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Keeping a "wild" yard

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

By Pamela Sleightholm

Nature appreciates a wild yard. How wild you keep your yard is really up to you - you can leave some tree branches after a trim, keep a brush pile, or tuck some away in a corner of your yard or behind a shed.

Native perennials - barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis) will eventually grow to cover the small brush pile by the fence. In the picture on the right, you can see the holes dug into the wood by the various insects that call it home.

Branches, twigs and leaves provide habitat for insects, including pollinators. Some of those insects then become the food for native birds in our ecosystem. Eventually, the brush will rot down, adding nutrients to your soil, then you can add some more on top!

Here's an example of a Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) rooting some tasty bugs out of an old maple branch.

If you're planning to trim a tree this year, keep a few of the branches as an easy way to create habitat in your yard.


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