Landscaping or Lakescaping for Wildlife, or Not?

Ruby-throated hummingbirds come to the North Shore.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds come to the North Shore.

NorGard_051211.mp3109.93 MB

Landscaping or Lakescaping for Wildlife, or Not?

Welcome to Northern Gardening!

Hosts Joan Farnam and Diane Booth talk about  "Landscaping for Wildlife, or Not?" with Carroll Henderson, DNR Non-game Wildlife program leader and Molly Hoffman, well-known local gardener and birder. Northern Gardening airs on the second Thursday of every month from 4 – 5 p.m. and is hosted by The Northwoods Foods Project and Cook County Extension. It is also rebroadcast at 6:00 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday morning of the month

Carroll has been the DNR Non-game Wildlife Program leader since the DNR program started in 1977. Here are some of the topics discussed in the program:

• Do we have bluebirds here in Cook County? What can people do to support them? They require a 5/acre home range per pair

• What about trumpeter swans? Weren’t they originally found around the Great Lakes?

• Pileated woodpecker? 100 acres for home range pair

• Yellow bellied sapsuckers? 10 acres home range pair

• Hairy woodpecker? 25 acres home range pair

• Downy woodpecker 10 acres home range pair

• Deer mouse 3- 4 acres home range pair

• Red squirrel 100 acres home range pair

People often move to northeastern Minnesota to "get back to nature." Gardening is one of those activities. Many of us are interested in growing our own food and still want to live harmoniously with the local animals that live here as well. It is kind of a balancing act.I know Molly, you and Ken have really strived to achieve that balance on your property.
Molly and Carroll: Can you give us some suggestions about how to enhance our properties for wildlife use?

• Animals need food, water, shelter and space.

• Having a diverse landscape is important as it supports more species of wildlife

• Your landscape is less vulnerable to large scale destruction caused by insect pests or diseases that can devastate a single species

• You increase the ecological stability of your yard by increasing the number of plant species

• By planting certain plant species on your property, you can increase wildlife abundance.

Carroll, in your book, "Landscaping for Wildlife" you have appendixes for plant groups that also include plant characteristics, height & width, sun exposure, moisture preference, pH preference, soil types and then what their value is for wildlife and how you can use them in your landscape.
Number of wildlife species is also documented for

1. Wildlife value ratings are

• A Both food and cover

• B Butterfly nectar plant

• C Mainly cover

• E Honeybee and bumblebee nectar source

• F Mainly food

• L Butterfly caterpillar plant

• M Moth nectar source

• N Hummingbird nectar source

• O Oriole nectar source

• S Seeds also eaten by finches and juncos

• Native vs. non-native plantings??

2. Landscape Uses – there is a landscape score as well that values the plants according to traditional landscape qualities like fall color, winter interest, etc. = 75 points total

• A Edging borders

• B Backyard

• B Border shrub

• C Grassy nesting cover

• D Foundation plants in yards

• E Erosion control on slopes

• F Food plot

• G Ground cover

• H Hanging basket

• I Formal hedge

• J1 Tub or 2.5 gallon container

J2 8”- 12” diameter pot

J3 4 - 6” diameter pot

• K Vines for trellises and fences

• L Boulevard trees

• M Privacy hedges and screens

• N Flower garden / bedding

• P Prairie

• Q Wetland or pond

• R Rock garden

• S Shelterbelt/ windbreak

• t Small ornamental trees / shrubs for lawns

• U Tall annuals /perennials – backdrop for borders

• T Shade tree in yard

• V Vegetable garden

• W Woodland

• X Window boxes

• Y Orchard

• Z Herb garden


Amelanchier alnifolia – Saskatoon berry, juneberry, serviceberry

Plant type: SS short shrub

Origin : N native

No wildlife species: 58 58

Wildlife value: F food

Landscape uses: BSWP backyard, shelterbelt windbreak, woodland, prairie

Plant characteristics: DS dioecious (plant 2 or more), suckers to form


3. Plants are also listed according to whether they are summer, fall or winter plants and rated for wildlife as excellent, good or fair.

Examples: Rubus idaeus var. strigosus Red Raspberry

No. wildlife species: 97

Wildlife value: A both food and cover

Equisetum Horsetails

No wildlife species: 6

Wildlife value: A both food & cover

Vaccinium angustifolium Blueberries

No wildlife species: 53

Wildlife value: F food

Zizania aquatic Wild rice

No wildlife species: 23

Wildlife value: F food

Potamogeton spp. Pondweed

No wildlife species: 40

Wildlife value: F food

Zea mays Field corn

No wildlife species: 100

Wildlife value; A both food & cover

Crataegus phaenopyrum Washington hawthorn

No wildlife species: 25

Wildlife value: BN Butterfly nectar plant; hummingbird nectar plant

** What about our native hawthorns here?

Bats and birds can be especially effective helpmates in the landscape and in the garden. Molly and Carroll can you give us our listeners some ideas about what species we might want to encourage and how we might do that?

1. Pollination with insects and birds

Hummingbirds for pollination:

• Delphinium, bee balm, bleeding heart, canna lily, dahlia, 4-o’clock, fuschia, impatiens, sweet William, honeysuckle, morning glory, apple, crabapple, hawthorn, azaleas

• Jewelweed (Impatiens

• Scarlet runner beans

• Coralberry

• Love misters for water

• Need cover and perching places close to the humming bird feeders / flowers

• Solution ¼ sugar water – very clean – no red dye

Wings at 55 beats per minute

Fatten up in August / early September

Need to nearly double their weight in fat stores for migration

Butterflies for pollination:

• Creating puddling places

• Creating hiding places for butterflies by intermingling various heights of plants and evergreens

• Creating a long season of nectar sources from early spring to fall for larva and adults

• Herbicide & pesticide free area

• Basking areas – large flat rocks to warm up on

• Butterfly houses?? Have you talked to anyone where these are being used? What butterflies

might overwinter in them?

Moths: Sweet William, 4-o’ clocks, heliotrope, nicotiana, petunias

Specific larval plants for specific butterfly and moth larvae (coevolution & pollination)

• i.e. Baltimore Checkerspot larvae and turtleheads or chelone

2. Bats and insect control ‘Woodworking for Wildlife’ book by Carroll Hendersen

• Provide the right habitat to encourage insect-eating predators like purple martins, dragonflies, tree swallows, bluebirds.

• How well do bat houses work? Our house is wrapped with tyvek – they love that.

• Bats can eat 3,000 – 7,000 insects / night

• What are the favorite insects they consume?

If you are lucky enough to live along a lakeshore, you want to seriously consider "lakescaping" along the shore to increase the wildlife using the area. Carroll’s book, ‘"Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality’ would be a great resource.
In Cook County, we have folks who live along Lake Superior and folks who live on inland lakes… can you make some suggestions for what folks might want to consider when they purchase lake property?

• Live and dead plants for habitat along the shore – they absorb the energy of waves to prevent soil erosion

• Dead trees and logs

• A thriving plant and animal community will give you better water quality

• How do people get started if they have lawn right down to the shoreline?

• Buffer zone – take a look at the native landscape around your lake and learn what native plants thrive there

• Mulching native plantings / keeping everything weeded well to get established

• Leave dried vegetation in the winter for interest and cover for wildlife

• Shoreline stabilization - great section in your book on bioengineering- wattles, soil erosion blankets, brush mattresses, – also local Soil & Water office can be a great resource

1. Suggestions for plant species for bioengineering

• Speckled alder

• Red osier dogwood

• Willows

• American elderberry

• Arrowwood

• Nannyberry

2. Great information on plants that grow along buffer zones showing what wildlife uses them, sun exposure, habitat, seasonal interest, etc.

The most numerous calls I receive during the gardening season (besides what vegetable varieties to plant and what is wrong with my plant) - has to do with deer, bunny, vole and chipmunk control. The last couple of years this has gone on to now include problems with crows, racoons and groundhogs. So, let’s spend a little bit of time talking about these critters and humane methods to co-exist without losing your entire vegetable crop, flowers or fruit trees…

• Fencing – exclusion, type of fencing, baiting if using electrical. Groundhogs? Deer, hare and voles (winter control)

• Live trap and relocation?

• Plantskydd or liquid fence

• Homemade repellent of 4 eggs, 2 ounces of red pepper sauce, 2 ounces of chopped garlic – put in 1 quart container and add enough water to fill. Blend, strain, and add antiperspirants for longer lasting…(could burn your plants) All of these work about equally well or not as the commercial varieties.. ‘the Truth about Garden Remedies w/ Jeff Gillman’. They last a short time. None work in the winter or really very well under heavy deer pressure

• Hanging bars of soap will protect things around a meter in diameter. Research shows it doesn’t matter what brand of soap you use

• Timing of when you grow things?

• Creating a false food environment that will support more animals within a smaller space


Great Expectations School will be having a Pancake Breakfast and Plant Sale on Saturday, May 21. Plant sale goes from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with the pancake breakfast from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

All proceeds will go to support the school!

Tom Plocher will be here for a second Grape Workshop on Saturday, May 21st from 1- 3 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center. Grape varieties are being trialed here by a number of gardeners so come and learn more about growing grapes in our northern climate.

The Small Footprint Living Fair emphasizing sustainable living will be held this year all day on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25. 18 classes will be held in the areas of animal husbandry, green building, energy, and growing. A silent auction will be held where a greenhouse built on Friday and a large water cachement system built on Saturday will go to the highest bidder. Noon time speakers on bioenergy / biomass and community organizing for sustainability will be wonderful to listen to while you ‘chow down’ on homemade soups and build your own sandwiches. An environmental film festival will be held on Friday evening from 4:30 until 9:00 p.m.

Brochures are available around town, at the Cook County Extension office, and on the web at Call 218-387-3015 and I will be happy to mail one out to you or e-mail you a copy.

If you are looking for a garden space this year, check with Joan at 370-9794 to see whether there are any GardenShare spaces available


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