Step Four-Implement Landscape
Keep in mind that “Going Native” can be done in small steps; you don’t have to replant your entire yard all at once. You can start by replacing one exotic tree with a native one or implementing just one area of your plan. However you start, following the steps below will greatly influence the success of your efforts.
More information on Implementing a Planting Plan.
- Sample Soil -- Before planting, collect soil samples from different areas on your property and have them analyzed. Use the results of the soil test to amend your soil appropriately.
- Remove Undesirable Plants – Without using herbicides, if possible.
Buy Native Plants – The number of reputable nurseries that specialize in native plants is increasing. Refer to the websites below for a list of native plant providers.
Install Plants – Proper planting technique improves the likelihood of a plant’s success in the garden.
- Make planting hole 2 to 3 times as wide as the root ball.
- Make sure the root ball of shrub or tree is level with ground.
- Make sure plant’s root collar is above soil.
- Use original soil when backfilling the planting hole.
- Water thoroughly at time of planting.
- Water frequently for first year.
Maintenance – An attractive and functional native plant landscape requires diligent oversight and maintenance, but do not over-manicure and degrade the quality of the landscape as wildlife habitat.
- Spread 2 to 4 inches of mulch over wildflower beds and base of woody plants.
- Prune shrubs and trees during the winter. Never prune during the nesting season, mid March to end of July.
- Leave old flower heads on blooming plants so seeds are available to birds during fall and winter.
- Maintain balance of your design by dividing successful plants and sharing them with other gardeners.
- Avoid using pesticides that may harm the wildlife you hoped to attract.
- Continue to take pictures of your yard and record wildlife observations after plant installation is finished. Use the photos and records to evaluate improvements.
- Don’t be afraid to make changes in the landscape if the original design or plant selection is not effective.
- Remain patient when establishing a new native plant landscape. It generally takes 3 to 5 years before the results of landscaping are fully realized.
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