Native Plants Make Sense

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Native Plants Make Sense 

Written by Homer Babbitt- Parker County Master Gardener

The beds featured here can be seen at the Extension Office; 604 North Main Street, Weatherford. Texas

Many of us have lost some of our landscape plants due to severe drought the last couple of years. That, along with restrictions on landscape watering, has made plant selection critical to a successful landscape. Although there are many things we can do to reduce water use, one of the most practical ways is to utilize native plants and those plants that have adapted to the growing conditions in our area.
Native plants have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region, and have adapted to the climate, soils, and available water in that area. Just because something is a Texas native doesn?t necessarily mean that it will do well in Parker County, since climate and soil conditions vary widely across our state. Conversely, plants that are grown in different parts of the world that have similar condition to ours may do well here.

There are several compelling reasons to use native or adapted plants in your landscape.
They require very little fertilizer. They?ve made it on their own without it all these years.
They have a natural resistance to insects and disease common to the area.
Once established, they require little supplemental water. That fact alone is enough to give them serious consideration.
Many varieties promote biodiversity by providing food and shelter for wildlife.
They save time, energy and money!

There are two basic approaches to landscaping with native plants. One is to use a classic landscape design, but replace common plants with native/adapted plants, grasses and groundcovers. This will produce a landscape that requires less maintenance and watering. The other approach is to imitate nature by using woodlands and wildflower meadows to produce a natural environment that?s virtually maintenance free. For the classic lawn, replace some or all of your grass with buffalo grass in sunny areas, and native ground covers in shady spots. Then you can donate your lawnmower to the antique collector and relax all summer long. This approach is not for everyone, but works quite well for many.

Native plants provide a beautiful, hardy, drought resistant, low maintenance landscape that benefits the environment as well. Once established, they save time and money by reducing the need for fertilizers, pesticides and water. Thirty years from now, the population in the North Central Texas area is projected to be double what it is today. Demand for water will increase dramatically and landscapes as we know them simply won?t exist because of water limitations. Why wait until that happens? Become a pioneer; start your own native plant revolution. You?ll be in good company.

Texas Scape at the Extension Office