Animal Wildlife Considerations in the Water Conserving Home Landscape

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape November 14, 2013|Print
 
  Attract birds to the landscape by planting water conserving trees and shrubs that produce berries.
Photo credit: Yuri Timofeyev
 

 

How to Create a Garden for Birds and Butterflies

 

         

Properly secured trash can lid keeps this raccoon out of the garbage!

Video source: Lisann52

 
 

Deer have eaten these arborvitae as high as they can reach.
Photo credit: b.ug Flickr CC NC-BY 2.0

Animal wildlife can be a joy or a nuisance in any home landscape. Proper plant selection is important when planning and designing the landscape to attract desirable wildlife and to detract undesirable wildlife.

Determine what kinds of wildlife are desired and which ones are not. Birds, for instance, are a favorite in the home landscape. Other species such as deer, however, can do considerable damage to trees, shrubs, and other perennials.

Basic Considerations

  • Use field guides to observe and identify existing wildlife
  • Decide what type of wildlife to attract
  • Determine which species of wildlife are not desirable

Attracting Wildlife to the Water Conserving Home Landscape

  • Provide food plants and water for a variety of desirable wildlife (bees, butterflies, birds)
  • Plant native water conserving plants that local animal wildlife are adapted to
  • Grow plants that provide berries, nuts, seeds, and nectar for pollinators
  • Provide safe habitats by planting a variety of different plant types and sizes
  • Include evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs
  • Leave wild or semi-wild areas at the back of the property or allow areas of the yard to naturalize
  • Look for opportunities to create wildlife corridors and other connections to neighboring properties 
  • Avoid planting invasive or noxious plants

Nuisance and Urban Wildlife in the Water Conserving Home Landscape

Many native and introduced species that have adapted to urban areas can be a nuisance or a pest. Loss of habitat has caused otherwise reclusive species such as mountain lions to encroach on suburban and urban areas.

  • Feeding nuisance wildlife is not recommended. This includes feral cats
  • Keep animal wildlife out of garbage cans by properly securing lids
  • Plug holes and other potential entries into attics and garages
  • Large animals such as deer and mountain lions can be a big problem especially in the urban/wild-land interface
  • Animals feed on and can destroy landscape plants
        

Invasive Wildlife Species in the Water-Wise Home Landscape

Some species of animal wildlife are considered invasive and have detrimental effects on the environment. On the other hand, species of animals (and plants) may be legally protected at the County, State, or National level. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website has information regarding protected and invasive species of animals.

The USDA National Invasive Species Center lists invasive animal species and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program also has information on species that might be found in the home landscape.
 


Resources for Attracting Wildlife

Northeast

Maryland - Attracting Wildlife

Midwest

Ohio - Backyard Enhancement for Wildlife

Southeast

Florida - Attract Wildlife
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principle #5: Attract Wildlife