Landscaping for Wildlife With Native Plants

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Cover of Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants publication

Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants

Climate change and significant weather events highlight the need for plants that are more resilient to the conditions in our state.

North Carolina’s native plants provide well-adapted food and cover for North Carolina’s native animals, and a well-planned landscape of native plants can help you attract a diversity of wildlife to your property.

Plants native to North Carolina also are well-suited to the state’s soils and climate, and they require relatively little upkeep once established on an appropriate site.

However, the spread of non-native plants poses a threat to native plants and animals of North Carolina.

This publication describes the problems associated with some non-native, invasive plants and presents a detailed list of native plants that may be used in place of these foreign ornamentals to attract wildlife to your property.

Reversing the Trend

You can help stop the non-native plant invasion by using and nurturing native plants around your home and on your property. Native plants generally grow well and require less care than non-native species when grown on the proper soils under the right environmental conditions. Additionally, North Carolina’s native wildlife has become adapted to using native plants over thousands of years. Therefore, native plants meet the needs, including food and cover, of North Carolina’s native wildlife without causing long-term damage to local plant communities.

In 2022, NC State Forestry Extension in partnership with the NC Forestry Service, the Museum of Natural Sciences,  NC Botanical Garden, and Duke University’s School of Environment published this pamphlet to help home and landowners select alternatives in favor of native landscaping plant to encourage wildlife.

It provides some recommendations on how to manage existing vegetation and suggest alternatives.

There are multiple tables which indicate NC native plant species selection. If you prefer mostly native plants for your garden, this Extension publication can assist you to add an additional native consideration layer when selecting plants for your garden.

Additionally, this publication is free to download from the internet.

Make sure you browse the resources at the end for links to other similar publications available for download for free.

As a horticulture extension agent, I value a table of native plants in one location that break out alternative suggestions of native plants for gardens in close proximity to home dwellings.