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Mr. Smarty Plants - Native shrubs for wildlife and screening in Georgia

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Monday - December 22, 2008

From: Bainbridge, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Native shrubs for wildlife and screening in Georgia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Bainbridge, GA. I have 3 acres and want to plant for wildlife. I would like to plant fast growing native shrubs along the 400' of road that will benefit wildlife and shield us from the traffic. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

Lucky you, you live in an area that will happily support several good evergreen shrubs, all of which have benefits for wildlife, with berries, nectar sources and shelter for nesting, Two of them are members of the Ilex or holly genus and all three are dioecious which means that the berries appear on the female plant but it is necessary that a male plant of the same species be within 30 to 40 feet of the female for pollination. With a hedge that long, you can easily place a few males along the length, which will provide sufficient pollination for many females. The berries of all of the hollies are known to be mildly toxic, but the birds thrive on them, and it seems less likely, in the large area you have described, that children would be snacking on the berries. These plants are all relatively fast-growing and depending on how many shrubs you are willing to purchase and plant, could be anywhere from 6 feet apart (for faster fill-in) to 12 feet apart, as they frequently have a spread equal to their projected height. All can be trained to be small trees, but you would probably prefer to leave them as shrubs for maximum density and privacy. They are all native to Georgia and should be commercially available. For sources, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area. Our suggestions are:

Ilex glabra (inkberry) - 6 to 12 feet in height and spread

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - 12 to 25 feet in height

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - 6 to 12 feet in height and spread, fragrant foliage, attracts a number of birds


Ilex glabra

Ilex glabra

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

 

 

 

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