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Landscaping 3 to 4 Acres For Wildlife

Landscaping 3 to 4 Acres For Wildlife

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Published by msblsports
Before you begin, think about the four basic needs of wildlife: food, water, cover, and space. Study the existing features of your land and see
what needs are already being met, then decide what you would like to add.
Before you begin, think about the four basic needs of wildlife: food, water, cover, and space. Study the existing features of your land and see
what needs are already being met, then decide what you would like to add.

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Published by: msblsports on Jan 24, 2012
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09/15/2013

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Page 1A Plant's Home
©
WindStar Wildlife Institute
For more nature habitat informationVisit these helpful websites:A Plant's HomeA Bird's HomeA Homesteader's Home
Landscaping 3 to 4Acres For Wildlife
What a joy it is to live in a home with some surrounding acreage
 – 
it gives you countless choices for landscaping. Sometimes, however, so many choices can be overwhelming and leave youwondering where to start.One way to narrow your focus is to decide toenhance your landscape for wildlife.
B
efore you begin, think aboutthe four basic needs of wildlife: food, water, cover, andspace. Study the existingfeatures of your land and seewhat needs are already beingmet, then decide what youwould like to add.A sketch of your property willbe a big help, and so will notesabout soil conditions, averagerainfall, amount of sunlight,wind direction, and climatezone.Remember that you don
thave to do everything at once.A budget and a timetable willhelp you put your plans inperspective and prioritize yourimprovements.The library, your localCooperative Extension office,bookstores, nurseries, and theWindStar Wildlife Institute canall provide information on whatplants will do well in your areaand what wildlife you canexpect to attract.With 3 to 4 acres, the size of property around which oursample landscape is designed,you may feel that you alreadyhave plenty of 
space." Thisterm means somethingdifferent to wildlife than it doesto people, however.For wild creatures, theirspace has to include sufficientfood, water, cover, and safeplaces to raise a family.The required range variesfrom species to species. Volesthrive when there are as many
 
Page 2A Plant's Home
©
WindStar Wildlife Institute
as 35 per acre, but even onefamily of foxes would feelcrowded in an area that size.
Be Different
One of the best ways toenhance property for wildlife isto offer as much diversity aspossible. When choosing plants,strive for a variety of heights,bloom times, food value (seeds,nuts, fruit, twigs), growthhabits (dense, open), evergreenand deciduous leaves.The more choices you offer,the more species you are likelyto attract. Getting yourneighbors interested inenhancing their properties atthe same time will increase therange available for largeranimals and offer additionalresources.
Go Native
WindStar emphasizes
native"plants because they haveevolved with wildlife to becomehighly suited to its needs. Theyare also hardier, requiring fewerchemicals to keep them healthy.At the same time, there aremany nonnative species thatmay attract your interest, andyour final design should reflectyour own taste and preferences.We recommend, however, thatyou do some research first.
Exotic" plants may becomeinvasive and can get out of control more easily when youhave a large property tosupervise. Once established,they are very difficult toeliminate.Groups of plants aregenerally more attractive towildlife than single specimens,and with a large property youhave the opportunity tolandscape with clusters of vegetation.Evergreen windbreaks are agood example. Planted inmasses, these trees arestriking in appearancethroughout the year, and offervaluable winter cover for wildlife,as well as seeds for birds.As an extra bonus, they canindeed block cold winds. Shownin the sample plan aregroupings of Colorado bluespruce (Picea pungens), whitepine (Pinus strobus), and redcedar (Juniperus viginiana).For the unspecified evergreenscreen near the house, considerbroadleaf evergreens likeAmerican holly (Ilex opaca),mountain laurel (Kalmialatifolia), or Oregon grape(Mahonia aquifolium).
Reduce Spraying
Trees for the fruit orchardcan be chosen to suit yourtaste buds, but select cultivarsthat have been bred to requireas little chemical treatment aspossible. Sprays can affectbirds and beneficial insects, aswell as those that you aretrying to eliminate.Deciduous trees will lose theirleaves in winter, but providefood, flowers, nesting sites inspring, and shady relief fromthe summer sun.Keep in mind the mature sizeof any selection, and whether itwill block a view or crowd astructure.
Shrubs Produce Berries
There are also many kinds of shrubs to choose from,providing a lower layer of vegetation. Those in our chartare native plants selected fortheir wildlife value. Mostproduce berries, some of whichwill persist into winter to supplyimportant cold-weathernourishment.With some acreage to work with, you have the chance toset aside large areas for themeadows that wildlifeappreciates so much but hasless and less opportunity tofind. Whether filled with flowersor grasses, meadows offerplenty of cover and food. Thereare wildflower seed mixesavailable for all parts of thecountry, and a variety of grainsand warm season grasses tochoose from.Our design uses switchgrass,millet, grain sorghum, clover,and buckwheat. Warm seasongrass selections can includelittle bluestem (Schizachyriumscoparium), blue grama(Bouteloua gracilis), and Indianricegrass (Ozyzopsishumenoides).
Songbirds Love Sunflowers
The areas set aside to beplanted with sunflowers will liftyour spirits every time you seethem in bloom, and delight
 
Page 3A Plant's Home
©
WindStar Wildlife Institute
songbirds of all kinds as theseeds ripen on the flower heads.You may have noticed thatwhile there is an area of lawnincluded around the house, itrepresents only a small portionof the property.Mowed grass is nice forpeople to walk on, but offersalmost no value to wildlife. Inaddition, more lawn means morework, expense, and use of chemicals, so it is in your owninterest to limit its size.Ground covers can be goodalternatives to traditional lawn.Some choices to consider are juniper (Juniperus horizontalis),cotoneaster (Cotoneasterhorizontalis), and periwinkles(Vinca major/minor).Water is necessary for allliving things, and a pond is awonderful way to provide it.The extra size and depth meanthat it won
t freeze as quickly asa birdbath, and because it is atground level, it can benefit manydifferent species. You can addfish and a selection of waterplants, and should include somerocks or logs for sunning andperching.There are many pond-makingkits on the market, as well asbooks on how to build oneyourself.
3 to 4 Acre Habitat Design

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