Plant Natives: Create Habitat

Plant natives and build homes for our local wildlife! Many people are coming to realize how much environmental damage non-native and invasive plants are doing. Our woods are being strangled by wisteria, English Ivy, Japanese Honeysuckle, kudzu, bamboo, porcelainberry, Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Barberry, burning bush, and multiflora rose.

Plant Natives or Face A “Silent Spring” That Will Be Forever

We need to plant natives for our woods are growing lifeless and silent. Our yards too. [See Also: “The Suburban Lawn Must Die“] The reason is simple. Invasive and non native plants are displacing the natives, and the local animals have nothing to eat. Take away the native plants, and you lose the native insects. Without them, you lose amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish. Since 1974, we have lost 45% of our insects globally. We are actively poisoning them (the average yard gets 10X the amount of pesticides that farms do) and filling our yards it seems with every possible plant in the world except the ones from here.

plant natives
The Lifeless Lawn

Seventy years of landscaping suburban lawns later here on Long Island, and there is very little left native to our yards, and our public spaces, our parks, with few exceptions, are overrun. Our insects, which evolved along with the plants they each eat, evolved with them over millions of years. What is growing around them is invisible to them. You won’t find an insect bite on a dandelion, since they originally came from Europe with the Dutch. And when there are no insects capable of digesting a particular plant, that plant grows unchecked.

Let’s be clear: Few know this is happening. We are losing a war we didn’t know we are fighting. However, as Long Islanders learn one by one what they are seeing, things are changing. “Rewilding” / Going Native is a rising trend, and not just on Long Island, but nationally and globally. Plant identification apps like PictureThis!, which use artificial intelligence, are changing the game for biologists and home gardeners alike.

For us, the first step in this journey towards a commitment to planting natives is curing people’s plant blindness. Once you have seen just how little that we plant here is from here, how much has overgrown, and how little any of these foreign plants contributes to the local environment, you can’t unsee it.

Horrific Wisteria
English Ivy Killing Our Trees
We Have Only The Best Mugwort

Needless to say, there was very little native wildlife here. And this park is rather typical. Don’t know what’s native? Don’t know where to buy and grow them? We will help. Join our Facebook Group today.

For Long Island, the stakes could not be higher. Unless we scramble to remove the invasive plants and plant natives, and do it at scale, we will feel, in every community, the full extent of what is a global wave of extinction.

Plant Natives In Your Yard. It’s Important

The question for Long Islanders is how we get people to plant natives in their yards and communities so that we create and preserve enough native habitat to support our local wildlife. If Nassau and Suffolk were its own country, it would be the 4th most densely populated tied with Bangladesh. The las thing we need is what little open space we have left being taken over, and our yards lifeless moonscapes.

We ask you then for this spring: “Create a little wilderness in your yard.” When you plant natives, it’s not only as beautiful as Nature herself, it is much cheaper to maintain. No pesticides, fertilizers, or extra water needed. Come the fall, leave the leaves. Build your soil, decrease flooding, give the birds something to forage through.

YOU are Nature’s Best Hope!

There is something inspiriting about returning to nature, even in your own yard. Read this book: Nature’s Best Hope. by Douglas Tallamy. It could well serve as a playbook for how we each can work to assist local nature. As we’ve found, it’s a transformative act, creating a little oasis for wildlife.

Plant Natives
July 2021 Bioswale

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