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Ken Smith is Great! ” - Robert W.

Keep the Birds Coming Back to Your Garden with Berries

Part of the reason we love our landscapes is because of all the wildlife they sustain. Butterflies, toads, lizards, bees and our favorite, birds, make our home their home. Winter is the time migrating birds need us most. They partly rely on us for food, shelter, and water when these resources are scarce. One of the loveliest shrubs to plant now is the Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria. With its rounded, leathery, deep-green leaves and long beads of bright red berries, it’s the essential winter plant for wildlife! And while we don’t recommend you eating its berries, the birds will love you for having them in your landscape during the cooler months.

This Texas native is an evergreen favorite because it endures a wide variety of soil conditions, is drought tolerant once established and grows in partial shade to full sun. Without enough sunlight, however, its dense growth habit can become spindly. Yaupon hollies also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From dwarf varieties that grow to a low 2’ to 3’ tall, weeping shapes, and small tree or large shrub varieties that can grow to 20’ tall and 15’ wide. These larger sizes are excellent for providing not only food, but shelter as well. In spring, there are inconspicuous white flowers that are followed by the abundance of red berries in fall through winter.

Now is the time to plant trees and shrubs as we mentioned in prior blog posts here and here. Plants will have an easier time establishing through winter before the onset of summer heat.

What are you planting or adding to your landscape this winter to attract migrating birds? For more ideas and to have your habitat questions answered, visit our Facebook page here. And be sure to check our blog weekly as we introduce you to a variety of birds passing through our North Texas area.



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Posted: December 2, 2013