Berry Trees Attract Birds
Knowing which berries grow on trees will help you design a garden full of edible and ornamental berries. Berry trees are easy to grow. Many berry trees also attract song birds to the garden. If you're planning a garden to nurture nature, planting berry trees such as elderberry, mulberry, and holly provides birds with enticing food choices and shelter to build nests. Add perennials and elements such as feeders and bird baths, sit back, and enjoy the show!
Mulberry Trees for Wildlife
Native to Asia, mulberry trees were brought to Europe and then to North America. Some species of mulberry are native to the east coast of America, too. Many of the mulberries found growing wild in America are descended from trees planted by the early colonists. The colonists hoped to grow silk worms, which thrive among mulberry trees, and capitalize on the demand for silk cloth. Unfortunately their plan didn't work, but the trees thrived. Today, mulberry trees provide edible berries as well as food for wildlife. Avoid planting near sidewalk, since the berries can stain cement and concrete.
While you can't grow acai berries in the backyard, these berries that grow on trees are all the rage among the health food set. The berries are rich in antioxidants and may provide a health boost. They're native to South America.
Elderberry trees thrive in moist, slightly acidic soil. They make wonderful additions to bird and wildlife gardens. Many species of songbirds love elderberries and will enjoy these tasty treats. Deer also enjoy elderberries, so avoid planting elderberry trees near plants that deer may snack on unless you're willing to sacrifice a few plants to the wildlife.
Cornelian Cherry or Dogwood
The Cornelian cherry is actually a type of dogwood. Cornus mas, or Cornelian cherry, provides tart red fruits similar to the cherry. In Europe, the Cornelian cherry is made into sauces, syrups, and desserts, but it's not well-known in America. The Cornelian cherry is very hardy and disease resistant flowering tree. Fruits ripen in August and are also beloved by song birds.
Tough Hawthorn Trees
Hawthorn trees are actually related to the rose. They are known for their incredibly tough wood. In Britain, the hawthorn was grown for its ability to form a thick, thorn-filled hedge. Hawthorns hybridize easily, and there are now over a thousand species available. Check with your local garden center if you want to grow hawthorn to ensure you choose a variety that will thrive in your area.
Holly Provides Berries
The holly tree with its Christmas-bright berries can grow to splendid heights. Its evergreen shiny leaves provide year-round interest, while female trees produce red berries in the winter. While the berries aren't edible for people, the birds will love them. You can also cut holly branches for decorations. Holly can be grown easily in zones 6 and higher, but choose varieties carefully in the colder zones, and make sure you have two or more plants to get berries - they need a pollinator.
Soap berries were used as a soap substitute by native peoples in both the New and Old World. When crushed and combined with water, they produce a soap like substance that was used to clean things. The brown seeds of the soapberry tree are made into jewelry and the wood is used to make baskets by Native Americans.
Goji berries are also called wolf berries. They are native to Southeastern Europe and Asia. They are related to tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, deadly nightshade, chili peppers, and tobacco. Goji berries have been valued in the 21st century for their nutritional and antioxidant values, although there is little research to support some of the health claims being made about them.
Juniper berries are the only spice derived from a conifer. They are actually not berries at all, but modified cones with an unusually fleshy covering. Birds are very fond of juniper berries. Humans use them to flavor gin and in cooking, particularly in Europe.
Strawberry Tree Berries
The strawberry tree is an evergreen small tree native to the Meditarranean and to Europe as far north as Ireland. It produces an edible fruit that birds and humans eat, and also is used in jams, beverages, and liqueurs. Some people find the flavor bland and mealy and do not like the fruit. The strawberry tree is also used to provide food for bees in honey production in Europe.
Growing Berry Trees Is Worthwhile
Whether you wish to grow berry trees for edible berries or to attract song birds, there's a certain pleasure in noticing the changing seasons among the berry trees. The bright foliage color and berries and the changing flutter of migrating song birds makes growing berry trees worthwhile.