We love gardening with native plants because we understand that native plants are key to restoring balanced ecosystems. But what is the best way to share that love with others? And how can we give native plants the best chance of survival? Garden accessories! These accessories promote and protect native plants when we aren’t around to do so ourselves.
Native Garden Signs
Colorful signs are an easy way to show neighbors and strangers alike the benefits of native plants in the home garden. When people walk past, a sign or two informs them that you use native plants to develop wildlife habitats, support pollinators, and replenish groundwater. Maybe they will be inspired to do the same! A sign is also a great conversation starter when you’re working in your garden, providing an easy segue into the topic of native plants and giving you the opportunity to explain their benefits. As land stewards, we work hard to create spaces that are havens for biodiverse ecosystems. Garden signs encourage others to follow in our footsteps.
Signs also provide protection for native gardens. By advertising that the space is dedicated to habitat development or helping pollinators, we ensure that lawncare professionals don’t accidentally mow or weed where they shouldn’t, or that passersby don’t accidentally trample wanted plants.
Protecting Young Trees and Shrubs
Colorful perennials are often the stars of most gardens, but they sometimes overshadow the importance of trees and shrubs in native plantings. Trees and shrubs provide protection, habitat, and food for wildlife. Additionally, they host a larger number of butterfly and moth caterpillars, forming the basis for extensive and complex food webs. Ensuring that your young trees and shrubs survive their first growing season will reap many rewards in the years to come.
Two tools we can use to help young trees and shrubs are mulch rings and tree shelters. Mulch rings help prevent weeds from growing immediately around young trees and shrubs and competing for resources such as water and nutrients. Easier to install than traditional mulch, mulch rings fit easily around trunks and stay put once in place. Mulch rings are especially helpful on hilly terrain where traditional mulch will wash away with the rain.
Tree shelters are another helpful tool. The primary benefits of tree shelters are that they help protect from deer browse and prevent accidental damage from lawn equipment. Not all tree shelters are created equal, though, and we recommend mesh shelters over solid tube shelters. Solid tube shelters tend to attract small rodents who will nest in the base of the tube and potentially harm the tree. Mesh shelters, on the other hand, discourage nesting rodents and also supply steady airflow to young trees.
Garden accessories promote and protect native plants. With a little extra help, young trees and shrubs will mature into strong specimens that support the wildlife in your garden for years to come.