Planting Shrubs To Feed The Birds

Trees & Shrubs

Provide a natural food source by planting shrubs to feed the birds – shrubs and trees that will provide berries and fruit to your birds all year long. What is wonderful about fruit bearing trees and shrubs is the glorious flowers they produce in advance of the flowers turning to seeds/berries that the birds just love.

If you plant a variety of shrubs that flower and fruit at different times of the year, your birds will have a natural source of food and you won’t have to spend quite as much on bird seed either. It is especially important to have food for birds during the winter months.

This past winter in the Northeast and for much of the US was especially brutal and not all birds and water fowl survived. In Michigan, the lakes froze over for such a long time that the mallard ducks died from starvation. We must all be cognizant of the fact that sometimes nature needs a little bit of help and if we can provide it we must.

holly trees and robin

Robin eats holly tree’s berries

Here are some berry producing shrubs that you may want to consider planting this year:




American Elder



Eastern Red Cedar



Staghorn Sumac





Heavenly Bamboo


Viburnum opulus

A little bit about a favorite berry-producing shrub, the Viburnum. Viburnum is a flowering shrub with beautiful flowers that bloom in early spring. The Viburnum makes a lovely border plant as the bushes grow to be quite tall and wide. The stunning flowers are replaced by berries that ripen over the coming months providing birds with a wonderful food source.

– Most viburnum flower in spring with flowers that can be white, pale pink or even dark pink.

– They can reach 8 feet in height and grow 4-6 feet wide.

– Many bear fruits in late summer or early fall. The berries are oval and may be red, black or blue.

– Viburnum can grow in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.


Viburnum flowering shrub

– Viburnum can be grown through seed, and you will find evidence of this when seedlings grow near existing bushes. But you may also take softwood cuttings off a branch and use this to grow another plant.

– Viburnum will grow best in USDA Zones 4 to 8.

If you live in the New Jersey area and would like to buy Viburnums take a nice drive to the Great Swamp Greenhouses. Located in the middle of the Great Swamp in Gillette, New Jersey, they have a wonderful selection of annuals and perennials that will make your yard a true haven for the birds and a feast for the eyes.


Holly trees also provide a tremendous source of food in the dead of winter. When the red berries ripen and the snow mounts up, the robins feast on the berries. It seems that they wait as long as possible before they descend into the Holly trees and devour the berries. Robins do not eat seed, but love berries and fruit and of course worms which they cannot locate when snow and ice cover the ground. So, the Holly trees provide that food source for these beautiful birds.

Once your yard become bird-friendly, sit back and enjoy the show and listen for the songs from the happy birds living in your yard.


Oregon Grapes


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