The birds that flock to your yard may not be as singsong as the ones in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but if they call your backyard home, then it’s only natural you’d want to provide for them. Maybe you have a birdbath where they hop about in the summer or a bird feeder that they flock to each time you fill it up.
Your home may be the best one on the block for catching glimpses of the sparrows and warblers, but what if you decide to change up their shelter? They may love the leaves they’re nestled in now, but if you need to replace your greenery, what tree covers are best for birds?
Here are five trees to consider if you’re looking for tree covers for birds come the rainy season.
The classic oak tree stands tall and dominant wherever it resides, and it also makes an ideal home for the warblers commonly seen in the Pacific Northwest. These birds prefer open-air nests in the crotch of a tree—the place where trunks or branches form a “v.” They collect plants, cobwebs, bark, and grass to construct their homes.
Oak trees live for hundreds of years in their natural environment, but in yards, they require some care. Dead limbs need to be pruned and the canopy may need thinning as it ages. A fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can be beneficial. Protecting the root zone is essential to ensure it gets the proper nutrients. Cabling or bracing may be ideal if the tree grows in a way that doesn’t support its heavier branches.
An oak tree requires some maintenance and attention, but this tree, along with a birdbath, will bring plenty of warblers to your yard.
If your goal is to attract song sparrows to your yard, then you’ll want to select the western redbud as your next tree addition. This is a small tree that’s covered in rose-purple blossoms in early spring but is truly beautiful year-round. Its heart-shaped leaves emerge green and turn blue. Seedpods ripen to purple in the summer. The colors are just stunning come fall.
The western redbud usually reaches around 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It easily adapts to a variety of soil types and requires partial sun and average to well-drained soil. However, make sure to water deep and regularly the first few years while its root system is taking hold.
Song sparrows are also partial to native roses if you want to up your chances of them nesting in your yard.
Thundercloud Purple Leaf Plum
What if you don’t want to solely attract birds to your yard but also desire a stunning site to see in your yard each day? Then the tree for you is the thundercloud purple leaf plum.
This deciduous tree requires full sun, but if you can provide the right environment, then you’ll be rewarded with the purple fall foliage and single pink blooms that cover the entire tree each spring.
This striking tree will reach about 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide and requires regular watering. It’s an ideal tree if you want to add a point of interest to your front or backyard. It also doesn’t require much maintenance. Just prune to shape in the winter and add organic fertilizer before new growth emerges in the spring.
The thundercloud purple leaf plum also produces red, edible fruit. And tasty fruit combined with good cover will attract a variety of birds to your yard.
Like the thundercloud purple leaf plum, the crabapple tree also produces fruit that’s loved by birds. It’s similarly a flowering tree that will bloom each April to May if you choose to add it to your landscape.
While the pink and white blooms are a favorite feature, the buds will also bring a colorful ambiance to your garden. But do your research if you also want color in the fall because only some varieties produce showy red, purple, orange, and yellow leaves.
Crabapple trees are medium-sized but vary dramatically, as there are over 1,000 varieties in existence. The best option for a yard in Oregon is the western crabapple. It’s actually the only native option. Overall, it’s a pretty low-maintenance tree. It’ll just need pruning before or after blooming. It’s also quite drought tolerant.
While most neighbors will select this tree for its beauty, you’ll enjoy it most in fall when the berries attract birds from all over.
Blue Angel White Pine
If you’re seeking tree covers for birds, keep evergreen trees in mind too. The blue angel white pine presents with bright blue-green needles that will enhance the aesthetic of your yard all year long.
All you need to do is provide full sun, and this small tree will be happy. And you’ll be happy too because it requires no maintenance or pruning once established. It will grow to about eight feet tall and four feet wide. Just watch this slower grower flourish into a feature you’ll enjoy for years to come.
Not only is the blue angel white pine ideal for year-round color in your yard, but it can also be used as a shrub border to block wind or create additional privacy. And like most evergreens, it provides the perfect safe haven for all your favorite birds.
In the Pacific Northwest, we vehemently adore the native landscape and the many forms of wildlife it houses, especially birds. But we don’t have to wait to visit our favorite trailhead to see these seasonal feathered friends. Add the right tree covers and vegetation for birds, and you’ll soon find that they’ll come to you.
Connect with your local arborist for more information.