If you only have time to do one thing to support wildlife in your yard, let it be to plant a native tree.
The benefits of trees in general are obvious: in addition to providing shade and year-round beauty, they cool the environment, soak up greenhouse gases, and provide fruits and shelter for birds and other wildlife. But trees that are native to our area go far beyond that. Unlike trees from other continents, a tree that is native to Virginia can support astonishing numbers of Virginia native insects. And insects – especially caterpillars – are what songbirds feed their babies. No native plants, no caterpillars; no caterpillars, no baby birds. And no butterflies either, of course!
Northern Virginia is blessed with numerous native trees, with choices for every landscaping need. Fall is a good time to plant many of them. Details on those trees and on the best planting methods are available at www.plantnovanatives.org/trees.html.