Can You Suggest Native Winter Shrubs that Feed Birds?
By: Jessie Keith
“What native bushes (VA) can I plant that will provide winter food for wild birds?” Question from Dagmar of Virginia
Answer: The fruits and nuts of many Mid-Atlantic native shrubs feed birds in winter. Some of the best for fruit include winterberries (Ilex verticillata), beautyberries (Callicarpa americana), American cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) and witherod (Viburnum nudum). These four highly landscape-worthy native shrubs have beautiful winter fruits eaten by many songbirds. All have cultivated variants that can be found in most garden centers. Their persistent winter berries are also gorgeous—adding lots of bright color to the yard and garden when little can be found.
Nut producing native shrubs, such as the American hazelnut (Corylus americana), are also fair game. Plant these large shrubs along the margins of any spacious garden or landscape. The edible hazelnuts they produce are just as tasty to homeowners as they are to birds and other wildlife.
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