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Native trees, shrubs and deep-rooted plants are the best plants to have in your yard, from a climate change perspective.

One of the best ways we can combat climate change is to plant native trees and shrubs and keep them healthy. Trees and deep-rooted plants capture (sequester) carbon from the air during photosynthesis and can store it for long periods of time. A healthy yard is full of plants and trees that are native and supported by the natural environment, provide food and habitat for pollinators and wildlife, and do not require costly and polluting measures to allow them to thrive.

Native plants in a garden.
Plant Native Plants
Native plants help attract healthy pollinators to your garden.

Native plants create a more stable, healthy ecosystem. They are adapted to local weather and expected rainfall, as well as the other native plants and animals indigenous to the area where they evolved. Because of this evolution, these plants don’t require additives and resources that non-native plants need in order to survive. Their gene pool is wide and diverse, so they are better suited to produce a variant that can withstand the impact of climate change.

Use the resources guide to find out what kind of native plants, trees and shrubs would work best for the conditions in your yard. Consider replacing some of your lawn with some native plants and increase the area in size every year. Learn more about the important role native plants play in providing food for our pollinators and insects that feed our bird populations. Join the pollinator pathway and consider using i-Naturalist to document the biodiversity in your yard.

Remove Invasive Species
Gardening tools like a trowel can be useful in removing invasive species.

Invasive species can be plants, vines, shrubs and trees that are not native to an area and threaten the natural ecosystem. They often spread and choke out natural vegetation. Many invasives are exotic plants, introduced as ornamentals for our gardens, or by accident, brought here from another continent. 

For a healthy yard, learn how to remove invasives over time and plant natives in their place.

Care for Your Trees

Trees play a key role in climate change mitigation. An average size tree can store hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Beyond their ability to capture carbon, they offer a wide range of environmental benefits including reduced energy costs, cooler temperatures, cleaner air and greater resilience in the face of storms and flooding associated with climate change.

 

For these reasons, we must carefully consider ways to protect and increase our tree canopy. Consider planting or replacing your trees on a regular basis to ensure continuity. Be sure new trees are planting properly, and in the right location, in order for them to thrive. Keep in mind the Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”