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Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
Landscaping with native plants
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Landscaping with native plants

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  • 1. Landscaping with Native Plants Gayle Strode Blodgett April 13, 2011
  • 2. What are native plants? Native plants are plants that existed in an area prior to European settlement. Good sources of information –  Field guides  Web searches  Nature clubs  University professors
  • 3. Why native plants?  Flourish without fertilizers or synthetic pesticides and little water  Provide food and habitat for wildlife  Contribute to biodiversity  Connect us to our history and help celebrate things that are unique to our region  Teach us about nature
  • 4. Lewis & Clark In the winter of 1804, while at Fort Mandan, North Dakota, Lewis records information about the prairie coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia), noting that it was used by native Americans as “an excellent poltice for swellings or soar throat.” A native of dry prairies, this plant--also called black samson or narrow-leaved purple coneflower--is right at home in naturalistic gardens. Purple Coneflower
  • 5. The Prairie State  The largest original prairie type in Illinois was the Grand Prairie (black soil prairie) of central Illinois, with flat landscapes, and poor natural drainage resulting in wet conditions during part of the year. This kind of prairie is the rarest today because the soil is so productive for agricultural crops.  Along the shores of Lake Michigan and the Illinois, Kankakee, and Mississippi rivers, are extensive sand deposits, often forming dunes or ridges and swales, and several kinds of sand prairies can be found in such areas.  Hill prairies are found on dry, southwest-facing, loess- covered hill tops above bluffs overlooking floodplains of rivers, especially the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.  In northeastern Illinois some distinctive prairie vegetation can be found in very wet alkaline fens and marl flats.
  • 6. Ecoregions of the U.S.  36 – Central Tall Grass Prairie  38 – Ozarks  44 – Interior Low Plateau  45 – North Central Tillplain  46 – Prairie-Forest Border Copyright 2004 – The Nature Conservancy
  • 7. What happened?  Loss of habitat  Colonization/urbanization  Agriculture  Industrial sites  Public opinion/suburban landscapes  Invasive species  Fire restrictions
  • 8. What’s changed?  Plants are more readily available  Economics  Environmental concerns  More acceptable
  • 9. Getting started  Create a plan  Analyze your yard and soil types  Research plants  Look at existing yards or prairies  Start small & plan for expansion  Be patient
  • 10. Planning  Where to locate your plants  What size an area to plant  What is your soil type  What is the sun/shade level  What do you want to attract
  • 11. Soil Considerations  Wet – soggy or marshy most of the year  Wet mesic – wet in winter, spring and after heavy rains  Mesic – medium soil, water soaks in without runoff  Dry Mesic – well drained, water moves readily, not rapidly  Dry – excessively drained
  • 12. Sun or Shade?  Full Sun – normally grow in full sun, can tolerate up to 20% shade  Partial Sun – shaded 20% - 70% of the day (often under tree cover)  Shade – 70% - 100% shade Illinois can have 14 hours of sun during the heat of the summer!
  • 13. Root Zones of Prairie Plants http://www.il.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/plants/npg/NPG-rootsystems.html Blue Grass Compass Plant Pale Purple Coneflower Big Bluestem Switch Grass Purple Prairie Clover
  • 14. Attracting Wildlife  Black-Eyed Susan  Butterfly Milkweed  Compass Plant  Flowering Spurge  Leadplant  Ohio Spiderwort  Oxeye False Sunflower  Pale Purple Coneflower  Prairie Blazing Star  Purple Coneflower  Purple Prairie Clover  Rough Blazing Star  Showy Goldenrod  Slender Mountain Mint  Stiff Goldenrod  Wild Bergamot
  • 15. Pick Your Plants  Create your list  Seeds or Plants  Find a provider you trust  Be wary of seed mixes
  • 16. Prepare your site  Smother unwanted plants  Plastic  Cardboard  Newspaper  Disc up the plot  Apply herbicides  Seed into dead sod
  • 17. Planting  Seeds  By hand  By machine  Any time of year – based on the plants  Water when planting in spring  Plants  Usually in late April/Early May although some can be planted in the fall  Check space needed for full grown plants and let them fill in naturally  Water initially, then let them get their own moisture
  • 18. Weed Control  Mow – during the first year mowing on a high setting will knock down weeds and keep them from shading the seedlings  Hand weed small plots – especially the first year  Fire – established plots should be burned yearly if possible
  • 19. Questions???

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