Placing plants from a native tree nursery on your property can help sustain the lives of many animal species. Native plants provide various animals with food, shelter, and breeding grounds, enhancing their chances of survival. Here are four animals that depend on native plants to survive:
1. The American Goldfinch
The American goldfinch is a bright yellow bird commonly found in North American gardens and woodlands. These birds feed primarily on the seeds of native plants such as coneflowers, asters, and thistles, which provide nutrients and energy for the birds’ daily activities. Native plants also serve as habitats and shelters for these birds during breeding and migration.
Goldfinches play a role in pollination and aid in controlling insect populations. They often eat more seeds than they can digest and then excrete the undigested seeds in their droppings, dispersing them and promoting plant growth. Trees like red maples and American sycamores can be found at a native tree nursery and can provide food and shelter for American goldfinch birds.
2. The Monarch Butterfly
The monarch butterfly, known for its stunning orange and black wings, relies heavily on native plant species for survival. Native plants like milkweed and other nectar-producing flowers provide these butterflies with habitats and food sources during their life cycles. Female monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants, the only food source for their larvae. Adult monarch butterflies eat the nectar from milkweed and various flowers.
Adult and larvae monarch butterflies are also a food source for other wildlife like birds, ants, wasps, and spiders. This helps to maintain the natural balance in the ecosystem. Monarch butterflies also help to control the population of harmful insects, such as aphids, which can damage crops and gardens.
3. The Red Fox
The red fox is a small omnivorous mammal that relies on native plants for a significant portion of its diet. Red foxes depend on nuts, berries, and fruits from native plants for survival. Native plants like red mulberry trees, American red raspberry plants, and oak trees provide nuts and fruits for red foxes.
The red fox diet also includes small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and insects. Many of these wildlife depend on native plants for their food. The prey of the red fox eats native grasses, seeds, berries, and nuts. Red foxes also rely on various native plants for shelter and protection.
4. The American Pika
The American pika is a small mammal commonly found in high-elevation areas of western North America. American pikas are closely related to rabbits and hares, and their population has decreased in recent years. Pikas consume various herbaceous vegetation throughout the year, including grasses, sedges, wildflowers, and shrubs. These plants provide the necessary nutrients for the pika’s diet and also serve as shelter and protection from predators.
American pikas help the spread and growth of native plants throughout their habitats by consuming and defecating their seeds. Their burrowing activity contributes to soil aeration, improving soil productivity and promoting plant growth. These animals require specific temperatures and habitat conditions to survive. This makes them an excellent indicator of the impacts of climate change and habitat fragmentation on native plants and animals.
Create a Sustainable Ecosystem With the Help of a Native Tree Nursery
A native tree nursery provides a sustainable solution for restoring and enhancing natural habitats. These nurseries are a legal and safe source of healthy native plants. They aim to eliminate the use of invasive species and promote biodiversity by cultivating native species that are adapted to local soil and weather conditions. Consider planting native trees and other vegetation on your property to enhance the survival of various animal species that rely on diverse ecosystems.