A natural landscape is one that is intentionally designed and maintained to minimize resource inputs, and maximize services. They are high diversity ecosystems composed of plants, animals and living soils. This can be achieved by using plant material that is adapted to the local conditions and can reproduce (sustain themselves) effectively with a minimum of additional inputs. What are resource inputs and maximum services?
HIGH input requirements: Water Fertilizer Pesticides Mowing & Weeding Resource inputs Cool season introduced grasses + forbs Low Services: Almost an impermeable surface = increase run off Lacks biodiversity Dead soils
Fertilizer Synthetic petroleum based Potential for contaminants in runoff High cost in time and product Pesticides Decrease bio diversity Potential for contaminants in runoff High cost in time and product Fuel Hydrocarbon emissions Labor Equipment Economic & Environmental Costs
Resource Inputs Natural Landscape with native plants HIGH Services: Mowing minimized or eliminated Drought tolerant Adapted to local soils Storm water control/Increased percolation Adapted to local insects – pests and pollinators/Habitat creation Educational opportunities Aesthetically pleasing Low input requirements: Water No fertilizer No pesticides Low or no mow
Vocabulary… Native plant Plants present prior to European settlement (1700s), based on knowledge to date. Naturalized A non-native plant that does not need human help to reproduce and maintain itself over time in an area where it is not native. Even though their offspring reproduce and spread naturally, naturalized plants do not, over time, become native members of the local plant community. Non-native invasive A plant that is both non-native and able to establish on many sites, grow quickly, and spread to the point of disrupting plant communities or ecosystems.
Root Depth Drought tolerant Erosion control Strom water control via increased percolation Turf grass
Yes, I want to incorporate native plants. Now what? Ask the same questions as you always have… Identify short and long term project goals What are the current site conditions (site assessment, vegetation survey, light, soil type) What are the timeline and budget constraints (site prep, seed blend or plant choice, installation) How much time, manpower and budget will be available for maintenance (short, mid, long term)
A word about maintenance… Natural landscapes are low maintenance, not no maintenance. Still need to monitor non-native weeds.
Model Ordinances Develop an ordinance that: Allows for thoughtful natural landscaping by the city/township AND residents Recognizes benefits of natural landscaping Includes definitions and names noxious weeds States that intent of ordinance is not to allow for unmanaged or overgrown landscapes Landscape controls – when can the city/township intervene
Purpose These regulations provide for the preservation, protection, transplanting and replacement of existing designated native plants including cacti, succulents, trees, and shrubs through the establishment of comprehensive procedures, requirements, and standards which protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by : Preserving a sense of place through the potential enhancement of the community's appearance from public streets and between incompatible uses. Maintaining property values, the quality of life, and lifestyles valued and enjoyed by the community through the preservation of unique Sonoran vegetation. Contributing to economic development through the maintenance of a regional identity that attracts tourism and new business, while promoting business and retention. Improving air quality through the preservation of mature vegetation that removes carbon monoxide and filters dust and particulates from the air. Promoting water conservation through retention of existing drought-tolerant vegetation that requires no supplemental irrigation. Assisting in climate modification and reducing energy costs though the use of native vegetation to shade buildings, streets, sidewalks, and other outdoor areas. Retaining vegetative features of habitats that are important to native wildlife species. Stabilizing desert soils by minimizing soil erosion through preservation of or revegetation with native plants. Tucson, Arizona
Non-native Invasive Plants -or- Noxious Weeds Mission: The Ohio Invasive Plants Council participates in statewide efforts to address the threats of invasive species to Ohio’s ecosystems and economy by providing leadership and promoting stewardship, education, research, and information exchange.