Thursday, September 17, 2009

Native Plant Seminar: Woods in your backyard

At the recent Native Plant Seminar at The Irvine Nature Center, I attended an afternoon session entitled “The Woods in Your Backyard”. The purpose of the seminar was to teach homeowners with relatively small lots how to manage the woodlands on their property.

In Maryland, 78% of all woodlands are owned by private landowners, and 80% of those holdings are under 10 acres. So what we do in our yards can have a significant impact on the health of the eco-system in the state.

Here are three important things that we can each have in our backyard, no matter how small:

Mast trees – These are trees that produce fruit or nuts to feed local wildlife. Examples are oak trees, hickory, dogwood, or black cherry.

Snags – Unless they are a hazard, don’t cut those dead trees down! Standing dead trees provide food and habitat for many species, including woodpeckers.

Brush piles – These piles provide shelter for small mammals and other wildlife. One important thing to note – the base of the pile should be larger items (tree branches, for example) and then be covered with smaller pieces. This creates nooks for small mammals and birds.

For some great online resources go to The Woods in Your Backyard website.

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