Delaware Plants for Wildlife Habitat & Conservation Landscaping
Do you enjoy observing nature…hearing the song of the chickadee…watching hummingbirds fill up on nectar from trumpet vines…listening to the chattering of squirrels…seeing the beauty and grace of a monarch butterfly perched on a milkweed… experiencing the antics of a Mockingbird…the cooing of the Mourning Doves…the swiftness of the Cottontail…and the brilliance of a Cardinal or Baltimore Oriole?
If the answer is “yes”, you’ll probably want to landscape your property for wildlife so you can experience even more from Mother Nature by attracting more wildlife to your property.
Wildlife doesn’t just randomly appear in a given area. It is there because of favorable habitat. The essential elements that you must provide in your habitat are food, water, cover and a place to raise a family. To attract the most wildlife, you need native trees, shrubs, groundcover, vines and wildflowers, many of which will provide food and shelter.
Native or indigenous plants naturally occur in the region in which they evolved. They are adapted to local soil, rainfall and temperature conditions, and have developed natural defenses to many insects and diseases. Because of these traits, native plants will grow with minimal use of water, fertilizers and pesticides. Wildlife species evolve with plants; therefore, they use native plant communities as their habitat. Using native plants helps preserve the balance and beauty of natural ecosystems.
Remember the function served by plants and structures is more important than their appearance. In other words, don’t base your planting decisions solely on what a plant looks like. Following are WindStar Wildlife Institute’s plant recommendations for wildlife habitats in Delaware:
Tall–Box Elder, Sugar Maple, Birch, Hickory, American Beech, White or Green Ash, Black Walnut, Sycamore, Large-tooth Aspen, Oak, Black Cherry, Atlantic White Cedar, Eastern Red Cedar, American Holly, Pines
Short or Medium–Serviceberry, Hackberry, Redbud, Finge Tree, Persimmon, PawPaw, Dogwood, Hazelnut, Hawthorn, Plum
Alder, Bearberry, Chokeberry, Redosier Dogwood, Huckleberry, Spicebush, Bayberry, Sumac, Black Current, Blackberry, Highbush Blueberry, Viburnum
Milkweeds, Asters, Coneflower, Liatris, Cardinal Flower Penstemons, Phlox, Goldenrod, NY Ironweed, Native Sunflower, Monarda, Black-eyed Susan, Veronica
Panic Grass, Sedges, Broomsedge Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Wild Oats
Wild Yam, Butterfly-pea, Trumpet Creeper, Virginia Creeper, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Wild Grape, Virgin’s Bower
Wild Ginger, Partridge-berry, Lowbush Blueberry
Delaware shares the Delmarva Peninsula with parts of Maryland and Virginia. Delaware’s small size doesn’t leave much room for major or varied land forms and most of the state lies on a low, flat coastal plain. In general, Delaware slopes down from a piedmont plateau in the north to a near sea level coastal plain in the east and south. Delaware is situated such that it is part of two major land regions; the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Piedmont. The Delaware Native Plant Society can provide lists of plants for a specific region.
For more information on improving your wildlife habitat, visit the WindStar Wildlife Institute web site. On the web site, you can also apply to certify your property as a wildlife habitat, register for the “Certified Wildlife Habitat Naturalist e-Learning course, become a member and sign up for the FREE WindStar Wildlife Garden Weekly e-mail newsletter.