Living With Wildlife
This section discusses enhancing your acreage to attract wildlife and preventing wildlife damage.
Diversity is the Key to Attracting Wildlife
Plant as many different types of grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees as possible.
Select a diverse range of varieties of each type of plant.
Have many sources of water. Ponds, swamps, bogs and bird baths are all great sources of water for wildlife. Place water sources in open and hidden locations.
Take advantage of the fact that many animals prefer the edge where two different types of habitats meet. Form as much " Edge Effect" as you can.
Consider the following. . .
Do you have a large diversity of vegetation on the property?
Do you have accessible year-round water sources in various locations?
Are there dead trees, brush piles or rock piles scattered across the landscape?
Is year-round food provided for a diverse planting of grasses, shrubs and trees?
Do you supplement food resources for wildlife?
- Find out what species of wildlife are native to your area.
- Decide which of the native wildlife you would like to manage.
- Learn as much as possible about the requirements of those species.
- Determine habitat enhancement needs on your property.
- Design short- and long-term plans for habitat improvements.
- Select plants that provide cover and food.
- Plant a variety of plant types; intersperse, creating a mixed stand.
- Plant to create protected nesting areas.
- Plant in locations that form corridors or connections between different larger habitat plantings.
- Promote and plant woodland, grassland, riparian and wetland habitats.
- Create a number of each type of habitat so different habitat are adjacent, forming as many " edge" areas as possible.
Grassland Habitat Hints
- Grasslands are made up of many grasses, legumes and forbs.
- Mix as many species of native grassland species as possible.
- Do not plant grasslands uniformly, but make them patchy to create a mosaic effect.
- Many animal species need a large unbroken prairie area.
- Maintain grasslands by eliminating any woody plants (especially cedars).
- Add water by forming small " prairie potholes" in low areas. Incorporate a small clay seal in the soil of the lowest point.
- Allow piles of dead grasses and forbs to remain through the winter. These become important overwintering cover.
- Control introduced noxious weed species.
Wetland/Riparian Habitat Hints
- True wetland or riparian habitats are very difficult to create where the natural components do not exist.
- Where wetland habitats exist, protect them from draining and pollution. Manage for natural wetland plants and prevent their destruction.
- If a creek or stream transects the property, allow at least 50 feet on each side for a riparian habitat strip. Plant trees and shrubs that provide food, cover and prevent erosion. Many tree species are adapted to riparian locations.
- Use riparian habitats to connect other types of habitats.
- Consider trying to create wetlands as well as ponds. Establish large shallow areas around ponds with cattails and wetland grasses.
Woodland Habitat Hints
- Mix evergreen, deciduous and shrub species. Plant in random groupings.
- Select species that provide food for wildlife, forage, nuts, fruits and seeds.
- Select plants that are different heights. Some will give canopy habitat while others form lower habitat cover.
- Allow dead trees to stand if they are in an area that is non-threatening to humans or property. These provide nesting for many wildlife species.
- Fallen trees also form good cover.
- Snags or piles of brush are perfect overwintering sites.
- Create dead trees by girdling live ones and shelter by stacking cut branches if there are none.
- Construct thick understory areas with thorny brambles to protect small animals from predators.
- Create water sources by adding small woodland ponds in lowland areas.
Source: Adapted for Lancaster County, Nebraska from A Place in the Country: The Acreage Owner's Guide (EC97-2506C).
Tips to Reduce Wildlife Damage
- Pro-active prevention is the best control.
- Protect high-valued items with fences and physical deterrents.
- Supply alternative resources so wildlife has less need for desired items.
- Provide feed stations, water and nesting material.
- Chemical repellents work best when there are enough alternative items.
- Competition and predation are natural in a diverse system of habitats
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Contact InformationUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln
in Lancaster County
Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A,
Lincoln, NE 68528