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Noon Edition

Native Prairies

native prairie

Since the 1830s about 99 percent of American tall grass prairies have been destroyed. (Shawn May)

Since the 1830s about 99 percent of American tall grass prairies have been destroyed.

Gardeners who plant native species, even a small number in a small plot, are playing an important part in the movement to restore ecosystems so that native plants species aren’t forever lost.

Most native plants have deep roots, and these root systems aid in the improvement of water quality and also help prevent soil erosion, increase fertility, and improve the topsoil.

Native plants are also more drought tolerant than imported varieties, so easy care once established.

Native plants are also essential in supporting 90 percent of our native insects that specialize in requiring a native host plant at some time during their life cycles. Birds, in turn, almost exclusively sustain their offspring on native insects. Amazingly, it requires thousands of caterpillars and other insects to fledge a clutch of young birds.

Wild bergamot, hairy mountain mint, beardtongue, goldenrod, wild hyacinth, prairie phlox, butterfly weed, and hyssop, obedient plant, rose milkweed, great blue lobelia, and cardinal flower are just a few of the durable and beautiful native flowering perennials that will thrive in home gardens.

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