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Importance of Native Plants

Bird Habitat Guide

Importance of Native Plants
Do you know how bird feel when then fly over a big backyard that’s nothing but a solid sheet of grass? The same way you feel flying over the ocean. There’s not much down there. Here are some tips to making your backyard inviting to birds...and more inviting to you.

Native Plants

Years ago, non-native ornamental plants made a splash for the simple reason that they were insect resistant and pretty. Many ornamental plants from Europe or Asia have thicker bark or leaves that native insects can’t munch on.
There’s the problem for birds. Without insects, the birds in your yard are missing a major food source. Native plants naturally attract insects that make for a healthy ecosystem. Consider this: one healthy native oak tree can support more than 100 different species of insects. That’s one heck of a bird buffet!
There’s the problem for birds. Without insects, the birds in your yard are missing a major food source. Native plants naturally attract insects that make for a healthy ecosystem. Consider this: one healthy native oak tree can support more than 100 different species of insects. That’s one heck of a bird buffet!
Looking for the native PA plants that are right for you? Visit our friends at the Pennsylvania Native Plant society. You’ll discover how beautiful and easy it is to go native!

High, Low, Middle

Birds love it when you take out some of that lawn grass and replacing it with layered native vegetation. The reason is simple. Birds have evolved to share nature’s resources. For food, some go high, some go low and some take the middle (broadly speaking.) Same goes for nesting. Layering your plantings accordingly will play right into their behavior. Plus, it will leave you with a really stunning new backyard feature.

Denser the Better

Birds feel safest when there’s a lot of vegetation around them. It offers them a place to go should a predator show up. It also gives them a good sense of security when nesting time comes around. So, don’t be afraid to go thick with your plantings. It will have an appealingly natural aesthetic to it. (Remember, this isn’t Queen Elizabeth’s tea garden.) Plus, it will be easier to maintain than trying to keep everything open and symmetric.

Not Too Clean

There’s no reason to crank up the leaf blower every week. In fact, studies have shown that a somewhat unkempt yard is a healthier yard. Why? Leaves, grass and other lawn waste naturally decomposes and returns its nutrients to the vegetation around it. Plus, it acts as a catalyst for insect development. That, in turn, brings in more birds. In fact, leaving most of your fall leaves in place will actually make your lawn better off come springtime, aid in the production of insect eggs and provide more food for winter birds. But this approach will pay dividends year ‘round. (Like freeing up more of your weekend to watch birds, not do yard work!)

Pesticides

Less grass, more native plants and more birds means you’ll have way less insects. Now you’re probably saying, “Hold on! You said native plants will help create more insects!” That’s true. More insects...that more birds will swoop in to eat. So, overall, you’ll have less bugs with way more birds to enjoy. And that means you can ease off on the pesticides...or even get rid of them all together!