March 2022
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!
Plant Native Plants
Why We Should All "Go Native!"
Happy Spring! We challenge you to get back to your roots and "Go Native!" Native yards and gardens can be natural and wild or manicured and aesthetic pleasing and anywhere in between. There's something for everyone and every yard when it comes to native plants.

A native plant is a plant originally from our area and is naturally occurring. Non-native plants are the opposite - not naturally occurring, typically introduced into gardens and can spread into the wild. Invasive plants are a specific type of non-native plant that spreads very aggressively and ends up outcompeting native plants, causing environmental, economic or human harm. However, not all non-native species are invasive, but quite a few can be invasive. It's important to know what you're planting and the effects it can have on our local ecosystem here in Franklin County. When in doubt, choose native plants!
Why are native plants better?

Native plants are the better choice for a few reasons. Because they're naturally occurring, native plants are very well adapted to our local environment and climate. They can handle the unpredictable Ohio weather better than non-native plants.

Second, because native plants thrive in their natural habitat, they have strong root systems to soak in the rain and hold the soil together to prevent erosion. This helps soak in the rain and filter stormwater runoff better than non-native plants.

Third, many native animals, insects and other plants rely on native plants to survive. To learn more, check out this Backyard Wildlife resource from ODNR Division of Wildlife. Here's just a few of the mutual relationships between plants and wildlife:
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly - Sassafras, Spicebush, Tulip Tree, Black Cherry
  • Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly - Spicebush
  • Monarch Butterfly - Swamp Milkweed, Common Milkweed, Butterfly Weed

For an in-depth list of native plants, check out the Ohio Native Plant Month's list of Ohio natives here. Did you know April is Ohio's official Native Plant Month?! While learning about native plants, turn it into a family-friendly activity. We have an at-home activity guide for students about native plants. Then, check out this great webinar below from Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District for an in-depth overview of native plants and "gardening for the greater good!"
Where can I find native plants?

There are quite a places around Central Ohio to purchase native plants. Feel free to ask nursery staff for help in locating native species. Check out these locations:

There are also some annual pop-up sales or events. Check these out:

* Indicates that they specialize in native plants!

Need some help identifying your plant purchase? It can be confusing at times following the terminology, botanical names and plant labels. Check out this guide for some tips.

Most Franklin County residents are eligible for a rebate on native plants through our Community Backyards rebate program (must live in a participating community to be eligible for native plant rebate). Regardless of what community you live in, all Franklin County residents are eligible for a rebate on a rain barrel or compost bin. Learn more.
Franklin Soil and Water's Annual Tree Sale

Our Annual Spring Tree and Plant Sale is live, and we have a just a handful of items left in stock. Get your native plants and trees before they're gone!

Last day to order is March 27
How native is your yard?
All native!
Some native
No native, but I will work on it!
N/A - no yard
Here are the full results from February's poll asking if readers have seen vernal pools and where:

Yes, on public property

Yes, on private property

Not yet, but I will soon!

No, I have never seen one

I don't know
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Subscribe to the monthly newsletter called Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Check out the latest issue: Nature Scoop March 2022 - Best plants for our gardens; Opossums - good or bad?; Spring Yard Tips and More!

Learn more at and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e:
Connect with us online!
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 |