"Lawn is an ecological deadzone" says Doug Tallamy and yet it is the default option for so much of our landscaping. This year's NPI exhibit at the NOLA Spring Garden Show, April 2nd and 3rd, will focus on ways property owners can reduce or eliminate their lawn area and replace them with native plantings that benefit the ecology. For a more in-depth look at this topic and some of the alternatives to lawn, read THIS ARTICLE. We hope you will also see us at the show!
Last Saturday morning in November, we spent a few hours removing invasive tree saplings from the UNO Woodlot. This is the kick-off of a multi-phase project on UNO's campus to enhance bird and wildlife habitat by planting native shrubs and trees to further develop a urban birding trail on campus where over 130 species of birds have already been reported. That’s a lot! With funds granted by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, we will be helping to select and plant at least 120 native trees and shrubs in the coming months.
Volunteers came out from NPI, Orleans Audubon, Master Naturalists, UNO faculty and students, former students and community neighbors. We removed lots of Camphor, Golden Rain Tree, Chinese Elm and Tallow saplings that were sprouting on the ground layer of this woodsy spot. We also collected many fallen branches and other forest litter and concentrated them into several brush piles (which birds love!) While we were there, we could hear and see several bird species cavorting about.
We documented the following plant species already on the site:
- Slash Pine
- Black Cherry
- Cherry Laurel
- Live Oak
- Water Oak
- other Oak? (not sure which species)
- Southern Red Oak
- Green Ash?
- Sweet Gum
- Bald Cypress on fringes
- Magnolia, Yaupon and Ilex opaca seedlings
- Virginia Creeper
- Poison Ivy
- Bidens alba
- Sida rhombifolia
Now, to decide what 50 native species of tree or woody shrub would best improve the area for birds and fit with the existing plants……What do YOU think we should plant?
Thank you to Thomas Rainer and Claudia West for coming to the New Orleans Botanic Gardens to teach us design skills, to create more vital and ecologically functional plantings for green infrastructure, public plantings, and residential gardens based on native plant communities. They were inspirational, enthusiastic, and most enjoyable! Their book, Planting in a Post-Wild World is worth the read, and indeed was a catalyst for the formation of NPI-GNO.