There are many benefits to landscaping with native plants. Here are a few of the reasons why we like them. Planting native plants:
A native lawn of Pennsylvania sedge, Carex pensylvanica, is low maintenance. No irrigation, fertilizer, or mowing needed!
• Helps protect New York’s biodiversity.Native plants provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies, and other local wildlife that have evolved alongside these plants in nature for many years.
• Saves you time and money and protects the environment.Natives have evolved in our climate over many years and are already adapted to survive here; so they are low maintenance and don’t need fertilizers and pesticides to be happy and healthy.
• Helps protect local waterways.The deep roots of natives absorb and filter stormwater runoff more effectively than the short roots of many turf grasses and other ornamental plants.
• Helps stop the spread of invasives. Invasive plants are threatening the health of our Northeastern forests, costing millions of dollars to manage, and some can even be harmful to our health. An estimated 80% of the invasive plants we are now battling in our own backyards and nearby natural areas got their start by being sold in nurseries for gardening and landscaping!
Where the Wild Things Are
Gardening with native plants doesn’t mean having a lawn that looks like a weedy, overgrown pasture! In fact, many of those ‘wildlfowers’ that you see along the side of the road such as Queen Anne’s Lace and Oxeye Daisy aren’t native at all! They have been introduced from Europe and have spread along our roadways and naturalized across the landscape.
Native plants are beautiful and come in a wide variety of textures, heights, and colors. You can design a garden for seasonal interest, or a themed garden based on form or function. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you are interested in starting an all native plant garden – great! If not, maybe it will work for you to mix a few natives in here and there in your landscape.
As more and more of our natural areas are developed and disconnected from each other, our own backyards are becoming even more important. Nature isn’t something that is ‘out there.’ It is ‘right here’ – in all of our own backyards!