Native plants are a vital part of our ecosystem. Native plants fully integrate themselves into a biotic community and establish complex relationships with other local plants and animals. They provide food and shelter for native insects, birds and wildlife all year round. They are a critical link in the chain for bees and other pollinators that insure our food supply. They are adapted to our soils and climate and are therefore easier to establish and grow, requiring much less water and fertilizer. They are part of the nature checks and balances and seldom grow out of control in their natural habitats.
They are a source of carefree beauty for the landscape. Native plants are low maintenance and sustainable, which means they use less water and resources. Their resilience is due in large part to their massive root systems that can reach as far as fifteen feet in some cases. This allows them to access water and nutrients even during dry times. These roots also work to improve your soil as the new root growth reduces soil compaction and the die-off of old roots adds humus and nutrients to the soil.
“Like it or not, gardeners have become important players in the management of our nation’s wildlife. It is now within the power of individual gardeners to do something that we all dream of doing: to make a difference. In this case the “difference” will be to the future of biodiversity, to the native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them.” Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home