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Mast and Dogwoods

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. You deserve kudos if you consistently keep you backyard feeders filled with a variety of foods, and make sure that birds have a constant source of fresh water, especially during freezing weather. But our native wildlife existed here long before we did, taking advantage of natural sources of sustenance and drink. Mast is the word for the seeds, nuts, berries, buds, acorns and other forest produce that birds and animals rely upon for food.   Dogwood trees are among the most important sources of soft mast our forest and yards produce. I am not much of a birder but I always see a cardinals and mockingbirds eating the red fruits that adorn the dogwoods near my backdoor. Right now is the best time to add trees to your yard. Get your family involved and    plant a dogwood as a holiday present for the birds.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.