10 Trees in Wisconsin that Lure Wildlife
Planting for Wildlife
Wisconsin is known for its brave wildlife. If a yard is landscaped properly, animals such as squirrels, birds, turkeys, and deer can be spotted feeding, playing, or resting from your window. As we approach the optimal time for planting, here are a few recommendations of the best trees to plant in Wisconsin that are sure to not only enhance the appearance of your landscape, but also attract wildlife.
The fruits growing on crabapple trees are often much smaller than table apples. Many crabapples are also persistent– meaning that they don’t fall off trees the way that table apples will in the Fall. This means that they remain off the ground and are easier for wildlife to access despite the depth of the snow on the ground. Crabapples are an important food source in fall and winter– and they become tastier to the wildlife over time as they sweeten when frozen and thawed. Cardinals, robins, foxes, deer, and rabbits are just some examples of critters that feed on crabapples.
There are many species of Hawthorn trees found in the US. Washington Hawthorn is a commonly recommended variety in the Midwest. As implied in the name, many varieties have thorns. However this trait is beneficial to songbirds since they provide two great benefits for wildlife in Wisconsin: they make fine nesting spaces for a variety of birds in the warmer seasons, and they provide food in the wintertime in the form of bright red berries. Hawthorns also provide nectar for pollinators while they bloom in the spring, meaning that hummingbirds and butterflies tend to be fond of them as well.
Standing as tall as 80 feet in height, Basswood trees are the perfect den for wildlife. Squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits enjoy their nutlets. In addition, deer are often found around a Basswood as they tend to feed on their tender twigs.
4. Elm Trees
Found throughout the state of Wisconsin, Elm trees can tower to 100 feet tall. Though many have fallen due to Dutch elm disease, there are still plenty that attract a variety of wildlife. Next to songbirds, game birds, and squirrels, they attract wild turkeys, ring-necked pheasants, bobwhite quail, grouse, prairie chickens, and wood ducks. Baltimore Orioles are also known to wave their nests within elms.
5. Sugar Maple
Known for their stunning fall appearance and cooling shade, maple trees can grow anywhere from 65 to 100 feet tall. Because of their seeds, buds, and flowers, they attract grosbeaks, purple finches, and nuthatches. Additionally, you can find red, gray, and fox squirrels creating nests and living within the branches of these trees.. With their strong wood, maples also support cavity nesting creatures in older maples.
Oak trees are easily identified by their acorns which are a crucial part of the diet of many different animals. Leaves of oaks support a range of caterpillars which often become a source of food for birds and other wildlife. Oak leaves also support spiders which are beneficial since they will feast on other pests. An oak’s branches also make a great nesting place for squirrels and birds. Several varieties of squirrels as well as white-tailed deer are some of the most iconic acorn eaters, but rabbits, foxes, turkeys, and a host of other birds feed on them as well.
7. Northern White Cedar (Arborvitae)
Northern white cedars are native to the northern parts of the United States and are known to attract a number of common animals. Birds like pine siskins and common redpolls are known to feed on their winged seeds. In addition to these birds, red squirrels also feed on the seeds and use the branches as nesting materials. Lastly, white cedar swamps are oftentimes an overwintering habitat for deer.
8. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniper)
Contrary to White Cedars, Red Cedars are commonly found in gravelly and rocky soils of Southern Wisconsin. This tree is known to provide shelter for robins, chipping sparrows, juncos, and several types of warblers. On top of several bird types, they also attract eastern chipmunks, white-footed mice and deer.
Also called Juneberry, the serviceberry tree is recognizable for the beautiful white blossoms it puts out early in the spring. Those blossoms then develop into edible fruits in the early summer, usually in the month of June. The actual berries are pome fruits, meaning that they have a core like an apple does– although they’re much smaller. Their flavor can be compared to that of blueberries, eagerly sought after by a variety of birds including blue jays, cardinals, robins, and goldfinches. Small animals such as chipmunks will also enjoy the berries. People can also enjoy them by making tasty jellies, cobblers, or pies if you find that you yourself are fond of them!
Several different species of spruce trees are common in Wisconsin, and their ecological impact is significant here. Spruces are a type of evergreen tree that are invaluable for their ability to provide cover and shelter for wildlife, particularly in the very cold Wisconsin winter. Especially for non-migratory birds like the goldfinch, evergreen trees like spruce trees provide a very important cover from the elements. Their cones also provide food to small mammals like chipmunks, squirrels, grouse, and rabbits.
Depending upon the type of wildlife you’d like to see, there are many other Wisconsin trees that can attract animals to your property. Tree planting for wildlife not only helps animals survive and thrive, they also provide a number of other benefits such as contributing to your health and increasing your property value. Our ISA Certified Arborists would be pleased to help you select which Wisconsin trees to plant on your property while provide professional planting services.
Wachtel Tree Scienc’s planting strategy is relatively unique, and emphasizes taking the care and effort necessary to give your new tree the best opportunity for a healthy and full life. Planting is a high demand service at Wachtel Tree Science, so planning ahead is advised. Seasonality will influence planting times due to ground conditions and other plant factors. Starting now in the planning process with your arborist at Wachtel Tree Science will improve your chances of securing a planting timeframe that best suits you and your new trees!