At its core, landscaping with native plants is all about reducing our carbon footprint on the land and is centered on the principle of sustainability. Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet the needs of the future implies the stewardship of both natural and human resources are of prime importance. Substantially reducing the detrimental effects we have on the earth will be critical to the health of the land. So making the transition to sustainable landscape practices that include using native plants will help assure we meet these goals.
Landscaping with native offers numerous benefits. Heat and drought resistance, conserving water, cold hardness, pest resistances, adaptation and habitat generation all make the use of natives the right choice.
Native plants of the Central New Jersey Piedmont Region have, over thousands of years, adapted to the climatic conditions NJ offers. They are well suited for the shale clay-loam soil and when grown in the right environment they naturally ward off pest and diseases. Because they are so well suited to the conditions present in Central NJ they usually require no additional fertilization. This also reduces, and in most cases, totally eliminates the need for pesticide applications; decreasing the pollutants that enter the water we drink and air we breathe.
The adaptation of native plants makes them cold hardy and heat tolerant. Water resources have become a major concern and using native plants planted in the right environment substantially reduces the need to irrigate, conserving these valuable resources. Not only are all these attributes beneficial for the environment it is economically great for the pocketbook.
Native plants are vital in maintaining diverse healthy habitats for wildlife. Native fauna has adapted over centuries of time to live and feed off of very specific plants so the flora that provides habitats for these organisms must meet strict criteria. If the right criterion is not met then fauna will either move on to find the right habitats for their survival or they perish. Given time flora and fauna can and will adapt to changing environments, but due to the ever increasing presence of man the environments are changing far too fast for them to adapt. Native plants are key to the health and diversity of our native habitats.
Natives, when used wisely, can make great plants for the formal garden too. Just like the exotics we are so accustomed to, natives can be pruned and trimmed for showy displays while also providing the diverse plantings wildlife needs. As part of its mission, Duke Farms uses only native plants in its outdoor landscaping and in restoration of natural areas. Visitors of Duke Farms are encouraged to emualte this ethic by utilizing similar native plantings in their home landscapes and gardens.
For a full list of Plants Native to New Jersey please visit the NJ Native Plant Society website