Whenever possible, the landscape designers here at Terrain Planning and Design like to design landscapes using native plant material. In addition to providing food and habitats for the beneficial insects and other wildlife that call New Hampshire home, native plants are often heartier and more disease and pest resistant.
Another reason that we like to incorporate native plants into our designs is to reduce the impact of invasive plants in our local landscape. As its name implies, an invasive plant is not native to our ecosystem, and its aggressive growth can take over gardens and landscapes. Many of our customers are surprised to learn just how many commonly-found plants in our homes and businesses are not native to New Hampshire; while some of them are not terribly harmful, others choke out the delicate local ecosystems.
Invasive plants have become such a problem, the list of prohibited plants has grown; the list of invasive species in New Hampshire is currently at twenty-seven. Some of these plants are already quite common in our state, including burning bush, bittersweet and buckthorn. By being on the “prohibited” list, it means that people may not collect, transport, import, export, move, buy or distribute any living part of these plants. It is illegal in New Hampshire to propagate prohibited plants – or even or transplant them! Our state also has 24 plant species on its “restricted” list; they share many of the undesirable traits of invasive plants. Examples of restricted plants include black locust and reed canary grass.
As more plants are placed on the restricted or prohibited list and classified as invasive species, we have seen a renewed interest in designing with native plants. In some cases, this involves removing the invasive variety and replacing it with something that looks similar but will not have such a negative impact on the environment. For example, homeowners who like plants like burning bush and barberry because of their brilliant red foliage will be pleased to know that highbush blueberry not only offers the nice fall colors, but also produces plenty of tasty blueberries.
Native plants can also be used to control shoreline erosion. In addition, the shoreline permit laws allow people to cut only a certain percentage of the plants that are within 50 feet of the water. When the vegetation needs to be replaced, it must be with native plant material. The experienced and knowledgeable team at Terrain Planning and Design make every effort to help our clients understand the nuances of shoreland permit requirements, as well as how to incorporate and/or replace existing plants with native species.