Lilac is a flowering plant that you can plant in your backyard in bear country.

Lilac is a flowering plant that you can plant in your backyard in bear country.

So, you are finished your house and now it’s time to landscape the garden.

Often what first comes to mind are those beautiful flowering shrubs and trees in the spring. Most are covered in blossoms and look spectacular! Who wouldn’t want one or more of these trees in their yard?

The problem is that you may be unwittingly planting a shrub or tree that will attract bears. Fruit trees and berry-bearing shrubs can be major attractants for bears in the summer and fall.

Once a bear has located a good food source such as the apple tree in your garden, it will remember that location and return. Through their scat and scent trails, bears also communicate to other bears the location of food sources, and that it is a safe place to feed. Soon, several bears could be visiting your property.

Bears in pursuit of an easy meal may damage your trees by literally breaking the branches or the tree itself to get at the fruit. In rare cases, they may also cause injury to people. It is important for everyone living in bear country to follow precautions.

In conjunction with the Government of Alberta and Eagle Lake Nurseries, WildSmart has created a list of trees and shrubs that are recommended for planting in bear country. These are non fruit bearing species which are able to thrive in a montane environment and which produce beautiful flowers seasonally. We encourage residents to replace fruit bearing trees and shrubs with these non fruit bearing alternatives.

Before purchasing any trees or shrubs for your garden, visit a garden center and read up on the species online to find out if it produces fruit. Bears are known to feed on all species of apples and crab-apples, pears, cherries and chokecherries, mountain buffalo berry, dogwood, and wolf willow.