Nothing is worse than watching your property turn from vibrant green colours to an unhealthy brown during the height of summer. This is especially true for property managers, landlords, and businesses who rely on a vibrant landscape to attract customers and tenants.
Although you may associate droughts with the American south-west, during hot Canadian summers drought poses a very serious risk to plants. The best way to avoid the costly consequences of drought is to choose plants that are native and drought tolerant. To do this, your landscaper will consider both how the plants will look on your property, and whether they will thrive.
To keep your property looking great year-round your landscaper will account for all seasons and weather conditions, and the wisest way to do this is by selecting native plants.
What are native plants? The term doesn’t refer to wild plants. Choose native plants means you’re using the right plant in the right place. Choosing a plant that grows naturally in your climate means that it can handle the changing seasons…including hot, dry summers.
A lot of plants that we think of as ‘native’ or ‘wild’ were brought to North America by Europeans. While these non-indigenous plants may look great eight months of the year, they could struggle during the hottest parts of summer and cool depths of winter.
Planting the appropriate trees, shrubs, flowers and turf for the region saves money in the long run, because less work goes into helping indigenous plants thrive.
Drought resistant plants
Drought resistant plants are exactly what they sound like: plants that can survive, and even thrive in hot, dry conditions. Depending on your location these plants may not always be native, but they are certainly effective.
Wild lupine, wild strawberry, and some varieties of asters are examples of perennials that are native to Southwestern Ontario and are also drought resistant. Hens and chicks, lavender, and red elderberry are examples of native drought resistant shrubs and vines.
Survivability and water use
Not all droughts are natural, sometimes people just simply forget to water their plants. We have all done it with house plants, but when it comes to your property, having a proper irrigation system is critical.
During the summer, some plants need extra watering. Without an irrigation system, getting your high-maintenance plants the water they need can be time consuming – especially because the best time to water is before the sun rises, to prevent the plant’s leaves from burning.
When your landscaper chooses native, drought-resistant plants for your property, they are making an environmental and economic decision, knowing that these varieties will consume less water overall.
Benefits to local ecosystem
Native plants help local ecosystems remain healthy and stable. Their seeds are carried by birds to nearby areas which promote native growth. Native varieties also provide food or homes to beneficial native wildlife including, birds, bees, and butterflies.
Overall, native and drought resistant plants use less water and need less maintenance. Native plants are also generally less expensive to purchase. While drought resistant plants may be slightly pricier in some cases, they will not have to be replaced as often, making them a sound investment.
Written by Paul Lammers
Paul Lammers is the vice-president of operations with Garden Grove Landscaping. Garden Grove provides Commercial Landscape Management Services across the Golden Horseshoe, GTA and Southwestern Ontario. Paul may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-996-1099.