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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Here's why native plants will probably lower your water bill

Most native plants (plants that grow here naturally) have deep, extensive root systems. The roots let then get hold of water that's out of the reach of other plants, and survive extended periods of drought and heat.

You can see that in the drawing above. Typically, the root system of Little Blue Stem (sixth from right) is a little over 6 feet deep and Purple Coneflower is roughly 5 feet deep. By comparison, the roots of Bermuda grass go less than a foot deep, and St.Augustine roots are about 2 inches deep - so they demand a lot of expensive water to stay green.

As you know, a Texas summer bakes the ground and kills shallow-rooted plants. But native plants have grown here naturally for centuries, without anyone watering or fertilizing them.

are old birdnests re-used?             Hardly ever! A very few cavity-nesting birds will re-use nests within the same breeding season, even though there are real health dangers (tiny mite eggs may have been brought in, which could hatch and infest nestlings). But ALL birds will insist on finding (or making) new nests in subsequent seasons. That’s why I strongly recommend removing old, empty nests and cleaning out empty birdhouses.

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.  (If you want an e-mail copy of the "roots" drawing, request it by e-mail)


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