How to choose trees that will encourage birds to hang around your yard
Encourage birds to stick around the yard with bird-friendly trees such as birches.
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I love crab apples, and have planted many in my garden. I appreciate their brightly-colored fruit, which lingers into winter, as well as their early spring blossoms, interesting growth habits and good fall color. Disease-resistant varieties, such as Malus ‘Sugar Tyme’ and M. ‘Prairifire’ are good choices.Skip to next paragraph
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For elegant and tiny, you can’t beat the weeping crab, M. Sargentii ‘Tina’. At only five feet tall, the tops of its pendulous branches are perfect bird perches — great next to smaller pools.
Fruiting mulberry trees should be planted well back from water, and underplanted with shrubs that will hide the fruit litter. This tree is messy, but beloved by birds. (The fruit is edible for humans as well.) The American native, red mulberry (Morus rubra) will grow to 40 feet, while the contorted mulberry (M. bombycis ‘Unryu’ aka ‘Tortuosa’) can reach 20 feet with attractive twisting branches. Or consider the six to eight foot drama of a dwarf weeping mulberry with dark fruit to satisfy you or your bird pals.
Next post, I’ll talk about shrubs that give another layer where birds can hang out near water.
Mary-Kate Mackey, co-author of “Sunset’s Secret Gardens — 153 Design Tips from the Pros” and contributor to the “Sunset Western Garden Book,” writes a monthly column for the Hartley Greenhouse webpage and numerous articles for Fine Gardening, Sunset, and other magazines. She teaches at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism & Communication. She writes about water in the garden for Diggin’ It.
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