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Landscaping with Native Plants

Landscaping with Native Plants

What are Native Plants?

Native plants are simply those plants that grew in New Hampshire before the arrival of European settlers.

flowers Why landscape with natives?

It has taken more than 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age for our native plant communities to develop. For this reason alone native plants are as much a part of what makes New Hampshire unique as our mountains, lakes, rivers, and coastline. In addition, native plant communities provide vital habitat for New Hampshire’s wildlife.

Native plants have several advantages over introduced plants, including winter hardiness, pest resistance, and low maintenance needs.

Native plants are also non-invasive. They pose no threat to native plant communities if they escape cultivation. Introduced plants such as purple loosestrife can takeover wetlands and other native habitats.

Whether you are building or moving into an established neighborhood, plan your landscaping to take advantage of the wide variety of native plants that may already be growing on your lot. Supplement these with well-chosen native plants from a reputable nursery or carefully collected wild plants.

Each of New Hampshire’s native plants has specific habitat requirements. For example, some native plants live near the coast, others only in the more northern parts of the state.

the soil "moist-O-meter" “Think Soil Moisture”

Some native plants like their soil dry, some like it wet, while others tolerate a wide range of soil moisture. For soil information, including soil drainage class, consult your County Soil Survey or the local Conservation District.

“Think Shade Tolerance”

Some native plants like to grow in full sun, others grow only in shade.

Take time to determine the characteristics of your property and use plants that are appropriate. You can find native plants that are well adapted to virtually all combinations of soil moisture, shade and other site conditions.

Diagram of landscape design Native plants can fit into almost any landscape plan.  To the left is a landscape design done for a house on a river, where native plantings are even more important for wildlife.  Areas that are typically very dry are also in need of native plantings for the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.  

Remember, native plantings can be naturalized or well-manicured -- it's up to you!

 

 

 

Where do I get native plants?

Many nurseries and Conservation Districts sell native plants. Try and get plants that have been grown locally, as they will probably do best in our climate.

Some species of native plants can be successfully transplanted from other locations. Make sure that you have landowner permission before collecting native plants. Do not attempt to transplant rare plants. If you are not sure whether a wild plant is rare or will survive transplanting, ask someone knowledgeable for advice.

Some natives to leave or plant:

Dry Sites - Pitch Pine, Native Lupine, Bayberry, Butterfly-weed, Stiff Aster, Red Pine, Scrub Oak, Lowbush Blueberry, Bracken Fern, Sweetfern, Little Bluestem, Switch Grass, Big Bluestem, Wild Rye.

Moist Sites - White Pine, Beech, Red Oak, Hemlock, White Ash, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, Flowering Dogwood, Sassafras, Basswood, Solomon’s seal, Black Cherry, Elderberry, Wood Fern, Wild Yellow Lilly, Virgin’s-bower, Highbush Blueberry, Bee-Balm, Columbine, Jewelweed.

Wet Sites – Jack-in-the-pulpit, Cardinal Flower, Prairie Cordgrass, Ostrich Fern, Rushes, Sedges, Red Osier Dogwood, Silky Dogwood, Turtlehead, Balsam Fir, Red Spruce, Red Maple, Hemlock, Northern Arrowwood, Winterberry, Atlantic White Cedar, New England Aster, Blue Flag Iris, Sweet Flag.

Streambanks/Pond Shores - Willow, Silver Maple, Speckled Alder, Smooth Alder, Sycamore, Monkey Flower, Switch Grass, Pussy Willow.

Shallow Ponds – Bur-reed, Buttonbush, Pondweed, Sedges and Rushes, Duck Potato, Fragrant Water Lily, Yellow Water Lily, Pickerelweed, Wild Rice, Duck Weed.

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