I am a firm believe that part of being a good steward for your homestead, farm, or even a backyard in town lies in being aware of the plants and animals that call the area home as well. When you learn to identify local trees and plants, it leads to awareness of the wildlife that consume or make their home amongst them. When you understand how all animals interact with nature around you, it can lead to a deeper appreciation for this beautiful planet and all who inhabit it.
On the Eastern side of United States, a common hardwood tree called the Yellow Poplar serves to benefit not only wildlife, but people as well. Yellow Poplar, also known as “Tulip Poplar”, is not actually in the same family as other Poplar trees, and is however more closely related to the Magnolia family. Learning to identify this tree properly can be beneficial, as it makes for sometimes colorful lumber, a readily available woodworking source, and food for different species of animals.
Planting Tulip Poplar for Wildlife
Last Summer, I finally managed to catch a glimpse of the older doe that frequents the land with her young fawn. The fawn bounded away from her mother often, not too far out of sight, nibbling here and there on leaves. I made sure to pay particular attention to what each of them browsed on, and noted that the mother and weaned fawn were both mainly selecting shoots of Tulip Poplar that were growing from stumps of previously cleared small trees. Another benefit for wildlife is seen in the yellow and orange flowers, often visited by hummingbirds while in bloom, providing them a nectar source in the late Spring to early Summer.
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