Going Native website offers expert advice on urban landscaping for wildlife

by Charlotte Glen

Pittsboro, NC – North Carolina is home to an amazing diversity of wildlife, including many species of plants our native pollinators, birds, and wildlife need to survive. When forests and natural areas are cleared to make way for homes and businesses, wildlife loses out because their homes are destroyed. Altering natural areas so they are no longer able to support native wildlife is known as habitat loss — one of the greatest threats to native plants and wildlife here and around the world.

Going Native websiteBut there is something you can do: restore wildlife habitat in your yard by planting native plants that provide food and shelter for native wildlife. A website developed by specialists with NC State’s Wildlife Extension Program makes this task easier than ever by providing the information you need to choose and establish native plants for wildlife
The Going Native: Urban landscaping for wildlife with native plants website offers expert advice and instructions on how to incorporate native plants for wildlife habitat in your yard. The site includes a searchable plant database that allows you to create a personalized list of native species for your landscape. The database includes large and small trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses. Most important, you can search for plants adapted to the conditions found in your yard, such as sun or shade and dry, moist, or wet soil. Choosing plants adapted to the site in which they will be planted is the key to success with any planting.
You can also search for plants that will provide habitat for specific types of wildlife, such as nectar for hummingbirds, larval food for butterflies, or seeds and fruits. You can even specify your NC region (coastal plain, piedmont, or mountains) and if you need the plants to be deer-resistant. The site also provides links to help you find nurseries where you can buy natives.
Steps to using native plants for wildlife habitat are explained in detail. In addition, there is a list of invasive exotic plants to keep out of the landscape. These non-native plants can invade and overtake natural areas, and are another cause of habitat loss. Discover more about landscaping with natives for wildlife by visiting ncsu.edu/goingnative
The summer issue of Extension Gardener is now available online.