Managing Unique Habitats

Nearly every property has some land that is unsuitable for cultivation, grazing, or haying due to its steepness, soil type, wetness, or small size. These fallow areas — old fields, abandoned house sites, pond edges, wetlands, stream banks or corridors, brushy draws, ditch banks, erosive areas, and even your lawn — can be useful to wildlife. With a little management, they can provide wildlife food, sites for nesting and brood rearing, and protection.

In This Section

Old Fields

You may feel inclined to clean these areas up, but not so fast! Shrubby, unkempt areas on a property offers prime cover for wildlife. Learn how to improve cover habitat on old or idle fields to enhance wildlife activity.

Landscaping Your Home for Wildlife

Landscaping your homesite with native wildflowers and shrubs will make it attractive to many species of butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife that call Missouri home during the summer.

Abandoned House Sites

The shrubs, lawn grasses, fruit trees, and weeds found around old homesites are beneficial to wildlife.

Pond Areas

You should develop the area around your pond according to what you and your family enjoy.

Stream Banks or Riparian Corridors

Trees and shrubs that grow along streams (the riparian corridor) provide an important wildlife habitat component.

Brushy Draws

Brushy draws that extend well into crop or hay fields can provide quality habitat for wildlife and help control soil erosion. A brushy draw should contain vines, brush, grasses, and only an occasional large tree.

Springs, Seeps, and Fens

Springs, seeps and fens (upland marshes) are found throughout Missouri but are more common in the Ozarks.

Erosive Areas

Certain field areas will erode more than others, depending on the soil type, steepness of slope, and land use. Erosion-prone land can be seeded to various plants that will benefit wildlife and help save the soil.


A brushy fencerow, which can provide an important link between different habitat types on your property, is an ideal place to start habitat improvement work.

Management Tips for Unique Areas

Burn small grassy-weedy areas at different times and intervals to create plant diversity.

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