inkberry last year. As for the bayberry and American mountain ash, the "purist" in me is coming out again; I know they are native and within my range, but I think they grow in habitats very far from where we are. I'll have to double check, but I thought the bayberry was more of a coastal plant...and the mountain ash, I think it is from a much higher elevation than where we are.

The funny thing is, my father put in bayberry for my mother (and, for some reason I knew it was a native shrub--so, maybe my parents were into natives more than I thought)...and I remember a neighbor down the street had a mountain ash (for the birds, as I recall her telling me)--I remember thinking it was a non-native. It looked like a landscape plant and more "tropical" than what I was used to seeing in nature. I remember not liking it (but it could be that I wasn't crazy about their landscaping in general).

Now, I think I'd better do another quick check as to their habitat...neither is at the top of my list, but, if they would grow naturally in our area, I'd consider them.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:03 PM   #10
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Another thing I'm trying this year that the blue birds seem to like very much, is raking or shoveling my huge compost pile in the middle of the snow time. The birds don't rush in till I'm done revealing some areas within the pile. But as soon as I walk off, I counted a half dozen of the things dancing up and down from the tree limbs to the pile. I made sure when I was digging that if I found a grub, I would kick out so the birds could find it easy.
That is really an interesting trick. I think of them as being fruit eaters--except when young, but maybe they are omnivores all their lives...I'm sure with things scarce, they'll surely go for whatever they can get.

Maybe I should start a compost pile! (For all of those who are shocked to think that I don't compost, I do...just not in a pile.

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Wildlife gardening doesn't have to cost any money!
Very true.
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