Shrub Cheat Sheet for 29 wildlife plants


Active Member
Being a teacher, as I read up on all the plants I ordered i figured it would be smart to take notes so I don't plant shade intolerant plants in the shade or moisture loving plants on dry ridges. My notes come from the usda plant guide documents and the characteristics page. I may have made some mistakes but I figured someone out there might benefit from seeing the list and the summarized information about each one. I plan to add some pictures soon. The first 8 are the ones I am planting this year but added some more information and more species since I am a nerd and like reading and learning.

I realized after that I should probably not include non-natives, but since I have 30 sawtooths ordered, i left them in the list. May add an asterisk for non-natives since they could eventually be considered invasive.

Please share any feedback or errors you think i made. Also please share any plants you would like to see me add. I will share 4 at a time for ease of reading.

Red osier dogwood- bedding, browse, and cover. White berries 5-15 ft tall, common on creek banks and besides wetlands, propagate by division layering and cuttings, does well coppiced, cut at 3-in from the base, before spring, white flowers, drought tolerance low, shade intolerant, ph low, cuttings yes, high browse preference

Gray dogwood low growing, max of 6ft tall, tolerant of shade, very adaptable, easily grown through cutting and layering, white flower, brown seed, forms rhizomes, shade tolerant, medium drought resistance, fruit abundance medium, medium browse preference, low protein

Silky dogwood- southern version of dogwood, bedding, browse and cover. Blue berries 6-10ft tall 10-15 spread, spreads well through layering, moist, somewhat poorly drained, moderately acidic to neutral, does well in shade, cant handle drought, 10 ft spacing recommended for cover, 5ft for screen

Hazelnut- grows well in shade, bush form, mast in 2-3 years, ,birch family, 5-10 ft tall, likes well drained rich soil, grows with rhizomes, white flowers, multiple stems, NO resprout, drought and fire tolerance medium, medium browse preference
Chokeberry is a small shrub growing 3-6 feet tall and prefers moist areas, must be protected, high on browse list full sun but can tolerate shade, will put up shoots to form thickets

Elderberry- black and red, browsed by deer, fruit for birds, thicket forming, grows from cuttings, grow well in shade

chinquapins-adapts to harsh conditions, large shrub, small tree, Fruits mature in autumn and winter, found on high ridges and slopes, found on well drained sites, produce nuts in 3 seasons, regenerate from sprouts after fire,

American Plum- 3- 15ft tall and wide, thicket forming, no shade, fire or drought tolerance, suckers from the root, thorns, flowers in april before leaf out, fruit ripe in august or September, grow from midstem hardwoods cuttings
Buttonbush- likes moist soil, highly preferred browse, common in wetlands and marshes, can handle flooding, birds like seed, deer browse, grow from cuttings

Spicebush- grows wll in shade or sun, prefers moist soil, laurel family, found in understory and forms thickets, Flowering: March-April; fruits maturing AugustOctober (-November). Found in low woods or swamp edges

Highbush Cranberry- similar to cranberry bush, small red berries, great for wet areas, provides cover and food, handles shade well.
Southern arrowood- adaptable native, multistemmed shrub. Creamy white flowers, dark blue berries, grows 9ft tall and 9 ft wide, Fruiting occurs from August – November, commonly found in partial shade, can handle dry and wet soil, grows from rhizomes and softwood cuttings, easily transplanted

Highbush cranberry-fruits in sept, persists until eaten, sometimes all winter, grow to 4m, spreading branches, flowers june and july, prefers moist but well drained sites, seeds difficult to germinate, shade tolerant but fruiting suffers, grown from cuttings, layering, division, NOT seed

Black haw- coppiced, black fruit, white flowers, branching, 16ft tall, shade tolerant

Nannyberry- shade tolerant shrub, grows up to 36ft, flowers may to june, fruits july to September, Large size only in full sun and rich soil, normally multi stemmed but can be pruned to single trunk
Ninebark – native shrub, sometimes tree form,10 ft tall, prefers dry areas, groundcover and food for birds, browse and fruit, flowers and fruits may to july, highly adaptable to all soil and light requirements, grown from cutting or seeds without treatment

Smooth Sumac- need full sun, grow along borders, like sandy soil, 2ft long leaf with leaflets, 10-15 ft tall in full sun, deciduous, flowers june to july, cluster of red fruits form in September, fruits in year 3-4 male and female separate normally, drought resistant and found in sandy soil, not highly shade tolerate and are considered early successional species, root sprouts encouraged by cutting

Serviceberry- provides early summer food, browsed by deer, not thicket forming, Native shrubs or small trees to 10 meters tall, with a narrow, rounded crown, variety of habitats from swamps to dry ridges, flowers earliest in march, fruits in july, spreads by seed after scarification by birds

Chickasaw plum- grows well in sandy soil, forms thicket and thorny branches, low maintenance, thicket forming shrub, 10 ft tall and wide, spreads through suckering, flowers early march-april, bark shiny brown with horizontal bands, found in open and upland fields, best in full sun, very drought tolerant
American Crabapple 30 ft tall, Full sun, variation in sizes and fruits, blooms april to june, space 10 ft apart, fruit from july to November, variety of diseases and pests

Chokecherry- thicket forming woody shrub, irregular crown, numerous stems, reproduces by rhizomes and seed, host to lots of parasites and disease, seeds poisonous to humans

Winterberry- fruit poisonous to humans, NOT to wildlife, platned in shady moist areas, but prefers sun, dense branches with zigzag pattern, dioecious, white flowers,

Possumhaw- high browse priority, multiple stems, red fruit, yellow flower, will resprout, drought tolerant, shade tolerant, acidic soil, spread by seed not cuttings,
Mapleleaf viburnum- white flower, red fruit, coppice easily, multiple stems, slow growth, resprouts, high drought tolerance, shade tolerant, no cuttings, yes seeds, medium browse, low protein

Beautyberry- blue flowers, purple seed, no coppicing, multiple stems, grows from sprouts, highly drought tolerant, moderate shade tolerance, high browse preference low protein,

Strawberry bush-seeds for bird, browse for deer, 3-6 ft tall, yellow flowers, fruit ripens sept-oct, found in wide variety of habitats, low abundance due to deer browse, shade tolerant, seeds must be cold stratify 90 days, not drought tolerant,
Blue huckleberry- white flower, blueblack fruit, no coppicing, multiple stems, will resprout, drought tolerant, prefers low pH, no cuttings, no browse preference,

Highbush blueberry- white flower, blue fruit, no coppice, multiple stems, resprouts, low drought tolerance, low pH, salt tolerance high, shade tolerant, cuttings and seed propagation, medium browse and fruit production, low protein, fruits april to October, wet high acidity soil

Fragrant sumac- leaves have high tannin content, 6-8 ft tall, can form dense thickets by rhizomes, decidous, woody and spread up to 30 ft, brown stems become gray with age, 3 leaflets per stem, yellow flowers, orange fruits, flowers march to may, fruits july august, found in open, rocky, or steep slopes,
As I get time and find more plants, that yall probably already know about, I will continue to add here.
Winged Sumac-seeds for birds, bark for rabbits, fruit and new growth for deer, pioneer species, 10ft tall max, greenish yellow flower in july, red fruits in clusters up to 700, prefer open areas on ridges, early successional, don’t compete well
I picked up a new book to look through today. Lots of forbs I have never heard of, that have lots of wildlife use.
2 evergreens for the list
Yaupon holly- evergreen reaching 30 ft, low preference browse, bright red seeds used by birds, prefers sandy low pH sites, difficult to grow from seed, transplants well,

Inkberry holly-evergreen, 10ft tall, thicket forming from rhizomes, grows well in wet soil and shade, persistent fruit, not fire resistant, but regrows from rhizomes,
After seeing the pictures of carolina laurel cherry while googling info, I realized i had 3 or 4 in my backyard. hope to find some small seedlings to transplant now.
have both of these in my front yard as well
Eastern Redbud- spring and summer browse for deer, low preference rest of the year, squirrels and quail eat the seeds, early to bloom, found on moist soils, southfacing, fire tolerant, likes pH over 7

Flowering Dogwood- small bushy tree, white flowers in april may, bright red fruits, understory tree, found along roadways and edges of forest, choice browse for deer, fruit/seed food for lots of different bird species including wild turkey,
Carolina Laurel Cherry- cover and fruit/seed, fruit is small black thin pulp, fruits early feb-april, toxic to humans, cyanide, native to coastal plain, full sun and acidic soil,

Sweet pepperbush- shade tolerant, moist soil, low preference for deer, birds eat seeds, deciduous shrub, alder family, fruits in September to October, prefers moist soil and can tolerate shade,