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Why plant Virginia natives?

If you google the question asked in the title of this column, you will receive a multitude of hits, and most of them will say the same thing: Native plants are better for the environment. Better than what, and in what ways?

Since 2014, I have written many columns about native plants that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators and provide food and habitat, not only for the pollinators, but also for birds and small mammals. I have also written about introduced or alien species, many of which are invasive to the point of smothering or choking out native groundcovers, trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers.

The index of columns I have written on invasive includes groundcovers like English ivy and vinca minor; trees like Bradford pear, tree-of-heaven, and mimosa, grasses like phragmites, and weeds like Japanese stiltgrass. The list appears to be endless, but in Virginia, only about 90 introduced plants are designated as invasive. They are ranked on the Virginia Invasive Plant ...

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