The Dundalk Eagle

Ben­e­fits of plant­ing na­tive Mary­land plants this fall

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Just because sum­mer is over doesn’t mean your yard, flower beds or gar­den have to be bare! There are sev­eral au­tumn plants that are na­tive to Mary­land that will not only beau­tify your out­door space, but pro­vide many ben­e­fits to our re­gion’s en­vi­ron­ment.

The Gun­pow­der Val­ley Con­ser­vancy (GVC), a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that aims to pro­tect and re­store the Gun­pow­der wa­ter­shed, has pro­vided The Av­enue News with some in­sight about the ben­e­fits of grow­ing na­tive plants and which plant species grow best dur­ing the fall months.

Ac­cord­ing to GVC, trees, shrubs and grasses that are “na­tive”—indige­nous to a par­tic­u­lar re­gion be­fore Euro­pean col­o­niza­tion—are bet­ter adapted to that re­gion’s grow­ing con­di­tions. Na­tive plants are con­sid­ered heartier than non­na­tive plants because they need less fer­til­iz­ing, wa­ter­ing and tend­ing, and they help sup­port na­tive wildlife, es­pe­cially birds and pol­li­na­tors like bees and but­ter­flies.

There are a wide va­ri­ety of na­tive plants that you can in­cor­po­rate into your land­scape. Bloom time is an im­por­tant fac­tor to con­sider both for aes­thet­ics and cre­at­ing wildlife habi­tat. When you se­lect plants that flower dur­ing dif­fer­ent sea­sons,

you’ll cre­ate con­stant vis­ual appeal in your yard and pro­vide ben­e­fi­cial pol­li­na­tors with food sources through­out the year.

The best na­tive flow­ers to plant dur­ing the fall months are New Eng­land Asters and New York Iron­weeds.

Both of th­ese plants are peren­ni­als that can grow any­where from 3.5 to 6 feet tall and need full or par­tial sun to grow. The bloom­ing pe­riod for both flow­ers is from Au­gust to Oc­to­ber.

Plant­ing New Eng­land Asters, New York Iron

weeds and other plants na­tive to Mary­land re­quire less wa­ter­ing and weeding than other gar­dens and no fer­til­iz­ing. Na­tive plants are adapted to Mary­land’s cli­mate, so they can han­dle our sea­sonal droughts with lit­tle wa­ter­ing and don’t need fer­til­izer to grow in Mary­land soils. Less fer­til­izer also means less nu­tri­ent pol­lu­tion in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

The ex­perts at GVC say one of Mary­land’s ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems is stormwa­ter runoff—the wa­ter that flows over im­per­vi­ous sur­faces (build­ings, roads, etc.) di­rectly into a creek and even­tu­ally the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. This wa­ter car­ries pol­lu­tants like car oil, sed­i­ment, and fer­til­iz­ers that de­stroy our creeks and threaten our health. By col­lect­ing some of this wa­ter in your na­tive plant gar­den, you can help fil­ter out some of the pol­lu­tants and pre­vent them from reach­ing our creeks and the Bay— plus cleaner wa­ter is safer and health­ier for you and your fam­ily!

With their di­ver­sity of col­or­ful trees, shrubs, flow­ers, and grasses, na­tive plant gar­dens en­hance the beauty of our water­front, help pro­tect the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and show­case our pride in our Ch­e­sa­peake Bay her­itage!

 ?? PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SER­VICE ?? A Monarch But­ter­fly pol­li­nates a New Eng­land Aster.
PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SER­VICE A Monarch But­ter­fly pol­li­nates a New Eng­land Aster.
 ??  ?? New York Iron­weeds
New York Iron­weeds

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