5 easy steps to transform your back garden into a wildlife oasis

PUBLISHED: 15:10 17 October 2019

Trees with thick foliage, like hawthorns, provide birds with plenty of protection. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Nigeldowsett.

Trees with thick foliage, like hawthorns, provide birds with plenty of protection. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Nigeldowsett.

Nigeldowsett

Create a sanctuary for local wildlife in your garden where creatures large and small can find shelter, protection and food.

Bowhayes Trees can help you plant, care for and maintain your new garden. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/aimintang.Bowhayes Trees can help you plant, care for and maintain your new garden. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/aimintang.

Not sure where to start? Fiona Hughes, director of Bowhayes Trees offers her top tips to help you design a wildlife paradise that will provide the delights of nature on your doorstep.

1. Use hedges instead of fences

Try to use hedges instead of fences wherever possible. Hedges can provide food, cover and resting areas for all kinds of birds, insects and small animals. The more species within a hedge you use the better. "A mixed species hedge will encourage a wider range of wildlife and hopefully encourage the birds, the bees and the butterflies to visit all year round," Fiona explained. "Lots of people will choose a single species hedge such as laurel or beech, which works well and provides great form, but will limit the biodiversity in your garden."

Bowhayes Trees give advice on how to look after hedges and trees and recommend plants ideal for beginners. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.Bowhayes Trees give advice on how to look after hedges and trees and recommend plants ideal for beginners. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

Fiona's Top Tip: 'Avoid pruning your hedges until late winter or early spring - this gives creatures like hedgehogs and other small animals more foliage to use as shelter in winter and avoids the summer nesting period for birds.'

2. Plant plenty of trees

Planting a selection of native trees works well for enticing a furry or winged friend. Fragrant trees like wild cherry work well and are ideal for attracting butterflies, as are trees that flower fruit and nuts for the wildlife to eat. Sweet chestnut is a favourite of squirrels. Trees with thick foliage, like hawthorns, provide birds with plenty of protection.

If you're short on space, smaller trees like rowans or crab apples are good for attracting birds. You must plant the right kind of tree to have the desired effect. Speak with a member of the team at Bowhayes Trees for some advice before you buy.

Fiona's Top Tip: 'It's best to use native trees, like oak, beech or alder wherever possible as these will work best to attract the local wildlife.

3. Start by choosing plants that are easy to look after

If you're not naturally green-fingered or lack the know-how to create and care for your wildlife wonder, Bowhayes Trees has the expertise to help. They can provide advice on how to look after your hedges and trees and can recommend some easy, hardy plants which are ideal for beginners.

Fiona's Top Tip: 'Buy one of our Wildlife Hedge Packs to begin your garden. It's a pre-mixed pack of different hedge species that work together to get your garden buzzing with a variety of wildlife.

4. Pick the right time of year to plant your new garden

Whilst you can plant most of the year, November to March is the optimal time to plant trees and hedges to benefit wildlife. This season is known as 'bare root planting' - when a plant or tree is moved from the nursery to your garden during the plant's resting or 'dormant' period. The plants can look a little odd in this state but only because they're 'sleeping' - so don't worry, they're supposed to look that way.

It's best to plant them during this time as it makes transportation easier, is less damaging to the plant and encourages quick healthy growth when the season begins. If you want to plant something outside of these months you can always opt to plant a container tree - though these can require a little more care and maintenance.

Fiona's Top Tip: 'Seek the advice of an expert to learn when is the best time of year to plant your chosen tree or hedge. Try to avoid planting in July or August.'

5. Don't use strong chemicals or insecticides

Spraying strong chemicals on the plants will discourage insects that you need to create a balanced eco-system and will ruin a food source birds and other creatures would naturally be attracted to.

Bowhayes Trees can help you design your wildlife oasis

Bowhayes Trees has a diverse selection of hedge plants, shrubs and trees ideal for creating your wildlife wonderland. Since 1992 they have branched out to offer a diverse range of native trees and hedging and a range of the country's best-loved greenery. They can help you plant, care for and maintain your new garden.

To learn more about how to care for your plants and the best way to encourage healthy growth call 01404 8122229 or email contact@bowhayestrees.co.uk. To explore their range of trees and hedges visit bowhayestrees.co.uk.

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