This piece is one in a series on making tiny animal habitats in your yard. It describes how to make a forest border habitat there. The purpose is to offer suggestions for how to incorporate native plant species and wildlife-friendly aspects into your yard while still leaving space for your Barbeque and your kids to play.
First, a quick review of the British Islands’ animal areas The four major groups are as follows:
- Forest Environments
- Habitats of Wetlands
- Prairie Habitats
- Rockland Environments
These are further broken down into various kinds. The following are transformed into: –
- cultivated forest
- Unmanaged or natural forest
- Forest fringe
Please take a look at the links below for our previous pieces on providing animal homes in your yard.
A woodland edge habitat: what is it?
Simply stated, forests are divided into parts of varying heights. The largest trees create the tree canopy, which is followed by a naturally shorter and juvenile understorey, a portion of shrubs and thickets, and finally a layer of ground cover plants.
Both the outer margins of a wood’s limit and the area encircling the glades and open areas within the wood are examples of a forest edge ecosystem. Compared to vegetation located under a cover of trees, those found here typically favor more light. That is a generalization, of course, as the quantity of light that reaches the ground in a green timber changes throughout the year. The direction of the forest border also differs; some will face south, some north, some will be open, some will be protected, etc. Sorry if I’m stating the obvious, but you would presumably anticipate this if you gave it some consideration.
Woodland margins provide a more varied environment than the interior of the forest “proper” due to the increased light levels, greater access to rainwater, and other factors. On a stroll through a natural forest, you might have observed this. There are abruptly more plant species and bug activity where the route widens out into a large trail or glade. In reality, studies have shown that the majority of the creatures and plants that live in woodlands can be located there, usually within the first 10 meters or so. In other terms, near the border of the forest.
You may now be fortunate enough to have a yard with enough room to grow this deeply and even a wooded area behind it. However, the majority of us would only be considering a limited region.
How to Make a Landscape with a Forest Boundary Environment
You could use one of two primary situations as a jumping off place. First, your yard may already have a suitable tree or small collection of plants. Second, you might have a “clean palette” and want to start from fresh with a forest border garden.
Both are capable. The former provides you with established trees, though they might or might not be of a natural forest variety. The latter requires either spending money to import big trees or waiting a few years for them to mature.
In the majority of yards, it is feasible to create a tiny forest border environment. There is some vegetation crossover between controlled forest and woodland edge, as well as between woodland edge and hedges. Making a home for a thicket is definitely a superior option if your room is limited. Although it is feasible to make a forest border with a width of about 1 meter, the variety and variety of plant types will be significantly reduced.
Fundamentally, border planning is similar to growing new vegetation. Dig over, get rid of plants, and, if necessary, apply soil enhancer.
Think about the background, such as a wall or a barrier. Consider the impacts of towering trees casting shadow in both your own yard and that of your neighbors, particularly if you’re beginning from fresh.
Using native and naturalized plants from Britain as an illustration
For the sake of ease, let’s assume that you already have a young but grown beech tree and a neighboring lesser yew tree. These are blooming five meters apart in the northeastern area of your yard. As a result, the new vegetation will enjoy some cold protection and profit from the midday light. The boundary will typically be 3 meters wide and have a smooth curved outline.
Spread a ground cover of Guelder Rose, Hawthorn, Crab Apple, and Hazel. Then dogwood to add color to the cold. I might be inclined to smuggle in a few blackberry bushes as well.
I would make sure to include plenty of spring-flowering flowers, such as daffodils and bluebells, since the illustration is in a yard location. In addition, there are lots of annual plant species like Herb Robert, Violets, Bugle, and Hellebore.
It can be difficult to advise on how to make the forest border blend with the rest of your yard without actually seeing it. One idea, though, is to divide it up, perhaps with a gate and an entryway. A trail might take you from your forest border through a field of wildflowers. Place a chair, take a position, and listen to the birds.
What to plant along your habitat border with woodland edges
The titles that follow focus primarily on indigenous and naturalized species. But you don’t have to, not least because adding a few (suitable) non-native species can increase the amount of invertebrates and animals have access to sustenance. Of course, this will also increase your interest in the environment of the forest border.
On a more intimate level, it is simpler to combine native and non-native plants appropriately to fit your environment and lifestyle. Would you prefer, for instance, a food or decorative forest edge? Is the animal component important? Do we have to stay away from certain vegetation because of pets or young kids?
As they are more likely to flourish if you choose the “right plant, right location,” I’ve recommended plants for various soil kinds. They are also valued for their fauna.
Five Big Plants for a Boundary Forest Environment
- Good for windswept locations, coastal gardens, and metropolitan gardens are ash and Fraxinus excelsior.
- Fagus sylvatica, a beech, keeps its “deceased” foliage throughout the winter.
- Quercus robur, an oak tree, feeds over 280 bug species and holds onto some “deceased” foliage during the winter.
- Betula pendula, Silver Birch – arid, sandy areas
- Taxus baccata, a yew tree with perennial foliage and drought-tolerant fruit,
Five More Compact Plants for a Forest Boundary Environment
Alder, Alnus glutinosa, prefers moist ground.
Over 90 bug species are supported by the crab apple (Malus sylvestris).
Elder, Sambucus nigra fruit and blossoms are both beneficial to animals.
Hazel, Corylus avellana – excellent in parks by the water and open locations
When compared to the majority of the other trees on this list, the rowan, or mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia, blooms later and has fruit that are beneficial to wildlife.
Malus sylvatica, crab apple fruit, nutritious decorative garden, forest border, and wildlife-friendly
A Forest Border Environment with 5 Shrubs
Prunus spinosa, also known as blackthorn, favors wet, well-drained soil.
Dogwood, Cornus sanguinea, prefers calcareous or moist soil, and its winter branches are colorful.
Viburnum opulus, the Guelder Rose, likes wet, limey soil that is beneficial to insects and migrating birds.
Over 140 bug species are supported by hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, and its fruit are beneficial to wildlife.
Euonymus europaeus spindle, which grows well in calcareous soil
natural species, hawthorn, may bloom, spotted flower, and crataegus monogyna
Seven Blooms for a Border Forest Environment
- Hyacinthoides non-scripta, bluebells
- Digitalis purpurea, or foxglove
- Geranium robertianum, Plant Robert
- Convallaria majus, or lily of the valley
- Primula vulgaris, or primrose
- Viola oderata, or sweet violet
- Narcissus pseudonarcissus, or wild daffodil
native species, geranium robertianum, plant robert, storksbill, doves foot, pink blooms, fragrant foliage, red-orange fall foliage, yearly
A Forest Edge Habitat’s Top 5 Edibles
Crab apple, Elder, Hawthorn, Oak, and Rowan, as well as Primrose and Sweet Violet, all have appetizing portions. In this environment, other nutritious species like: –
clumps of gooseberries and blackcurrants that require pruning, culinary fields, orchards where you can pick your own produce
2 bushes –
Utility tree, June fruit lime tree, Tilia x europaea, and Amelanchier lamarkii
two berry trees
- Ribes nigrum, or blackcurrant
- Ribes uva-crispa, gooseberry
2 annual grass plants
- Chenopodium bonus-henricus, a good King Henry.
- In maritime regions, you can find wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea).
A note of caution: don’t assume that an edible plant’s entire structure is food. Verify the components’ suitability for human consumption and whether they should be consumed prepared or uncooked. Contact us for a horticulture instruction on how to use your yard as food.
maintaining your habitat at the Forest Edge
In order for light to reach all areas of your forest border, trees in gardens should be kept trimmed, particularly lower limbs. Shrubs should be pruned according to their needs and to avoid congestion. To create a litter and a home for insects and other tiny creatures, leaves can be left on the ground as they would in nature. In a particularly rainy winter, you might want to relocate them out of the plants’ straight line of sight.
Your forest edge border will require little care once it is established if the earth has been properly prepped and the planting mix chosen.
Autumnal woodland fringe environment, foliage fall
I hope I’ve provided you some inspiration for how to make your own forest border environment. However, if you’d prefer a more customized strategy, don’t be afraid to contact us. With consideration for all of your family’s requirements, the earth you have, and your money, we can create a forest border ecosystem as part of the general landscape. Additionally, we can provide you with support so you have the confidence to use the blueprints to build the forest border environment on your own.