Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Going Native

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Going Native

Article excerpt

Landscaping with indigenous plants helps property managers streamline maintenance and reduce costs

The term "native lhe term "native landscaping" may sound alien, but it's may sound alien, but it's actually just a technical way of describing landscaping with plants familiar to your area. Native landscaping is an excellent method of reducing the need for non-renewable resources, improving air and water quality, and saving you time and money.

Native plants are more resilient than non-native plants because they have already adapted to local environmental conditions. Once established, these indigenous grasses and flowers function much like a natural system-they sustain themselves, said Peter Muroski, president of Native Landscape, Inc., a landscaping company in Pawling, N.Y.

This means property managers don't have to devote as much time and money to maintenance around their buildings. A native landscape does not need to be mowed like a conventional lawn and seldom requires fertilizing, weeding, pruning or watering, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Native plants are naturally more resistant to pest problems than nonnative plants as well, cutting out the need for costly pesticides.

"Most people think you need to use pesticides. But if you let the natural process happen, native plants balance the eco-system and control pests," Muroski said.

Eliminating pesticide use also minimizes the harm to people and to eco-systems from improper use or overuse of chemicals. It helps to maintain the water quality at your properties as well, by preventing pollutants from infecting streams, rivers, lakes and bays. In addition, native landscaping improves air quality by cutting down on the amount of toxins and air pollutants released into the air by gas, battery or electric powered maintenance equipment like lawn mowers and weed trimmers.

GREENING YOUR GROUNDS

Creating and managing native landscaping projects varies according to your site conditions and your goals. Here are some general steps for native landscaping based on information from the EPA www. epa.gov/greenacres) and Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources (www. dnr. state, mn. us) :

1) Identify plants native to your area-A quick search for "native landscaping" on the Internet will yield a variety of results, mostly area specific. Chicagowilderness. org, for instance, lists native plants in the Midwest. …

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