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MARINERMAGNUM

Which trees for attracting birds?

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anyone know what fruit bearing trees are best for waxwings,etc.? it could be a type of shrub as well. we have a very large nursery near here and i want something that will bear fruit right away or is there a type of tree/shrub that can be spaded in that may already be bearing fruit/berries so i don't have to wait?

i have a friend with a new vermeer tree spade who will do it basically for free [12 pack] so the cost of the trees are no object. i will pay more for more mature ones that are already or close to bearing fruit. we have some red cedar trees on our hunting property that are different ages. i've heard red cedars are ok for waxwings,but i want trees or shrubs that will attract a large variety of birds. i figured someone on here would know more than the folks at the nursery. any help appreciated.

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Waxwings seem to prefer mountain ash and crabapples. In all my years birding and working as a landscaper, almost every time I saw Bohemians, they were in one or the other. Cedar waxwings love them just as much. Both species will eat the flower blossoms off the trees in spring, too, if they're around when the trees are flowering. But they always seem to leave enough blossoms for the tree to bear fruit. And even if they're eating the blossoms, you've got great waxwing pics, just in spring. I've got a cedar waxwing shot on the Web site that I took by opening the kitchen window in April and leaning out with the camera and shooting the birds and blossoms from six feet away.

In northeast Iowa, you'll only look for Bohemians in winter, and that far south it would be a siting worth noting. It's happened, but not typically. Cedars will be there year-around. You'll also get good numbers of robins overwintering there some years, and in winter they are drawn to the berries/fruit.

Crabapples will bear fruit by the next spring/summer after you plant them, though it won't be a lot to start. Give them five years and some fertilizer and good water and care and they'll take off. Or, since money doesn't seem to be a big issue, buy a mountain ash and a couple crabapples that are older. They'll be the ones balled in burlap with the thicker trunks, and can run from $100 to $300 apiece, depending on the variety, but will fill out immediately because of the number of branches and the older, stronger roots. Most people buy the younger trees in 5 gallon pots for $30 to $40, and those take a bit longer to get going and bear fruit.

Check with the nursery and tell them what you want. Particularly in the case of balled/burlapped older trees, they often will need to order them this winter from their wholesaler to get them in time for spring. If you plant them while they're still dormant in late March or early April, they should flower this spring and deliver some fruit this summer.

Mountain ash take longer to flower are susceptible to frost cracking. This happens in winter, when the afternoon sun heats up the south side of the trunk of the tree, expanding the bark, and then when it gets cold at night the bark contracts, causing a serious crack. Often, it kills the tree. You get around this by spraying white latex paint on the south side of the trunk and main branches, so the sun's light is reflected instead of absorbed. You also can paint flexible plastic drain pipe white and put that around the trunk.

Here's what happens when they come in spring . . . .

cedar-blossoms.jpg

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Wow, love that photo Steve. I like the Mountain Ash since the berries and leaves are attractive to humans too. The berries on mine went/devoured in about two weeks in late fall. Flickers, Robins, and occasional others. I transplanted a 3' sapling that was growing wild next to the shed. In two years it has grown to 13' but is vert spindly and has yet to produce fruit (I think I asked Steve previously using a photo ID and whether it could be a different sex of the same tree, as I expected it to flower by now -- his answer, M. Ash, but why no flowering?). tongue.gif

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Swimmer, this from the Minnesota Extension Service, in response to a question from a gardener about why their mountain ash wasn't flowering . . .

Minnesota Master Gardeners say:

Mountain Ash do not bloom until they reach maturity, about 8-9 years of age and with a truck diameter of 2-2.5". Since your tree has a 4" diameter, it is probably mature or approaching maturity and may bloom next spring. Inadequate light can effect blooming, but Mountain Ashes grow in full sun or part shade so that does not seem to be a factor in your situation.

Another factor that can influence blooming in mature trees is over-fertilization. Fertilize your mountain ash only ONCE a year in spring before new growth emerges. Too much fertilizer encourages lush new leafy growth (susceptible to fire blight) and decreases the number of blooms. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or organic fertilizers like blood meal, compost, milorganite, etc. Super phosphate is recommended only at the time of planting. The tree spikes are OK, but it is cheaper and easier to sprinkle fertilizer around the tree and water immediately to get the fertilizer into the root zone.

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Go on line to Arborday Foundation,All info is there.I have the book of trees from them, in it, it lists trees for birds

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Thanks guys. Steve, that explains it, the trunk diameter is only about an inch (the height is about 14'). I planted it close to a mature M. Ash, as the next generation, since the mature specimen has a main branch that is diseased and will fall off, or be cut, this Spring. I will also try the white latex paint on the distressed trunk...kind of ugly though. Tree has Southern exposure. Love the flowers, leaf shape, leaf colour, and of course berries of this tree.

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MM - Get the book Landscaping for Wildlife put out by the MN DNR. There are hundreds/thousands of plants and trees listed. They rate them on their ability to attract various kinds of wildlife at different times of the year. You should have a variety because each of the fruits/berries are attractive at different times of the year. As these guys will tell you, a good flock of waxwings will strip a mountain ash in an afternoon. You should also keep trees in the area that will provide security or the birds will be scarce right after the food is gone.

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i think i hit the tree jackpot today while calling nurseries. an older couple is getting out of the business and i bought 4 crabapple trees for $400. all 4 have trunks that are almost 3" i also bought some "service berry" trees for $25 each. after i had paid and left,i thought i may have overbought,but i will find a place for all of them.

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Nice, MM. I have put up a couple of "perches" around my feeders, the problem is, the light is not right relative to the bokeh. Also, my perches are Yew, turns bright orange with Fall season...we will see. Might have to switch things around a little. This "sport" is never-ending...as it should be. grin.gif

Also, am thinking about getting an Apple tree placed next to the crab-apple. I had a "Prairie Spye" sample ten years ago from an orchard that I cannot get out of my mind. I think this, or a "Honeycrisp"... any suggestions?

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Quote:

i think i hit the tree jackpot today while calling nurseries. an older couple is getting out of the business and i bought 4 crabapple trees for $400. all 4 have trunks that are almost 3" i also bought some "service berry" trees for $25 each. after i had paid and left,i thought i may have overbought,but i will find a place for all of them.


Crabapples are always great and I think you'll find the serviceberry to be great for attracting birds. We planted one back in the 60's on the home farm in SE MN and it still attracts lots of fruit eaters, particularly robins. They tend to eat them in season however so there is little left overwinter. We've started several in our grove/wildlife planting here. Nannyberry (sometimes referred to locally by some as "blackhaw") has been another favorite. These are found growing in area fencelines. In addition, we've planted more. Their crimson fall color is beautiful and the flattened berries overwinter well. The flavor is similar to a raisin, making for a special treat when showshoeing across the fields. Red osier dogwood is another one we've put in the windbreak. It spreads but the birds really enjoy the berries in season and use the shrubs as cover throughout the year. Indians used the inner bark of this one as a component of "Kinnikinnick" which they smoked in their peace pipes. All these shrubs are native to our area of SC MN.

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