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Edible/wildlife-friendly shrubs for partial shade?

Posted by nick_b79 Zone 4 MN (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 22, 13 at 13:18

I'm looking for shrubs to plant along my property line this spring that will provide habitat and fruit for the birds and squirrels, as well as possibly fruit for me to cook with.

The location is along my property line with my neighbor. He has a thick row of white spruce on his side, and since the line runs N to S, my side of the yard receives sun in the morning until midday, when the spruces start to throw shade. The site has rich soil and is moist but well-drained (no standing water, slight slope for drainage).

I already have a 200-ft long shrub row/windbreak on the north side of my property line I planted two years ago that is a mixture of rugosa rose, juneberry, sea buckthorn, Techny arborvitae, American plum, hazelnut, Nanking cherry and Manchurian apricot. All of these are growing well so far from bareroot seedlings.

I have highbush cranberry and elderberry on my short list right now. Anyone have any other good choices I could throw in? I'll need at least 12 plants, so I can do two or three different species for variety. Thanks!


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RE: Edible/wildlife-friendly shrubs for partial shade?

-High bush or half-high bush blueberries provide blooms, fruit, and autumn color if your part of MN has acid soil.
-There are several other native Viburnums besides high bush cranberry that could be used such as V. acerifolium which likes shade or V. lentago or V. recognitum. All also have short-term spring blooms, fruit and fall color.
-Aronia (chokeberry) also has blooms, berries and fall color.
-Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) has nicely scented foliage and waxy gray berries that provide early spring food for birds
-Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) has smooth green deciduous leaves and holds its bright berries on bare stems through most of the fall around here.
-Crabapples might not work in your hedgerow, though I have a couple of bird-planted ones growing in quite a bit of shade, but they provide food in early spring as they thaw for robins, grouse, and cedar waxwings IME.
-Pagoda dogwood also might be a bit large but has the same combination of spring flowers (small and lacy not like typical flowering dogwoods), bird-friendly fruit, and nice fall color.

Several of these plants have 1 sex per plant (holly, many Viburnums, and the bayberry) so you will need to have both sexes for fruit.

These are all plants that grow well for me in half-day sun, give or take a bit, but you are a bit colder and so should check hardiness.

I have several of the plants already on your list, including elderberries, Techny arborvitae, Juneberry (Amalanchier), and hazelnut, some growing wild and some planted in garden areas. All are doing well.


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