Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - November 30, 2013

From: Naperville, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Wildlife and bird friendly hedgerow for Chicago suburb
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Want to plant a wildlife/bird friendly hedgerow in suburban Chicago. Looking for a recommended mix of understory trees as well a shrubs and grasses. Site is part shade with average to wet soil and transitions to a mature Oak/Hickory woodland. Length is 100' x 20'wide.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants suggests that you visit our Recommended Species page to choose Illinois from the map to find the Illinois Recommended list of commercially available native plants suitable for landscaping in your state.   The list contains more than 170 species which include trees, shrubs, herbs, etc.   You can limit the list by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option in the sidebar and choosing the type of plant you are interested in from General Appearance, Light Requirement, Soil Moisture, etc.  Here are a few selections from this list:

Shrubs or Small Tree

Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush)

Cornus racemosa (Gray dogwood)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Corylus americana (American hazelnut)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry)

Grasses

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

You can find more possibilities by performing your own search in the Illinois Recommended list.  On each species page you can scroll down the page to the BENEFIT section to see what wildlife makes use of the plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

Gray dogwood
Cornus racemosa

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

American hazelnut
Corylus americana

Late lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

More Shrubs Questions

Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
view the full question and answer

Blue Natives for San Antonio
June 28, 2012 - What are the best flowers or trees to buy since we are always in stage 2 and sometimes in stage 3 water conservation? I love flowers that are blue, preferably year around. THANK YOU
view the full question and answer

Low-Maintenance Hedge for Massachusetts
February 17, 2014 - I want to put in a native low-maintenance hedge in a sunny spot with plants that can take dry soil. I would like the plants to grow to less than 4 feet wide. It can be an informal hedge, but I don't ...
view the full question and answer

Correcting overgrown Savannah holly in Goldsboro NC
April 24, 2010 - I have an overgrown Savannah Holly. How do I go about correcting?
view the full question and answer

Hardy shrub for Canton, MI
May 06, 2009 - I have an 8' x 8' area between my front walk and driveway. I am interested in filling up the space (especially in height) with a shrub or tree. This area gets a lot of wind in the cold MI winter,...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.