Best Trees and Shrubs for the Bird Garden?

Annandale, NJ

Great post,

Can we expand this to plants that attract insect-eating birds. I am thinking along the line of plants that attract insect based on their seed, sap, bark etc. I would love to attract some more wablers, flycatchers and any suggestion of plants would be appreciated. One example of a tree that birds in my garden love for its bark, seed, sap and more is my weeping Birch. I have seen a host of birds in it looking for grubs, bugs etc.

Any advice appreciated.


Marlton, NJ

Great idea QuinJ! Hope others will chip in w/ their thoughts or knowledge.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

My goodness, I lost track of this thread and just rediscovered it today.

Viburnum Valley, I know .... There all all types of people here, so it's just a matter of finding the threads that work for you, or start you're own!!! Much more pleaseant here though!

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)


Well, I haven't seen even one oriole this summer/spring! We have had loads of Woodpeckers and I wonder if that is because the dreaded "Emerald Ash Borer" is finding its way into these parts. We have many, many ash trees, but not for long I dread!

Our birch trees are a 'hive' of activity too, but I am not sure exactly why....will have to go out and have a good look at them. the other trees that seem to have a whole community buzzing about in them are the blue spruces and cedars. I am not sure what is in there that is so attractive.

Went to the Native Plant Nursery (Earthscapes) yesterday to check out Paw-paws, ,sassafrass, spicebush and wafer ash trees for the butterflies (swallowtail caterpiller host plants) and red buckeye (hummers). So many choices there. Also the hop tree is a butterfly cat favorite. And of course, if you promote cats in your garden, the birds will love you for it!

I don't quite understand why we don't see more red buckeyes in the area---they seem to be a very nice tree according to the nurseryman. Hummers love it in the springtime. and lilacs, too.

I was just out in our garden after visiting our friends 'yard'. We had so many beautiful birds flying about and at least 6 different kinds of butterflies today compared to their rather dull made me happy that we plant what we do (although it looks a bit messy sometimes) and that we have so much wildlife around.

Marlton, NJ

I'm going to start searching around about what trees birds like because of bugs.

The Cedar Waxwings stayed for a while every evening in my Sycamore tree and someone here mentioned they like the bugs from that tree. They also like the apple tree when it was in blossom.

tab, I agree about the red buckeye and I never see it around here either.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

The cedar waxwings decended on our Serviceberries and finished them off in a few days. It was fun to watch them. First time we saw CWW in our yard.

I know the Hummingbirds like spiders, so if you have lots of spider webs in your trees that's a good thing for HBs...don't know if it's good for the trees though! I used to hose down my trees but now I let the spiders go and the HBs love it.

I'm trying to grow butterfly caterpillars on my parslies and the robins are having a field day with them! RIP the caterpillars! Don't tell the folks on the BF forum, though! (just kidding)

What else, oh, the goldfinches on the Sunflowers are a riot! A very pretty and lively scene, too!

I will be interested to find out what your research results are pell. Be sure to let us know.

Marlton, NJ


Time to check out the lists for attracting birds again. :-)

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

With the havoc this drought is taking on our shrubs, I think I'm going to have space to replant a few new trees and bushes so I'm going to read through this thread again!

Thanks for finding it, pelle. (That was quick!) :-)

Just in time for the tree nursery sales!

Marlton, NJ

Did we mention Hummingbirds love large flowered Salvias and large flowered Agastache?

Heres one on the Black & Blue Salvia.

Sorry the pic isn't great but it was taken through a double glass slider.

Thumbnail by pelletory
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

pelle--how do you overwinter your 'black and blue' salvia?

Marlton, NJ

LOL, Good question tab! These are the first I've had. I do know they are iffy to overwinter here in the ground. I was going to go to a cutting class and they said you could overwinter the plants inside in a room that was above freezing close to 50 degrees and put in an area near a window that gets sun.
I would try it but I don't think it's going to work for me.We have electric heat which is SO drying on plants, then theres the bug issue.
I think I'm going to try putting them in the ground. I heard that if you have the salvias that have the hollow type stems you'll have a better chance of them surviving if you leave the stems on and don't cut them back until after winter.
There are lots of salvias that overwinter fine here and next year I plan on ordering a number of different ones. :-)

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

It's the first year for mine, too, and I can't quite figure out how to handle the 'black and blue' either.

But, I did find this good thread on garden web of northern gardeners talking about overwintering it. Lot's of different ideas....

Marlton, NJ

That is a good one tab. Thanks!

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

this is a great thread. i just put 13 new shrubs in my yard last summer and i wish i would have seen this list a year ago. the two hollies i put in and the rhododendrum are not doing very well im afraid. the nursery told me to feed them an acid food which i will try as soon as the rain goes away. i also planted 3 viburnum, a dogwood, a rosa rugosa rose bush, a dappled willow (which has teally taken off), a chokeberry, a snowberry, i had a beautyberry but it did not make it through the winter and the mail order no longer has it (so sad for me). i would love to get a service berry and a washington hawthorn (a guy i work with says the birds love that tree), and some elderberries.

I am looking for a good evergreen to put in the back corner behind the feeders. i put my christmas tree there after the holidays but i want something permanent. any ideas. it would be surrounded by goldenrod and lilies. something not too terribly tall either.

lily, your yard sounds like a birds (and a birdwatchers) dreamscape yard. I bet it is beautiful.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Lynn. Yes, lots of good info here and I made 'tabs' of a few of the posts for easy reference. It sounds like you have an 'arboretum' in the making at your place!

I just replanted a number of shrubs, too, and found the list helpful. But I can't help you with your evergreen question. There are so many that so many of the birds love, you can hardly go wrong, I think. I'm sure VV or Resin will have some very good suggestions for you though.

Here's something interesting for me: Just this morning I purchased a Dropmore Scarlet Honeysuckle (the redish kind) and within a half an hour of having it home, I saw my first hummingbird of the year checking it out! I already have 7 feeders up, but the honeysuckle is what he wanted to check out!

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

You already have hummingbirds in Ohio? I have to find my feeders, and put them up.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Oh, yes, penne, you must! They're probably insulted that you haven't put out the welcome mat for them yet.

There must be loads in your area since I'm sure your neighborhood is full of interesting blooms.

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

I just got home from a friends house from my church and he has given me a start of some honeysuckle and trumpet vine. I am not sure what kind of honeysuckle but he and his wife both say the hb love the stuff.

I look out the window and YIPPEEE my first oriole on the hummingbird feeder. They are so fun to watch. He has not found his jelly and oranges yet.

Spring sure comes alive with the yellow and orange and blue and other colors of our feathered friends.

Now cant wait for the flowers to start blooming.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Well, good luck, then! Just be sure to keep your trumpet vine in check~~I have heard that it can go crazy on you.

And the honeysuckle, too. I think it's the Japanese honeysuckle that is so invasive and I think most states have outlawed it now, too, so you don't have to worry with yours, I would think.

Look forward to hearing about your HBs through the summer!


Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Lynn is only 15 miles from me. Looks like I need to visit her house in the middle of the night with a shovel! ;)

Marlton, NJ


Norman, OK

Some of the nurseries have quit selling Trumpet vine because it is so hard to control. There is a good substitute, Cross vine. Has yellow flowers similar to the Trumpet, but NOT (edit) so invasive.

There are also better options for honeysuckle than the old standard. I'm going to build a trellis soon to shade my patio and plant honeysuckle on it. There are some coral and red varieties that attract hummingbirds and make berries in late summer that will attract other birds.

This message was edited Apr 29, 2009 7:31 AM

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

I have heard that trumpet vine is invasive too but that it can be kept under control. I have had it in my butterfly garden for 4 years now and did not know not to cut it to the ground every year like the butterfly bush. So it has never bloomed. There is a yellow and orange. I left them standing last year and am anxious to see what they do this year. I do see suckers sprouting up in the garden but i just cut them off.

Last year I saw cedar waxwings on this shrub behind my fence. A tall shrub that is on my neighbors property though I think. Went in and looked it up because I was gonna try and get a cutting but it turned out to be the Japanese honeysuckle so I left it alone. Still not sure what the CW were doing with it because it was just flowers at that time and no berries.

I have a mandarin orange honeysuckle in the front. Should be getting ready to flower soon. Last year the blooms fell off in just like 4 days. I was so sad because they were beautiful. Someone on a site here said to make sure it has lots of water. No problem with all our rain here in the last couple weeks.

Hey Mrs._Ed I left my shovel out last night with all the lilies i got yesterday. I noticed they are all still there this morning. LOL

Marlton, NJ

The Baltimore Orioles like my Madame Galen Trumpet vine along with the Hummingbirds.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

ROFL Lynn! Good one.

My old fashioned trumpet vine does not seem to be too much of a thug. It comes up by runners nearby, but just gets mowed off. I do some heavy pruning to keep it off of a nearby tree. I've yet to get a decent trellis built for it. In the neighborhood, someone grows it up an old redbud tree and it is gorgeous. the redbud, not so much!

I am ordering the Major Wheeler Honeysuckle that Pelletory told me about.

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

I just bought a wheeler honeysuckle last fall. It is very small but is starting to green up. i just moved it today though. need to feed it and hopefully it will come up the side of my deck this summer or next. Not sure how fast it will grow.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Did you get it locally? I was going to send away for it, but I'd rather buy at a garden center or something.

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

I got it through Springhill catalog. Most of the stuff I get from them comes through really well and what doesn't they replace. I am waiting for lupines right now. They did not make through the winter. I don't think I will try to plant much in the fall anymore. My stuff planted in the spring does so much better even though they say fall is a good time to plant to. the only other mail order I have used is Bluestone . I wonder if McCormicks would have it in Sterling.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

I don't know. I was thinking maybe Anne's. Spring Hill is the cheapest, 9.99 for a 3" pot. Wayside wants way more than that.

Has anyone tried the Mandarin Honesuckle?

Beachwood, NJ(Zone 6b)

My favorite Niece is taking me here many choices!!!

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

oooohhhhhhhh!! 10 acres of greenhouses. That will be a fun day. Let us know what you buy.

I've been looking at the honeysuckles from this company:

Any suggestions or warnings about which ones to choose? I have a small yard so it can't be too aggressive and I'd like one with fragrance if possible. I know that I can go to plant files but I'd like to get advice here too from those who have tried them.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

wow, a lot of them are sold out. I recommend NOT getting one of those. hahaha.

Marlton, NJ

I bought from them last year. Their great!! Their very popular and sell out quickly!

I'm still planning this year--won't order until next year. I want to figure out how many, which ones, prepare the soil and then get the trellises up this year.

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

Mrs_Ed, I called Annes for you and at this time they only have a 'flame' honeysuckle which is a vine. not sure if that is what you are looking for. Maybe look it up to find out more.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

hey, thanks. I'd probably be looking for the Major Wheeler or the Dropmore Scarlet (which I can probably find pretty easily).

Dixon, IL(Zone 5a)

I have never heard of dropmore scarlet

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Velnita, if you are coming to the Ohio 'Valley RU I can give you a cutting of my Dropmore Scarlet Honeysuckle.
I also have 'goldflame' honeysuckle which seems to be susceptible to powdery mildew in our climate.

Oh, and if you are looking for Vining Hydrangeas, they were unloading them at Costco on Thursday. Very good looking vines.

Downingtown, PA(Zone 6b)

Wow, I just started reading this thread and it is packed with great information. I think I found a pretty good and cheap online store for bare root berry bush plants. Coldstream Farms. It looks to be rated OK here on Dave's watchdog site. I just ordered some Elderberry, Serviceberry, Winterberry, Spicebush and Hackberry and Witch Hazel for the yard. Hopefully it comes through well. I'll keep you posted. I couldn't beat the prices, so I figured it was worth a little risk.

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