7 Evergreen Trees to Plant for Wildlife

You can transform your backyard into a wildlife sanctuary by planting trees that are friendly to native animals. When planting trees in your garden, you should consider trees native to your area as they serve the needs of local animals better.

Extensive research is required to ensure that the trees are suitable for the soil type and climate in your locality. The trees should serve a wide range of animals from pollinators, birds, squirrels, deer and more. Trees help the outdoor environment by preventing soil erosion and improving the air quality. Further, you add to the color, shade and aesthetic quality of your landscape by planting trees.

Evergreen trees for wildlife

The following trees can grow well in your landscape, with a lot of benefits for animals:

Canadaian Hemlock/ Tsuga canadensis

These are native to America and are favored for privacy screens and hedges because of their ability to be pruned to any shape and height. They are slow growers and mature at 50-70ft high and 25ft wide.

Canadian hemlocks produce lacy evergreen foliage which attracts warblers, chickadees, siskins and juncos. The species thrives well in cold climates.

  • The tree prefers partial shade, especially in exceptionally hot areas.
  • They should be planted in a spot that is protected from the wind.
  • Grows best in well-drained loamy acidic soils.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8.

Also read Best Evergreen Ground Cover Plants for Your Garden.

White Spruce/ Picea glauca

White Spruce
Source

This tree is highly valuable to your landscape, especially if they grow in your front yard. It is a windbreaker and serves as a specimen tree. It attracts crossbills, rabbits, deer, evening grosbeaks and grouse. Deer, rabbits and grouse feed on its foliage during winter.

  • Grows to a height of 100ft at full maturity.
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade.
  • Grows well in a variety of soils, but needs a lot of moisture.
  • Extremely tolerant to cold temperatures, but is sensitive to frost damage in the spring.
  • Highly vulnerable to damage by spruce beetles.
  • Ideal of hardiness zones 2-6.

Colorado Blue Spruce/ Picea pungens

Colorado Blue Spruce/ Picea pungens
Source

It is a conifer that is great for landscaping in both residential and commercial properties. An evergreen tree with blue-green needles and cones that form every 2-3 years.

It is a windbreaker and also acts as a visual screen when planted in your front yard. It attracts crossbills, siskins and nuthatches. Birds will seek cover from extreme weather in its dense branches.

  • Grow to a height of 30-60ft.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8.

American Holly/ Ilex opaca

American Holly/ Ilex opaca
Source

This broadleaved evergreen is irresistible to birds, fox, squirrels and deer. It is a great tree to plant if you want to attract birds, especially thrashers and bluebirds. Its foliage offers a perfect spot for nest building. Its berries and foliage are very popular during the fall and winter seasons.

  • Trees grow to a height of 25ft at full maturity.
  • Thrive in full sunlight or partial shade.
  • Highly drought tolerant.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 5-9.

Deodar Cedar/ Cedrus deodara

Deodar Cedar/ Cedrus deodara
Source

It is one of the true cedars. The tree has a visually interesting branching pattern and drooping tops. The dense branches offer good nesting sites. It attracts birds due to its evergreen foliage. They are non-flowering.

  • Reaches a height of 40-70ft and spreads 20-40ft wide at full maturity.
  • Grow best in full sun or partial shade.
  • Grows well in loamy and sandy, well-drained slightly alkaline soil.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 7-9.

Leyland cypress/ Cupressocyparis leylandii

The tree has flat stems of blue-green foliage perfect for a medium landscape. The tree is quick-growing and good for a privacy screen.  The tree is deer resistant. The branches are good nesting sites for birds.

  • It reaches a height of 50-70ft and spreads 12-15ft at full maturity.
  • Thrive in full sunlight or partial shade.
  • It should not be grown in windy areas.
  • Requires rich, well-drained acidic soils.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 6-10.

Eastern white pine/ Pinus strobus

Eastern white pine/ Pinus strobus
Source

This large pine is native to North America. It provides food and shelter for birds such as red crossbill and mammals such as squirrels. The tree is slow growing at a rate of 3-3ft each year.

The tree reaches a height 50-80ft and 20-40ft wide at full maturity and therefore should not be planted far away from the house.

  • Thrives best in well-drained acidic soils.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-8.

Sargent Crabapple/ Malus sargentii

The tree has clusters of white flowers that bloom in May. It also has dense branches which increase its appeal to nesting animals. It is useful as a privacy screen and on hedges.

It attracts mockingbirds, robins, cedar waxwings, grosbeaks, red fox and black bear. It has red fruits that appear in the fall popular among small mammals.

  • Reaches a height of 6-10ft and spreads 6-12ft at full maturity.
  • The tree requires acidic, well-drained soils.
  • Highly drought tolerant.  
  • Grow in full sunlight or partial shade.
  • Needs regular watering, especially in areas with extreme heat.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-8.

Juniper

Juniper tree with berries
Source

The tree can grow in most regions of North America. Juniper berries are a good food source for songbirds and other wildlife, especially through winter. It has dense branches that protect birds from cold winds and offer good nesting sites. 

It is the preferred plant of the larvae of several moth and butterfly species. Some moths feed on its bark. They are various types, ranging from trees that grow up to 130ft tall to bushes that hug the ground. The tree does not require a lot of maintenance.

Thrives in full sunlight or partial shade.

Grow best in well-drained acidic soils.

Ideal for hardiness zones 2-10 depending on the variety.

Common Manzanita/ Arctostaphylos manzanita

Small evergreen trees characterized by a smooth orange bark and twisting branches. The common manzanita blooms in the winter or early spring and produces berries through summer and spring. The flowers are pink, urn-shaped and sprout in clusters. The fruits are an excellent food source for birds and mammals.

  • Grows to a height of 10-12ft and spreads 300cm.
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade.
  • Grows best in well-drained, loamy alkaline soils.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 8-10.

Conclusion

Evergreen trees offer a year-round source of food and shelter for local wildlife. You should look to plant a variety of trees in your garden, catering to birds and small mammals. Do your research to ensure that the trees you choose for your landscape are suitable for the native wildlife. Evergreens will make your garden a popular spot for wildlife.

Index