From the smallest microorganisms in water and soil to the largest mammals on earth, all flora and fauna depend on their distinctively evolved habitats for survival. Plants that are naturally found in some geographical regions are native. They were not accidentally introduced to an ecosystem by humans, but possibly grown in a native tree nursery.
Though native plants are well adapted to the conditions of their surroundings, the introduction of invasive species and climate change remains their biggest threat. Invasive plants crowd out and kill native plant species, leading to their decline and eventual disappearance.
A decline or total disappearance of native plants consequently leads to the disappearance of native wildlife. This is because the native plants provide shelter, food, and a place to reproduce for the animals.
Benefits of Native Plants
Ecology teaches us that everything is connected. Insects feed on native plants, but as they do this, they help the plants with pollination, causing the plants to flourish. Organic matter decomposes and becomes nutrients for the soil. Some indigenous wildlife species also consume insects in a delicate and specific chain.
Over the last 50 years, close to 50% of insects have disappeared. Nearly 70% of reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals, and birds vanished. Conservationists have relentlessly researched how best native plants and wildlife can be protected. You can also visit a native tree nursery and become part of this good campaign.
Plant Species to Choose from a Native Tree Nursery
This tree species is mainly found in places with sandy and loamy soils and is a native tree in the mid-Atlantic region. It provides many insect species with shelter, food, and habitat. Swamp white oak can be grown in a limited space with harsh growing conditions. Avoid planting white oak trees in soils with high pH as this can cause disease.
The swamp willow species thrives in wet meadows, swamps, and wetlands, and it prefers partial to full sun. It is one of the best species to consider planting in flooding-prone areas. This is a very large tree, generally growing between 10 to 30 meters tall, so be sure you have adequate space to grow this plant.
It is also known as rum cherry or black cherry. Wild cherry is one of the many native cherry trees that produce fruits feeding numerous birds. Mostly, it’s known to thrive in sunny regions with moist or dry loamy soil from Virginia to New York.
This plant is highly tolerant to many soil types but is mainly found thriving in the mid-Atlantic region. Broomsedge provides cover and food for wildlife and is a tan, beautiful, reddish color in fall. On most occasions, broomsedge requires full sun to achieve optimal growth.
Switchgrass is found in all mid-Atlantic regions and thrives in marsh areas and wet meadows. This species is excellent at controlling soil erosion. You will find it growing in clumps, and sparrow species love it. Switchgrass is a perennial plant so can count on seeing it grow back year after year.
Honeysuckle is one of the most colorful native vine species compared to its invasive relative Japanese honeysuckle. It is gorgeous and thrives in partial shade and many soil types. Hummingbirds love coral honeysuckle and are attracted to the nectar in the bright pink flowers.
Never plant Japanese honeysuckle as it will take over your landscape and prevent native plant species from growing well.
Trumpet creeper is a very aggressive native vine that requires close monitoring and much work. It is a fast-growing orange/ bright red flowering vine that thrives in various soils with a beauty that attracts hummingbirds. This plant does need moist soil and heavy pruning so don’t be afraid to cut the vines back heavily during pruning season.
It thrives in shady and sunny environments. This native plant is known to support hundreds of species of birds, insects, and many other pollinators. Goldenrod likes clay-filled or loamy soil that is either dry or moist. You can buy this species from a native tree nursery near you.
This plant is native to the Midwest and excels at keeping invasive species out and attracting pollinators. They are also rarely bothered by disease or insects. Wild ginger is a great plant to add to your landscape if you want lush green foliage. It grows well in partly shaded areas underneath deciduous trees.
Visit Your Local Plant Nursery
The best place to shop is at a native tree nursery. No matter where you shop though, ask whether they treated the plants with neonicotinoids. These are toxic insecticides that kill beneficial insects. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides also make their way into the streams, bays, rivers, and oceans. Planting native plant species that give shelter and food to birds, lizards, ants, frogs, and bats will attract them and control and eat mosquitos.