Landscaping with Native Plants in Northern Virginia
So, what is all this talk about Native Plants? Why do I need or want to plant them in my yard? What effect does planting with natives have on residential properties in Northern Virginia? O’Grady’s Landscape & Lawn Care is here to help you sort out the Native Plant movement.
WHAT IS A NATIVE PLANT?
To begin, we need to define what is a Native Plant and differentiate regions within Northern Virginia. A plant is considered a native if it occurs naturally or its existence has been established within an area for a long time. Natives are not limited to plants, per se; they also include flora, fauna, and fungi. Also, it is essential to know your homes physiographic region on a map since Northern Virginia has large discrepancies in temperature, elevation, soil moisture, rainfall, and many more conditions which affect a plants ability to flourish. Arlington County, Virginia falls within the Coastal Plain while Fairfax County and a large part of Loudoun County fall within the Piedmont region. The Mountain region is the northern portion of Loudoun County as you near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Plants which have evolved, grow and reproduce naturally within a geographic area become known as natives. There are similar plants that grow like natives, but they may have been brought to the area by man or by an animal and did not originally evolve in the area. These plants are called naturalized plants.
Photo by O’Grady’s Landscape
BENEFITS OF NATIVE PLANTS IN VIRGINIA
What are the benefits of planting Natives to homeowners and the environment? Since natives thrive, they simply make a yard and garden look beautiful. There is not much more incentive to many homeowners than to have a yard that not only looks beautiful but is truly strong and healthy deep down. You know the saying, “you are what you eat!” well, your lawn is the same – You are What You Plant!
In addition, native plants provide a natural habitat for animals and insects, improve water control, reduce erosion, less maintenance and have a better support system for handling challenging weather conditions. Since natives are better equipped to hold water, they can save money by reducing the need for watering. The pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths are critical within the ecosystem and by planting natives, you are establishing a green footprint for years to come.
HOW TO CHOOSE A NORTHERN VIRGINIA NATIVE PLANT
Choosing a Native Plant for your Northern Virginia home is much like choosing any other plant material. It is important to know the category of plant you are choosing such as ground covers, flowers, trees, shrubs or ferns. Also, where in your yard will you be planting – full sun, part-sun/part-shade or full shade. Color, texture, season and height variations will also come into play when creating a thoughtful landscape plant design for your Northern Virginia garden. In addition, choosing a plant will also be defined by what is available at nurseries within your region.
O’Grady’s Landscape staff native plant favorites and why:
- Serviceberry – slow growing medium tree with spring flowers and delicate branches
- Sycamore tree – a large tree that grows well in wet areas. The bark is attractive with mature gigantic branches.
- Witch Hazel – Shrub with good looking spring flowers
- Winterberry – beautiful berries in winter
- Pin Oak – great shade tree
- American Holly – beautiful screening plant with red berries that attract birds
- Eastern Redbud – Ornamental with beautiful spring flowers
Any of our regions grasses or ferns are an excellent selection for filling bed space.
O’Grady’s Landscape has many landscape designers on staff who specialize in different areas of landscape design and installation. Our team of landscape designers includes Native Plant designers who predominantly focus on Native Plant and eco-friendly landscapes. As always, all our designs take into account the land itself, the goals of the homeowners and style of the home and property making a seamless and unique experience for each home.
Contact O’Grady’s Landscape & Lawn Care, Inc. for a free consultation, 703-533-5001 www.ogradyslandscape.com | [email protected]
Virginia Service areas: North Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, McLean, Oakton, Great Falls, Reston, Herndon, City of Falls Church, Dulles, South Riding, Chantilly, Fairfax, Sterling, Brambleton, Ashburn, Cascades, Aldie, Leesburg and surrounding areas.
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