To start - some definitions
Native Plants - plants that occurred within Pennsylvania before settlement by Europeans. Essentially those plants which were here when the colonists arrived. Includes ferns and clubmosses; grasses, sedges, and rushes; flowering perennials, annuals, and biennials; and woody trees, shrubs, and vines. We have about 2,100 native plant species
Invasive Plants - species that has become a weed pest - one that grows aggressively, spreads and displaces other plants. Although some native plants are aggressive on disturbed areas, most invasive plants are introduced from other regions, leaving behind the pests, diseases, predators and other natural controls that usually keep them in check.
Introduced or Non-native Plants - plants that have been brought into the state and become established. At the turn of the 21st Century, about 1,300 species of non-native plants existed in Pennsylvania. That is 37 percent of PA's total plant flora (about 3,400 species) and more plants are introduced each year.
In addition to the resources I talked about last night [7-29-10] - here are some Native Plant sources that I recommend:
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Tons of free publications and PDF documents. I highly recommend the Bayscapes Homeowners Guide series. Among the best are "Bayscapes for Wildlife Habitat", "Bayscaping for the Long Term", "Bayscaping to Conserve Water", "Conservation Landscapes", "Creating Landscape Diversity", "Homeowners Guide to Designing Your Property" (this one is in full color), "Integrated Pest Management" and "Using Beneficial Plants". Each of these has a suggested reading list at the end. "Yard Care for Bay Repair" is a great fact sheet. Another not to be missed publication is "Citizen's Guide to the Control of Invasive Plants in Wetland and Riparian Areas". Scott would find this invaluable in any Riparian Restoration he might want to do along with "Backyard Buffers" which is a great guide for getting started at home. All that I have mentioned and many, many more are available in PDF format on the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay website.
Audubon Council of Pennsylvania & PA Wild Resource Conservation Fund
"Native Plants in the Creation of Backyard, Schoolyard and Park Habitat Areas" by Marci Mowery
Spiral Bound 75 pp. $10. I couldn't find an on-line source for this. You can get it from Audubon Pennsylvania, 100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg PA 17110 or call 717-213-6880.
"Landscaping with Native Plants in the Middle Atlantic Region" by Elizabeth N. du Pont. 145pps Beautiful line drawings. Spiral Bound so it will lay flat. No on-line source. $19.95. Available for purchase on-line from Brandywine Museum Shop. Be sure to check out the Environmental Management Center of Brandywine Conservancy for more resources both on-line and for purchase as well as links to other organizations. Visit them at this link.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
"De-tox Your Home: Alternatives to Toxic Household Products" . "10 Things You can Do to Save the Bay". These and more can be found as PDF files at this link.
Dauphin County Conservation District
Lots of resources on stormwater management from small projects for homeowners to large designs for developers. They publish a number of fact sheets and "Stormwater Best Management Practices Tour Map" with takes you on a walk around their property and shows you each type of mitigation in action. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in stormwater management. These publications are also on their website. They are located at 1451 Peters Mountain Road in Dauphin. Don't overlook their seedling sale each spring. This can be an inexpensive way of buying trees (including fruit and nut trees), shrubs and other plants. The plant sale list is posted each February, money is usually due by mid-march and you pick up plants in mid-April. Find them on the web at this link.
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
Several good free publications; "Landscaping with Native Plants", "Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania" "Native Plants for Sunny Dry Areas/Native Plants for Shady Dry Areas". I have several copies of each of these. I'm not sure how you get them. I found the DCNR website a bit difficult to navigate and these didn't come up when I searched under publications. You may find them at State Parks and surely can get them from the DCNR offices locally.
More free publications "Bring Home the Natives" series for "Sunny/Moist", "Sunny/Dry", "Shady/Moist", and "Shady/Dry". Again, I have several copies of these and they don't appear to be available as PDF, but there is a search function that allows you to put in your land requirements and it will give you a list of native plants that would work well there. Website also has lots of information about trees. Additionally, you'll find a very up-to-date list of reputable sources for native plants and trees.
Millersville University - Native Plant Conference
"Native Plants in the Landscape"
This conference held in early June each year has something for everyone interested in Native Plants. From rather technical workshops to "how to get started". A good way to network with other people working on the same issue. Also provides lots of access to publications (many free) and sources for Native Plants. Their Friday night Native Plant sale is not to be missed and is open to the public even if not attending the conference. Conference fees are inexpensive. Find them here. and sign up to be emailed next year's conference brochure. Be sure to check out the link section for other great resouces.
Penn Sate - College of Agricultural Sciences- Cooperative Extension - Center for Biodiversity Research, Environmental Resources Research Institute
Several years ago they put out a nice 30 page booklet entitled "Biodiversity Our living World: Your Life Depends on it!" It's full color and would make a nice short text for home schoolers. Available in full color PDF format at this link. If you search under the title you can find a short lesson plan (and video, I think) on DCNR's website.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Another source for free information. I recommend "Backyard Conservation" a 30 page full color book with lots of ideas and sources for more detailed information. This one is downloadable and is available here.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
My hands-down favorite publication is "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed" . It has been a number of years since I have seen any free hard copies anywhere, but it is available for download here. Warning: This is a large file 5.3 MB and is over 80 pages in full color. This is my bible. There is much good stuff on the Fish and Wildlife Service website from posters, to Bird ID fact sheets, to guides to wildlife refuges. Visit there main site here.
University of Delaware
While this is not a Pennsylvania book, I find this little 25 page booklet really helpful. It explains why things we commonly plant - Butterfly Bush, Norway Maple, Bradford Pear, English Ivy are not good for the environment and then suggests alternatives. While all the alternatives are not strictly native - they are plants which would not become invasive. Very helpful for the average homeowner. It would been great if we had something like this for Pennsylvania. The pdf is available here and is full color.
I can recommend one hard-cover book The Native Plant Primer by Carole Ottensen. This was one of the first comprehensive books published on using Native Plants for Landscape Purposes. It is out-of-print but is well worth finding used. It is 354 pps and in a large full-color format. Gives you lots of ideas on HOW to use native plants in the landscape not just a listing of charts. There are many many photos.
Finally - each spring our local region, as we defined last night, has several Native Plant Sales. The two best, in my mind, are at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg and Meadowood Nursery sponsored by the Manada Conservancy in Hummelstown. These sales are usually in early May and provide an excellent opportunity to talk with knowledgeable sales staff about your needs and types of plants (ground covers, butterfly food) that you are looking for. Check their websites in Feb or March. Manada Conservancy is holding a fall sale in September. Find the info here.
Not Talking With Idiots
5 years ago