Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!

Using Native Plants to Attract Wildlife

Learn how swapping out the foreign plant species in your backyard for some native varieties can attract more wildlife to your yard.

| April 2018

  • Using native plants in your yard will bring more wildlife to your yard, since these natives plants are a recognizable food sources to certain animals or insects.
    Photo by Pixabay/erwin66as
  • “Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard” by Josh VanBrakle gives practical approaches to brining wildlife into your backyard.
    Photo courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing

Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) by Josh VanBrakle presents 101 projects to help make your backyard more attractive to wildlife. Whether it be in the age of your plants and trees, or in the structure of your gardens, VanBrakle can help you design a yard to attract any of your favorite wild creatures. In the following excerpt, he explains why replacing non-native plants with native plants can help bring more wildlife to your yard.

If you want to attract more wildlife to your backyard, one of your primary tasks should be to replace the non-native plants growing there with native varieties. Why? It all comes down to the first wildlife needs: food.

In the modern backyard, food is the life need that’s usually in shortest supply. Most animals, particularly insects, can’t eat the non-native ornamental plants many of us grow. Each type of plant has developed its own chemical mix to discourage plant-eaters from chewing on it. Native plant-eaters have adapted to certain chemicals from certain plants, and as a result they can only eat those plants. Put something that originated in Europe or Asia in front of them, and they can’t eat it, even if they’re starving. In turn, the animals that eat those plant-eaters, like songbirds, won’t stick around your property.

Native plants also matter for another crucial and disappearing wildlife category: pollinators. These are creatures like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds that eat nectar from flowers. When they feed on nectar, pollinators transfer pollen from flower to flower, allowing plants to reproduce.

We depend on pollinators for more than the mere enjoyment of seeing wildlife. An astonishing 87 percent of flowering plant species rely on pollinators to help them reproduce. Lose the pollinators, and you lose those plants.

And pollinators are in trouble. There’s a real danger that in the not too distant future, we could lose many of these amazing creatures. The population of our most important pollinators, bees, have declined sharply in recent decades. They’ve been the victims of habitat loss, overuse of pesticides, and Colony Collapse Disorder, a still poorly understood situation in which entire colonies of bees die.

5/2/2018 8:03:46 PM

The very reason I planted natives is to attract the wildlife. Also a concern for our pussycats that they don't chew on/eat poisonous plants. We have some beautiful plants here in Australia. I especially love the bottlebrush. I love that the bottlebrush flower is actually very soft to the touch when it looks like it'd hard.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me