Planting Trees for Wildlife

I wrote up my order to Fedco Trees today. In recent years we’ve planted plums, peaches, pears and apple trees (We’ve planted only two of the 40+ apple trees we have. The rest are wild.) for ourselves. I did plant an American plum with the deer in mind. I’ve read they love plums and I needed a pollinator for the other varieties so why not go big and get a 25 foot tall, heavily producing tree. The tree order this year is for the wildlife.

I ordered one white oak. It will do well in our moist, acidic soil. I’ll use some of the acorns for decorating a few Christmas wreaths but the rest are for the deer, bear, turkeys and squirrels.

Baldwin apple is my choice for a late variety. Baldwin doesn’t ripen until October. There were no apples left by the first of November this year. I hope Baldwin will drop apples for many weeks longer than the Macoun and other varieties.

I have high hopes for the American chestnut trees. I’ve wanted to plant them for years. I wanted only one but there needs to be two for pollination so two it is. They’ll most likely be planted in a clearing in the woods, away from the house because they’ll be up to 100 feet tall when mature. There isn’t enough room near the house for both. It will be 2024 before they start to produce but they’ll continue to provide food for at least 100 years. I like knowing we’ve done something to feed the animals naturally long after we’re gone from this world.

The cherry trees that were here when we moved in are crowded and now too tall to get to the cherries. They’ve self seeded and given me two or three new trees. I’ll transplant the small trees to the orchard in 2014. When they start producing we’ll cut down the older trees and plant something else in the spot. The cherries are terribly sour but the blue jays and robins love them. I’ll use a few and leave the rest for the birds.


Unripe elderberries. Birds will eat them just before they’re fully ripe.

There are high bush cranberries and elderberries for the birds. I might eventually use some of the elderberries for wine but the birds will have most of them. Hawthorne trees should start producing berries in a few years as long as I continue to resist the urge to cut them down. The thorns are brutal. I’ve ruined two pairs of boots stepping on them. The only other thing I’m considering adding is Winterberry (ilex). I found a variety that’s only six feet tall and won’t block our view, and I have a perfect spot for them.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.