The benefits of going nativeBy Cindy Stone on October 3, 2013
As water becomes scarce due to ongoing drought conditions, we are facing another problem – the loss of native plants and habitats. Our native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, which support habitats for wildlife, are being destroyed by the constant and progressive building on land supporting our native Texas heritage.
The importance of native plants lies in the benefits they offer:
- Provide food sources (seeds, nuts, nectar and fruits for birds, bats, pollinating insects and butterflies)
- Attract insects for birds to consume
- Provide habitats for birds, wildlife and larval host plants for butterflies
Additional benefits include:
- Requires less maintenance compared to introduced species
- Tolerates and resists local diseases, pests, and lack of water
- Protects the soil with long root systems
- Protects water quality by controlling soil erosion
- Minimizes the use of fertilizers and pesticides
- Costs less and delivers more benefits
- Conserves valuable water
- Unlikely to become invasive
- Low lawn maintenance with our native buffalo grass
- Adds beauty to the landscape
- Preserves our natural heritage to share with our children and their children
A native landscape habitat works in harmony with all its surroundings to give us a sense of community across our state.
Although it is vital to promote native plants and habitats all year long, we promote Texas Native Plant Week the third week of October. Communities all across Texas will offer wildflower walks, tours of local native gardens and wildlife habitats, talks by experts about native plants, and chapter meetings of the Native Plant Society of Texas. To learn more about fun activities, statewide resources, events in your region, becoming a team member and more, visit the Texas Native Plant Week website.
The Native Plant Society of Texas has teamed with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas – Austin, City of Austin Grow Green program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, National Wildlife Federation, Central Texas Gardener, San Antonio Botanical Gardens, and many others in promoting Texas Native Plant Week.