Windfall 2013

Wildlife Friendly Landscaping

Improving and creating wildlife habitat in our yards has a positive ecological value. Squamish is bear country so improving wildlife habitat can also mean attracting bears and other wildlife.

While bears are a part of our natural environment, we don’t want to invite them into our yards with landscaping that provides them with food. Backyard fruit-bearing trees and shrubs are an easy source of calories for a bear. Once bears learn where the food is, they are likely to return time and again.

Domestic fruit is not a natural food source and bears that become conditioned to accessing food in residential neighbourhoods are at a greater risk of getting into conflict.

Squamish is a Bear Smart certified community and we are making our community less attractive to bears.

Tips for reducing bear visits to your backyard:

  • Do not plant landscaping species that bears like to eat in high foot traffic areas: next to doorways, windows or entrances, near children’s play sets, beside paths and other high use areas.
  • Harvest vegetable gardens and fruit/nuts from trees/ bushes as it ripens; do not allow fruit to accumulate on the ground.
  • Do not use bone meal or fish fertilizer.
  • Avoid seeding with clover and keep your grass cut and free of dandelions – a favourite bear food.
  • Keep your backyard compost free of odours. Do not place fish, meat, bones, egg shells or dairy in your compost. Add add lime to reduce odours and speed decomposition and turn the compost frequently.
  • Choose plant species that attract birds, bees and butterflies without attracting bears. Install a bird bath or a nesting box.
  • Keep bird feeders inaccessible to bears; consider removing feeders from March to November.
  • Ensure garbage and organics totes are locked and secured at all times. Consider freezing the smelly stuff until collection day to reduce odours that attract bears.


wildlife friendly landscaping thumb

The Wildlife Friendly Landscaping chart provides information for homeowners as well as developers and landscape architects looking to create a landscaping plan that is in line with the District of Squamish Bear Smart efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. 

*NOTE: This list is not exhaustive. It is a guideline and there may be other plants that bears will use opportunistically. 

Managing Domestic Fruit Trees

Fruit Tree Tips and Best Practices

  • Prune fruit trees to promote a manageable size and a healthier harvest.
  • Prune trees when they are dormant, in late January to early February.
  • Consider planting dwarf species that are easier to manage and harvest or plant non-fruit bearing species.
  • If you can't utilize all of your fruit, consider power washing some of the blossoms off the tree in the spring time to reduce the amount of fruit produced.
  • Harvest fruit regularly and do not allow fruit to accumulate on the ground as this will attract wildlife.
  • Do not use plants that bears like to eat in high foot traffic areas such as near a doorway/entrance way or near children’s play sets.
  • Consider replacing your fruit tree with a native non-fruit bearing species.
  • Consider using a portable electric fence to protect your fruit trees until harvested. 
  • Squamish CAN has created the Squamish Food Swap and Share Facebook page to encourage residents to exchange and offer their garden abundance, supplies and get help with harvesting fruit,