What does it all mean?

Full Sun - 6 hours

Partial Sun/Partial Shade - 3 to 6 hours of sun

Full Shade - less than 3 hours of sun

Grey Squirrel Tree Damage

Found throughout North America,
the grey squirrel ranges in length
from 14 to 21 inches and weighs
up to 2 pounds. Grey-colored
with white undersides and
white-tipped tails this species
rarely travels further than 200
yards from home in any given
season. Preferring areas with
denser forest and tree growth,
the grey squirrel spends more
time up high in the trees than
the ground, resulting in more tree
damage than other ground-loving species.
Chewing off tree bark, or bark stripping is a significant concern with grey squirrels. They chew the bark off branches, limiting new growth, and damaging and destroying the young branches; and they chew large areas of bark off tree trunks, affecting the overall health of the tree. Typically occurring in late winter, stripped-off bark sections are quite visible and usually up to 6 inches long and  1/2 inch wide.
In the wild, the grey squirrel will consume the tree cones, depriving the forest of the seeds required to re-grow and naturally reseed. Canopy damage becomes extreme as the squirrels move around treetops and create new nests in spring, or feed on top branches and small twigs, causing a safety risk as branches fall to the ground. The crown experiences a constant loss of upper branches, which in turn affects seed production and the trees natural ability to regenerate and properly develop.

In the home garden, protect trees by wrapping wire or metal sheeting 18 to 24 inches above the ground to deter the squirrels from climbing and gaining access to the trunk bark or branches. Use squirrel-free birdseed, move feeders away from susceptible trees, or provide an alternate food source like corn, at a safe distance from any trees at risk. Providing additional food late winter when fresh sources become limited may help keep the squirrels off the trees.

There may never be a full understanding of why grey squirrels chew tree bark. Some theories suggest they may be searching for water or food by eating the inner bark layer, that pregnant females may be responding to pain or that bark stripping is just something that squirrels enjoy doing for no reason at all.



Go Native!

If you don't already, consider growing native plants in your garden. Plants are considered native if they originated and are growing naturally in a given area; they have adapted to the soils, the regional climate and wildlife - and will continue to survive climate changes like floods, drought, blizzards and frost. The list of benefits, and plants is long - and worth it in the end. Here's a few reasons why we should all be going native...
Reduced Maintenance:
While there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, native plants offer a very low-maintenance alternative. Because they are resistant to pests, disease and drought, they don't required the same level of attention that many other tender plants need to survive. Well established natives have deep roots that support them through dry times, they rarely require fertilizer and they help deter weeds and invasive species from moving in and taking over the garden. 
Soil and Water Conservation:
The deep root system of native plants increases the soils' ability to store water and keeps that soil where it belongs. Natives also help reduce water runoff; their dense growth and large, lush foliage allow rainwater to drip into the soil rather than pooling around the plant or draining away. Native plants require far less watering than their non-native neighbours need, and they are strong, long-lived plants that rarely need replacing, providing overall good value for your gardening dollars. 
Native plants provide wildlife with the habitat they need to survive. If you grow them, they will come. And stay. Native plants naturally produce the seeds, berries, nuts and nectar that the local wildlife enjoys. Natives provide a protective cover for wildlife - provide seeds, nuts and berries for mammals - insects, seeds and fruit for birds - nectar for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies and host plants for butterfly caterpillars. Plant a swamp or common milkweed; it's the only larval plant that the monarch caterpillar lays it's eggs on - bring monarchs back into your garden!
A Garden Full of Beautiful Plants:
There are native plants available for every garden location - sun, shade, water, rock gardens and woodlands. Wildflowers in bloom combined with native grasses and ferns provide a stunning visual in any setting. Many native plants provide impressive, showy flowers, colourful berries, unique nuts and seeds and stunning fall foliage. Plant big bluestem grass, Canada wild rye or sideoats grama. Consider perennials like black-eyed Susan, dense blazing star, wild lupine, showy goldenrod, evening primrose, blooming sedge, coneflower, bluebells or butterfly weed. Ferns include maidenhair, royal, hart's tongue, oak, ostrich and lady - the list is long. There is also an impressive lineup of shrubs, bushes and trees to complete your backyard native oasis.
Create a Wetland:
Add water features (or a pond) to your yard to encourage frogs, toads, dragon and damselflies to move in, and to provide a water source for birds and butterflies. These wetland creatures will thank you by working to keep the mosquito population down during the summer season. Use a variety of native plants in the pond, add large rocks and old logs to provide spots to soak up the sun and create mini-wetlands near a smaller water features by planting bog or pond plants in buried plastic containers to keep the roots wet. It won't take long before your wetland neighbourhood starts to fill up.
Adding even a few natives into your current landscape each year will help to encourage a healthy and sustainable ecosystem you can enjoy for years to come. Grow a native plant - and save a life!
Add Common Milkweed
To Your Garden
Common Milkweed produces a profusion of sweet-scented lavender flowers in mid-summer and is the only food source for the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies who feast on the leaves. Milkweed grows in any sunny spot with well-drained soil. It can spread rapidly by rhizomes so it is best planted in a large area with other wildflowers and native grasses. Milkweed  seeds are also spread by the wind, which catches the fluffy part and carries the seed for long distances. It’s an easy-to-grow plant from seed, and plants are usually available at most garden centres – certainly at native species garden centres. Keep the monarch’s alive – and bring a stunning native species into your landscape.