Great Lakes Ecological Protection and Restoration
Table of Contents
- What is a Native Plant?
- Why Should We Design with Native Plants?
- Myths About Using Native Plants
- Plants to Avoid
- Getting Started
- List of Local/Regional Nurseries and Consultants
- Typical Landscape Cross-Section
- How the Database Fits with Other Township Initiatives
- Who to Contact for More Information
- Plant List
- Credits and Copyrights
- CD Version of the Native Enhancement Project
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More Helpful Links
The Springfield Township Michigan Native Vegetation Enhancement Project
What is this Project All About?
Springfield Township is located in north Oakland County, in southeast Michigan, at the headwaters of four rivers: the Huron, Shiawassee, Clinton and Flint. The Township has long had a strong commitment, through its evolving land use policies and practices, to protect and preserve its natural resources, which are highly valued by Township residents and add to their quality of life.A recent study, the Shiawassee & Huron Headwaters Resource Preservation Project, identified the existence within the Township of rare, high quality natural resource systems of global significance. Threats to these ecosystems were also identified, -- among them, the impact caused by the spread of non-native "invasive" plants. To address this threat, landscaping with native plants and preserving existing native vegetation were identified as key tools for protecting and restoring natural resources.
Based on these findings, it became evident to the Township that it cannot fully succeed in its goal of protecting natural resource systems unless native plants are more commonly used for landscaping and greater efforts are made to preserve existing native vegetation.
The Springfield Township Native Vegetation Enhancement Project, of which this database is a part, is intended to make it both enjoyable and as easy as possible for homeowners, developers and others to use native plants.This database is not an exhaustive list of all plants native to the area; rather the list is intended to provide a good starting point for those interested in obtaining commercially available native plants. Although the native plants listed in the database are drawn primarily from field inventories conducted in Springfield Township, many of these plants are also native to other southeast Michigan communities and to areas with topography, soils and climate similar to Springfield Township.
The Springfield Township Native Vegetation Enhancement Project is funded by Springfield Township and by a grant from the Great Lakes National Program Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In developing the format for the database, we're especially grateful to the members of the project's Advisory Committee -- whose interest, enthusiasm and support transformed an idea into reality. It's our hope and intent that the database information created for this project will be enjoyed and used not just by residents of Springfield Township, but also by homeowners, developers and others from throughout Oakland County, the Midwest, and beyond.
--Charter Township of Springfield
1. What is a Native Plant?
View of upland area in the Shiawassee Basin, Springfield Township
In southeast Michigan, these communities range from prairie fens, to conifer swamps, to oak-and-hickory forests.
Our native plants are wonderfully diverse; they include huge shade trees, tiny woodland flowers, tough prairie grasses, and flowering shrubs.
2. Why Should We Design with Native Plants?
Native plant demonstration garden outside the Springfield Township Offices. While native plants work well in naturalized settings, they are also effective in more stylized settings. Here, readily available cultivars of native plants are effectively incorporated into a formal streetscape planting.
Native plants can save resources. Non-native plants, including turfgrass, often require a great deal of water, fertilizer and human labor to maintain. Native plants, however, when planted in the soils and conditions to which they have adapted, require far less coddling.
Native plants help filter pollutants and control stormwater runoff. Non-native grasses and plants frequently used for lawns and gardens have shallow root systems and don't absorb and retain stormwater very well. Rain mixed with fertilizers and other chemicals sheets off these lawns and other "hard" surfaces -- polluting and eroding our creeks and rivers, and even affecting groundwater used for drinking. In contrast, many native plants have very deep root systems. These native plants can filter out pollutants before they reach our creeks and drinking water supplies. And because native plants can absorb and store great amounts of stormwater, they play an important function in preventing flooding and erosion.
Native plants provide food and shelter for songbirds, waterfowl, butterflies and other wildlife. Our native flora (plants) and fauna (animals) evolved in interdependent communities. As more and more of our landscape is altered by humans, it becomes increasingly difficult for many native species of animals to find food, cover and nesting sites and material. When we landscape with native plants, we begin to recreate these natural communities.
Native plants preserve genetic, botanic and biological diversity. The genetic diversity of the natural world -- which evolved over billions of years -- is an increasingly important resource for our planet. Native plants carry a part of this rich, complex and continually evolving genetic heritage. In contrast, non-native plants, sold mostly as cultivars, tend to represent a very limited pool of genetic material, bred for uniformity and consistency. Many of these non-native plants also create problems as they interact with native ecosystems. Using native plants, especially those known as "local genotypes," can help in two ways. First, these plants help maintain the genetic "databank" of the regional landscape. Second, these plants avoid the problems associated with non-native garden "escapees" such as purple loosestrife. These "escapees" diminish diversity by taking over huge areas in the native landscape, forming monocultures that destroy the rich mix of plants and animals normally found there.
As more and more of our landscape is developed, native plants are losing their "native" habitats. Either we intentionally use native plants in human-altered landscapes, or, we risk losing them altogether -- and all of the benefits that they provide.
3. Myths About Using Native Plants
Black-eyed susans -- a popular and easy to find native plant. These bright yellow flowers will grow in a variety of conditions, from full sun to part shade, from dry to wet areas.
Actually, native plants are amazingly diverse and beautiful, and can be used in the residential landscape in innumerable ways. Using native plants, you could make a screen of flowering shrubs, an ornamental pond, a butterfly garden, a flowery prairie, a shade garden, a border of scented plants for your patio, a "winter garden" of colorful berries and interesting silhouettes….the possibilities are endless.
"Once I've landscaped my yard with native plants, I'll never have to lift a finger to maintain them."
Sorry. It's true that well-chosen natives require far less care than many non-native plants, but there's no such thing as a completely maintenance-free garden or a "meadow-in-a-can" wildflower prairie. Wildflower meadows and prairies, in particular, require several years of careful maintenance to establish. But once a wildflower prairie is established, it's much less labor-intensive than a traditional lawn.
"Native plants give me hayfever."
Allergies are aggravated by wind-borne pollen. Many of the native plants commonly -- but falsely -- blamed for allergies, such as goldenrod, are insect-pollinated not wind-pollinated. In fact, non-native grasses are responsible for much of the pollen in the air. One native plant that is wind-pollinated and can cause allergies is the infamous ragweed (but no one is suggesting you run out and plant ragweed all over your yard).
Photo credit: Wisconsin State Herbarium, Kenneth J. Sytsma
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is lovely to look at, but this non-native species has escaped from gardens into the wild, where it has greatly diminished the health and diversity of our wetland
There are a number of non-native landscape plants which "escape" into natural areas with disastrous results for our native plants and wildlife.
These plants are often popular at garden centers and nurseries because they thrive in a wide variety of conditions and have few or no natural enemies. This means, however, that when their seed is dispersed by birds, or wind, or water into natural areas, they are so successful that they overwhelm our native species. Areas that were richly biodiverse -- supporting a wonderful array of flowers, plants and animals -- become sterile monocultures.
The following is a list of some of the plants known to create problems in southeast Michigan and which you should not use in your landscape. The number of such plants continues to grow, so please be careful in your plant selections:
Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
European alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Goldenraintree (Koelruteria paniculata)
Amur Cork Tree (Phellodendron amurense)
White poplar (Populus alba)
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)
Shrubs and Vines:
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Common barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster microphyllus)
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster pannosus)
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus)
Autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata)
Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolia)
Burning bush (Euonymus alatus)
Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
Morrow honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowi)
Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica)
Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata)
Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus var. opulus)
Grasses and Grass-like Plants:
Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis)
Giant Reed (Phragmites communis)
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
Flowers and Groundcovers:
Garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis)
Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
Crown vetch (Coronilla varia)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)
Myrtle, or Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
5. Getting Started
Find what works for you -- simple sketches or elaborate drawings, maps or lists -- all can help you develop a plan for your property.
Learn about what you are starting with. Observe the way the sun moves through your yard. Which parts get the most sun? Which parts are shaded? Is your soil wet or dry? Are there low spots that tend to remain damp and wet? Is your soil sandy? Clay? Or something in-between? Get your soil tested. Your cooperative extension service may test it for a fee. Is it acidic? Neutral? Alkaline? Make a map of the different environments within your yard.
Now you are ready to choose plants that will meet your needs and flourish in your yard's environments. The plant search section of this database is a great place to start. It contains details on over 200 flowers, plants and trees that are native to Springfield Township and many other areas of southeast Michigan. Section 9 of this database lists organizations, websites, and books that can help.
Section 6 of this database provides a list of landscape design consultants and local and mail-order nurseries that sell native plants. Nurseries can be a great source of information. Growers may have tips about planting, transplanting and care, or ideas about companion plants. It's easier starting your garden from plants rather than from seeds. Make sure that you use only nursery-propagated stock; "pirating" native plants and seeds from the wild can be catastrophic to threatened species.
Learn about your plants' needs, and make a schedule for your planting. Spring and fall are the best times to plant; the weather tends to be moderate, and many plants are not in active growth. Most plants will transplant well at either season, although some prefer one or the other. Plants with a seasonal planting preference are indicated in the database. Many plants will also transplant well during the summer months, if properly handled (e.g. given adequate moisture).
Make a plan for the maintenance of your landscape. Some plantings, such as meadows and prairies, need careful attention for several seasons before they are established.
6. List of Local/Regional Nurseries and Consultants
Please Note: This list (compiled in Spring 2001) is just a starting place. The number of nurseries and consultants providing native plants and related services continues to grow. Springfield Township does not necessarily endorse or recommend these nurseries over others. There are many more sources of plants and seeds out there. Be sure to visit your local nursery to see if it has joined the growing number of nurseries that grow or supply native plants. Local landscape contractors and consultants are also beginning to incorporate native plants into their designs.
Disclaimer: The following list of nurseries, seed sources, landscape architects, ecologists, consultants, and contractors does not imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Federal government. This is not a complete list of resources. It is intended only to be an aid to those seeking initial guidance on native landscaping.
Before you buy native plants, make sure that the grower, or dealer, is reputable. Never buy wild-collected plants; thoughtless or unethical collectors can (and have) devastated wild plant communities. Also beware of the term "nursery grown," which may simply refer to a plant which was illegally collected in the wild, potted up, and grown for a season at the nursery. Buy only plants which were propagated at the nursery from legally collected seeds, divisions, or cuttings.
* * * * *
The following nurseries grow plants which are not only native to Michigan, but which originated from wild populations in Michigan. A native plant with an extensive range can show great genetic variation; a witch hazel in Georgia, for instance, could be significantly different, genetically, from a witch hazel in Michigan. Plants which are genetically native to Michigan may be hardier and better able to tolerate local insect and disease problems than their southern or eastern counterparts. In addition to supplying landscaping material, many of these nurseries also offer services in design, consulting and/or installation.
|Inside/Outside Gardeners Gallery
3590 Baldwin Road
Orion, MI 48359
Tel: (248) 393-3160
Fax: (248) 393-3161
|Native perennials & grasses.|
|Michigan Wildflower Farm
Esther & Bill Durnwald
11770 Cutler Road
Portland, MI 48875
Tel: (517) 647-6010
Fax: (517) 647-6072
|Native wildflower & grass seed.
Consulting, installation, maintenance.
|Nesta Prairie Perennials
1019 Miller Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Tel: 800-233-5025 or (616) 343-1669
Fax: (616) 343-0768
prairie, savannah, wetland
|The Native Plant Nursery
Greg Vaclavek & Mike Appel
P.O. Box 7841
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
Tel: (734) 994-9592
|Native perennial plants.
Design, consulting, restoration.
P.O. Box 122
Manchester, MI 48158
Tel: (734) 428-8457
|Native seed, grasses,
wildflowers, shrubs, & trees.
Design, consulting, restoration.
|Sand Hill Farm
11250 Ten Mile Road, NE
Rockford, MI 49341
Tel: (616) 691-8214
Fax: (616) 691-7872
|Native plants, plugs & seeds.
Consulting, installation, maintenance.
|Wetlands Nursery, Inc.
P.O. Box 14553
Saginaw, MI 48601
Tel: (989) 752-3492
Fax: (989) 752-3096
|Native wetland plants & seeds.
Consulting & installation.
|Wildtype Native Plants
900 N. Every Road
Mason, MI 48854
Tel: (517) 244-1140
Fax: (517) 244-1142
|Native trees, shrubs,
grasses & wildflowers.
Design, consulting, restoration.
Other businesses in the Midwest and on the East Coast sell many of the native plant species included in this database, though not necessarily genotypes from southeast Michgan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website is one of several sites that provides a listing of such businesses: www.epa.gov/greenacres/.
7. Typical Landscape Cross-Section
|These areas have already incurred substantial changes and because of that are not as sensitive to further disturbances. Remnant prairies should be preserved.||Although these areas are most suitable for development because of soil characteristics, the forested areas may be worthy of selective preservation to provide linkages and connections.||The high water table and the valuable habitat that are characteristic of these areas place severe limitations to development activities.||These areas are susceptible to disturbances. Water fluctuation, loss of vegetation, or human activity could destroy or greatly impact these plant communities.|
This landform cross section has been abstracted and adapted from the Shiawassee and Huron Headwaters Resources Preservation Project. For additional information on this exciting project, please contact Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services at (248) 858-0720, Springfield Township at (248) 634-3111, or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at (800) 621-8431.
8. How the Database Fits with Other Township Initiatives
Springfield Township Native Vegetation
A multi-year project, completion 2001.
Project Owner: Springfield Township
Project Consultants: Carlisle/Wortman Associates; Land Ethics, Inc.
Project Purpose: Encourage use of native plants to protect natural resource systems; Identify commercial sources of plants; Develop and provide information for property owners, developers, contractors and others; Analyze existing Township master plan, standards and ordinances for consistency with project purpose; Revise, as needed, Township master plan, standards and ordinances to integrate use of native landscaping and vegetation where appropriate.
Project Products: Interactive CD database and other education/information materials; Model language for local master plans, ordinances and standards, incorporating use of native landscaping and vegetation.
Project Funding: Springfield Township; United States Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes National Program Office (GL0055675-01-0)
Project Contacts: Springfield Township Clerk's Office, (248) 634-3111; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (800) 621-8431
Shiawassee & Huron Headwaters Resource
A multi-year, multi-jurisdiction project, completed 2000.
Project Partners: Townships of Springfield, Highland, Milford, Rose and White Lake; Milford Village; Oakland County
Project Consultants: Carlisle/Wortman Associates; Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Project Purpose: To identify significant natural resource systems and develop new planning strategies to protect these resource systems.
Project Outcomes: Develop method to identify and rank natural resource systems; Field inventory selected sites; Review land use planning documents of participating municipalities for compatiblity with project purpose; Conduct national literature search of natural resource protection tools and techniques; Prepare model ordinances, plans and guidelines.
Project Products: Final Report in hard copy (400 pp.) and CD format. Includes: identification and ranking of 114 sites; detailed field inventories of eight sites; model natural areas opportunity plan; description of 35 most applicable planning tools and techniques; language for 14 model policies and ordinances; and findings and recommendations. Also includes detailed literature search and numerous maps.
Project Funding: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Southeast Michigan Initiative (X98565801-0); Oakland County; Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan
Project Contacts: Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services, (248) 858-0720; Springfield Township Clerk's Office, (248) 634-3111; other Project Partners; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (800) 621-8431
Springfield Township Rural Road Preservation
A one-year project, completed 1998.
Project Owner: Springfield Township
Project Consultant: Carlisle/Wortman Associates
Project Purpose: To develop a plan to preserve the trees and rural character of road corridors in Springfield Township
Project Outcomes: Inventory existing conditions; Analyze local needs; Develop policy recommendations.
Project Product: Final Report (60 pp.)
Project Funding: Springfield Township; Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Project Contact: Springfield Township, (248) 634-3111
Bridge Valley Ecosystem and Residential
An innovative and successful ad hoc Township initiative, working in partnership with a developer and local land conservancy, to protect a unique, high quality natural resource complex, while also accommodating development. Plan approved in 1996. Prompted idea for Shiawassee & Huron Headwaters Resource Preservation Project and served as forerunner for development approaches now common throughout the Township.
Project Contacts: Springfield Township Clerk's Office, (248) 634-3111; KIRCO, (248) 680-7180
Springfield Township Master Plan
The official document for the Township, setting forth an agenda for the achievement of goals and policies for the entire Township. Includes long range statement of general goals and policies aimed at the unified and coordinated development of the Township. Provides the basis upon which zoning and land use decisions are made. Includes strong emphasis on natural resource systems as determinant for land use planning. Proposed plan revision incorporates information and findings from the Headwaters, Native Vegetation, Rural Road Preservation and other Township projects.
Project Consultant: Carlisle/Wortman Associates
Project Contact: Springfield Township Clerk's Office, (248) 634-3111
9. Who to Contact for More Information
Local nurserymen and women can be invaluable sources of information about the plants they grow. Talk to them!
DISCLAIMER: The views and policies in the publications mentioned in this Web site are not necessarily the views or policies of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
OTHER SOURCES INCLUDE:
Ann Arbor Department of Parks and Recreation:
The Natural Area Preservation Staff has put together an excellent series of brochures:
Native Trees; Native Shrubs; Native Wildflowers; Native Vines, Grasses, Sedges,
and Ferns; and Your Landscape and Our Natural Areas.
These are available for $1.00 each, or $4.00 for the set of five.
Contact: The Natural Areas Preservation Staff
Ann Arbor Dept. of Parks and Recreation, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48107
Environmental Protection Agency:
The EPA also has a site called "Green Landscaping with Native Plants" at www.epa.gov/greenacres/ or call 800-621-8431
Holly Community Education:
Offers adult education class "Landscaping with Native Species"
Tel: (248) 328-3100
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: www.wildflower.org/
Matthaei Botanical Gardens: www.lsa.umich.edu/MBG
MDLA (Metro Detroit Landscape Association)
Professional association for the landscape industry in southeast Michigan.
Directory of members and services available.
Tel: (248) 646-4992
Michigan Botanical Club: www.michbotclub.org
Native plant society for the state of Michigan, with five local chapters.
Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI): www.dnr.state.mi.us/wildlife/heritage/mnfi/
MSU Extension - Oakland County
Horticulturist on staff.
Gardening Hotline providing assistance on garden, landscape, lawn and pest concerns (Normal office hours during the growing season; reduced hours during the "off" season).
County Service Center, Building #26 East
1200 North Telegraph Road
Pontiac, MI 48341
Tel: (248) 858-0887
Hotline: (248) 858-0902
National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program: www.nwf.org/habitats/index.html
Oakland Conservation District
Native plants specialist on staff.
Provides education outreach and landscape design assistance.
2891 Dixie Highway
Waterford, MI 48328
Tel: (248) 673-4496
Wildflower Association of Michigan: www.wildflowersmich.org
Promotes, coordinates and participates in education, enjoyment, science and stewardship of wildflowers and their habitat. Links to dozens of sites.
Wild Ones: www.for-wild.org
A non-profit organization with "a mission to educate and share information with members and community at the 'plant-roots' level and to promote biodiversity and environmentally sound practices." Wild Ones has a diverse membership "interested in landscaping using native species in developing plant communities." The Wild Ones website has a section called "Hot Links for Native Plant Landscaping" with dozens of useful links. The Oakland County chapter meets on the first Wednesday of each month, at 7:00 p.m., at the Old Oakland Township Hall, Rochester.
Contact: Maryann Whitman at (248) 652-4004 (E-mail: email@example.com)
or Trish Hennig at (248) 27-5235.
Women's National Farm and Garden Association
Springfield Branch, Michigan Division
A national organization dedicated to educating the public about gardening through programs and scholarships. Springfield Branch meets monthly at the Hart Community Center in Springfield Township. Involved in hands-on projects relating to native plants, gardening, international projects, flower arranging, herbs and fellowship.
Tel: (248) 634-0412
REFERENCE BOOKS ON NATIVE PLANTS:
Art, Henry W. The Wildflower Gardener's Guide: Midwest, Great Plains, and
Canadian Prairies Edition. Storey Communications, 1991.
Barnes, B.V. and Wagner, W.H., Jr. Michigan Trees, A Guide to the Trees of
Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. University of Michigan Press, 1981.
Billington, Cecil. Shrubs of Michigan. Cranbrook Institute of Science, 1949.
Bowles, John Paul and Janet Marinelli; eds. Soils. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1990.
Burell, C. Colston and Janet Marinelli; eds. Ferns. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1994.
Burell, C. Colston and Janet Marinelli; eds. The Natural Water Garden: Pools, Ponds, Marshes and Bogs for Backyards Everywhere. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1997.
Chadde, Steve W. A Great Lakes Wetland Flora. Pocketflora Press, 1998.
Daniels, Stevie. The Wild Lawn Handbook. Macmillan, 1995.
Foster, F. Gordon. Ferns to Know and Grow. Timber Press, 1984.
Harper-Lore, Bonnie and Maggie Wilson; eds. Roadside Use of Native Plants. Island Press, 2000.
Henderson, Carrol L. Landscaping for Wildlife. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 1987.
Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America.
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1988.
Ladd, Doug. Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers. The Nature Conservancy, Falcon Press Publishing, 1995.
Lund, Harry C. Michigan Wildflowers in Color. Thunder Bay Press, 1998.
Randall, John M. and Janet Marinelli; eds. Invasive Plants: Weeds of the Global Garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1996.
Roach, Margaret and Janet Marinelli; eds. The Natural Lawn and Alternatives. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1995.
Stein, Sara. Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyard.
Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Stein, Sara. Planting Noah's Garden: Further Adventures in Backyard Ecology. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
Sternberg, Guy and Jim Wilson. Landscaping With Native Trees.
Chapters Publishing Ltd., 1995.
Voss, Edward G. Michigan Flora, Part I. Cranbrook Institute of Science, 1972.
Voss, Edward G. Michigan Flora, Part II. Cranbrook Institute of Science, 1972.
Voss, Edward G. Michigan Flora, Part III. Regents of the University of Michigan, 1996.