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NRAES184, The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home

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The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home

Editor's note
The following abstract describes a publication that is only available for purchase. A link to ordering information is on this page.

The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your HomeWould you like to see more natural beauty-and less manicured lawn-surrounding your home? If so, this combination book and workbook will be an essential tool to help you shape and rebuild your backyard environment. This four-color, spiral bound, 8-1/2 x 11 inch, soft cover was written specifically for people living on one to ten acres of land.

Part I: Introduction

  • Lesson 1
    Identify Your Interests in the Land
    • Case Study
      The Nelsons
  • Lesson 2
    Reality Check: Is Your Family with You?
  • Lesson 3
    Interests Table
  • Lesson 4
    Constraints to Land Management

Part II: Inventory Your Property

  • Lesson 1
    Your Place in the Landscape
  • Lesson 2
    The Concept of Land Management Units
  • Lesson 3
    Identify the Trees and Shrubs on Your Land

Part III: Ecological Principles

  • Lesson 1
    The Dynamic Natural Area: Principles of Succession
  • Lesson 2
    Principles of Forestry
  • Lesson 3
    Water Resources and Your Natural Area
  • Lesson 4
    Introduction to Wildlife Ecology

Part IV: Put Your Knowledge into Practice

  • Lesson 1
    Recreation Potential
  • Lesson 2
    Aesthetic Potential
  • Lesson 3
    Choosing Projects for Your Natural Area
  • Lesson 4
    Land Management Techniques
    • Best Management Practices
    • Brush Piles
    • Creating a Natural Haven or Campfire/Camping Area
    • Creating an Opening
    • Crop Tree Release
    • Firewood Cutting
    • Food Plots
    • Girdling to Kill Unwanted Trees and Create Snags
    • Herbicide Application for Control of Exotic/Invasive Plants
    • Mast Trees
    • Mowing
    • Planting Trees or Shrubs
    • Pruning
    • Removing Grapevines
    • Streamside Stabilization through Planting
    • Thinning
    • Timber Stand Improvement
    • Trail and Road Design
    • Trail and Road Design — Wet Areas
    • Trail and Road Drainage
    • Trail and Road Maintenance
  • Lesson 5
    Make a Timetable and Spell Out the Details
  • Lesson 6
    Record Your Progress

Part V: Workbook

  • Introduction
  • Activity 1
    Map It Out
  • Activity 2
    What Have You Got and What Do You Want?
  • Activity 3
    Family Goals Assessment
  • Activity 4
    Identify Your Interests in the Land
  • Activity 5
    Investigate the Legal Constraints on Your Land
  • Activity 6
    Beyond Your Boundaries
  • Activity 7
    Designate Land Management Units
  • Activity 8
    Get to Know Your Trees
  • Activity 9
    Identify Successional Stages
  • Activity 10
    Assess Competition among Trees
  • Activity 11
    Assess Tree Reproduction
  • Activity 12
    Survey for Broken and Dead Trees
  • Activity 13
    Assess Invasive and Exotic Plants
  • Activity 14
    Water Resources around You
  • Activity 15
    Habitat Elements on Your Land
  • Activity 16
    Assess Your Natural Area's Suitability for Recreation
  • Activity 17
    How Could You Improve Your Natural Area's Aesthetic Appeal?
  • Activity 18
    Identify and Rank Your Objectives
  • Activity 19
    Project Schedule and Details
  • Activity 20
    Record Your Progress
    • Case Study
      The Lees
    • Case Study
      The Rothmans


  • Appendix A
    Summary of Some Characteristics of Important Tree Species in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region
  • Appendix B
    Relative Value of Various Tree Species as Wildlife Food
  • Appendix C
    Basic Habitat Requirements, Food Sources, and Management Opportunities for Common Kinds of Wildlife, Eastern United States
  • Appendix D
    Tree and Shrub Uses and Site Requirements, Eastern United States
  • Resources
  • Glossary
  • Index


  • Land-management techniques
  • Healthier
  • Outdoor environment
  • Backyard living area


  • 138

NRAES184 The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home | University of Missouri Extension