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Show #23/3210
Two Native Gardens In North Carolina

Maintaining A Natural Landscape

Eric talks with Andy about this yard. They have designed a native habitat and over the years as it started growing in, it become a nice, dense, diverse environment. What kind of advice does he have for maintaining this on a day to day basis. When one builds a backyard habitat for wildlife, wildlife will bring things in. Sure squirrels and Blue Jays will bring in acorns, then suddenly one will have oaks. It's important to remember that a weed is a plant where you don't want it and that can include an Oak. So you may find yourself pulling Oaks out of the ground, thus there is some maintenance required. But it doesn't have to be heavy handed maintenance, it may be nothing more than a branch hanging low in an area where people pass through. If you're having a party instead of cutting off that branch use a prop to lift it out of the way temporarily or just leave it. Pruning is something else to consider. Andy shows a branch that's not particularly attractive. One reason is it has caterpillars feeding on it. This is a host plant for butterflies larvae. So don't go out and hit it with pesticide, those are your butterflies. They aren't hurting the plant in any way. Azaleas provide another lesson. Many prune azaleas right after they bloom in the spring but that is when birds (Brown Thrashers, Northern Cardinals and others) are nesting in the azaleas so before you do heavy pruning go in and evaluate the property, see who is there, check the bush to see if somebody is nesting before you go in and prune. And Andy prefers pruning with with hand shears rather than gas powered saws and things like that. The noise can be very disturbing to wildlife. Andy wants everyone to know that a natural habitat isn't something you can install then walk away. You still need to get engaged with your yard but you can still really have fun with it.

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