Native plants are species that are well-adapted to a particular region- its climate, soil, rainfall, and interaction with other species (insects, animals, other plants, etc.). Since these plants are well-adapted, they provide a low maintenance garden compared to lawns or manicured beds. Because they are low maintenance, there are also fewer expenses.
Native plants don’t require regular watering. This eliminates a wasteful practice in our country. In fact, 60% of water on the west coast and 30% of water on the east coast goes to watering lawns! Native species also don’t require chemical cocktails like fertilizers and pesticides.
Therefore, when it rains, chemicals won’t run off into our waterways, contaminating our drinking water, fish, or even plants that we consume. Native plants will help reintroduce native song birds, whose population has been steadily declining in past years.
In addition, you will never be interrupted by the sound of a lawn mower, or be required to mow your lawn every weekend. Instead, you’ll have more time and money to spend with friends and family.
The first step to transferring your yard to native plants is getting rid of that grass. This can be done by either digging it up by hand or tilling it, or by smothering it with a thick layer of newspapers covered by straw.
Next, obtain native plants and seeds, which are becoming available at a greater number of nurseries. In fact, if you visit http://www.plantnative.com/national_nursery_dir_main.htm, you will find a native plant nursery directory by state.
Then you need to start planting in the dormant season, usually in late fall. Remember that watering is usually required for the first year or two until the plants have been established. Finally, you can sit back and actually enjoy your yard.