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There are environmental and economic benefits to establishing a natural area with native plants. They help maintain biodiversity, provide wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and do not require fertilizers or pesticides. Native plants, once established, will also save money and time. Deep-rooted native plants require less water and minimal maintenance. Native plants are easy to grow and maintain because they are well adapted to our soils and climate, with its extremes of weather.
Michigan’s natural areas and their plant communities should be preserved for future generations because an estimated 20 percent of Michigan’s plants will be extinct by the middle of this century, as the result of loss of habitat due to development and invasion by imported non-native plants. By cultivating natural areas in your yard, you can help preserve the existing diversity of native vegetation and wildlife.
Native plants are beautiful and can greatly enhance conventional landscapes with their distinctive foliage, unique growth habits and colorful flowers and fruits. When native plants are used to replicate prairies, woodlands, or wetlands they offer a dramatic and ever-changing spectacle.
Natural areas a buffer zone to provide food and shelter for the wildlife. Native plantings will attract butterflies, birds, and other animals to your yard and provide them with exactly what they need. Consideration to butterflies, not only the sweet nectar, but also host plants for their caterpillars; for birds, the right kinds of berries and insects at the right times of year.
Natural area landscaping not only lowers water use; it improves water quality. Native plantings—prairie and woodland gardens, rain gardens—are very effective in slowing down stormwater and filtering out sediments contained in it. The deep roots of many native species are able to absorb, hold, and gradually release this water to help prevent erosion. Natural area plantings also help recharge our precious groundwater in Northern Michigan.