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Snow on a nandina bush. Photo by Susan Smith, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Landscaping with native plants



Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature.

Fall is upon us, and amid the leaf raking, firewood splitting, pumpkin harvesting, and other fall chores, this is an opportunity for planting shrubs and trees.

Invasive species are plants and animals that are not from here but have been introduced and are thriving in the absence of their natural controls, to the detriment of our native species. While some of these plants and animals have inadvertently hitched a ride on planes or ships carrying goods around the world, some have been purposely introduced and indeed, may well be part of your landscaping. Having plants such as nandina, with its attractive berries, or miscanthus, with its attractive form, as part of your landscaping brings with it a responsibility to ensure they don’t spread, which often means clipping and destroying seeds before they can mature and be dispersed, or cutting back plants that quickly spread, like periwinkle and English ivy.

One easy way to avoid those maintenance responsibilities is to use native plants instead of invasive species in landscaping. Plants like flame azalea, coral honeysuckle, and maple-leaf viburnum provide beautiful native alternatives to exotic species. Plant nurseries are increasingly stocking native plants, and indeed some are specializing in native plants. To learn more about the best native plants to use in your area, contact your local cooperative extension office.

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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