Native plants are crucial to the overall health of any ecosystem, so supporting and maintaining them on your property is a fantastic idea. But before you can begin transforming your yard into a lush paradise of New York wildflowers, you must be aware of a few native landscaping dos and don'ts.
Landscaping with native plants isn't complicated, especially when you have the right garden supplies handy. All it takes a little information, a little observation, and a lot of love.
1. Know the Difference Between Native and Non-Native Plants
There's a lot of helpful information online that can help you learn about native plants in New York. There are several native species of wildflower, but there are also dozens of trees, flowering shrubs, and wild vegetation that call New York home.
Fortunately, there are just as many resources as there are native plant species. If you're unsure about the plants growing in your yard, and what their status may be, then you are more than welcome to attend an upcoming event focused on native Long Island plants.
2. Survey Your Ground
Once you feel confident in your ability to differentiate native and non-native plants, you can begin to survey your plot. Of course, every property is different, which is why you must take great care in noticing land elevations, potential hazards, and more.
For example, if you plan to sew wildflowers seeds at the top of a slight slope, you'll likely find that those flowers have transplanted themselves to the bottom of the hill after heavy rain.
Try noticing how plants grow naturally. Certain types of vegetation do well in dark, damp environments like streambeds and muddy embankments. However, others need lots of sunshine, open space, and dry soil to grow.
You can determine the best plants for your project by merely surveying the topography of your yard or property!
3. Remove Invasive Plants
Before you can begin to propagate native species, you must first remove all invasive, non-native plants. This step is one of the most time-consuming, as hardy invasive weeds may have deep, thick roots that are difficult to break.
Of course, a landscaping service provider can make quick work of your non-native plant problem, in addition to advising you on aesthetic issues and budgetary considerations.
3. Appreciate What You Already Have
After removing all of the pesky infiltrators, it's time to sit back for a moment and value what you have -- and not only in the philosophical aspect. Any remaining plants should, by default, be native, which means you likely have a large amount of vegetation to work with.
Natural, native gardens take time to truly flourish, so don't feel discouraged if your beds seem empty, weak, or over-mulched. With time and care, the plants will claim their new homes with pride, growing strong and tall.
4. Eliminate Weeds
Though you may have eliminated the biggest and the saddest of your yard's weeds, that doesn't mean they're gone for good. You'll need to check your beds for weeds at least three times a week, pulling all unsightly growths that you see.
Proper mulching can help lessen the load of constant weeding, as well as retain moisture in your yard's soil. Once your plants have adjusted and grown a bit, they won't need such meticulous weeding and mulching.
5. Pick New York Plants That Dig Your Soil
Soil quality and composition are paramount when planning any landscaping project. If you purchase plants that can't exist in the natural soil, you'll end up paying for soil amendments until the cows come home.
A soil testing kit, or simple observational analysis, can help you confirm the type of soil on your property. Don't forget the be aware of light as well! Your ground may be perfect, but if your plants are getting too much or too little sunlight, it's all for naught.
6. Let Go of Straight Lines
Human beings have a natural inclination toward symmetry and symmetrical items, places, or buildings. You can even confirm that people planted a forest if all of the trees are in long, straight lines.
Nature doesn't tend to work with such ruler-edge precision. Rather than bending to the rules of 90-degree angles, natural gardens allow themselves to flow. You may find pools of flowers and shrubbery that seem to descend, river-like, from the main dwelling.
Or, you can find native plants on the edges of a property, rippling toward the center like green, colorful waves. The exact design and pattern are, of course, up to you! But the most critical factor to successful native landscaping design is retaining a natural feel and flow throughout the garden.
7. Don't Be Hasty With the Fertilizer
It's easy to want to fertilize your plants when transplanting them. However, you'll need to resist doing so with native species. As long the soil is adequate, and the plant is getting enough moisture and sunlight, it should thrive perfectly well without any fertilizer.
8. Try to Minimize Your Open Lawn Space
Open lawns soak up a lot of water, but what do they give back? The maintenance poured into keeping them green, fresh, thick, and free of all insects is insane.
However, when your yard is filled with native
9. Don't Steal Native Plants
Don't steal native plants -- Ever! Not only is it a crime, but you're also damaging the surrounding ecosystem every time you remove a living plant. There are plenty of quality native plants for sale near you.
Just remember: The best native plants New York has to offer aren't found in parks are off of highways, they're found in local nurseries.
Landscaping With Native Plants Is Easy!
It can be easy to overthink a landscaping project, but part of the beauty of native landscaping is that it must conform to natural limits. In other words, go with the flow! The natural curves, bends, and trails found in the natural world should be your guide during this project.
Landscaping with native plants is just as much about giving back to the environment as it is about beautifying it. For more information about native plants in New York, or about any upcoming gardening events or workshops, please contact Decker's Nursery today.