Wildlife Supported by the Trees
All the trees planted by YACWAG will enhance the areas where they have been planted and bring pleasure to many local residents. Every tree was chosen with wildlife in mind, many of them being native species, or cultivars derived from native species. We also planted many trees with edible fruit - good for people as well as wildlife. On this page our Jubilee trees are featured with the benefits that each species offers wildlife. As they grow, these trees will provide cover, food and shelter for wildlife which future generations can enjoy.
This is a tree that thrives in damp conditions so is very suited to the grazing marsh that surrounds the villages. In Feb-April it produces catkins that are an early source of nectar for pollinating insects and bees. When ripe the seeds are dispersed by wind or water. The tree supports many moth species including Alder Kitten and Pebble Hooktip. One of its main magnets for wildlife are the seeds packed together in 'cones' which are enjoyed by finches like the Greenfinch (pictured above) and other species like Sisikin and Redpoll.. Otters often build their holts in among the roots of Alders when planted next to water.
A native tree with thorns used in wildlife hedgerows as it is known to support over 300 species of insect. Pollinating insects such as bees love the highly scented white flowers that appear in April. Once pollinated the tree produces 'haws' (red berries) that are very rich in antioxidants. The haws attract migrating birds such as Redwing and Fieldfare. They also attract small mammals such as Voles and Wood Mouse (pictured). The dormouse is known to eat the flowers of hawthorn and it is the food plant of moth caterpillars including the Vapourer, Lackey and Light Emerald Moths.
This small tree wonderful for wildlife with sweet smelling white blossom visited by bees, hoverflies and other beneficial insects. The sparse fruit of native crab apple trees are green but cultivated varieties have been bred to produce abundant red, orange and yellow fruits which attract birds like blackbirds to feed in the winter - and people to make crab apple jelly, or mix with other fruits for jam.
This under-used but very valuable wildlife tree is similar in structure to the Crab Apple. Its white spring flowers attract bees and pollinators, while its plentiful supply of fruit attracts birds such as winter Thrushes and Blackbirds. Small mammals will also enjoy the pears. Early bees visiting this tree could include the Tree Bee (pictured) which is a voracious pollinator and likes to nest in holes in trees or very often a garden birdbox. It is important to leave these bees undisturbed where possible to allow them to pollinate your garden.
Probably our best known tree, supporting more than 300 species of insect. Its long spring catkins are followed by fruits called acorns which are eaten by crows and Jays as well as squirrels and other mammals, even badgers and Roe Deer (pictured) Old trees may develop holes and provide nesting sites for birds like Pied Flycatchers and Woodpeckers. The rare Purple Hairstreak Butterfly caterpillar eats Oak exclusively and adults can be seen dancing around its canopy in August. The endangered Stag Beetle feeds in Oak woodland on decaying wood and leaf-mould on the woodland floor. Several species of fungi are specific to the Oak such as the Oak-bug Milk Cap.
This fascinating tree was once thought to be extinct with fossils dating it back to the dinosaurs. But then in 1946 a few trees were found in a wood in the mountains of China. The tree is used by a variety of wildlife including insects, birds such as the Great spotted Woodpecker (pictured) and small mammals who overwinter in its branches, holes or behind its bark.
The Common Walnut has a short crown and a broad trunk. Its chunky catkins are pollinated by the wind to become round green fruits containing the nut. The leaves are the food of many diifferent 'micro moths' and the Walnuts are enjoyed by mammals including the
Grey Squirrel (pictured) - and people. The 'Black Walnut' is slightly better suited to the English climate and does well in the South West. Its twigs are dark, hence the name.
A small tree often found growing in country hedgerows. The fruit (Damsons) are nearly black in colour and can be used as a good free source of fruit for jams and preserves.
Damsons are also irresistible to most birds but it's not just the fruit as both Blackcaps and Bullfinches (like the young Bullfinch pictured) will spend a long time on the tree eating the flower buds in Spring.
Holly is generally thought of as a hedging shrub but it can grow into a very large tree over hundreds of years. In Somerset they were regarded as 'holy' and farmers would not cut them but leave them tall in the hedges. For pollination there must be a plant with male flowers and another with female flowers so that insects can transfer the pollen. As well as supporting many insect species the spikey leaves provide protection to nesting birds and small mammals such as mice and hedgehogs who live in the sharp leaflitter underneath. Female flowering plants produce red berries feasted on by birds with the Mistle Thrush being a regular visitor who may be seen guarding the berries from rival birds! The caterpillars of the tiny but beautiful Holly Blue Butterfly (pictured) feed on its leaves.
There are many varieties of white beam, most of which form a compact tree up to 15 metres tall. Whitebeam supports a a variety of moths including Parornix Scoticella and some species of Phyllonorycter micro moth. Birds come to the scarlet berries in late summer and pollinating insects such as Honey Bees (pictured) are attracted to the white flowers produced in May.
This is our only native maple but, just like the Canadian species, you can make maple syrup from it's sap! Its yellowy-green flowers are pollinated by insects and its seeds are dispersed in 'helicopter' seedpods which have wings to catch the wind. The field maple attracts large numbers of aphids enjoyed by predators including several species of ladybird like the 7-Spot Ladybird (pictured above). Several species of moth caterpillar feed on maple, including Sycamore moth, Mocha and the Prominent. Mice and other small mammals eat its seeds.
This small tree is native in upland areas and often used in wildlife planting schemes for small gardens. Despite its size the tree can live for 200 years and the dense clusters of white flowers borne in Spring are a magnet for bees and other pollinating insects. The leaves are eaten by caterpillars including the Welsh Wave and Autumn Green Carpet moths. Rowan produces a mass of scarlet berries which are loved by migrating thrushes and *Waxwings (pictured) who travel from Scandinavia when berry stocks there are low. A Rowan tree full of these colourful birds is quite a sight to see and a flock will often stay in an area for some time.
Our only native conifer is often grown for its timber which is used in the furniture and building industries. Pine can be a long-lived tree up to 300 years if not grown for forestry, and is host to many beneficial insects. It also supports over-wintering birds like the Siskin. Woodpeckers make their nests by boring holes in its trunk. Its straight and level branches make good nesting sites for birds of prey such as the Goshawk and Sparrowhawk (pictured) or as a platform to hunt from.
'Horn' means hard and 'Beam' means tree in old English. The smooth bark and the leaf colour are similar to the native beech tree. Beech is native only in the south east in light soils but hornbeam thrive in this area. When woodland management was more usual, hornbeam was coppiced or pollarded. In the Autumn the winged seeds are eaten by finches and tits. Its leaves are the food of the caterpillar of the Nut Tree Tussock Moth (pictured above)
The Snowy Mespil, or Amelanchier produces berries which can be used for preserves and puddings. This small tree or multi-stemmed shrub produces early spring flowers with nectar for pollinating insects while the red berries in July - August feed a number of bird species. The tree has value for butterflies and in particular the Red Admiral (pictured) may come to its flowers on a warm sunny spring day.
This super wildlife tree works well in a wildlife garden due to its light canopy and small size. Over 300 species of insect are supported by the Silver Birch including ladybirds who eat the aphids that it attracts. Woodpeckers readily nest in the tree and other birds such as finches, Siskin and Redpolls eat the seed. It supports a wide variety of fungi such as Fly Agaric and Woolly Milk Cap. Moth species include Angle Shades, Pebble Hook tip and the Caterpillars of Buff Tip Moth eat the leaves (pictured)
This is a native shrub with honey-scented flowers which are very attractive to butterflies and moths and black berries eaten by birds. Sparrows, blackbirds, dunks and robins will nest within the thick semi-evergreen foliage. Blackcaps will feed on the berries in autumn One of the best known species using this tree is the Privet Hawk Moth (pictured) whose caterpillars eat the leaves. The species more often used for garden hedges is the Chinese Privet, which is fully evergreen. In a hard winter the native privet will lose its leaves.
This is a small native tree which is under-rated and under used. The flowers in the Spring are a magnet for pollinating insects such as the Marmalade Hoverfly (pictured) readily coming to them for nectar. Birds love the bright waxy red berries and research by the BTO shows that the Song Thrush will give the guelder rose berries preference over many other berries including 'haws'.
This small deciduous broad-leaved tree can live for several hundred years! It usually occurs as a multi-stemmed shrub, but occasionally will grow with just one large stem. Hazel used to have high commercial value and was favoured in ancient woodland, managed as coppice poles for making hurdles or wattle for house building.
It produces yellow catkins in late winter that are pollinated by the wind. The hazelnuts that follow in autumn are attractive to small mammals, including wood mice, dormice, bank voles and squirrels as well as to a large variety of birds such as the Nuthatch, Woodpecker and Jay. Even Wood Pigeons (pictured) will take hazelnuts - and people who can use them in cooking or to eat raw.
The black mulberry becomes a dense twisted tree that looks old even when young! It often develops a leaning trunk with branches sweeping down to the ground, making it difficult to mow under. For this reason we could not plant this species on highways verges! The fruit is similar to Raspberry and attracts many different types of berry eating birds such as Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds like the female Blackbird pictured here). The fruits can be used to make jam, or to eat raw.
*All the pictures on this page are taken within the above mentioned villages except for the Waxwing that was photographed in Worle, Weston-s-Mare
The Pictures on this page are owned and copyright of Somerset Wildlife Photography and are provided free of charge for the use and in support of YACWAG