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

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Wednesday - October 12, 2005

From: Phillipsburg, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Native plants, wildlife hosts for small yard in New Jeersey
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in New Jersey & am in the process of changing my yard over to native plants. My yard is very small & I currently have a Kousa dogwood tree that I want to replace with something native. I need something that won't get much larger than 10' high by 6'wide. I read that this type of dogwood can carry "anthracnose" so feel replacing it with native dogwood wouldn't be a good idea. I would like something that has flowers to attract butterflies & other insects & then produces a berry in the fall or winter for the birds. Serviceberry would be too large. I also don't have alot of room for male & female varieties. It would have well drained soil & full to partial sun most of the day. If you can be of any help I would really appreciate it.

ANSWER:

Here are several native shrubs found in New Jersey that meet your criteria—maximum height of about 10 feet, flowers that attract butterflies, and berries to feed birds and other wildlife:

1. Coastal serviceberry (Amelanchier obovalis) This is a low-growing serviceberry.
2. American strawberry-bush (Euonymus americana)
3. Black huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata)
4. Spice bush (Lindera benzoin)
5. Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica)
6. Coral-berry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)
7. Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
8. Maple-leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

You can see these and other shrubs in "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscape for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed" published by the National Park Service. Although New Jersey is not specifically in the watershed area, many of the plants described are also native to New Jersey.

You can also search for other native shrubs of New Jersey in the Native Plants Database by choosing Combination Search and specifying "Shrubs" under Habit and "New Jersey" under U. S. Distribution.
 

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