Today: Sep 20 , 2018

12 Birds You Want in Your Yard
Featured

13 September 2018  

These Birds Help With Pollination, Pest Control, and More.  Beneficial birds that control insects without the use of insecticides.  How to attract more landscape birds to yard and garden.  

While birders may be delighted to see any new birds in their yards, some birds are more welcome than others because of all the good they do. Whether you're a homeowner, gardener, or farmer with decorative flowerbeds, a small garden, or extensive sprawling acreage, many birds can do good in your yard.

Goldfinches - Weeds can be an ongoing problem in the landscape, but beautiful goldfinches can help control this problem. These seed-loving birds happily eat weed seeds by plucking seeds right off stalks or foraging on the ground after fallen seeds. Lesser goldfinches and American goldfinches both eat vast quantities of seeds, and the more of these birds there are in your yard, the fewer weeds you'll find.


Hummingbirds – These little birds are key to successful pollination for abundant garden blooms and  bountiful vegetable harvests. Plant flowers that attract hummingbirds to the yard, and these tiny hovering jewels will feast on your blossoms' nectar as they fly about pollinating the flowers in your gardens.  They also keep gnats and other small insect populations under control.  Here's a list of local plants that are especially attractive to hummingbirds. 

Chickadees – These are voracious insect-eaters and easy to attract to most yards. Grubs and caterpillars are particular chickadee favorites, and because these birds have large broods, the parents will quickly hunt hundreds of caterpillars for their young chicks. One nest usually has 5 to 8 eggs, but nests of up to 10 to 12 eggs are not unusual, and that's a lot of hungry chicks eating insects out of a garden!

Nuthatches - Tree-creeping nuthatches are perfect at protecting orchards or landscape trees, as they forage along tree trunks for moth eggs, ants, beetles, and caterpillars. These birds readily come to suet feeders or will snack on black oil sunflower seeds, making them easy to invite as guests to your yard. While there, they'll help control the insect population in your garden. 

Wrens - The energetic, perky antics of wrens are always fun to watch, and it's even more fun to see them catch all manner of unwanted insects. Because many wrens forage close to the ground, they will control populations of beetles, caterpillars, and grubs, as well as eat ants and snails. Attracting wrens is a great way to minimize these insects in your yard without using harsh chemicals.


Bluebirds - These colorful thrushes are highly desirable for their beautiful plumage and lilting voices, but they also gobble up vast amounts of insects.  Bluebirds are insectivorous; they eat beetles, weevils, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and other insects.  Attracting bluebirds to your yard can provide amazing natural pest control for your property without the expense of costly toxic chemicals.

Woodpeckers - In areas where wood-boring insects like bark beetle and borers are problematic, woodpeckers can be the solution. Drilling into bark in search of beetles, aphids, millipedes, and other insects, these tenacious birds won't stop until they've sought out every morsel.  Attracting woodpeckers can be simple, but homeowners may also need to take steps to keep woodpeckers from pecking where their pecking damage isn't wanted!  


Tanagers - Stinging insects can be a problem in some areas, but colorful tanagers such as the scarlet tanager,  summer tanager, and western tanager can all help prevent painful stings. These birds are wasp eating specialists, and have learned how to remove dangerous stingers before they eat stinging insects. Tanagers love the heat of summer, just when wasp and hornet populations are at their highest.


Purple Martins - One of the prettiest swallows, purple martins also are attractive because they feed on aerial insects, including moths, flies, and the occasional mosquito.  Attracting purple martins can be a challenge because of their specialized needs, but other swallows, such as barn swallows, are easier to draw and are certain to eat more than their share of flying insects.

Hawks - It can be startling to see a hawk in the yard, but when these raptors make a meal out of unwanted squirrels, mice, snakes, giant insects, and other prey, they become honored dinner guests. Several types of raptors can become frequent visitors.  In all my years of gardening, hawks have kept my yards and gardens free of unwanted rodents while presenting a minimal threat to other birds.  

Owls -  These nocturnal raptors are desirable to have visiting every yard. Not only will they control populations of mice, gophers, voles, and packrats, but because they are nocturnal, they are less of a threat to other birds.  Attracting owls into the landscape can be a challenge, but their pest control service is well worth your energy. Putting up a barn owl box is a significant first step.

Flycatcher - Flies are just as happy at your backyard dinner party as your dinner guests, especially during the peak of the summer season.   Flycatchers will forage actively for insects, but their absolute favorite dinner meal is eating flies, sometimes catching them in mid-flight!

Here's a local resource to plants that attract birds into your yard.  

Watters: Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Pinterest

Gardening Classes

Sept 15 - Wildlife & Bug Prevention

Late summer is not only the peak of bug season, there's also intense pressure from furry visitors in our yards.   Students start with best practices to keep javelina and pack rats away, then quickly move to solutions for grasshoppers and tomato worms.   You can have a nice yard with these easy-to-use tips and a few key plant choices.   Frustrated gardeners will have all the tools they need to keep the garden pest free! 

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Sept 22 – Fruit Trees – Health and Harvest 

Fruit trees not only beautify our landscapes, they give us actual food to eat! This class focuses on which varieties are the best for our community, how to care for them, and how to get your best bounty ever. We'll take you season by season through the year-round practices that produce results for the best health and biggest harvest you've ever had.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Sept 29 – Planting for Success in our Mountain Soil 

We've planted thousands of plants throughout northern Arizona, and now we're going to share our secrets with YOU. Watters' Planting Manager, Ella Amos, gets her hands dirty every day planting new landscapes for our wonderful customers. Years of planting success and the knowledge she's gained through her experience make Ella the perfect Guest Instructor for this class. She'll share the techniques and trade secrets she's learned to help you be a smarter, savvier, more successful gardener.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

October 6 –   Irrigation in the Waterwise Landscape

Irrigation systems can confound even the most experienced gardeners! Learn the benefits of drip irrigation, the best emitters and parts, and how to set a system up or add to it.   With the right system, you can save water and have healthier plants at the same time.   Students will also learn which plants are considered “waterwise,” and how to grow a beautiful landscape while saving our most precious resource – water!  

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Oct 13 – Top Trees for Fall and All  

Privacy, shade, color, evergreen, and blooms – trees are the foundation of the landscape! With so many choices, picking the perfect tree can seem overwhelming, but not after this class. Students will learn which trees are best for their garden wish list, and which can provide stunning, year-round interest when planted together. Our horticultural team will be on-hand after the class to help with individual tree situations. 

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Oct 20 – Container Designs – Easy as 1-2-3  

The fall plants have arrived, and this is the month to transition from summer blooming flowers to winter hardy pansy, viola, mums, kale, dusty miller and more.   Expect inspirational color from your container gardens right through the holiday season to come. Students learn the best soils, foods and flowers that keep on blooming.   Bring your empty containers and experts will be on hand after the class to help personalize your style.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Oct 27 – Winter Wellness – How to Keep Plants Healthy in Winter 

Which plants need to be brought inside for winter? What's the best way to keep them healthy when they're brought inside? How do I protect the plants in my garden from frost? Do I have to water in winter?   We'll answer all these questions and more in this winter preparedness class. Learn the best practices for helping your plants through the chilly winter months so they can be at their best in Spring.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Nov 3 – Fall ‘To-do‘ list for a Healthy Yard 

Get the most out of your landscape with this easy to use checklist of fall care.   Bring the color out of your fall gardens, reduce bugs next spring, or simply put your landscape to bed with these easy to use ideas.  

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

 

 

Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at www.wattersgardencenter.com

Website: www.wattersgardencenter.com