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Wildlife Habitat

Shrubs

Home | Key to Life | Wildlife Cover | Solutions | Planting |

There are 4 areas of consideration when dealing with solutions: acreages, Farm Ponds, Shelter Belts and Yards.

Shrubs are important components of both rural and urban areas. They provide beauty, diversity, wind protection, privacy, homes for wildlife and even a source of human food.

Backyards, gardens, shelterbelts, woodlots, wildlife areas, and fence rows are among the areas that could beneflt from shrub plantings. Species selection and planting designs vary with the landowner's tastes and objectives. Yet, there are certain guidelines to remember.

First, when selecting types of plants, choose at least some native species. Native plants are already adapted to an area and therefore usually thrive with less care and maintenance. Second, try to avoid a straight-line appearance by following land contours or planting in clumps. Third, make combination plantings, which include a mixture of different species of shrubs and trees.

This is nature's design and results in less disease problems, better use of space, and more vigorous plants. Fourth, remember the best place to plant shrubs or trees is in areas where they grow naturally. Draws and low-lying areas offer wind protection, greater moisture, and more fertile soils.

Selecting plants is one of the most enjoyable tasks. It should be based on your own personal tastes, as well as site location. Observing different shrubs in a nearby arboretum, nursery, or on neighboring land can be helpful in making your choices.

Planting can be done either in the fall or spring. However, most planting is done in the spring when nursery stock is more readily available. Site preparation should include tillage to reduce all competitive growth by grass and weeds. Areas that have a heavy covering of vegetation should be tilled in the fall prior to spring planting. Proper site preparation, more than any other factor, will determine the success of the planting.

Wildlife Schrubs

Species

Growth Characteristics

Autumn Olive yellow flowers, salmon colored edible berries, tall and wide-spreading
Chokecherry white blossoms, dark purple edible cherries, thicket forming
American Plum white flowers, purple edible fruit, thicket forming
Cotoneaster glossy green leaves, persistent dark reddish fruit for winter birds
Tartarian Honeysuckle white-pink flowers, fruits red and bitter, upright growth
Skunkbush Sumac persistent hairy, red fruit for winter food, drought tolerant
Nanking Cherry white-pink blossoms, red edible cherries, prone to rabbit damage, best adapted to Eastern Nebraska
Silver Buffaloberry silvery leaves, red fruits, withstands harsh conditions
Elderberry flat-topped clusters of white flowers, edible purple fruit; moist sites
Gray Dogwood white or pale blue fruits; moist sites; Red Osier or Red Stem in urban areas
Gooseberry and Currant low growing, fruits ball-shaped, shade tolerant; currant is thornless, gooseberry has spiny stems. Gooseberry has spiny stems excellent wildlife protective cover
Multiflora Rose prickly arching shrubs, winter persitent fruit, excellent wildlife protective cover
Viburnums white flowers, smal1 fleshy fruits in clusters, moist sites; common species include Nanny berry and Highbush Cranberry

The correct spacing between shrubs, whether in rows or in clumps, is three to four feet. Where shrubs are planted adjacent to other rows of trees or shrubs, allow 12 to 16 feet of space between the rows. This distance varies with the size of the tillage equipment and the moisture demands of the adjacent vegetation.

Where space allows, clump plantings of various shrubs or "bouquet plantings" of both trees and shrubs are very attractive. A possible combination would be two or three pines or cedars surrounded by a shrub species.

The planting method varies with the number of shrubs and the design of the planting. Machines can easily plant shrubs in rows or in larger clump plantings. Small jobs of less than 200 plants can be handled by hand. Once the shrubs are planted, weeds and grass competition should be controlled either mechanically or chemically for two or three years.

One of the most pleasant rewards of your planting efforts will be the birds - that uses these plants for nesting, feeding, and loafing. Birds that are attracted to shrub plantings include pheasants, quail, cardinals, brown thrashers, mocking birds, Harris sparrows, white-throated sprarrows, and black-capped chickadees.

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