Bees, Butterflies, and Birds, Oh My! What Landscaping Trees and Shrubs Bring to Your Yard

seattle-wa-trees-that-attract-wildlifeSeattle, Washington tree service experts share why trees are so important to the wildlife population.

Planting Trees to Attract Wildlife and Create a Pleasing Aesthetic

Even those of us who consider ourselves city-dwellers understand the environmental importance of trees. They help create the very air we breathe. They are important to all the wildlife around the area as a source of food and shelter. When considering what trees and plants to include in your latest gardening project, consider putting in a few of these native trees that provide feasts for local pollinating insects and birds.

The Douglas-Fir

This tall stately tree is valuable both for its wood and appearance. It plays host to a wide variety of animals, and its height and pyramidal growth make it a great ornamental tree or an organic privacy fence. It grows in excess of 40 feet in height, and its short soft needles don’t come off easily, making it a great choice for a Christmas tree. The seeds released by its cones are food for a great number of birds and small mammals like squirrels and rabbits. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

There are some factors to consider before planting a Douglas fir. The tree is not a good choice for under utility lines. It will grow tall and big! Douglas firs also don’t below close to buildings. Its roots can cause foundation issues. 

A Douglas fir may not be the best choice if you dislike tree debris. Its needles will drop as they die, and the tree will drop its cones year round, especially in autumn. 

The Bitter Cherry

The bitter cherry is a smaller tree with a rounded crown that produces clusters of whitish flowers in the spring and is well loved by a wide variety of pollinators. Though the tiny, bright red fruits of the tree are, as the name suggests, bitter, they provide food for birds. Even deer like the leaves of the bitter cherry. 

The tree prefers full sun and is drought tolerant due to the rocky mountainsides of its natural habitat.

The tree plays host to a variety of butterfly larvae including:

  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Tiger Swallowtail
  • Elegant Sheepmoth
  • Ceanothus Silkmoth
  • Wild Cherry Sphinx
  • Western Tent Caterpillar

The Cascara

This tree is highly adaptable and easy to care for but often overlooked. The cascara has beauty for all seasons including white flowers that attract bees and butterflies, dark purple berries that feed local birds, and brilliant fall foliage. It does best in a sunny, well-drained location but is highly tolerant of wet and dry conditions. Several birds love the cascara’s berries, such as the cedar waxwing and the northern flicker.

Bonus Trees and Shrubs

There is no space here for all the native trees and shrubs that can be used in creating a beautiful wildlife-friendly yard,

but here are a few honorable mentions from your local arborist:

  • Dogwood:  These smaller trees have flowers for bees and butterflies and berries for birds and mammals.
  • Elderberry: This shrub provides not only food for local wildlife, it also tends to grow in hedges that give soil stability near water sources.
  • Maples: The various species of maples provide seeds as food and shelter for a wide variety of birds. 

If you are having trouble choosing among all of the plants and trees available, consult with a reputable nursery, such as our friends at Big Trees, about what will work best for your the yard. 

About Seattle Tree Care

Seattle Tree Care is a licensed, bonded, and insured tree service company that serves the Greater Seattle Area. We offer 24/7 emergency service and free estimates. Call us today for more information about plant health care, tree pruning, and tree removal.

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