We love using native planting in our landscape projects because native plants add both beauty and value. They also help protect ecosystems and water quality. Today we’re taking a closer look at why native trees and shrubs are a great choice regardless of the project: street trees, landscape stormwater management ponds, parks and playgrounds, etc.
Native Ontario trees and shrubs give us endless combinations of colour, shape, and character.
You can find natives that bloom during different seasons and give striking fall colours. Evergreen native species offer year-round beauty, privacy, and other benefits shared with non-native species.
Attract birds to your site with natives.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier species) produces white flowers in the spring and edible berries in the summer. This native grows in a variety of conditions as a large shrub or small tree. Species native to southwestern Ontario include downy serviceberry (A. arborea) and smooth serviceberry (A. laevis).
Native trees and shrubs help save maintenance costs, protect water quality, and support local ecosystems.
Planting native trees adds a great deal of value since they generally require less fertilizer than non-native planting. Often, all that you need is organic-rich soil, and some natives grow well in poor soil. Using less fertilizer saves on costs and also helps protect water quality. Some native plantings are also resistant to common pests and diseases, requiring minimal care throughout their lifespan.
Many native plants tolerate drought conditions. Choosing these plants helps conserve water and reduce irrigation costs. For example, Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a drought tolerant tree native to southern Ontario. This attractive evergreen produces bluish-white berry-shaped cones. Eastern redcedar can grow in dry to average moisture conditions and tolerates rocky soils.
Native planting also helps threatened and endangered species in our community
While native trees and shrubs beautify your site and reduce costs, native planting also helps threatened and endangered species. Kentucky coffeetree (genus species), for example, is classified as threatened under the 2007 Endangered Species Act. This tree adds character to landscaping with its small, graceful leaflets and dark brown seed pods. These trees are popular for native planting along streets in urban areas.
Choosing native trees and shrubs helps us avoid using invasive species. The Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is an example of a non-native species that harms surrounding plants and can spread quickly, taking over forests and other natural areas. This tree species also has shallow roots and prevents grass from growing underneath its canopy.
You may be surprised at how many common trees and shrubs are native to Southern Ontario. The Ontario Tree Atlas provides an interactive map with information on native tree species. Select your location, and the website produces a list of native trees for that region linked to fact sheets on tree characteristics, including drought tolerance (tolerates dry soil).
If you’re considering planting for a new project, let Geoscape Contracting help you determine which native trees and shrubs that are best for your specific site. We’ll help you select native trees and shrubs that are drought tolerant and disease and pest resistant. Native Ontario trees and shrubs have a lot to offer your landscape. Geoscape Contracting operates an onsite native tree and shrub nursery which allows us to offer you native planting at affordable prices. For more information, visit our nursery page or contact us by phone or email.