cheltenham chamber of citizens

​​Cheltenham Township is a Bird Town, which means we are bird-friendly: birds have places to nest, eat, drink, and hide here. A great way to promote this designation coincides with the time of year: it’s time to plant native trees and shrubs that are bird-friendly. The reason native plants are emphasized is that birds, plants, and insects (& their kin), are adapted for each other. The flowers, nuts, seeds, or fruit the plants produce provide food for the birds. They also attract the insects birds need for protein. By planning some or all of your landscaping for the birds, you also plan for the pollinators, and it’s a winning situation all the way around. And if you plant a spring flowering tree or shrub in fall, it will likely have larger and more flowers than if it were planted in spring. This is because it has much more time to get established and doesn’t experience transplant shock just before bloom time. Be sure to do your planting before there is a frost.

Here is information about native plants you may want to consider for your property. Keep in mind the height,  spread of branches, and importance to birds, when you select plants.

by Judith Gratz,

Environmental Education Specialist



BARTRAM'S GARDEN – Philadelphia. Phone:  215-729-5281. Email: info@bartramsgarden.org

BOWMAN'S HILL WILDFLOWER PRESERVE - New Hope, PA. Phone: 215-862-2924. Email: bhwp@bhwp.org  Web: 

COLLINS NURSERY. Diane Ehrich. Glenside. Phone: 215-715-3439. Email: info@collinsnursery.com
Web: www.collinsnursery.com (by appointment). Web:

EDGE OF THE WOODS NATIVE PLANT NURSERY. Orefield PA. Specializing in plants native to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast ecosystems. Retail nursery open April – October. Phone: 610-395-2570. Email:  info@edgeofthewoodsnursery.com Web:  

GO NATIVE TREE FARM. Contact: John Rosenfeld. Lancaster, PA 17603. Phone: 717.399.0195
Email: gonative@voicenet.com Web: 

LIBERTY NATIVE NURSERY. Contact:  Keith Limper. East Norriton, PA. Email: keithlimper@libertynative.com  Website: http://

MEADOWBROOK FARM. Meadowbrook, PA. Phone: 215-887-5900. Email: contact@meadowbrookfarm.org  Web: 

OCTORARO NATIVE PLANT NURSERY. Kirkwood, PA. Phone: 717-529-3160. Web: 

PRIMEX GARDEN CENTER. 435 W. Glenside Ave. Phone: 215-885-7500. https://



Trees and Shrubs by George A. Petrides. Peterson Field Guide

Penn State Cooperative Extension:  

Bird Notes from Sapsucker Woods:

The Bird Garden by Steve Kress. [Not all plants in this book are native, so check out the ones that interest you online]

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – All About Birds


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:

For detailed information about sales of native trees and shrubs:

Pennsylvania Native Trees and Shrubs:


Edge of the Woods Native Plants website has lots of great information about native trees and shrubs.

How to Plant a Tree

When you get your tree, prepare your tools and the ground before you remove the tree from its packaging. Dig a hole the same depth and width as the root ball, in the ideal soil for that species, and water the bottom of the hole. Remove all packaging, which could be burlap and rope, plastic, or a planter, etc. Moisten the roots by misting lightly with water.  Don't soak roots in a bucket - this can damage the tree by removing fine soil and, in some species, the microorganisms needed to help them thrive.

Insert the tree into the hole and spread the roots. Planting depth is important. The tree should be planted no deeper than the bark line on the trunk to avoid bark rot that can kill the tree. Fill the hole with loose soil and gently compact it so the roots contact the soil but are not compressed. Form a small hill and funnel around the tree to collect rainwater and direct it to the trunk. This can be done with mulch placed in a circle about 18” from the trunk in a 2”-3” high circle (donut). Mulch should never touch the bark of the tree. 

New trees should be watered twice a week for the first growing season.  Soak the ground but don't saturate it. This weekly watering will help assure that the new tree develops a good root system.