Asked on Oct 4, 2017

Letting the yard go "back to nature?"

Michelle BaumeisterAnn Cherkas HalsteadNancy Flemming


My next door neighbor's husband passed away 20 years ago and his garden has now become a lovely haven of trees for wildlife. I'd like to do the same for part of my yard but don't want to wait for 20 years! How can I speed up the process?

6 answers
  • Janet Pizaro
    on Oct 4, 2017

    Do you want trees,shrubs anything in particular? What is the location and lighting
    • Chris
      on Oct 6, 2017

      Just whatever nature would do only faster :) The area is south-facing surrounded by mature trees, pines on the north and west, deciduous on the east.
  • Itsmemic
    on Oct 4, 2017

    I used turkey wire and fenced off an area approx 50ft by 75 ft. It's my bird santuary. ..fenced off so my dogs can't go in that area.
    In no time...the natural plants took over. I keep the perimeter mowed...but allow the brush to take over the fencing. Bird feeders in the middle. I love when it snows ..watching the tiny birds enjoying suet and filling up on seeds..and having a place to perch inside the brush is heartwarming.
  • Pam Davies
    on Oct 4, 2017

    Identify the types of trees you want by learning what trees your neighbor has. Invest the money in larger trees if you can 12-15 foot trees. They will need to be planted for you as they will come with large root balls. Talk to your local nursery about fast growing trees for your area and choose some of those. Some birches grow quite fast. There is almost nothing prettier than lovely little stand of birches. Other options are to plant fast growing shrubs such as nine-bark that will reach heights of 12 to 15 feet in only a couple of seasons. Or a combinations of trees with shrubs to fill in until the trees get bigger. Again, your local nursery should be able to advise on these. A lot depends on how much sunlight the area gets so be sure to take note during the day when and how much light the area gets and anticipate how that changes through the seasons. Some larger nurseries have landscapers on staff (or can refer you) that could help you with a plan that you execute. Also your local university extension service can help with information on trees and shrubs that are appropriate for your space, soil, light etc. Your local garden club is also a good place to get connected. Extension services and garden clubs can hook you up with Master Gardener volunteers in your area who could also provide helpful information.
  • Nancy Flemming
    on Oct 4, 2017

    Check with local garden centre for plants that grow quickly in your area and put a few of those in then let the remainder take over naturally. Be careful though you so you don't end up with an area that requires a lot of maintenance.
  • Ann Cherkas Halstead
    on Oct 4, 2017

    butterfly bushes grow fast and tall
  • Michelle Baumeister
    on Oct 5, 2017

    National Wildlife Association has lots of information about doing that.

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