The Benefits of Native Plants
Provide food, habitat and cover for native wildlife.
Native plants provide important habitat and shelter for birds and many other types of wildlife. Many moths and butterflies are dependent on specific native plant species. The most commonly known is the Monarch Butterfly and their dependence on milkweeds and the Karner Blue Butterfly and Lupines. Nectar from native plants also helps support native bees and butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, and bats, and the numerous seeds, nuts, acorns and fruits provided by these plants provides food and sustenance for all wildlife.
Erosion Control, Water Quality & Phytoremediation
Protect water quality by controlling soil erosion and moderating floods & droughts, as well as filtering chemicals out of the environment. Native plants produce deep root systems which helps hold soil in place and reduce erosion.
Native plants grown from local genotypes are adapted to the regional climate. Plant emergence, bloom times, and dormancy period as well as hardiness can vary within an individual species due to regional and climatic differences. These differences can slightly alter a plants timing which can put it out of sync with local pollinators thereby compromising the plants and the pollinators ability to reproduce and thrive. When selecting local genotype native plants you are better assured that these plants are already adapted to the local environment as well as adapted and “in-sync” with the local pollinators. They are also adapted to the soil, hydrology, and climate in which they thrive, and they have evolved defenses to many diseases and insect pests.
Beauty & Natural Heritage
Native plants add beauty to the landscape and preserve our natural heritage.
A few examples include: Red maple in the fall; paper birch- white bark at any time; white pine; tulip tree; sycamore-mottled white/brown bark along side rivers & floodplains, massive tree; red cedar- pioneer species on old fields; white oak; solid substantial tree alongside old NE farmhouses. Native plants help define our North-Eastern natural heritage.
Require the least watering and maintenance of any “landscaping method”.
They require very little long-term maintenance if they are properly planted and established. Additionally native plants require no fertilizer or pesticide inputs.
Native plants decrease the amount of water and maintenance needed for landscape maintenance. Because they are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require less water, saving time, money, and the most important natural resource, water.
Genetic Resources & Biodiversity
Native plants serve as an important genetic resource for future food crops or other plant-derived products, and help preserve and enhance biodiversity.
Helping with climate change
Native plantscapes do not require mowing. Excess carbon from fossil fuel consumption (i.e.: motorized lawn mowers) contributes to climate change. Native plants sequester carbon. So native plantscapes do double duty, they don’t increase pollutant emissions, and they sequester carbon. Lawns and the very common bark-mulched landscapes require large amounts of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Suburban homes and business lawns use about 10x more chemical pesticides per acre than farmland. Using native plants reduces this petro-chemical load further reducing consumption of petroleum which helps with climate change.