UC Master Gardeners

Designing a landscape to attract beneficial wildlife

UC Master GardenerFebruary 12, 2014 

A lizard basks in the sun at the Garden of the Seven Sisters.

Q: I love to see birds, bees and butterflies at work in my garden. What can I do to attract more beneficial wildlife to my yard? — Robert, San Luis Obispo

A: With spring just around the corner and with severe ongoing drought creating additional pressures on wildlife, now is a great time to assess your yard’s utility. Have you incorporated the four basic needs of wildlife? In order to be attracted to your yard, our wildlife friends need these essential elements year-round: food, water, cover or shelter, and space. Many native plants can be incorporated into your landscape to provide food for wildlife. Think California native or well-adapted plants that provide food in the form of seeds, berries, nuts or fruit.

There are many ways to provide water for wildlife, from fountains to birdbaths to ponds. Shelter or cover will include diversity both in the type of plants and in the horizontal and vertical orientation of the vegetation.

Providing space for wildlife includes either natural nesting places or installing houses for our bird, butterfly, bee, bat, amphibian and reptile friends.

The Master Gardeners’ next free Advice to Grow By workshop will discuss “Designing Landscapes to Attract Wildlife.” The workshop, conducted by University of California certified Master Gardeners, will be held on Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. until noon in our Garden of the Seven Sisters. The garden is located at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo.

Learn how to design your home landscape to nurture and sustain our garden wildlife friends and have your wildlife questions answered.

Topics will include how to provide food for wildlife each season, including supplemental feeders; how to provide water and establish water features; how to provide natural nesting places and houses, native plant selection; and how to reduce pesticide use, limit areas of lawn, and remove exotic plants. Join us for this informative and timely workshop!

CORRECTION: The Jan. 22 column on fertilizing citrus gave incorrect information on how much nitrogen ammonium nitrate contains. Ammonium nitrate contains 34 percent nitrogen. Although ammonium nitrate can be costly and difficult to purchase, it and urea are appropriate to use.

GOT A GARDENING QUESTION?

Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners website at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo or email mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu  .

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