Native Plants and Grasses
Native plants and grasses are exactly what their name indicates – plants that have historically grown organically in an area. Because these plants have adapted to regions’ climates for centuries, they’re perfectly suited to growing in your backyard with little help from you.
Selecting Native Plants and Grasses
No matter what type of garden you have, native plants and grases make an excellent addition.
- Native flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses and groundcovers all create natural habitat and provide food sources for local wildlife. Some examples include: Saskatoon berry, dogwood, willow, sage, wild blue flax, coneflower, crocus, gaillardia, wild columbine, and aster. For a detailed list, contact the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan.
- Purchase from a native plant supplier to ensure you receive quality plants that are actually native to the prairies (and not simply horticultural varieties). For a list of all the native plant and seed suppliers in western Canada, visit npss.sk.ca.
- Before planting exotic species (plants that are not from Saskatchewan), consider if there are native alternatives that provide similar qualities.
- Do not grow invasive or aggressive plants that have the potential to take over your garden and spread throughout your community. For a list of regulated weeds, visit saskinvasives.ca.
- If growing fruits or vegetables, choose heritage and heirloom varieties that are rare or endangered. Save seeds to preserve these plants for future generations.
Native plants and grasses are great low-water-use plants because they’ve adapted to the soil in which they grow, and their deep root systems are capable of storing water gathered primarily from rainfall.
When designing your landscape for water efficiency, be sure to choose plants that are defined as low water use or drought tolerant for your area.
Choosing native plants can be intimidating, but keep in mind that drought tolerant plants often have a unique leaf structure such as:
- Fine lacy foliage–reduced leaf surface means less water lost through surface evaporation
- Thick, succulent or waxy leaves–thick leaves store more moisture
- Hairy or fuzzy leaves–fine hairs keep moisture trapped at the leaf surface
Planting for Success
When planting the seeds to establish native grasses, you’ll need to water the newly planted seeds to prevent the top of the soil from drying out. Even the most drought tolerant grasses require supplemental water until they are established. The smaller the root system, the more water they'll need, but the general rule is one inch of water per week (including rain). Less frequent but deep watering is better for plants than more frequent but light watering because it encourages them to send their roots down deeper into the soil.
When the grass is about an inch tall, you can decrease the frequency and increase the depth of watering.
You can stop adding water once the grass is established and just count on rain to do the watering for you.
- Enjoy an all-season garden by planting tall native grasses, growing trees and shrubs with attractive bark or berries, and adding potted plants to your indoor and outdoor living spaces.
- Research gardening techniques that incorporate biodiversity and native plants, such as xeriscaping and permaculture.
- Support biodiversity in your community by getting involved with community gardens and preserving natural areas.
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In addition to landscape design, hardscaping and artificial turf, they also do conventional seeding and are suppliers of landscape supply products. They sell all types of turfgrass seed, native grass seed and low maintenance grass seed products.
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Rapid Lawn Landscape Solutions has several tips to help you with your landscaping.