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Thursday, 04 April 2019 10:26

Native plants are beautiful — and vital to our survival

Written by  Staff Writer

To the editor,
Hello residents of Wisconsin. I am writing to encourage everyone to consider planting native species of plants and trees as you go about your landscaping projects this spring. Why? Because every garden matters.

First of all, native insects evolved over thousands of years with native plants. They need each other and humans need them. Exotic plants from across the globe might seem novel in a garden, but native insects are unable to use the leaves or access nectar from these foreign species.

As more yards and boulevards replace native plants with alien plants or cultivars, the native insect population is left without food or shelter. Why does this matter to us? Because 80 percent of food consumed by humans must be pollinated by these very insects. We need them to survive!

Birds suffer too when native insects disappear. All birds need insect protein to raise their young. Adult birds can get along OK if enough residents provide food in feeders. Baby birds require protein and that comes from insects. We all love to hear a chickadee calling or see a cardinal in the backyard. They can’t make it without insects and the insects can’t make it without native plants and trees.

And finally, consider this: What makes Wisconsin, well, Wisconsin? It isn’t tulips from Spain or pear trees from China, but rather oaks, shagbark hickory, sugar maples and spring beauties like blood root and trillium. Plants from around the world can’t begin to rival the natural beauty Wisconsin has to offer.

So many natural landscapes have been replaced by foreign plants that many people really don’t know what Wisconsin actually looked like just a few years ago.

Why not consider bringing back native Wisconsin? Plant native species that are suited to our climate and soil, are easy to grow and help the environment at the same time. Your neighborhood wildlife will thank you and everyone will benefit.

Sonya Dailey
Lake Geneva


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