Gardening for Wildlife
Chances are, if you live in San Francisco, your backyard is full of wildlife. ...mourning doves scratching the ground for insects...hummingbirds squabbling for territory...
You may find insects such as monarch butterflies, ladybugs, or damselflies. You may even have salamanders hiding under damp rocks.
If this doesn't describe your backyard, it could! And winter is the perfect time to start planting, before the rainy season is over! Check out our Winter Planting newletter for volunteer opportunities and tips on how to make your garden the best!
You can help protect and restore nature in the city by gardening for wildlife. Even the smallest plot of land can welcome the wildlife around us...
Here are some guidelines – six key elements – for creating a wildlife-friendly habitat in your backyard, community garden, streetscape or DPW paper street
...and a healthy urban watershed.
1. Getting Started - Spend time in your yard and in open spaces near your home! Notice the wild creatures and which trees and shrubs they use. Determine your yard's soil type and wind patterns. Your observations will help you design a wildlife-friendly backyard and feel interconnected with our fellow life in the City.
2. Food - Plants that produce nectar, berries, fruits, and seeds will attract insects and birds.
3. Water - Provide a reliable source of water such as a birdbath, pond or shallow dish for wildlife to use for bathing and drinking. Be sure to change water every week to prevent mosquitoes.
4. Cover - Create cover for wildlife with plant structural diversity, i.e., a variety of trees (such as coast live oak), evergreen shrubs, low perennials and bunchgrasses. Cover can also consist of hollowed logs, brush or rock piles. These structures will protect wildlife against the elements and predators and provide habitat for insects and places for birds to breed.
5. Places to Raise Young - Offer wildlife safe places for courtship and nurturing young. It is important to keep cats indoors.
6. Sustainable Garden Practices - Planting natives, reducing chemicals, and building healthy soil will positively affect the wildlife in your garden.
For additional habitat gardening information, go to:
California Native Plant Society, Yerba Buena Chapter