March 2021
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Why should we choose native plants?
Happy Spring! Many people are planning their gardening and yard work this time of year. You may hear a lot of us conservation professionals stress that you should choose native plants over non-native or invasive plants. Have you ever asked yourself why? Let's dig in!

What exactly is the difference?
Natives vs. Non-Natives
Photo Credit: Mikaela Mohr, Franklin SWCD
Native species are naturally occurring to the area where they are found. As a result, they are well adapted to that particular area. Non-native species are the opposite - they are not naturally occurring and therefore not well adapted to that area. Native species are better able to thrive and provide more intrinsic value to that ecosystem than non-native species. The other organisms, including other plants, animals, and insects of that ecosystem are adapted to those native species and rely upon them for their survival. As a result, it is imperative that native species are preserved for the benefit of the entire ecosystem and all its organisms.
What is an invasive species?

Invasive species are non-native species whose introduction to an ecosystem may cause harm to the area and its organisms. Invasive species are aggressive and can spread rapidly in a short amount of time. They can outcompete native species for resources. When an invasive species takes over an area, many native species are not able to outcompete the invasive species for resources like water and space. The native species may lose to the invasive species and subsequently die off, leading to an area overrun with the invasive species and very little biodiversity. Remember - the more biodiversity, the better chances of survival for a native species.
Suitable for Rain Gardens CORGI sign from summer 2019 - taken by Mikaela
Questions and Answers
 Photo credit: Mikaela Mohr, Franklin SWCD
  • Are non-native species always invasive? Not necessarily. According to the US Forest Service, an invasive species is both non-native and capable of causing environmental, economic, or human harm because of its ability to spread rapidly and compete with native species. Therefore, not all non-natives are considered invasive.
  • What species are considered invasive plants in Ohio? There's quite a few, but the most common invasive species to watch out for include: garlic mustard, callery pear, and bush honeysuckles. For a longer list of Ohio invasive plants and more information, visit the Ohio Invasive Plants Council.
  • What native plant species would you suggest for a Franklin County resident? We have a variety of resources on native plants. The Community Backyards program website has a list of native plants commonly found at local nurseries here and here. For a list of native plants that are ideal for rain gardens, visit this link from the Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative. The nonprofit April is Ohio Native Plant Month also has a great list of native plants here. Happy planting!
Mikaela took in 2019 in Cleveland at SSS.
What are some things you can do to protect native plants?
Photo Credit: Mikaela Mohr, Franklin SWCD
Citizens can absolutely help promote and protect native plants! Here are some things you can do:

  • Choose native plants over non-native plants.
  • Never purchase or plant an invasive plant.
  • Remove invasive species and replant with native species.
  • Encourage family and friends to choose native plants for their garden.
  • Replace an area of your lawn with a native pollinator garden.
Which of the following native perennials would you select for your garden?
Bee Balm
Purple Coneflower
Black-eyed Susan
Common Milkweed
Here were the full results from last month's poll about what readers are excited to find in vernal pools this spring:




Plants and Trees

Mikaela Mohr
Administrative and Program Assistant
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e:
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Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 |