Native plants belong here.
Native plants like oak trees, wildflowers, and prairie grasses were here in the Midwest long before settlers arrived. Native plants are the fabric of our natural areas and provide food and shelter for wildlife. For example, most of the soil in Illinois was primed for farmland, so more than 99% of the natural areas that were there before, have been completely destroyed. With that destruction went the prairie chickens, bison, bumblebees, and nearly everything else. If we want to conserve and bring back our wildlife, we need native plants.
Native plants support native insects which are eaten by native birds, which are in turn eaten by other native animals (birds, coyotes, etc.), and so on. Native plants have also evolved in our ecosystems and have adapted to handle most anything that Mother Nature throws at them – fire being the biggest example – that a lot of non-native species just can’t handle.
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Native landscapes are also beautiful and they’re often less expensive to maintain. Among many other benefits, they can help prevent the presence of nuisance geese since geese prefer turfgrass and open land. Native plants also soak up excess water and hold the soil in place with their extensive root system – which is why native plants are commonly used to stop soil erosion around stormwater basins.
When you use native plants, you’re helping heal the land. You are building stepping stones between natural areas that wildlife can use for food and shelter.