New Jersey 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 New Jersey:
Tall–American Holly, Oaks, White Cedar, Striped Maple, River/Gray/Paper Birch, Washington Hawthorn, Red Cedar, Wild Cherry, Box Elder, American Beech, Black Walnut, Mockernut Hickory
Shorter–Serviceberry, Winterberry, Dogwoods, Hackberry, Sassafras, Redbud, Carolina Allspice, PawPaw
Bayberry, Blueberry, Viburnums, Buttonbush, Highbush Blueberry, Tag Alder
Milkweeds, Blazing Star, Turtlehead, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrod, Native Sunflowers, Cardinal Flower, Blue Lobelia, Wild Lupine, Monarda
Ticklegrass, Beardgrass, Side-oats Grama, Sedges, Reed Grass, Wheatgrass, Spike Rush, Panic Grass, Eastern Mock Grama
Virgin’s Bower, Trumpet Vine, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Wild Grape
Bearberry, Phlox, Foamflower, Bunchberry, Checkerberry, Partidgeberry, Lowbush Blueberry
New Jersey contains a diversity of fish and wildlife habitats from Delaware Bay coastal marshes to Kittatinny Ridge mountain tops. New Jersey is either the 4th smallest state or the 47th largest state depending on your perspective. Regardless, New Jersey is occupied by four main land regions; the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Peidmont, the New England Upland, and the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region. The New Jersey 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.