Every backyard is part of a larger ecosystem, and every plant you plant can make a difference – for wildlife, for clean water, for climate change. Join the Clarion River Brewing Company in its inaugural drive to help locals plant more native trees & shrubs! Here’s what’s on offer for the 2022 Native Sapling Sale, and tips on which to plant to better your backyard habitat
According to Professor Doug Tallamy, oak trees are the best choice for supporting healthy ecosystems (bugs, birds, & critters) – and they’re pretty low-maintenance and long-living. Interesting note: oaks only propagate by acorns – cuttings generally won’t work, which means they stay genetically diverse and evolutioniarily adaptable.
Quicker-growing than some, red oaks will reach 70 feet tall and live 300 years. Red oak tolerates pollution , enjoys acidic soil and full sun, and puts on quite a nice show of vibrant fall leaves.
Water-loving pin oaks also grow pretty quickly, and prefer streambanks, swamp conditions, and damp hollows. Pyrimidal in form, pin oaks will also grow to 60-70 feet in height, but are narrower than red oaks – more like half as wide as tall. Pin oaks are less great as street trees and in small spaces, but are excellent for birds and mammals.
Native Small Trees & Shrubs:
Ninebark is the native that has it all – ninebark attracts pollinators, looks good in all seasons, and is tough & resilient. Ninebark makes a great hedge, and blooms best when it has three or more sister plants. A favorite of bees and as a floral bouquet filler! It’s also easy to make more natives – by physically dividing ninebark plants in spring, or by rooting cuttings. Ninebark grows well in most soils and locations, including clay and shade, and reaches approximately 5-10 feet in height and width.
Glossy green in spring with maroon twigs for winter interest, Silky Dogwood produces creamy white flowers from May to June. It likes living along well-drained streambanks, with roots shaded by… shade… or about 2″ of mulch in brighter locations. Silky dogwood is multi-stemmed, charmingly unkempt in form, and good for erosion control.
Birds love greystem dogwood, which grows to 16′ tall and will form thickets by underground rhizome where it’s happy – or, it can be trimmed into single specimen trees. Lots of winter interest and low-maintenance. Also known as panicle dogwood, it is a good choice for borders or mass plantings, and enjoys a streamside location.
How to Create Native Habitat
Plant saplings, and seedlings, and eliminate or limit your use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
Improve the health of all your trees:
- plant and encourage a biologically diverse property – trees with unrelated but nearby neighbors are often healthier
- invite and protect pollinators, both bird and insect
- plant natives
- insist on local stream and riparian health protections
- reduce pollution: gasoline, exhaust, consumer pesticides; minimize lawn
- monitor your trees for stress or disease, and act early
- protect roots from soil compaction (e.g., don’t park or drive under tree canopies)