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Blog #4 Certifiable continued...
Provide shelter from inclement weather and predators with both evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and keep brush piles, logs and rock piles in the yard. Done correctly this does not have to look messy, although you may want to leave out the brush piles and logs from a formal garden.
When planting for wildlife consider all elements of your space and incorporate layers of vegetation with varying tree heights, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers.
A water source is beneficial to all for drinking or bathing. If you install a pond, create a very shallow end for birds and butterflies while toads, frogs and possibly fish, if you choose to keep them, will all benefit from a deeper end. *please note – if attracting wildlife chances are good that they will also like your fish - a little too much. You may have to opt out of fish keeping or place a net over the pond to keep them safe. The addition of aquatic plants will provide shelter for the fish and make them feel safe while keeping the water cool.
If there is limited room and/or budget for a pond then a fountain or even a birdbath will keep the birds happy. An extra birdbath filled with stones and a small amount of water will give your butterflies and other insects a place to bathe. Put out toad houses for your froggy friends too, they will greatly appreciate it.
Use proper maitenance techniques
Grow a healthy lawn and garden by following proper maintenance practices will reduce the need for pest control. Pests usually only attack weak or stressed plants.
One very important rule for an earth-friendly garden: avoid chemicals - insecticides and herbicides in particular. Most insecticides do not distinguish between the good bugs and bad bugs so you will lose your beneficials along with your pests. Both types of chemicals can be damaging to human health as well. Adding composts, manures and other natural fertilizers will help build a better soil whereas chemical fertilizers only temporarily benefit the plant and then, for the most part, leaches out of the soil with rainfall. By designing our gardens correctly, using hardy material and practicing sound gardening and maintenance techniques the need for chemicals should be eliminated.
Any space can be worthy of the Backyard Habitat Certification program just by following a few guidelines. Adding plants that provide food and shelter and a water supply is all it takes to attract beneficial birds, insects and animals to our yard. Not only do we help preserve our natural habitat but also reap the benefits of the organic pests controls that the animals provide to use - not to mention the soulful reward that comes with living in harmony with nature. Creating this kind of habitat does not have to be a large undertaking nor a huge expense. It should be easy on the body and light on the heart, mind and pocketbook.
To find out more on wildlife habitats and to apply for certification with the CWF using their online forum go to: