Control flooding, replace lost habitat, remove pollution from our waterways, sequester carbon, moderate local weather: You can do it!
Replacing lawn (or part of our lawns) with native trees, shrubs and other native plants helps hold water during rain events to control flooding and improve water quality. Plants are great at holding and breaking down pollutants that would otherwise do harm if washed into streams. Trees are powerful at capturing carbon and releasing oxygen -- they can also reduce nearby temperatures by 10 - 15 degrees. Their roots and leaves hold water during rain greatly reducing flooding and during drought their roots can bring water up through their leaves into the atmosphere. Millions of acres a year in the U.S. are developed -- going from natural habitat to impervious surfaces (roads, roofs, driveways) and lawn -- lots of lawn. If each of us chooses to we can help moderate the loss of habitat by planting native plants.
Check out this diagram showing the difference between turf grass root depth and other plants. Think about the difference this has for land use -- when much of our surface in developed areas is either impervious or lawn. Recent storms and resultant flooding are reminders of the need for better stewardship.
You Can Do It!
Ninebark (that lovely shrub with very long roots) and black-eyed susans shown above are planted in our Pleasant View garden. Come check out the various native plants we have there and get ideas for your own home garden. Check our posts under "Pleasant View" for volunteer dates.