Building Nest Boxes
Bird species such as bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, tree swallows, and some owl species historically nested in the cavities of dead or living trees, bt they will use artificial nest boxes in the absence of natural nesting habitat. Anyone can help native cavity-nesting birds survive by putting up a nest box. Many specifications and plans adapted for different species are available. Below you will find two options. You can also visit www.sialis.org, which provides a variety of information on this topic.
Whether you are thinking about planting a small urban plot or a few acres with native landscaping, you may have some questions about getting started and what you can expect from your new wildlife habitat at your site, or even in your backyard. First, you need to decide what you want to do with your land. Are you going to incorporate some native plants into your garden? Restore an area to its original presettlement condition? Is your goal to attract wildlife or to solve an environmental problem such as flooding?
More on Green Landscaping
To learn more about Green Landscaping, download the U.S. EPA’s Green Scaping Guide. For practices to apply in your geographic region, contact your state and local U.S. EPA offices.
Using a Greater Variety of Plants – Primarily Natives
What are native plants?
Native plants (also called indigenous plants) are plants that have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. Native plants occur in communities, that is, they have evolved together with other plants. As a result, a community of native plants provides habitat for a variety of native wildlife species such as songbirds and butterflies.
Numerous organizations produce lists of native plants, often with information on the conditions they require. There are also state and federal agencies and programs, native plant nurseries and societies you may wish to contact, or software you can use. In addition, many state programs provide technical resources as well as financial assistance.
Why are native plants important?
Native plants have been growing and evolving for thousands of years and, as a result, have adapted to its soil type, rainfall, and temperature. As a result they are more likely to thrive with minimal care than exotic plants. That can mean less need for water, fertilizer and pesticides. Also, native plants are less likely to create environmental havoc when they’re planted, unlike aggressive exotics such as kudzu.
Native plants have evolved so that they have an integral place in the ecosystem (local community of plants and animals). Other plants, animals and/or insects may require them for habitat or nutrients during all or parts of their life cycles. When natural areas are lost or cut into pieces or harmed in other ways from our activities, what’s left becomes all the more critical for the survival of many species. By using native plants we can help offset these losses. Of course, not every native plant will thrive in every location. It’s important to know your site conditions and the requirements of the native plants when making a selection.
Some important facts to remember:
- Native plants do not require fertilizers.
- Native plants require fewer pesticides than lawns.
- Native plants require less water than lawns.
- Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
- Native plants promote biodiversity.
- Native plants save money.