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Written by: Summer Graham

 

After a long and cold Canadian winter, our thoughts are likely turning towards warmer days for bird watching, hiking, or gardening. But enjoying wildlife and nature doesn't have to wait for spring. When you garden with native plants you might find that wildlife visits your yard year-round as they rely on the seeds and berries from native plants to help them through the winter!

 

Depending on where you are in Canada, here are some native garden species that either produce food or create habitat for wildlife during the winter months:

 

White Spruce

(Picea glauca)

 

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White Spruce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bur Oak

(Quercus macrocarpa)

 

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Bur Oak

Gray Dogwood

(Cornus racemosa)

 

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Gray Dogwood

Common Snowberry

(Symphoricarpos albus)

 

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Common Snowberry

Eastern White Cedar

(Thuja occidentalis)

 

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Eastern White Cedar

Hackberry

(Celtis occidentalis)

 

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Hackberry

Winterberry

(Ilex verticillata)

 

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Winterberry

 

Note that not all fruit and seed producing native plants offer winter support to wildlife. The species listed above are unique in that fruit will ripen and persist on the plant through the cold season, rather than fall to the ground and decompose before wildlife can use it. 

 

In addition to a properly maintained bird feeder (frequently washed and refilled to reduce the spread of disease) consider adding some native species to your yard and enjoy watching wildlife year-round!

 

 

Additional Reading:

 LEAF – Six Native Species Ideal for Winter Wildlife Habitat 

Love your Landscape – Support Winter Wildlife With These 6 Berry-Producing Plants 

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