HARRISBURG – Blair County Conservation District’s Suzanne Black discussed how to help native plants survive and thrive yesterday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania’s native plants are constantly under threat to be crowded out by invasive plant species.
“Native plants are plants indigenous to a given area in geologic time,” said Black. “This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area. One-third of plants in the United States aren’t native, and this causes a significant problem.”
Natives are well adapted to the climate and therefore easier to care in comparison to non-native species. They do not require fertilizer because they are naturally adjusted to their habitat and soil. When the native species is in the proper environment there is little to no upkeep besides the possibility of adding organic matter or compost to the soil. Non-native species, on the other hand, are difficult to care for and lack the qualities to support biodiversity.
Natives are important because they are well adapted to the climate around them. They preserve Pennsylvania’s natural biodiversity and many insects rely on native plant hosts and cannot live off or eat exotic plants. A popular and supportive Native Plant includes Red Bud Trees. The Red Bud supports all aspects of natural biodiversity; butterflies eat the seeds, deer browse the foliage, and humming birds consume the nectar.
Black advises purchasing Native plants from a reputable source and buy only nursery propagated native species if you are planning to plant. Learn more at www.extension.psu.edu.
Another great resource for Native Plants is the PA Native Plant Society. The Society has several upcoming events, such as a Native Plant Seed Germination Workshop. The workshop, according to the Society’s website, will include discussion on the seed germination requirements of various perennials. It will also include demonstrations on sowing seed in flats and the “wintersow” method in milk jug mini greenhouses.
Editor’s Note: The above is largely from a press release from the PA Farm Show. The 102nd PA Farm Show continues through Saturday, 13 January 2018.
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