What You Should Be Growing In Charlotte If You Like Birds

What You Should Be Growing In Charlotte If You Like Birds

CHARLOTTE, NC — For much of the country, including North Carolina, it’s been auburnwineandfood.coma long, grueling winter. No one knows this better than Patch, which has written about terms we didn’t even know existed — looking at you, “bomb cyclone.”

But fortunately spring has sprung. And many people are welcoming the monthslong reprieve from snowy driveways, icy roads and slushy sidewalks.

This is especially true for gardeners in Charlotte chomping at the bit to grab their trowels and garden forks.

Americans love getting outside, digging, planting seeds in the dirt and watching their flowers, vegetables, fruits and trees grow. If you’re one of them, why not do it in a way that’s beneficial for the environment and attracts birds?

It’s simple. Grow native plants.

These are plants that grow naturally in North Carolina and are the “ecological basis upon which life depends,” according to the National Audubon Society.

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Luckily, Audubon makes it easy for you to help the environment. The group, which advocates for protecting birds, used data compiled by the North American Plant Atlas of the Biota of North America Program to recommend plants native to your ZIP code.

Best of all, the site even tells you which plants attract certain types of birds. This means if you’ve always wanted to look out at orioles, cardinals or finches in your backyard, now you can. It also means those wishing to keep pesky woodpeckers off their roofs should probably avoid American Elms and Ash-Leaf Maples.

To see what the group has to say about Charlotte, click here.

Here are some recommendations we think you might like:

Red Maple A tree that grows to a height of 40 to 60 feet and a spread of around 40 feet at maturity. Provides amazing fall color that is yellow to red. Yields twin seeds that are up to 1 inch in length. Birds attracted: Wood warblers, Jays, Sparrows American Holly An upright, pyramidal, evergreen tree that slowly matures to a height of up to 30 feet. It is the only native U. S. holly with spiny green leaves and bright red berries. Birds attracted: Mockingbirds, Chickadees, Orioles Flowering Dogwood A small deciduous tree that typically grows 15 to 30 feet tall with a low-branching, flat-topped habit. Bright red fruits mature in late summer to early fall and may persist until late in the year. It is resistant to browsing by deer. Birds attracted: Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Thrushes

The native plants listed under “best results” were hand-selected by Audubon experts in your region.

“They are important bird resources that are relatively easy to grow and are available at native plant nurseries,” the site says.

Over the past century, the group says the continental United States lost 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl. Urbanization has taken “intact, ecologically productive land and fragmented and transformed it with lawns and exotic ornamental plants,” Audubon says.

Human-dominated areas no longer support functioning ecosystems, Audubon says. And the remaining natural areas are often isolated and too small to support wildlife.

Native birds need native plants and the insects that come with them, the group says. Because most landscaping plants in nurseries are exotic species from other countries, many native insects don’t like eating those plants.

“No insects? No birds,” the organization warns.

Where To Get Native Plants Near You

Once you’ve found the perfect petunias that will surely give you the most enviable garden on the block, try one of these nurseries. They’re a great place to begin your search, just make sure to call ahead to verify native stocks.

Garden Grove Nursery, 16008 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville; 704-875-1802 Dearness Gardens, 13501 S. Old Statesville Road, Huntersville; 704-875-8234

More nurseries for the Charlotte and Lake Norman region may be found here.

Patch reporter Dan Hampton contributed to this report.

Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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