Smith’s Nature Friendly Farm is all about the trees, bushes and vines this year. We have added some great new varieties to our just under 5 acre farm after some online shopping and a shopping day with our friends at Alderman Farms.
Since I was a young girl, I have always loved trees. There is something mystical about them. Perhaps it stems from my love of Lord of The Rings and how they characterized the trees with the Ents, in their books.
But how can you not love trees? They provide shade, eat up carbon, retain water, provide nutrients for the soil, host a multitude of bugs and butterflies and provide shelter for so many creatures.
What is key is not panicking when you find an army of worms attacking the leaves of your trees. So many people see caterpillars and break out the chemicals to annihilate them. It does just that, preventing thousands of butterflies from making it out into the world.
Caterpillars are necessary for the life cycle of butterflies. They can eat a tree clean and most of the time it will not kill the tree. By following a strict #nokill rule you will be enabling thousands of pollinators to enter your landscape.
At Smith’s Nature Friendly Farm we intend to be bustling with butterflies in the years to come as we added three kinds of host trees to our landscape this year.
The Catalpa tree is a native north american tree. Found original along water basins in Mississippi. These trees love moist but fast drying ground. They provide a lot of shade without the mess of dropping branches. However, it will drop flowers and seeds at the end of their bloom time. What I love about this tree is that it is a host tree to the Catalpa Sphinx Moth. They will show up on the tree in caterpillar form to devour the leaves so they can grow into the amazing moth. We added four trees to the property so we are excited to play a part in providing habitat for these moths in the future.
Paw Paw Trees
Paw Paw trees are another fantastic native tree. These trees were once said to be used as a survival food source for early settlers. They produce a fruit, kind of like a banana, mango, and citrus mixed together. I have not tried one yet, but look forward to enjoying one someday. Paw Paw Trees need more than one tree to produce fruit. In their younger years they grow best in the shade but will eventually need some sun to keep growing. The Paw Paw tree can sometimes grow like a really tall bush. What is very exciting about the tree besides the fruit, is that it is a host tree for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly larvae. These are some gorgeous butterflies that lay their eggs on the tree and then feed on the leaves until they morph.
There is something so southern about Pecans. Which is why we just had to add a tree to our landscape. The Pecan tree is not one of my husbands favourite trees as they tend to be bad for dropping branches. So to support his concerns I will be planting our pecan tree at the back of the property. Pecan trees are a north american native. And a big reason outside of getting pecans when we are 70 is that it is a host plant to the Grey Hairstreak butterfly larvae.
Typically, everyone thinks about Milkweed and how it is the key plant for Monarchs. But other butterflies have host plants too. That is why it is so important to allow native plants and trees to thrive in your landscape. This will mean you can sit back in the summer and enjoy a multitude of flapping butterflies in your garden.
So remember, the key recipe for your butterfly friendly garden.
Host plant + Nectar source = Healthy, happy butterflies
Never add chemicals to the recipe, it ruins it!
Thanks for reading. Be friendly. Be kind.
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Trees were purchased from Ty Ty Nursery & at a local agriculture event. We are so far very please with Ty Ty's service, price and product.
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