Landowners who want to manage their land to increase its value as wildlife habitat and to enhance it as a native, sustainable natural area can pursue several different practices. The following are some suggestions:
- Do not mow fields until after mid-summer, preferably not until late fall or winter. Fields are important habitat for many valuable species of mammals, insects, and birds, and mowing too early not only deprives these animals of the necessary structure for their habitat but it also reduces the availability of food. Migrating song birds need the protein from a diet of insects to be able to fly south in the fall. Butterflies gather nectar from flowers that grow in meadows. Hawks hunt for voles and mice in meadows.
- Become familiar with the common invasive plants in your area and with suggested control techniques. The fact sheets available in the below list are the most common invasives in central New Jersey:
View our PDF Fact Sheets. To open and print, please click on the name.
For more information on invasive plants you can search for “alien invasive plants” online. To find a discussion on this topic on the national level we recommend the National Invasive Species Council’s report found at www.invasivespecies.gov. For a New Jersey perspective check the New Jersey Invasive Species Council at www.nj.gov/dep/njisc. The New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST) has also been created to prevent the spread of emerging invasive species across New Jersey.
- Choose plants that are native to your area. These plants offer several advantages over alien plants. First, they are more care-free once established since they are accustomed to the climate and rainfall—or even lack of rainfall—that occurs in your area. Second, they evolved over millennia with the wildlife in your area so they are likely to use it for food and shelter. Third, there is an aesthetic harmony to a garden of plants that have evolved together that cannot be achieved by planting a few shrubs from Asia, some European plants, and some hybridized plants.
- If you are interested in attracting birds, butterflies, or other wildlife to your property, detailed information can be obtained through a number of good websites that can be reached through a search engine. Be careful, however, because many of these sites recommend alien plants, sometimes even alien invasive plants, such as Butterfly Bush, because they are short-sighted about the full consequences of their recommendations.
Introductory Photo: Stewardship staff at D&R Greenway works to restore the forests on preserved lands in Princeton Township