Plant a Native Tree

by Katherine Noyes
The Challenge

When you plant a native tree, you give a gift to wildlife and the planet. You also invest in the future, because native trees are more likely to thrive naturally over time and to nurture local biodiversity.

As more and more land is cleared for human use, regional ecosystems and wildlife are under increasing pressure. Meanwhile, the trend toward monoculture gardening, in which the same, few species are used again and again, compounds that threat.

The typical suburban landscape dominated by grassy lawns, petunias and blooming trees may give the appearance of a green, healthy environment, but it does nothing to support the native insects, birds and other animals that were once indigenous to the area. Native wildlife evolved over time to rely on native plants and trees for food and shelter. Butterflies and hummingbirds, for example, depend on specific native plants for their food; take those plants away, and the beautiful wildlife disappears too.

Monoculture gardens tend to require a lot more maintenance in the form of watering, fertilizing and pest control than native ones do. They also minimize local character, which depends on native trees and plants for part of its charm. Perhaps saddest of all, they leave local wildlife and insects without food or habitat.

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