Bear Smart Landscaping

Bear Smart Landscaping
An often overlooked aspect of managing bear attractants is what plants to choose for landscaping and creating a visually pleasing yard. As a responsible Bear Smart homeowner you will keep your garbage in bear-proof enclosures, pet food indoors, clean up ripe & fallen fruit as it appears and replace bird feeders with bird baths; but taking the attractant management one step further will help to reduce bear-human conflicts even more. The following is a list of examples that are considered to be low risk for attracting bears and are found naturally occurring in this region.
Evergreen Trees: Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Pacific/Western Yew (Taxus brevifolia)
Deciduous Trees: Broadleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum), Vine Maple (Acer circnatum)
Shrubs Lacking Berries: Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), False Azalea (Menziesia ferruginea), Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolour)
Evergreen Shrubs Lacking Berries: Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium), Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), California Wax-Myrtle (Myrica californica)
Ferns: Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum), Spiny Wood Fern (Dryopteris expansa)
Perennials/Wildflowers: Wild Lily-of-the-Valley (Maianthemum dilatatum), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja), Phlox (Phlox spp.), Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Red/Western Columbine (Aquilegia Formosa), Twinflower (Linnaea borealis)
Plants that are considered a high attractant risk and should be brushed back or removed from residential areas include horsetail, skunk cabbage, clover, salal, salmonberry, blueberry, huckleberry and elderberry.
Local greenhouses and nurseries will be able to assist you with your landscaping needs but be sure to bring a list with you of the recommended plants including the Latin name so that you are sure you are getting the right bush, tree, perennial etc... The staff will be able to help you plan your backyard according to light, soil type and moisture for a beautiful bear-friendly space!
For more information on how to bear-proof your campsite & home property or to volunteer with the Alberni Valley Bear Smart Committee call:
Dawn Boyce 250-723-2187 or
Darlene Clark 250-724-4657
Information provided by Christina Brack Alberni Valley Bear Smart Committee Volunteer and Crystal McMillan, Executive Director for Bear Smart BC Society.
For more information on the Ministry of Environment Bear Smart Community Program or the Bear Smart BC Society please call:
Crystal McMillan at 250-(BEAR) 2327.