Planting Guide for Upland Birds and Deer Habitat:
Creating a diverse and wildlife-friendly habitat for upland birds and deer involves thoughtful selection and strategic planting of various plants. Below is a planting guide that includes specific plants such as Elderberries, American Plum, Dolgo Crabapple, Black Walnut, Honey Locust, Apricots, High Bush Cranberries, and other considerations for establishing a thriving ecosystem.
1. Elderberries (Sambucus spp.):
Planting: Elderberries prefer well-drained soil and full sun. Plant them in clusters to provide dense cover.
Wildlife Benefits: Berries attract a variety of birds, while the shrubby structure provides cover for nesting and roosting.
2. American Plum (Prunus americana):
Planting: American plums thrive in various soils and sunlight conditions. Plant in groupings near open spaces.
Wildlife Benefits: The fruits are favored by deer and upland birds. The dense thickets offer secure nesting sites.
3. Dolgo Crabapple (Malus 'Dolgo'):
Planting: Crabapples grow in well-drained soil and full sun. Space them for optimal growth and sunlight exposure.
Wildlife Benefits: Deer enjoy the fruit, and the flowering attracts pollinators beneficial for the ecosystem.
4. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra):
Planting: Black walnuts prefer well-drained soil. Consider their allelopathic nature; plant away from other crops.
Wildlife Benefits: Deer browse on foliage, and the nuts provide a valuable food source for various wildlife.
5. Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos):
Planting: Honey locusts tolerate different soils. Plant in areas with sufficient sunlight.
Wildlife Benefits: Deer feed on the foliage, and the thorny branches provide nesting cover for birds.
6. Apricots (Prunus armeniaca):
Planting: Apricots thrive in well-drained soil and full sunlight. Allow for adequate spacing between trees.
Wildlife Benefits: Deer are attracted to the fruit, and the blossoms attract pollinators.
7. High Bush Cranberries (Viburnum trilobum):
Planting: High bush cranberries tolerate a variety of soil conditions. Plant in groups for better pollination.
Wildlife Benefits: Birds, including grouse, are attracted to the berries. The dense shrub provides cover.
Water Sources: Ensure the availability of water sources, such as ponds or small water features, to support wildlife.
Native Grasses and Forbs: Integrate native grasses and forbs to enhance cover, provide nesting sites, and attract insects that are crucial for upland bird chicks.
Preserving Natural Features: Maintain existing woodlots and natural features, such as hedgerows, for additional habitat diversity.
Deer-Resistant Plants: Consider planting deer-resistant species around sensitive areas to minimize browsing impact on desired plants.
Create Clearings: Designate open areas within the habitat to encourage foraging and increase visibility for both wildlife and hunters.
By combining these plant selections with proper planting techniques and habitat management, you can establish a balanced and attractive environment for upland birds and deer on your property. Periodic assessments and adjustments to your planting strategy will contribute to the long-term success of your wildlife habitat.