Natives: New! Better! Improved!
From: Exotic Pests of Eastern Forests, Conference Proceedings - April 8-10, 1997, Nashville, TN, Edited by: Kerry O. Britton, USDA Forest Service & TN Exotic Pest Plant Council
- Lack of knowledge-it's a whole new idea for many.
- rarely taught in school.
- landscapers interested but ignorant.
- landscape managers interested but ignorant.
- homeowners interested but ignorant.
- Image of natives replacing exotics creates nursery industry paranoia.
- Availability-a major frustration as demand rapidly increases.
- Government regulation-'forced' to use natives with little help = bad vibes.
- Natives may not be the answer in every situation.
- Horticulture=new plants. Must work with the industry.
- Nursery industry-generally conservative. Natives are 'progressive.'
- Will take time.
- Local ordinances-defining "weeds."
- Water use issues less pronounced than in the west.
- Education-involve schools, scouts, garden clubs, prisons... in management. (Issue a Sand County Almanac to every child and to new homeowners?)
- Public demand (i.e., $$$) will sway the market. It already has.
- Understanding the big picture should be stressed.
- Long term as apposed to short term thinking must be learned.
- Notion of 'stewardship' should be instilled.
- Provide demonstration sites. Visual. Interactive.
- Provide specific instructions for work crews.
- Government agencies need a "Regional Plant Communities Coordinator"
to communicate ideas.
- Focus on groups that benefit from use of native plants:
- most outdoor recreationists
- maintenance departments
- tax payers
- corporate image
- gardeners-better balance of pests/beneficials
Ordinances for building and construction: leave the natives, have an
education package for new homeowners. Get them involved in the beginning.
"Sell the sizzle!"
- Sell them benefits, not plants.
- Don't have to always emphasize just "native."
- What are the tangible benefits?
- Functional natural beauty
- Fun! Relaxing! -a feel good landscape
- Treat them as mainstream.
- Intelligent landscaping-"You've made a smart choice"
- Creation-not destruction of habitats
- Good for the planet
- Shortterm vs. longterm benefits
- Sustainable non-consumptive
Don't just sell to them, Teach them
- Give people the real facts, the BIG picture, and let them decide
- Stress fewer exotics, not none.
- Choose plants carefully so buyers succeed.
- Local and regional 'plant' organizations should provide lists and
- current info to guide nurseries, landscapers and homeowners.
- Help them identify problem plants.
- Be patient.