Spring is a good time to check out homegrownnationalpark.org, “a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.” The web site lists “Five Easy Steps to Get You Started:”
Step 1. Ponder ways to shrink the size of your lawn. Even if it’s only by a small amount, it’s a first step, and every little bit counts!
Step 2. Consider one keystone planting, perhaps a native tree surrounded by leaf mulch.
Step 3. Leave your leaves wherever possible! They provide nutrients for both soil and roots, as well as protection for vital insect larvae. You might also mulch them with a lawn mower for quicker breakdown.
Step 4. Find a place to add a patch of pollinator plants, for pollinating insects and butterflies.
Step 5. Begin removing invasive species, such as Bradford pear, Japanese barberry, privet, burning bush, English ivy, knotweed, and tree of heaven (not only invasive, but gourmet food for the dreaded spotted lanternfly).
Once you make a start, you can add your name to the website’s map, to show you have become part of this growing network!
The Eco-Justice Team and Adult Ed. Committee hope to have a speaker in May from the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy. The conservancy will be having a native plant sale, this spring, details to be announced. Native plants, as their description implies, thrive in local conditions and are easy to care for, so stay tuned!