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For the Birds: Winter Planting to Attract Birds to Your Garden

For the Birds: Winter Planting to Attract Birds to Your Garden

For the birds! Landscape Specialist Joy Boven lists the best native and favored plants for birds that give them shelter and forage in the harder winter months. She covers the four layers that make up woodland ecosystems, and encourages us to emulate natural landscapes in our gardens to ensure critter survival! View the entire webinar, Joy's notes, and a Bates-linked list of specimens below.


Additionally, build up that canopy layer by taking advantage of our TREEmendous Month sale, where all* deciduous (leaf dropping) trees are 25% off through the end of November.


*excludes Japanese maples; in-store only, no web or phone orders.


View the notes for this webinar here.




Plants Mentioned in This Webinar:


List of Canopy Trees:

Acer – Maples

Betula – River Birch

Carya - Hickory

Catalpa bignoniodes – Southern Indian Bean

Fagus grandiflora– American Beech

Liriodendron tulipifera – Tulip Poplar – State Tree!

Nyssa sylvatica – Black Gum/Tupelo

Platanus occidentalis - American Sycamore

Quercus- Oak

      1. Upland Oaks
        1. alba – White Oak
        2. coccinea – Scarlet Oak
        3. rubra – Northern Red Oak
      2. Bottomland Oaks
        1. bicolor – Swamp White Oak
        2. lyrata – Overcup Oak
        3. macrocarpa – Bur Oak
        4. nuttalii – Nuttall Oak
        5. phellos – Willow Oak


Sassafras albidum

Tilia americana – Basswood


List of Understory trees

Aesculus pavia – Red Buckeye

Amelanchier – Serviceberry

  • There are many different kinds of serviceberry. Most common being Autumn Brilliance. My personal favorite is one called Rainbow Pillar. These are a food source for birds in the summer months but also make a great understory tree and the fall color is spectacular.

Asimina triloba – Paw paw

  • If you are interested in the paw paw it is important to have several. One stand alone paw paw will not produce fruit. You must create a grove of them. So I would not recommend this understory tree if your space is limited.


Cercis canadensis – Eastern Redbud

Chionanthus virginicus – American Fringe Tree

Cornus florida – Flowering Dogwood

Crataegus – Hawthorn

Diospyros virginiana – American Persimmon

Magnolia macrophylla – Bigleaf Magnolia

Morus rubra – Red Mulberry

Rhamnus caroliniana – Carolina Buckthorn


List of Shrubs

Aesculus parviflora – Bottlebrush Buckeye

Aronia – Chokeberry (Self-fertile but helps to have a more than one)

Callicarpa americana – American Beautyberry (self-fertile)

Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet

  • There are many cultivars to choose from in this category. Seeds ripen in the fall and is a great small seed for the songbirds.

Euonymus americanus – Heart’s a Bustin’

  • This is a unique native plant that grows in our woodlands close by. Seeds ripen in fall and it is a favorite treat for the bird that discovers it.

Ilex verticillata – Winterberry Holly

  • Fruit on the winterberry holly stays on long after the leaves drop in the fall. Adding not only food for the birds but a wonderful sight to enjoy in your home landscape. This is a plant that has separate male and female plants and within this species some cultivars pair better with some than others so make sure that you do a little extra research to make sure you are getting the right pair.

Itea virginica – Virginia Sweetspire

  • Seeds ripen in the fall and are a great small seed choice for songbirds

Sambucus canadensis – American Elderberry

  • Fruit typically develops in late summer/early fall and is an excellent food source for birds.



List of Ground layer perennials


Echinacea purpurea - Coneflower

  • Stick to the single bloom varieties of Coneflower. The double bloomers do very little for the birds and pollinators

Eupatorium – Joe Pye Wed

Solidago – Goldenrod

Vernonia – Ironweed

Panicum grasses are also a great source of seeds for the birds this time of year.


List of Evergreen Sheltering plants:


Cupressus arizonica – Arizona Cypress

Ilex opaca – American Holly

  • Satyr Hill is a common cultivar found in the trade.

Ilex x hybrids – Though not native, these also make a great hideout for birds and a safe haven for creating a nest.

Juniperus virginiana – Eastern Red Cedar

Magnolia grandiflora – Southern Magnolia

Picea abies – Norway Spruce

Tsuga canadensis – American Hemlock

  • Great food source for birds. Nesting site for the Barred Owl and other bird species.



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