Tree Body of Palos Park
  News  |  Resources  |  Links  |  Meeting Agendas and Minutes 

 

TAKE ROOT WITH NATIVE PLANTS

The good news...many people in our community are working hard to promote the use of native plants in landscaping. And Palos Park residents can play a vital role!

Great Lakes basin native plants are indigenous plants that have evolved over thousands of years, adapting to the geography, hydrology and climate of the region. Native plants are beautiful, hardy and require less maintenance (once established) than conventional lawns. With their biodiversity, native grasses and flowers provide food and shelter for a host of birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.

Landscaping with native plants enhances our environment while reducing the need for the use of lawnmowers, pesticides, fertilizers and watering. Furthermore, native landscaping practices improve air quality by reducing smog-forming emissions caused from the use of lawn maintenance equipment (mowers, weed edgers and leaf blowers, for example). Native landscaping methods, therefore, help conserve valuable—and nonrenewable—gasoline and electricity resources.

Please consider native plants in your future landscaping endeavors for these reasons:

  • Native plants do not require fertilizers, reducing chemicalrun-off (phosphorus and nitrogen) into creeks, regional rivers and lakes. These chemicals harm aquatic life and interfere with recreational uses.

  • Native plants reduce air pollution because native grasses and forbes (flowers) do not require maintenance with gaspowered garden equipment. Lawn tools burn fossil fuels associated with a variety of air-polluting chemical emissions, including the emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

  • Native plants attract a variety of bird and butterfly species by providing a diverse habitat.

Native landscaping promotes biodiversity and the natural heritage of our region. There was a time (before the European settlers) when our northeastern Illinois landscape consisted of natural oak savannas, wetlands, woodlands and tallgrass prairies. Returning a portion of our original ecosystem through native landscaping practices makes sense from an environmental and socio-economic viewpoint. Residents in our community can play an important role by exploring the benefits of the native landscaping alternative. Bring a taste of the wilderness back to the urban area!

Want more information on how to get started? Visit the Kaptur Administrative Center to view some native plantings and then look online for further ideas at www.epa.gov/greenacres or www.cleanaircounts.org.