Due to increased water costs and heightened awareness on the part of consumers concerning the damage that chemicals used in yard and garden cultivation cause the environment, perfectly manicured lawn and garden areas are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. However, that doesn't mean your outdoor living area has to be unattractive. Planting native plants is an excellent way to have a great looking yard without the time and money involved in maintaining traditional landscaping. Here are five reasons why you should consider going native.
Native Plants Provide Wildlife Habitats
As human habitation levels continue increase, wildlife often takes a back burner to our own preferences. Going native provides a much-needed habitat for a variety of species, including pollinating insects like honeybees, butterflies, and certain types of wasps. Bee populations in particular have been decreasing at an alarming rate in recent years. Native flowering plants plants provide bees with the pollen, nectar, and nesting habitat that they require in order to thrive. Although all flowering plants can potentially help increase bee population levels, the large amounts of pesticides and herbicides necessary to grow many nonnative vegetation is detrimental to bees, birds, and other wildlife.
Native Plants Use Less Water
Homeowners are painfully aware that water should not be wasted. Lush, green lawns are giving way to native ground covers, for instance, because these plants are genetically programmed to exist on the natural rainfall of their given area. Native grasses and shrubs are replacing exotic ornamentals, and even avid flower gardeners are using native flowering plants in place of traditional annuals. Imagine being able to go on a two-week vacation during the middle of summer and not have to line up someone to come by and water your outdoor vegetation!
Native Plants Are Fire Resistant
Many native plants also have better fire resistance than their nonnative counterparts. This is important because fire-resistant native plants are often found in areas where wildfire danger is high; these plants have evolved with fire and are therefore better able to survive. Keep in mind, however, that no plant is truly fireproof—one of the main purposes of crafting a fire-resistant outdoor living space is to give emergency response vehicles more time to arrive on the scene and to provide you and other household occupants with more time to evacuate, if necessary.
Native Plants Require Less Maintenance
Because native plants are already acclimated to the area, they normally don't require additional fertilizer or other high-maintenance cultivation methods. Because they have had thousands of years to adapt to local conditions, they've got built-in protections against insect pests, fungus, and pathogens, and they perform well when planted alongside one another because they evolved together.
If you choose your native plants well, you won't even have to spend your time raking leaves because the leaves of native plants naturally recycle themselves back into the environment, enriching the soil and providing a layer of mulch that discourages weed growth. Native plants also self seed more readily than their hybrid counterparts, so you won't have to worry about spending time and money replenishing plants.
Native Plants Help Keep Out Invasive Species
One of the downfalls of using exotic, imported plants in your yard and garden is that nonnative species may become invasive to the extent that they pose a significant threat to local ecosystems. By planting native plants in your yard and garden, you'll lessen the amount of exotic species that gets introduced into your area. Invasive plant species are also more likely to get a foothold in an area if the natural ecosystem has been weakened, and native plant populations are a strong part of a thriving ecosystem.
Most nurseries carry good selections of native plants, and local landscaping contractors like JK Landscape Construction will be able to provide you with information you need to get started on your quest to go native.