Watch the Winter Wildlife

Erin Conant

Keep a watchful eye on the world around you this winter. Beneath the fallen leaves, perched on cold, bare branches, and deep within the soil exists the kind of life we don’t normally recognize in the chill of wintry weather. While we hurry inside to the warmth of a fire, Mother Nature continues to bloom and scurry about the earth, regardless of the weather.

Bright-colored winter wildlife creates a visual testament to the liveliness of the season. Blue jays, mockingbirds and cardinals flit from their perches to the ground and back in search of seeds and shelter. Help out our feathered friends by setting out seed and suet, and hold off on pruning those cold-hardy perennials like lantana, beautyberry and native hollies.

Meanwhile, toiling out of sight and out of mind, microscopic organisms beneath frozen plant stalks remain alive and well, breaking down organic matter into beneficial nutrients for plants. Taking advantage of the unceasing benefits of these soil microbes are the roots of perennial plants that continue to grow in the frosty temperatures, even after their leaves are shed.

Winter is the prime opportunity for trees, shrubs and other perennials to grow and strengthen before the brutal heat of the summer arrives. Help nurture and protect the soil with natural nutrients like compost and mulch.

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Pruning Tree