What Should You Plant?

With so many types of trees, shrubs and grasses available at nurseries, it’s difficult to know which ones are best for planting in your yard. Surprisingly, many of the grasses planted most often for lawns aren’t best for the landscape as a whole.

Native plants – those naturally found in southeast Michigan – actually help improve water quality, and they’re an attractive alternative to turfgrass. Natives generally have deeper roots, which absorb runoff and break down pollutants that would otherwise go straight into storm drains and rivers. Native trees, shrubs and grasses encourage a healthy yard, and require less maintenance than non-natives!

 

Why is it important to plant native shrubs and wildflowers?

While many non-native plants, such as purple loosestrife, are colorful and attractive, they are considered “invasive” because they out-compete native species and disrupt wildlife habitat. Native plants, on the other hand, offer nesting sites and food for wildlife.

A garden of prairie wildflowers, for instance, will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your backyard. Best of all, natives are adapted to our local soils and climate, so they do not need watering and require very little fertilizer or pesticides, which can pollute our waterways.

Native plants have deeper roots than lawn grasses. Replanting part of your lawn with native plants will help stormwater soak into the soil. Keeping stormwater on your property rather than running out to stormdrains helps filter pollutants, recharges the watertable and slowly sends cold water to our creeks and rivers.

There are native plant nurseries in Michigan that offer a wide variety of affordable plants native to southeast Michigan and grown in Michigan. Some even offer free site assessments to determine what plants will work best in your yard!

 

What plants are native to southeast Michigan?

Here are just a few examples of the many plants that are native to our area, and are easy to find in most nurseries! Be sure to ask for native plants by there scientific name when purchasing.

 

Ferns

Christmas
Lady
Maidenhair
Ostrich
Royal
Sensitive

Trees

American beech
Ash (Red, Green)
Blackgum
Black walnut
Canada hemlock
Douglas fir
Flowering dogwood
Hawthorn
Hickory
Maple (Red, Sugar)
Oak (Red, White)
Ohio buckeye
Paw paw
Sycamore
White pine

Grasses

Big bluestem
Cordgrass
Indian grass
Junegrass
Purple lovegrass
Wool-grass

Shrubs

Blueberry
Buttonbush
Dogwood
Fragrant sumac
Elderberry
Michigan holly
Serviceberry
Spicebush

Wildflowers

Anemone
Black-eyed Susan
Blazing star
Butterfly weed
Columbine
Coral bells
Purple coneflower
Woodland poppy

Documents:

Landscaping guide

Native Landscaping Tips

HLCP Endorsed Lawncare Professionals