Making a wildlife habitat in your backyard can be so much fun for the whole family. Everyone of all ages will enjoy the beauty, serenity and peacful surrounding that come from turning your backyard into a woodland nature resort.
Habitat is a combination of food, water, shelter, and space arranged to meet the needs of wildlife. Even a small yard can be landscaped to attract birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and small animals. Trees, shrubs, and other plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
The plants you use for food and cover will help determine the wildlife species attracted to your backyard. Nesting boxes, feeders, and watering sites can be added to improve the habitat.
PLANNING YOUR WILDLIFE HABITAT
Planning is necessary for attractive and productive wildlife habitat. You have both a horizontal area to work with -the size of your lot-as well as a vertical area that stretches from your soil to the treetops. The vertical area is composed of the canopy formed by the tallest tree branches; understory vegetation consisting of smaller trees, shrubs, and vines; the floor which is often dominated by low-growing groundcovers; and the basement where a variety of organisms exist in the soil. Different wildlife species live in each of these zones, so numerous habitats can be provided on a small piece of land.
Trees and shrubs are the backbone of any landscaping design and are important for wildlife shelter. Many tree and shrub species are excellent sources of food for wildlife. Proper selection of plant material can meet both the aesthetic needs of the homeowner an the food and shelter needs of wildlife. Remember that you are part of the habitat too.
Things to consider in your wildlife backyard are species of flowers and trees for birds and other wildlife. Your landscaping for food and cover. Plus you need to consider food and shelter for butterflies, attracting bees and bats, frogs and other fun stuff.
Here at the Baxter County Conservation District we have a pamplet of instructions and ideas for you to pickup for free that will give you step for steps on creating a wildlife habitat in your back yard. Come pick them up here at the office from 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday at 406 W. Wade Ave. in Mtn. Home.
T E R R A C I N G
Terrracing can be very useful, fun, attractive, and will also help in areas where is soil run off.
You can create several mini-gardens in your backyard. On steep slopes, terracing can make planting a garden possible. Terraces prevent erosion by shortening the long slope into a series of shorter, more level steps. This allows heavy rains to soak into the soil rather than run off and cause erosion.
Terracing saves soil, makes better use of water, and beautifies a landscape.
MATERIALS FOR TERRACES
There are in fact serveral materials available for building terraces. Treated wood is often used because of serveral advantages. It is easy to work with, blends well with plants, and is often less expensive than other materials. Other materials would include bricks, rocks, concrete blocks, and similar masonry materials. Some masonry materials are made specifically for walls and terraces and can be more easily installed by a homeowner than other materials such as field stone and brick. Most stone or masonry products tend to be more expensive than wood.
HEIGHT OF WALLS
The steepness of the slope often will determine the wall height. Make the terraces in your yard high enough so the land between them is fairly level. Be sure the terrace material is strong enough and anchored well enough to stay in place through freezing andf thawing, and heavy rainstorms. Do not under estimate the pressure of water-logged soil behind a wall. It can be enormous and cause improperly constructed walls to bulge or collapse. Many communities have building codes for walls and terraces. Large projects will need the expertise of a professional to make sure the walls can stand up to water pressure in the soil.
If terraces are beyond the limits of your time or money, you may want to consider other options for backyard slopes. If you have a slope that is hard to mow, consider using groundcovers other than grass. There are many plants adapted to a wide range of light and moisture conditions that require and moisture conditions that require little care, but provide soil erosion protection. These include: Juniper, Pachysandra, Wintercreeper, English Ivy, Periwinkle, Cotoneaster, Potentilla, Partridge berry, Heathers and Heaths.
ON THE FARM
Terraces catch runoff water, let the water soak into the ground, and deliver the excess safely to the bottom of a hillside much like evaespouts on a house. The earthen ridges built around a hillside on the contour cut a long slope into shorter slopes, preventng water from building to a highly erosive force. etc.
BUILDING A TERRACE
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BUILDING TERRACES IN YOUR BACKYARD OR ON YOUR PROPERTY, WE HAVE DIRECTIONS FOR THIS PROCEEDURE HERE AT THE BAXTER COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT... YOU MAY PICK THEM UP ANYTIME OFFICE OURS ARE OPEN...
Tina M. Haun,