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Make a home
for birds, butterflies, and nature's other creatures.
Habitat is a combination of
food, water, shelter, and space arranged to meet the needs of
wildlife. Even a small yard can be landscaped to attract birds,
butterflies, beneficial insects, and small animals. Trees, shrubs,
and other plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
The plants you use for food
and cover will help determine the wildlife species attracted to
your backyard. Nesting boxes, feeders, and watering sites can be
added to improve the habitat.
Planning is necessary for
attractive and productive wildlife habitat. You have both a
horizontal area to work with--the size of your lot--as well as a
vertical area that stretches from your soil to the treetops. The
vertical area is composed of the canopy formed by the tallest tree
branches; understory vegetation consisting of smaller trees, shrubs,
and vines; the floor which is often dominated by low-growing
groundcovers; and the basement where a variety of organisms exist in
the soil. Different wildlife species live in each of these zones, so
numerous habitats can be provided on a small piece of land.
Trees and shrubs are the
backbone of any landscaping design and are important for wildlife
shelter. Many tree and shrub species are excellent sources of food
for wildlife. Proper selection of plant material can meet both the
aesthetic needs of the homeowner and the food and shelter needs of
wildlife. Remember that you are part of the habitat!
create habitat for wildlife
1. Identify all existing
plants, if any. Note:
- Condition of the plants and their
- How much shade the trees and
- Are trees evergreen or do they
drop their leaves in the fall?
- Do they provide valuable food
2. Make a sketch of your yard
noting all existing plants, buildings, utilities, and pathways. You
may even consider removing some plants. In some cases, trees have
been planted too close to buildings or have grown much larger than
the previous owner envisioned. Some species may be of little
wildlife value and may not be particularly attractive. Once you have
identified existing plants you want to save, start exploring options
for plants that will work well with these species. The existing
plants around your yard may be adequate to attract some wildlife,
but a few changes can effectively enhance the existing habitat.
Diversity in the landscape is necessary. Some plants provide food
but very little cover; others provide cover but little food.
3. Add trees, shrubs,
flowers, and groundcovers to your plan. Not all the planting needs
to be done at once. If money or time is limited, consider it a work
4. Plant a variety of trees
first. Select evergreen species for year-round cover and shelter.
Select fruit or nut-bearing plants for a food source. Native species
are well suited for providing wildlife habitat because they are
adapted to the local soil, climate, and wildlife. Additional
considerations for choosing and placement include:
Eventual size. Whether they
are evergreen or deciduous (trees that drop their leaves). Deciduous
trees planted on the south side of a house will provide summer
shade, but will not completely block winter sun.
Flowering and fruiting habit.
Select plants that flower and bear fruit at different times of the
year. Some shrubs that produce berries can provide food throughout
the year. Trees with nuts and fruit can also provide seasonal foods.
(See the tip sheet on tree planting for suggested
5. Fill in with smaller
shade-tolerant understory trees and shrubs. Adding these to an
existing landscape will enhance the vertical structure that is
common in natural landscapes. Many smaller trees and shrubs are
colorful in the spring when they flower, and provide berries for
fall and winter feed.
6. Flowering annuals (plants
that live one growing season) and perennials (plants that live for
more than a year) add color to the yard and can be added at any
stage to attract birds and butterflies. If your yard is large,
consider using part of it for tall native grasses that provide
beauty, as well as a natural source of food and shelter. A native
wildflower garden provides the same function. Even on a small lot,
native wildflowers, as well as some common garden species, can
provide attractive habitat for a variety of birds and butterflies.
Avoid straight lines and perfect symmetry. Natural habitat has
curves and clumps of vegetation. Wildlife is not particularly
attracted to a well-manicured lawn. Wildlife is more likely to come
out into the open for viewing when the boundary of the yard is
designed and maintained as a retreat for animals.
Food and cover are essential
for the survival of all species. Loss of suitable nesting sites is a
major factor in the decline of some bird species. In the wild, many
species nest in cavities of dead trees. With the loss of hedgerows
in some parts of the country and the removal of dead trees in towns,
natural nesting sites are often limited. Also, some highly
competitive, non-native species of birds have taken over some of the
existing nesting sites once occupied by native birds.
Bird species are extremely
variable in their habits. Some like deeply wooded areas; others
prefer open fields and meadows. Many species are year-round
residents, while others such as the cedar waxwing appear only for a
few days a year during migration. Other species such as sparrows,
blue jays, cardinals, robins, juncos, and chickadees are highly
adaptable and found in many environments.
Many people are not aware of
the value of dead, dying, and hollow trees, as well as logs on the
ground, for birds and other wildlife. Dead trees provide homes to
more than 400 species of birds, mammals, and amphibians. Fish,
plants, and fungi also benefit from dead and dying trees. Consider
leaving standing dead and dying trees in your yard unless they pose
a human safety or property hazard, and use old logs and stumps in
gardens and landscaping.
Below are some plant species
to consider for wildlife habitat. Check with a local nursery on
plants suitable for your area. Some of these plants, while suited
for wildlife, may have characteristics such as shallow roots or weak
limbs that make them inappropriate for small urban properties--or
they may not be winter hardy in all locations. Birds eat any flower
seed, depending on the kind of bird and seed.
American beech (Fagus
American holly (Ilex
Balsam fir (Abies
Black cherry (Prunus
Black gum (Nyssa
Crabapple (Malus spp.)
Hickories (Carya spp.)
Live oak (Quercus
Oaks (Quercus spp.)
mulberry (Morus rubra)
and deciduous species (Ilex spp.)
Sumacs (Rhus spp.)
Wax myrtle (Myrica
Vines for birds:
(Lonicera sempervirens and related spp.)
Trumpet creeper or vine
Wild grape (Vitis spp.)
for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees:
Aster (Aster spp.)
Bee balm (Monarda spp.)
Butterfly weed and
other milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)
Clover and other
Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.)
Jewel weed (Impatiens
capensis or I. pallida)
Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)
Lupine (Lupinus spp.)
Phlox (Phlox spp.)
Salvia (Salvia spp.)
Trumpet creeper or vine
Weigela (Weigela spp.)
Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)
food and shelter for birds
Few yards will be able to
supply sufficient food or shelter for a variety of birds all year
long. However, you can improve shelter and food supplies by building
or purchasing feeders and houses, and by setting out certain foods.
All bird species have
specific nesting requirements. Because of these requirements, your
yard may not accommodate certain species. For instance, Eastern
bluebirds prefer nesting sites that border open fields or lawns with
a tree or fence post nearby to provide feeding perches. Chickadees
prefer to nest in brushy wooded areas.
Before setting out nesting
houses, find out which species are common in your area and can be
encouraged to nest in your yard. Make or buy a bird house
specifically designed for the bird you wish to attract. The size of
the entrance hole is critical to prevent the eggs and young from
being destroyed by larger birds--always check a list of appropriate
hole sizes. Other considerations include box size, height above the
ground, direction the entrance hole faces, and amount of sunlight.
Boxes may need baffles or other protective devices to limit access
by cats and other predators. A good reference publication is "Homes
for Birds" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of
Migratory Bird Management. It is available at two internet sites:
http://www.fws.gov/r9mbmo/pamphlet/pamplets.html or http://birding.miningco.com/msub12.htm.
Many species of birds can be
attracted by a variety of feed in different styles of feeders. There
are many styles of bird feeders available, from window-mounted
feeders to those that hang from branches and stands. Many birds will
readily eat right off the ground. Bird feed comes in a variety of
choices; however, sunflower seeds appeal to many birds, as well as
small mammals. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees are
especially attracted to suet. Citrus fruit, chopped apples and
bananas, and raisins will be eaten by numerous species, including
robins, titmouse, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and mockingbirds.
Feeders may also attract
wildlife species you may not want to feed such as starlings, crows,
and squirrels. Feeder type and placement and the type of food can
help deter unwanted species.
Unlike many other species of
birds, hummingbirds rely on nectar as their source of food. These
tiny, migratory birds are commonly seen in the summer in northern
states gathering nectar from colorful flowers. Hummingbirds are
typically attracted to red and yellow tubular flowers, although they
frequently visit others. Hummingbird feeders can be purchased and
filled with a sugar-water solution, consisting of 1 part sugar to 4
parts water. Every 3 to 4 days, wash the feeder with soap and water,
rinse thoroughly, and add new sugar water.
shelter for butterflies
Colorful butterflies and
moths add beauty and interest to your backyard. There are hundreds
of different species of butterflies and moths in North America.
Butterflies and moths are insects. They hatch into larvae (commonly
referred to as caterpillars), eventually become pupae, and develop
into colorful adults. How long the process takes depends on the
species and the climate.
Butterflies and moths are
amazingly particular in their food choices. The larval stage of the
butterfly may require food quite different from that of the adult.
Some larvae consume tremendous amounts of plant material, seemingly
devouring plants overnight. A common example in the garden is the
tomato hornworm which rapidly strips tomato plants of their leaves.
An equally voracious, but beautiful, larvae is the Eastern black
swallowtail which is found only on plants in the carrot family,
including celery, carrot, dill, and parsley. A close relative is the
Eastern tiger swallowtail that eats the foliage of wild cherry,
birch, poplar, ash, and tulip trees.
Adult butterflies require
food in liquid form such as plant-produced nectar. They get some of
it from flowers and from juices of extra-ripe fruit. The types of
flowering plants you grow will determine the kinds of butterflies
you attract to your backyard. In addition to the plants listed for
hummingbirds, butterfly bush is especially attractive. Find out what
species are common in your area and use plants they like. Nectar
feeders can be placed in the yard to attract butterflies. Do not use
insecticides near plants for butterflies. Learn to recognize larval
and egg forms. That large green and black caterpillar eating your
dill may one day turn into the gorgeous butterfly you were hoping to
Butterflies, like all
insects, are most active when temperatures are warmer. While moths
are commonly found at night, most butterflies are active on sunny,
warm days. Butterflies will benefit from a basking site where they
can warm up on cool mornings. Add a light-colored rock or concrete
garden sculpture as a basking site. Butterflies also need a source
of water. A shallow dish of water or a depression in a rock that
retains water is all they need.
In the United States, there
are nearly 5,000 different species of native bees. Most of them are
solitary, friendly bees that nest in holes in the ground or burrows
in twigs and dead tree limbs. These bees do not have hives to
protect them, so they are not aggressive and rarely sting.
Bumblebees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, leafcutter bees, digger
bees, and others pollinate many different kinds of plants. They play
a critical role in healthy wild plant communities and gardens. About
30 percent of our diet is the direct result of a pollinating visit
by a bee to a flowering fruit tree or vegetable plant. Providing bee
habitat in your yard can increase the quality and quantity of your
fruits and vegetables.
Bees are extremely sensitive
to many commonly applied insecticides. If you must use chemical
insecticides in your garden, apply them in the evening when bees are
less likely to be active.
Bees are attracted to most
flowering plants, and are especially fond of blue and yellow
flowers. Try planting your garden to have different species blooming
in the spring, summer, and fall.
A good use for untreated
scrap lumber (at least 3 to 5 inches thick) is to drill holes (from
1/8-inch to 5/16-inch in diameter) about 90 percent of the way into
the thick wooden block. Space the holes about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch
apart. The 5/16-inch holes work best as homes for orchard bees which
are excellent pollinators of fruit trees. Hang your bee blocks under
the eaves of your house or garden shed, protected from direct sun
bats to your yard
Bats are a beneficial and
interesting mammal. Bats are the single most important controller of
night-flying insects, including mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. For
example, a single little brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in
an hour. Watching bats fly around light posts catching bugs can be
an interesting nighttime activity.
A bat house in your yard will
help attract bats and provide them with much-needed roosting
habitat. The house should be placed on a pole at least 15 feet high
in a spot that receives sun most of the day. Tree trunks are usually
too shady for bat boxes. Some bat species such as gray bats, red
bats, and hoary bats will use shrubs and trees for roosting under
loose bark or in cavities.
Many species of bats migrate
in the fall and hibernate throughout the winter months in caves,
mines, or buildings. If disturbed during hibernation, their
metabolism is increased, depleting fat reserves and reducing their
chances of survival.
As with all wildlife, bats
should be watched, but not handled or chased. Generally, bats are
shy of humans and will not attack or fly after a person. However, if
caught or picked up from the ground, a bat may bite.
reptiles and amphibians
Toads, frogs, lizards,
turtles, and snakes all have a place in the backyard. While many
people may not want some of these animals in their yards, most
species are harmless and often quite beneficial--feeding on
destructive insects or rodents.
Shelter for reptiles and
amphibians is easy to provide. Several rocks piled in a sunny spot
will provide basking sites. Consider planting shade-tolerant
groundcovers under trees and leaving a thick layer of leaves to
provide cool shelter. Stumps, logs, and rock piles in a shady spot
can be valuable.
Clean, fresh water is as
important to birds, bats, butterflies, and other wildlife as it is
for people. Water in a saucer, bird bath, or backyard pond is
adequate for wildlife. Be sure to change the water every few days to
keep it fresh. In hot weather, it may be necessary to refill the
Logs, rocks, and
water-holding structures provide drinking and basking habitat for
turtles, butterflies, and songbirds. Stones with depressions that
collect water will help attract butterflies.
A word about
rabbits, raccoons, opossums, skunks, woodchucks, mice, and deer are
commonly found in many urban environments. These species are highly
adaptable and, in many cases, are becoming unwanted visitors rather
than welcome guests.
As with all wildlife, cover
is essential for the survival of these species. Small brush piles
intended for amphibians and reptiles will also provide shelter for
rabbits and mice. Chipmunks and woodchucks are adept at digging
their own burrows. Trees may provide shelter for squirrels,
raccoons, and opossums. Food set out for birds may attract many of
these animals. Squirrels, chipmunks, and mice will readily eat
birdseed. Raccoons will feed on suet. Woodchucks and rabbits will
eat a variety of vegetation including garden vegetables and
flowering plants. Deer are browsers and will nibble at trees,
shrubs, hay, and grain.
A few precautions can be
taken to avoid unwanted encounters with these animals. Avoid setting
out food that may attract scavengers such as raccoons. Keep garbage
cans in a secure shed or garage or use metal cans that scavengers
cannot chew through. Check the exterior of your house for loose or
rotted boards that could allow access by mice or other rodents.
Remember that these animals are wild, and if threatened they can
bite. Raccoons can be particularly aggressive. All these species can
carry diseases. Do not handle them.
Laws vary from state to state
on wildlife issues. If you have questions or concerns about
wildlife, check with your state's Department of Natural Resources or
Conservation Department before taking any action. Trees add beauty
and so much more.
Trees in your backyard can be home to many different
types of wildlife. Trees can also reduce your heating and cooling
costs, help clean the air, add beauty and color, provide shelter
from the wind and the sun, and add value to your
Choosing a tree should be a well thought-out decision.
Tree planting can be a significant investment in money and time.
Proper selection can provide you with years of enjoyment as well as
significantly increase the value of your property. An inappropriate
tree for your property can be a constant maintenance problem or even
a hazard. Before you buy, take advantage of the abundant references
on gardening at local libraries, universities, arboretums, parks
where trees are identified, native plant and gardening clubs, and
nurseries. Some questions to consider in selecting a tree
1. What purpose will this tree serve? Trees can serve
numerous landscape functions including beautification, screening of
sights and sounds, shade and energy conservation, and wildlife
2. Is the species appropriate for your area? Reliable
nurseries will not sell plant material that is not suitable for your
area. However, some mass marketers have trees and shrubs that are
not winter hardy in the area sold. Even if a tree is hardy, it may
not flower consistently from year to year at the limits of its
useful range due to late spring freezes. If you are buying a tree
for the spring flowers and fall fruits, this may be a consideration.
In warmer climates, there may not be a long enough period of cool
temperatures for some species, such as apples, to develop flowers.
Apples and other species undergo vernalization--a period of
near-freezing temperatures that cause changes in the plant,
resulting in the production of flowers.
Be aware of microclimates. Microclimates are very
localized areas where weather conditions may vary from the norm. A
very sheltered yard may support vegetation not normally adapted to
the region. On the other hand, a north-facing slope may be
significantly cooler or windier than surrounding areas and survival
of normally adapted plants may be limited.
Select trees native to your area. They will be more
tolerant of local weather and soil conditions, enhance natural
biodiversity in your neighborhood, and be more beneficial to
wildlife than many non-native trees. Avoid exotic trees that can
invade other areas, crowd out native plants, and harm natural
3. How big will it get? When planting a small tree, it
is often difficult to imagine that in 20 years it could be shading
your entire yard. Unfortunately, many trees are planted and later
removed when the tree grows beyond the dimensions of the property.
4. What is the average life expectancy of the tree?
Some trees can live for hundreds of years. Others are considered
"short-lived" and may live for only 20 or 30 years. Many short-lived
trees tend to be smaller ornamental species. Short-lived species
should not necessarily be ruled out when considering plantings. They
may have other desirable characteristics, such as size, shape,
tolerance of shade, or fruit, that would be useful in the landscape.
These species may also fill a void in a young landscape, and can be
removed as other larger, longer-lived species mature.
5. Does it have any particular ornamental value such
as leaf color or flowers and fruits? Some species provide beautiful
displays of color for short periods in the spring or fall. Other
species may have foliage that is reddish or variegated and can add
color in your landscaping year round.
Trees bearing fruits or nuts can provide an excellent
source of food for many species of wildlife. However, some people
consider some fruit and nut bearing trees to be "dirty."
6. Does it have any particular insect, disease, or
other problem that may reduce its usefulness? Certain insects and
diseases can be serious problems on some desirable species in some
regions. Depending on the pest, control of the problem may be
difficult and the pest may significantly reduce the attractiveness,
if not the life expectancy, of the plant. Other species such as the
silver maple (Acer saccharium) are known to have weak wood that is
susceptible to damage in ice storms or heavy winds.
7. How common is this species in your neighborhood or
town? Some species are over-planted. Increasing the natural
diversity will provide habitat for wildlife and help limit the
opportunity for a single pest to destroy all plantings. An excellent
example of this was the American elm (Ulmus americana). This lovely
tree was widely planted throughout the United States. With the
introduction of Dutch elm disease, thousands of communities lost all
their street trees in only a few years.
8. Is the tree evergreen or deciduous? Evergreen trees
will provide cover and shade year round. They may also be more
effective as a barrier for wind and noise. Deciduous trees will give
you summer shade but allow the winter sun to shine in. This may be a
consideration for where to place the tree in your yard.
Proper placement of trees is critical for your
enjoyment and their long-term survival. Check with local authorities
about regulations pertaining to placement of trees. Some communities
have ordinances restricting placement of trees within a specified
distance of a street, sidewalk, streetlight, or other utilities.
Before planting your tree, consider the tree's
ultimate size. When the tree nears maturity, will it be too near
your house or other structures? Be considerate of your neighbors. An
evergreen tree planted on your north side may block the winter sun
from your next door neighbor. Will it provide too much shade for
your vegetable and flower gardens? Most vegetables and many flowers
require considerable amounts of sun. If you intend to grow these
plants, consider how the placement of trees will affect these
gardens. Will it obstruct driveways or sidewalks? Will it cause
problems for buried or overhead utilities?
A properly planted and maintained tree will grow
faster and live longer than one that is incorrectly planted. Trees
can be planted almost any time of the year as long as the ground is
not frozen. Late summer or early fall is the optimum time to plant
trees in many areas. This gives the tree a chance to establish new
roots before winter arrives and the ground freezes. When spring
arrives, the tree is ready to grow. The second choice for planting
is late winter or early spring. Planting in hot summer weather
should be avoided. Planting in frozen soil during the winter is
difficult and tough on tree roots. When the tree is dormant and the
ground is frozen, there is no opportunity for the growth of new
Trees are purchased as container grown, balled and
burlapped (B&B), and bare root. Generally, container grown are
the easiest to plant and successfully establish in any season,
including summer. With container grown stock, the plant has been
growing in a container for a period of time. When planting container
grown plants, little damage is done to the roots as the plant is
transferred to the soil. Container grown trees range in size from
very small plants in gallon pots up to large trees in huge pots.
B&B plants frequently have been dug from a nursery, wrapped in
burlap, and kept in the nursery for an additional period of time,
giving the roots opportunity to regenerate. B&B plants can be
quite large. Bare root trees are usually extremely small plants.
Because there is no soil on the roots, they must be planted when
they are dormant to avoid drying out. The roots must be kept moist
until planted. Frequently, bare root trees are offered by seed and
nursery mail order catalogs or in the wholesale trade. Many state
operated nurseries and local conservation districts also sell bare
root stock in bulk quantities for only a few cents per plant. Bare
root plants usually are offered in the early spring and should be
planted as soon as possible upon arrival.
Carefully follow the planting instructions that come
with your tree. If specific instructions are not available, follow
1. BEFORE DIGGING,
call your local utilities to identify the location of any
2. Dig a hole twice as wide as, and slightly shallower
than, the root ball. Roughen the sides and bottom of the hole with a
pick or shovel so that roots can penetrate the soil.
3. With a potted tree, gently remove the tree from the
container. Lay the tree on its side with the container end near the
planting hole. Hit the bottom and sides of the container until the
root ball is loosened. If roots are growing in a circular pattern
around the root ball, slice through the roots on a couple of sides
of the root ball. With trees wrapped in burlap, remove the string or
wire that holds the burlap to the root crown. It is unnecessary to
completely remove the burlap. Plastic wraps must be completely
removed. Gently separate circling roots on the root ball. Shorten
exceptionally long roots, and guide the shortened roots downward and
outward. Root tips die quickly when exposed to light and air, so
don't waste time.
4. Place the root ball in the hole. Leave the top of
the root ball (where the roots end and the trunk begins) 1/2 to 1
inch above the surrounding soil, making sure not to cover it unless
roots are exposed. For bare root plants, make a mound of soil in the
middle of the hole and spread plant roots out evenly over mound. Do
not set trees too deep. As you add soil to fill in around the tree,
lightly tamp the soil to collapse air pockets, or add water to help
settle the soil. Form a temporary water basin around the base of the
tree to encourage water penetration, and water thoroughly after
planting. A tree with a dry root ball cannot absorb water; if the
root ball is extremely dry, allow water to trickle into the soil by
placing the hose at the trunk of the tree.
5. Mulch around the tree. A 3-foot diameter circle of
mulch is common.
6. Depending on the size of the tree and the site
conditions, staking may be beneficial. Staking supports the tree
until the roots are well established to properly anchor it. Staking
should allow for some movement of the tree. After trees are
established, remove all support wires. If these are not removed they
can girdle the tree, cutting into the trunk and eventually killing
For the first year or two, especially after a week or
so of especially hot or dry weather, watch your trees closely for
signs of moisture stress. If you see leaf wilting or hard, caked
soil, water the trees well and slowly enough to allow the water to
soak in. This will encourage deep root growth. Keep the area under
the trees mulched.
Some species of evergreen trees may need protection
against winter sun and wind. A thorough watering in the fall before
the ground freezes is recommended. Spray solutions are available to
help prevent drying of foliage during the winter.
Fertilization is usually not needed for newly planted
trees. Depending on soil and growing conditions, fertilizer may be
beneficial at a later time.
Young trees need protection against rodents, frost
cracks, sunscald, and lawn mowers and weed whackers. Mice and
rabbits frequently girdle small trees by chewing away the bark at
snow level. Since the tissues that transport nutrients in the tree
are located just under the bark, a girdled tree often dies in the
spring when growth resumes. Weed whackers are also a common cause of
girdling. Plastic guards are an inexpensive and easy control method.
Frost cracking is caused by the sunny side of the tree expanding at
a different rate than the colder shaded side. This can cause large
splits in the trunk. Sunscald can occur when a young tree is
suddenly moved from a shady spot into direct sun. Light colored tree
wraps can be used to protect the trunk from sunscald.
Usually, pruning is not needed on newly planted trees.
As the tree grows, lower branches may be pruned to provide clearance
above the ground, or to remove dead or damaged limbs or suckers that
sprout from the trunk. Sometimes larger trees need pruning to allow
more light to enter the canopy. Small branches can be removed easily
with pruners. Large branches should be removed with a pruning saw.
All cuts should be vertical. This will allow the tree to heal
quickly without the use of sealants. Major pruning should be done in
late winter or early spring. At this time the tree is more likely to
"bleed" as sap is rising through the plant. This is actually healthy
and will help prevent invasion by many disease organisms. Heavy
pruning in the late summer or fall may reduce the tree's winter
hardiness. Removal of large branches can be hazardous. If in doubt
about your ability to prune properly, contact a professional with
the proper equipment.
Under no circumstance should trees be topped. Not only
does this practice ruin the natural shape of the tree, but it
increases susceptibility to diseases and results in very narrow
crotch angles, the angle between the trunk and the side branch.
Narrow crotch angles are weaker than wide ones and more susceptible
to damage from wind and ice. If a large tree requires major
reduction in height or size, contact a professionally trained
arborist. There are other methods to selectively remove large
branches without sacrificing the health or beauty of the tree.
On the farm
Windbreaks and tree plantings slow the wind and
provide shelter and food for wildlife. Trees can shelter livestock
and crops; they are used as barriers to slow winds that blow
across large cropped fields and through farmsteads. Windbreaks can
be beneficial in reducing blowing and drifting snow along
roadways. Farmstead and field windbreaks and tree plantings are
key components of a conservation system. They also help prevent
dust particles from adding to smog over urban areas.
The Registry of Nature Habitats
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All Rights Reserved