For every person who loves seeing wildlife on their property, there is another who tries everything to keep critters out. I know many who spends thousands on landscaping only to see their money chewed up over night. I agree, that wouldn’t make me happy. More and more, we are hearing about wildlife in the most unlikely of places, but for most of us, we aren’t really surprised to find the deer have eaten our daisies. That being the case, instead of fighting it, why not create a backyard habitat for the creatures who have either been displaced by development and growth in your area or who simply have lived there all along. In the long run, you will be helping the natural balance of our world, you can still have a beautiful property, and you will create an environment of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife for you and your family to enjoy. Our friends at the University Florida Extension have these tips to share:
1. Limit the amount of lawn you have – Grass doesn’t offer a lot of food for wildlife.
2. Replace some grass with ground covers – it requires less maintenance and offers more food and shelter for wildlife.
3. Add islands of vegetation such as native ground covers and wildflowers.
4. Plant a butterfly garden.
5. Increase vertical layering – by planting a variety of vegetation in different sizes and heights, you are giving different species of wildlife the chance to flourish.
6. Provide snags and brush piles – Consider leaving tree snags for woodpeckers to use for feeding and nesting. Brush piles provide great cover for birds, butterflies, and other small mammals.
7. Provide water – even if it is a small bird bath, water is a crucial part of a wildlife habitat.
8. Plant native vegetation – this is extremely critical not only for wildlife but for the overall benefit of our environment.
9. Provide bird/bat houses and bird feeders – adding a variety of sizes and designs can increase the diversity of birds you will see.
10. Remove non-native invasive plants – non invasive plants plants take over natural habitats and it is important to realize that what we do on our own property can have an affect well beyond our own land.
11. Manage Pets – both dogs and cats can have a great impact on wildlife and not in a positive way. Both cats and dogs hunt for fun and can cause problems in attracting wildlife. Cats are very good hunters and it is believed they kill millions of birds and small mammals each year.
12. Reduce Pesticide use of any type and you will benefit wildlife.
13. Expand the scale of habitat – once you create your wildlife habitat, check with your neighbors and see if they would be interested in doing the same!
For more information about these tips, please click here.