The Dundalk Eagle
Benefits of planting native Maryland plants this fall
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!