Clean, clear, healthy water makes a pond beautiful. One way to ensure pristine waters is by installing a buffer of native plants along the shoreline. Although conventional solutions like rock or turf may seem like a good way to defend your shoreline from erosion, natives offer far more tremendous benefits.
Native wildflowers, grasses and aquatic plants are uniquely suited to hold soil in place, filter unwanted pollutants, and discourage nuisance wildlife like geese.
The deep roots of native wildflowers and grasses hold soil in place against the damaging effects of wind, water, and ice. The shallow roots of turfgrass are easily ripped away in storms or flood events. Many native plants have root systems that reach down more than 6 feet, anchoring them in place. Aquatic plants installed in the shallow sections of your pond offer a subtle barrier against wave actions that can undermine and cut away banks.
Algae blooms caused by too many nutrients in the water can choke out beneficial species like fish, frogs and turtles. Stormwater runoff full of pollutants and fertilizers is the biggest culprit of algae in ponds. Native plants can capture and sequester these pollutants before they reach the open water, eliminating algae and the need for expensive treatments.
Canada geese have become so pervasive that they are a nuisance on ponds and basins. Geese prefer clear areas where they can see predators coming. Because native plants tend to be around three feet high or higher, they make geese uncomfortable. Instead of hiring a service, installing tall native species means geese will think twice before coming to your pond.
Attracting birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects
An amazing benefit to native plants is that they attract a huge range of birds, butterflies, bees and beneficial insects. Some songbirds nest in grasses and many consume the seeds of blooming plants like purple coneflower and black-eyed Susans. Milkweed and blazing star attract butterflies, bees, and predatory wasps. With a native plant buffer, you create important pollinator habitat.
Four season color and interest
Perhaps the most noticeable benefit to installing a native plant buffer is the sweeps of blooming wildflowers, the fall colors of the grasses, and the winter interest of dried seed heads and foliage. With a rich plant palette, you can enjoy flowers spring through fall. These plantings evoke the prairie heritage of Illinois and provide a sense of place
We encourage you to get out and explore these natural spaces. Discover new kinds of flowers, investigate insects, and watch for birds. Native plants not only work for you by controlling erosion, algae, and geese, they add beauty and habitat, too.