Quick Start - Shrubs and Trees

Flowering plants come first to mind when we think about planting for pollinators and wildlife. As important as those plants are, native bushes and trees are also critical. They serve as sources of nectar and pollen, are larval hosts for butterflies and moths, host insects that feed the birds, and provide shelter for birds, insects and animals. Trees also take carbon out of the atmosphere and provide us with oxygen and cooling shade. Oaks are one of the most beneficial trees in our landscape, feeding and supporting over 600 insects, including butterflies, and over 100 species of wildlife. If there is one tree to plant that does it all it is a native oak.

When planning a landscape it is important to create layers in the landscape to support a wide variety of creatures. The layers, from lowest to highest, are ground covers, plants, shrubs, small trees and large trees. Creating these layers in your garden will maximize the number of insects, birds and animals that will call your yard their home.


  • This is a great list of some beautiful native shrubs that would enhance any garden.

  • The shrubs on this list are also winners and will attract pollinators and birds. Some are larval host plants as well. Did you know there is a native hydrangea? You'll see it on this list.

  • Here is a list of native shrubs that would make a great hedge.

Small Trees

Larger Trees

  • This guide offers native tree information for our area - it includes large and smaller trees.

Interested in choosing shrubs and trees that are host plants for butterfly and moth caterpillars?

How to plant a tree or shrub?

  • Here is a guide to help you plant your new shrub or tree.