En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native Indiangrass as a hedge
December 13, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a grass hedge as a foundation planting for a portion of our garden. One side of the planting is a concrete sidewalk to our garden shed, the other side wil...
view the full question and answer

What is pulling Indian Grass out of a park in Washington DC?
June 29, 2011 - We are renovating a park in Washington, DC on the waterfront. We have planted Sorghastrum Nutans (Indian Grass). During the evening/overnight something is pulling the plants from the ground. It is onl...
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Plants for 60 degree slope in Mobile, AL
February 09, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants,I live on an eroding 60 foot bluff in USDA Zone 8A, along Mobile Bay (AL). To address erosion problems we are using a gabion-style product called "Green Terramesh," which is ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for horses
September 20, 2009 - I have 7ac with big and little bluestem. I'm told big is bad. And my horse eats ground veg and not the bluestem. So I'd love to replant the entire tract with something for the horse, deer, and nativ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center