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new tree and plantings

Hi. I had to remove a maple tree from my front yard this weekend. I live near Philadelphia in a townhouse. I would like to replace the tree with something appropriate for my yard and would like to attract birds/butterflies with the tree and new plants and shrubs. The maple was attacking the pipes under my lawn. An Aristocrat Pear was mentioned as a good candidate for a replacement tree. Thank you. -ms-

Backyard Expert - Cathy Nordstrum

An Aristocrat Pear is a nice tree, but its very upright form will not fit nicely with native plants that make up a wildlife habitat. Instead, choose either Sweet Bay or American Smoke Tree, both native trees that are good for small yards. Once you decide on the tree you want (or maybe you have room for both?), move on to choosing several larger berried shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous types. Low shrubs, ferns, and other appropriate plants round out the planting.

Use our Native Plant Field Guide to familiarize yourself with native plants and when you are ready to buy, visit a native plant nursery to validate your selections. Chances are the plants you choose are the very same plants you admire while taking walks in the woods. You may also want to track the progress of your yard with our Backyard Wildlife Habitat feature. Here you can learn how to attract all sorts of wildlife, and even get your front yard certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

Imagine if everyone in your townhouse community would do the same thing; that is what the Backyard Habitat Program is all about. It seeks to provide seamless links for wildlife to find food, cover and water in all places, be it in the city or in the country. I commend you for wanting to join the other 30,000 Americans who have transformed their landcape to be wonderful refuges for all living things. Who knows, replacement of your one maple tree may lead you on all sorts of ecological adventures. The best of luck with your project!

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