As you could perhaps see in the maps from the previous post, the larger list of prospects shown there got narrowed down to nine species due to ph requirements or for other reasons. Also, I just couldn’t help adding Serviceberry back into my rural planting. Having previously had poor success with it, I felt I must give this well-recommended plant one more try. I don’t want to accept defeat; and, furthermore, I found by reading further that Serviceberry is not drought tolerant – particularly early on … maybe this has been my problem. So, here is my list. It shows spacing, plant height, and the number of lepidoptera each supports (all support birds) as well as particular notes I deemed to be important – especially the notes on soils and where multiples are required for pollination.


Common Name Latin name Spacing Height Lepidoptera Notes
American Cranberry Viburnum opulus var. Americanum  

6 – 8’




96 species


drought and clay tolerant

Nannyberry Viburnum lantigo  

6 – 12’




96 species


drought tolerant

Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus  

8 – 10’




32 species

dry to moist, poor soils OK

suckers, forms thickets

Northern Bush Honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera  

2 – 3’



only 3 but birds and pollinators like great fall color, long-blooming, poor soils & drought OK, requires multiples to fruit, forms thickets
Red Osier Dogwood Cornus sericea 8 – 12’ 6-10’ 106 species likes rich moist soils, fast growing, best in groups
Black Chokeberry, Aronia Aronia melanocarpa  

3 – 6’



lots of birds & pollinators wide range of soils and moisture, good fall color, suckers, vase-shaped


Amelanchier laevis  

15 – 20’




106 species

orange-red fall color, moist well-drained soils but tolerant, others drought intolerant
New Jersey Tea, Redroot Caenothus americanus  

4 – 5’




38 species

bees love it

flower showy fragrant, slow-starter, poor well-drained dryish soils, not clay, orange fall color
Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius  

5 – 10’




34 species

water during establishment, requires multiples, winter interest, tolerates wide range soils
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana var. virginiana  

15 – 20’




377 species

plant 2-3 together best, wide range soil & moisture


To source these plants, I basically Googled “where to buy” for each. Sometimes, sources were wholesale only. Yet, I did manage to find relatively local sources for all of these. However, since that time, I have found that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a source list for native plants as does the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), so, you might try these first. Be aware though, that some species offered as native may be a bit of a stretch. This is the case for Black Chokeberry, above, commonly called Aronia, and that explains why I could not find the number of lepidoptera these will support for our zip code on the website.

Most of the plants I bought came from Chief River Nursery, Prairie Nursery, Cold Springs Farm, and Morning Sky Greenery. I also bought my late-decision Serviceberry from the Vernon County Land & Water Tree Sale.

Beyond all this too-wordy verbiage from me, there is a wonderful, single-page, front and back, piece from the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation entitled “Help nature, plant natives! … 10 Great Native Trees, Shrubs and Plants for Birds” publication PUB-NH-533. We have copies of these in the VSN office, or email your address to and we can mail one to you.

My next blog, #7, will be about laying out the plantings with color-coded flags by using the chart above and trying to stay close to the plans on the maps … but with some inevitable tweaking.