Make your yard the most popular in town for birds with fruit trees, water & hiding places
Establishing a few key elements - food, water and shelter - in your yard and landscape can create the perfect haven for neighborhood birds this spring and summer.
As for food sources in your yard, if you can, think beyond the birdfeeder and plant fruit-bearing shrubs and trees.
Creating food sources beyond supplying seed can help many bird species. Go with native shrubs, like viburnums, nanny berries and dogwoods.
Other native shrubs, like serviceberries, elderberries and winter berries work well in our growing zones.
These shrubs produce berries high in fat calories. This fall, for birds fattening up to migrate or for birds who spend the winter here, these kinds of food sources are essential.
Want to attract pollinators to your yard? Read more from Vermont Public: How to plant a butterfly garden with milkweed varieties that attract and support pollinators
Native species of trees like oak, willow, poplar and cherry are great to have in your yard, because these are caterpillars' nesting areas.
When caterpillars and moth larvae nest in these trees, birds have a handy source of food for their chicks, who can sometimes consume up to 300 caterpillars a day.
Birds will come to your yard if they find the right sorts of places for nesting and perching places, too.
If you have any standing, dead trees or "snags" on your property, hold off on cutting them down, if you can. Those dead trees can provide essential habitat for all kinds of backyard birds.
Seeking to plant berry varieties for not just the birds to enjoy? Read more from Vermont Public: If you're low on space but want to plant blueberry bushes, try 'North Sky' and 'Jelly Bean'
Not only might some birds use them to build a nest, but insects also nest in old, dead trees. This can be a readily available food source for birds and their chicks, too.
Old trees make great perches, and so can brush piles. Leaving piles on the edges of your forest or lawn creates small habitats for little songbirds to hide from predators.
If you've already got a pond or stream on your property, you're probably popular with the flock. If not, consider adding other water sources, like a bird bath or rain garden to attract more birds.
Q: I recently bought a Bartzella Itoh peony from a big box store. There are three bare-root plants in the box. I'm in Zone 4B. When do I plant the bare roots and where should I store it until I plant them? - Celeste, via email
A: Based on the growing zone that you're in, aim for the end of April or early May to plant the peony.
And while you're waiting for the right time, keep it in a dark, cool, place like a garage or shed. That way, it won't start growing prematurely!
All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes.
You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.
Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition with Vermont Public host Mary Williams Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.
Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vermontpublic. We've closed our comments. Read about all the ways to get in touch here.