Landscaping for habitat
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Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 7:43 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by WMH [NC]) May 9, 2022 8:11 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Dee Ann [WI]) May 9, 2022 8:26 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Richard [MI]) May 9, 2022 8:47 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 8:53 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 8:59 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by MikeA [TX]) May 9, 2022 9:10 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Gene [OH]) May 9, 2022 9:17 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 9:41 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Vee [OH]) May 9, 2022 9:59 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by WMH [NC]) May 9, 2022 10:01 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) May 9, 2022 10:35 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by MAP [NY]) May 9, 2022 10:43 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 11:39 AM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Allym [NJ]) May 9, 2022 12:04 PM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 3:09 PM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) May 9, 2022 3:33 PM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 9, 2022 4:28 PM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Wilma [PA]) May 10, 2022 1:09 PM
       Landscaping for habitat (by 6x6 [TN]) May 10, 2022 6:07 PM
       Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) May 12, 2022 3:04 PM

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Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 7:43 AM

Landscaping, gardening, animals and nature have always been a keen interest of mine. Now that I have my little empire of four rental houses in a very urban environment, I have really seen what a few changes can do to increase biodiversity, beauty, AND given my tenants a viewpoint about working with nature, rather than against her.

Anyone got any stories of landscape improvements to their rentals that help with biodiversity?

Landscaping for habitat (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 8:11 AM

I can kill artificial plants. I don't plant, I have plants and trees removed wherever possible.

I've tried to beautify a few places but without good landscaping maintenance, they quickly go back to black, so we don't even try anymore. Basic as possible.

Landscaping for habitat (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 8:26 AM

One of our properties, on a hill, is next to a Glen...if you know the area BUSY, Hawthorne Glen. Nature lovers usually rent here. Last year hubby "landscaped" the front yard with beautiful boulders and we planted flox, etc. in between a few rocks. We plan to find/plant more each year. One plant lover joined in and planted some around the property. The tenants and neighbors really like it. We had the top of the property sided in a soft green last year as well. No mowing the front lawn anymore. Hubby has thoughts for more nature on the side of the house to further decrease mowing and beautify further.

When the plants come up I'll post a pic on the site. --75.11.xx.xx

Landscaping for habitat (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 8:47 AM

Good ideas!

Also, plant vegetables. You/they might need them soon. Not to mention, not having to buy vegetables leaves more money to pay rent for them.

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 8:53 AM

Haven't heard of Hawthorne Glen , but I will look. Believe it or not, as many years as I lived in the area, I've never been to Retzer Nature Center. I drive by it all the time, as that's roughly where my rentals are located.

Now that the youngest grand ( child) is getting big ( he's 6 months old, don't tell him he's not grown! Lol!) I'm thinking some field trips will be in order. The two year old adores plants, landscaping ( wonder where she gets it?)

One of my tenants, single parent, two young children, started the tenancy saying she was very afraid of pests. As it turned out, that yard ended up with more pests than others, but tenant is determined to not pass on that fear of nature to the kids. We removed a box elder maple after her house kept getting COVERED in box elder beatles. But knowing that shade will be missed, I planted a large bald cypress from Minor's, and a couple of burning bushes., some prairie dropseed grass, and some serviceberry. Other than the bald cypress, the others were all small whips. Tenant and kids have enjoyed the bunnies that have taken up residence in the yard since we've made some changes. Though I have to cage off the plants over winter, or bunnies will clear cut them. There is a long hedgerow of redtwig dogwood I planted along the way back, helps with the wet, wet backyard. Tenant has noticed quite a few more birds too.

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 8:59 AM

Dee Ann, that sounds lovely. Its always nice when the neighbors appreciate it too.

Landscaping for habitat (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 9:10 AM

Locally, water is getting to be a problem. At my residence the water portion of my bill from the city was over $175 this month. Water rates keep going up in an effort to curb usage. More and more of the Southwest is getting to be this way with increased population and extended droughts. We only get 18" of rain on average per year, it's actually been closer to 12-14" the last few.

None of my tenants do much watering anymore so there are lots of bare patches of dirt especially in the back yards where there is extra foot traffic. I have been contemplating how to deal with this new reality. One thought is to go "desert them", put down decomposed granite over the dirt and put in some yucca's, cacti, or other no water plants in all but one small patch of grass. The other thought (which I've seen at a neighboring rental) is to put used astro turf down. There's a place locally that replaces it at the football stadiums and sells the used very cheaply. It was done at a neighboring rental a few years ago and it still looks good.

Does artificial turf qualify as biodiversity?

Landscaping for habitat (by Gene [OH]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 9:17 AM

Busy, I have found that tenants rarely ever take the time to take care of any landscaping. They usually do well to just keep the lawn mowed and trimmed. As a result, I remove all landscaping and just leave them a nice lawn to maintain.

When a tenant asks about doing any type of landscaping or gardening, I let them know that they can do the same using containers and some have done very well doing so.

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 9:41 AM

Definitely containers for growing veggies. At least for my tenants. The old age of most homes, likelihood of lead in the soil. And containers are, well, contained. If tenant sees a spider and decides to abandon the garden, easy to deconstruct. ( been there, done that. It was just an orb weaver! Sheesh!)

My city now has a program for street trees where the no longer plant the monoculture of elm, elm, elm, elm, or ash, ash, ash, ash. When pest or disease goes through, like it is with emerald ash borer, whole blocks have lost trees. By planting wider variety, pests and disease won't wipe out the whole street's shade.

Mike A, look up xeriscaping, if you haven't already. When we lived in Co Springs, there were many beautiful yards, with no mowing. Your drier climate helps with keeping weeds at bay too. The artificial turf sounds like a perfect play space for kids. People think kids want lawn grass to play on, but, they also want areas for riding toys, bouncing balls. Astroturf would be perfect. Then the yuccas, native grasses/ ornamental grasses, mesquite, cedars, other plants around the edges. A few large boulders for design. And the kids will sit on them . Dogs and lizards too.

I was watching videos last evening on reforestation, and there was a gentleman in Arizona that did (illegal) curb cuts to direct water from runoff to islands of plantings. He was successful enough that the law was changed to allow curb cuts, and bioswales were installed everywhere. Water tables rise, when the water can be held in place by grasses, plantings, and allowed to sink in, rather than just running off.

I'm also planning to eventually add rain barrels. Many cities around the Great Lakes have programs to prevent rain runoff; they'll often give away rain barrels. Or sell at low cost.

Landscaping for habitat (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 9:59 AM

Burning bush and flox adds color, I like the idea of vegetables - we should snack on them instead of electing them.

Landscaping for habitat (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 10:01 AM

Did you know rain barrels were illegal in Colorado? The state owned the rain...but I just googled, apparently that has finally changed!,other%20users%20is%20nearly%20impossible.

Landscaping for habitat (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 10:35 AM

I landscape for habitat at my own home. For the rentals, I landscape for low maintenance because tenants won't take care of elaborate landscaping. Generally, I can get them to mow, but not to weed and the only reason my lawns get watered is that they are on an irrigation system with timers.

Landscaping for habitat (by MAP [NY]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 10:43 AM

My rentals are C class and I do the mowing/lawn maintenance.

One of my duplexes has lovely azaleas, hydrandeas, forsythias, lilacs and many flowering bulbs most specifically in the back yard. I will be putting in a vegetable garden there as well as my own home.

My house my soil doesn't perc. Near a swamp so I have to do everything in raised beds including the vegetable garden.

I'm doing more herbs this year including fennel. With the price of groceries skyrocketing, it makes sense to plant a stagflation garden (or two).

BTW I get all sorts of critters at my house including orioles, vireos, woodpeckers, catbirds, indigo buntings, etc. and of course hummingbirds. --174.208.xx.xx

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 11:39 AM

WMH is correct about some areas claiming they own the rain. BUT, experimentation has been showing , IF, rain is used where it fell, instead of just running off down sidewalks, streets, into storm sewers, the wells and aquifers are recharged better.

Glad you found that it changed, WMMH!

MAP, surrounded by swamp here too. Twenty years of improving the veggie garden, and when I planted yesterday, it was dream soil! We had built raised beds about twelve years ago, when my husband took an interest 8n gardening. Well, the new pressure treated ,umber he used certainly isn't very poisonous. Those beds are all falling apart! So, I'm happily back to just raised mounds on the soil, no barriers.

A stagflation garden! Good idea. Never tried fennel, but I've been thinking about it. Sounds like you have quite a bit of offerings for birds and bugs, and other critters.

Woodsmoke, have you looked into grass alternatives? Artificial turf sounds like a good idea for regions where lawn grasses need extra water.

Here, I only have to water veggie beds. Grasses, ornamentals do well without, unless the occasional dry spell comes around, every few years. BTW, for those who do have to water, or the grass just isn't as thick, lush, I have been so impressed with the change in my lawns after two years of Milorganite fertilizer. A lawn that just wasn't lush, on a dry slope, has thickened and greened up immensely. Milorganite is known to help with drought tolerance, and I've really seen that. I hadn't used it for years because of the 'ewww' factor, but, read up, decid3d 100 years of use, if Milorganite wasn't safe, it wouldn't have that longevity.

When i first bought the properties, I had to balance having a lawn for wildlife, or a lawn for tenants. Tenants won out. One of the first ever prospects was extremely allergic to bees. He took a peek out the back door, and asked if it would be allowed to use weed killers, as there was much clover, ground ivy, other flowering plants. He declined to go out, his wife asked if he had his EPI pen. So, yeah, gave me the wake-up call. My biodiversity ambitions have to be balanced with safety of my tenants. If they cannot even go outside for fear of bees....So, I've decided grass is for people. Bees will have to seek nectar on the sides, where there are bushes, ornamentals, trees.

Landscaping for habitat (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 12:04 PM

I do that as much as I can on my 150 by 100 lot and house left me by parents. This month I received a notice from the town that I had ten days to clean up the property. Someone reported that the bushes near the sidwalk were reaching over so the inspector came out. He then decided that my "entire property" needs clean up. So I, to avoid court, paid $1,800 to two companies to get this done and did a significant amount myself. I removed some of the bird feeders but most of the problem, in my opinion since I never spoke to him, the problem was the tiny bits of stuff that blew all over in the constant 10 mph or more wind that we had the entire winter. Everytime I opened my car something blew out. I have trouble bending to pick up little things so it became low priority. I went out with a pooper scooper, long handle, to round it all up. Now with urban living there are many pairs of eyes that would object you what you are proposing unless you keep it very simple. I use hanging baskets for bird seed and peanuts instead of the more obvious feeders. Some bushes produce berries if you can find what grows locally. If someone feeds cats they could put the food on a flat door mat instead of having little white plates flying around. Someone on another group suggested putting the food on tortillas which would then be eaten by another critter. Keep the feeders small. Flowers like echinacea will provide seeds long into the fall. I saw some gold finches sitting and talking on a bed of those. Of course no camera at the time. I have trees with holes in that are still leafing out so I am lucky that way. Norway Maples are good. --108.24.xx.xx

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 3:09 PM

AllyM, I actually am not a fan of feeding critters, rather, just providing the bushes, trees, grasses that they can use for nesting, habitat. And that they can forage for food.

Especially in cities, where critters can become pests rather quickly. A neighbor at one rental has several bird feeders, and he feeds squirrels, almost by hand. That is also the ONLY house of my four where there are chronic rodent problems. Now, I am not criticizing this neighbor; he is the best neighbor. Knows everyone, looks out for people. And, this is his hobby, I'm not begrudging him that. Nor, you. I think its terrific that you keep active, and if feeding critters does that, good for you. My husband feeds birds; I call it his bird welfare. But, I will admit, where the bird feeders are placed, we have a great view from our sitting room chairs. And, its enjoyable. But, we live out of the concentrated houses, almost rural, rodents not a problem.

If I had tenants wanting to do bird feeders ( not likely, some of my tenants rely on food banks themselves from time to time) I'd encourage them to instead help cultivate habitat that can support small wildlife, rather than providing the food directly. Cuz, rats and mice are a problem. Even squirrels do a good bit of damage, trying to get in attics, or, worse, living in attics.

But, yeah, its tricky, because the landscape has to still be tidy, or neighbors will complain, or will just be annoyed. Neither is good.

Landscaping for habitat (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 3:33 PM

around her we plant gardens.....and feed the rabbits, deer, wood chucks and squirrels

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 9, 2022 4:28 PM

I used to have a neighbor that would always try to do a big garden. Her garden served as protection for my garden, as she lived closer to the swamp and woods. :-)

Landscaping for habitat (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: May 10, 2022 1:09 PM

I've begun to use native plants or non-invasive non-natives that will attract pollinators and butterflies. A sfh that we have is in a neighborhood that was trying for an Audubon bird town designation. As we were putting in some new plantings, we made the neighborhood coordinator happy when we put in William Penn barberry, which has fruits that the birds love, but is not invasive like the typical Japanese barberry (it is plant whose berries largely produce no - or sterile - seed). It also has nice fall color and attracts bees in the spring.

Oh, and the thorns keep kids off the edge of the property, and the deer won't eat it for the same reason.

Check your planting zone.

Landscaping for habitat (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: May 10, 2022 6:07 PM

How do you get the tenants to take care of them?

Landscaping for habitat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 12, 2022 3:04 PM

Iím going to have to look for William Penn barberry. Thanks Wilma! The Audubon designation for your city sounds wonderful.

I used the fact that a robin ( our state bird) made her nest in the garage to get extra time from a city inspector for repairs to the garage after I bought one house. Iím slow at renovating, Mama Robin bought me extra time, cuz I couldnít close up the garage till babies were fledged ;-)

6x6, in my city, quite a few landlords have been providing lawn care. Snow removal left up to the tenants, which makes sense as snow doesnít fall on a predictable schedule. But, lawns, shrubs, trees, easier to plan ahead and schedule it. I went to doing the lawns after I got tired of nagging tenants to get it cut, and they donít usually do a great job. Gardening/landscaping has always been my hobby, so its a most enjoyable task for me. Not saying anyone else needs to do things that way. Find what works for you.

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