Go Green, Grow Native Initiative in Monroe County
April 29, 2011 Herald Times
By Rachel Powers
As spring arrives, I am excited to get out in my yard and start planting. Monroe County – Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS) wants to help you find a beautiful native plant for your yard. MC-IRIS is a local group of concerned citizens working to both promote native plants for sale and reduce the sale of invasive plants.
Many horticultural shrubs, i.e., Asian Bush Honeysuckle, Privet, and Burning Bush, for sale in the nursery trade actually move out of landscapes and invade natural areas. Studies show that when Asian Bush Honeysuckle invades forests it reduces plant diversity and decreases the number and growth of tree seedlings, the reproductive success of songbirds, and the growth rate of mature trees in forest by over 50%. It has become frustrating over the years to see the invasive species that I work to try and keep out of natural areas being planted in landscaping.
Fortunately, there are better options. Several Monroe County retailers are selling native flowers and shrubs. Natives do not become invasive in natural areas and provide food and cover for wildlife. Natives are also better adapted to local soils and climate allowing them to survive severe weather such as droughts. MC-IRIS has provided local retailers with “Go Green, Grow Native” signs, plants stakes, and stickers to identify plants native to Indiana and promote native plants for sale by retailers. Personally, I get tired of seeing Burning Bush in plantings all over town. Where’s the variety? I enjoy using natives in my yard because of the host of butterflies and birds that they attract. There are many lovely native shrubs i.e., New Jersey Tea and Spicebush that provide food for a variety of wildlife.
In addition to selling native plants, some retailers are “invasive free” and have agreed not to sell invasive plants listed by the Indiana Invasive Plant Species Assessment Working Group (IPSAWG). By agreeing not to do this, retailers are added to the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society “Nurseries and Landscape Designers Providing Plants Native to Indiana” list, found online at http://inpaws.org/IndianaPlants.htm.
Look for the Go Green, Grow Native! logo at Monroe County plant retailers to know you are purchasing an Indiana native plant. So buy ‘local’ by purchasing a new plant for your yard that is native to Indiana. Retailers who want to participate in the Go Green, Grow Native campaign should contact Ellen Jacquart at email@example.com