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?


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


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.


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)


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

Panicum virgatum

Sorghastrum nutans

More Shrubs Questions

Shrubs for a Shady Foundation Planting in Texas
February 28, 2015 - We are looking for foundation shrubs, 2-4' mature height, for a totally shaded area which does receive bright light all day.
view the full question and answer

Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
September 29, 2009 - I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?
view the full question and answer

Getting a senna to fill out from Irvine CA
May 30, 2013 - I have a Senna of some kind, started from a seed by a friend. I got it as a small,six in high) seedling. After two years it is now blooming beautifully, but is a single thin stem 4 feet tall with ve...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for shrub in Florida
September 03, 2011 - On our street we have ornamental shrub planted in the median that has small waxy green leaves, produces small fragrant white flowers, and red berries with white pulp and small seeds on the inside. Th...
view the full question and answer

Woluld like a list of plants, shrubs, and ground cover native to Magnolia, TX.
May 27, 2011 - I would like a list of plants, shrubs, and ground cover that is native to Magnolia, TX that is deer resistant but also non toxic to dogs.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center