Green tip for week #44 — Week of March 1, 2009

Incorporate native plants in your landscaping

Many people plan their landscaping around whatever looks nice, regardless of its cost, environmental impact, or the challenges of maintaining such plants, flowers, or specialty grasses year after year.  This year, as you begin breaking ground in the spring, consider the environmental benefits and ease of maintenance that can be had from using native plants.

What are native plants?   Native or indigenous plants are plants that have adapted to a particular environment, climate, or geography over thousands of years in a specific location.  As a result, such plants are very hardy and tend to be an appropriate and natural environment and habitat when used in their appropriate region.

Benefits of native plants include drought resistance, the fact that they require less maintenance than other non-native plants, and the elimination of many of the fertilizers, pesticides, water and other resources or contaminants that impact the environment.

Reduced use of pesticides in maintaing native plants means they tend to be safer choices for homes with pets and children, and they help reduce water contamination from rainwater.  In some instances, the use of native plants provide a nice alternative to grass lawns in areas where grass is hard to maintain, or where someone is interested in an alternative with less environmental impact.

Next time you are planning landscaping at your home, church, office, community center, or even as a volunteer project to restore natural habitat to an area in your community, spend some time learning more about the plants that are native plants for your area.

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