Our first new Shrub Bundle is the Songbird Bundle, designed to provide habitat and food for songbirds all year round. Read on to learn how these four shrubs can attract songbirds to your yard!
The smallest shrub of the four, the lowbush blueberry reaches an average of two feet in height and two feet in width at maturity. However, its small size does not prevent birds (and humans!) from enjoying its delicious and nutritious fruit. Blueberries mature in late summer or early fall and can either be eaten raw, or processed into jellies, jams, juices, pies, and wines. They are also a great source of vitamin C! Some birds that enjoy lowbush blueberries include American robins, eastern bluebirds, black-capped chickadees, and cardinals.
Before the berries appear, the lowbush blueberry produces bell-shaped clusters of small, whitish pink, flowers that bloom in late spring, and smooth-edged leaves that turn red to bronze in the fall. This shrub can tolerate wet conditions and grows best in full sun, with sandy or loamy soil.
When mature, the elderberry reaches an average of six feet in height and six feet in width, providing ample shelter and food for at least 50 songbird species. Its berries are edible for both birds and humans. Though bitter when raw, they can be processed to make jellies, jams, pies, and wines. Clusters of berries mature in late summer or early fall and are dark purple to black in colour.
Fragrant elderberry flowers emerge in late spring or early summer as large, white, flat-topped clusters. Elderberry leaves can be used to make tea, and turn yellow in the fall. This shrub is also juglone-tolerant –so, even if you have a black walnut nearby, it can still thrive!
Versatile and adaptable, the elderberry grows in all types of soil, and does well in full-sun or part-sun conditions.
Red Osier Dogwood
The red osier dogwood is the only shrub in this bundle with berries that are NOT edible for humans – so, you don’t have to worry about competing with the birds! Its white berries are loved by purple finches, flickers, orioles, and cedar waxwings, among other species. The second-largest shrub in the Songbird Bundle, the red osier dogwood reaches an average of six feet in height and eight feet in width at maturity.
Apart from its berries, the red osier dogwood provides an attractive, seasonal display of colours for birds and humans alike. Small, flat-topped clusters of white flowers bloom in early summer, and the berries mature not long after. These white features contrast nicely against both the shrub’s green leaves (which turn orange, red, or purple in the fall), and its bark. Red osier dogwood bark starts out greenish-yellow to red when young, and becomes darker red or brown as it matures. In the winter, the bark is a striking sight against the snow!
One of the most adaptable shrubs we offer, the red osier dogwood grows well in all types of soil, doesn’t mind wet conditions, and is juglone-tolerant. It can thrive in full-sun or part-sun conditions.
Last, but not least, the serviceberry is the largest shrub in our Songbird Bundle, reaching average heights and spreads of 15 feet each. Its clusters of small, white flowers bloom before its leaves arrive and last for about two weeks, providing a very important early-spring food source for pollinating bees and butterflies.
Berries mature in early summer. Tasty and nutritious, they are sweeter than blueberries or raspberries and contain important minerals, like iron and copper. Berries are red to dark purple in colour, and are eaten by a wide variety of birds, including orioles, thrushes, and waxwings. Robins and cardinals also like to nest in serviceberry branches. If you manage to get to the berries before the birds do, they are delicious eaten raw, or can be processed to make jellies, jams, and pies.
The serviceberry grows in all types of soil and does well in full or part sun. Its leaves can turn a nice range of colours in the fall: from golden yellow to orange, to bronze, to red.
When combined, these four shrubs provide a diverse selection of food and shelter sources for songbirds, with interesting features that you can enjoy year-round. Contact us today to reserve yours!
The Songbird Shrub Bundle is available while quantities last. Species substitutions may apply, based on availability.
Montanna Diakun is a graduate of the Masters of Forest Conservation Program at the University of Toronto and an ISA-certified arborist. She is currently Planting and Stewardship Intern at LEAF.
The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by the City of Toronto, The Regional Municipality of York, Toronto Hydro, Ontario Power Generation, The Town of Newmarket, The Town of Ajax, and OakvilleGreen.