Spring is coming, and I have to beseech everyone to do research before planting this year. Make it a goal to only plant native trees, flowers and shrubs.
Reasons for this:
1. Native birds, mammals, insects and amphibians have co-evolved with native plants, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship.
2. Native plants have evolved to survive in their own climates, so they rarely, if ever, need water, fertilizer or pesticides.
3. Many exotic plants are also aggressive, meaning they will claim space sometimes to the exclusion of all other plants.
Example: Oriental honeysuckle...it's freakin' everywhere, and it shades out less aggressive native plants, thus no native plants in that area. And the berries are not eaten by many animals or birds. I really hate exotic honeysuckle. When it gets warmer, I will be out in our bushes, chopping and dousing the honeysuckle with boiling water and vinegar.
Please, please, please know what you are planting this year. If you must have an exotic, try it in a container or make sure it doesn't escape (yes, plants can "escape"). Case in point: My beautiful Chinese wisteria...you know how beautiful wisteria is, right? Well, if it escapes into the wild, it can become a massive, dangerous plant. I mean dangerous to native plants...wisteria can choke other plants to death.
If you need help, go to http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov
or call me!!!!