Sustainable landscaping will reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather events and drought by reducing stress on our water supply, enhancing groundwater recharge, filtering out contaminants, mitigating flash flooding, improving health of local waterways, and increasing local carbon sequestration potential.
Burlington offers this Sustainable Burlington Landscape Handbook, adapted from work done by the Town of Concord, to help residents plan and create a sustainable landscape project. Click on the image of the handbook for a step-by-step approach.
Why Native Plants?
Native plants are plants that have been growing in a particular habitat and region, typically for thousands of years or much longer, without human introduction. They are well adapted to the climate, light, and soil conditions that characterize their ecosystem. Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over that time and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat.
Plants native to this region thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of this region. That means less supplemental watering and fewer pest problems. They also help in managing runoff and maintaining healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted.
Every ecoregion has different native plant communities. Burlington is in Ecoregion 8. Some of the plants that have adapted to local conditions and are the best native species or varieties suited to this regions include oaks, birches, blueberries, goldenrod, sunflowers and asters.
Find the top keystone plants for Burlington here: Keystone Native Plants for Eastern Temperate Forests - Ecoregion 8
How to start creating a native-rich yard?
There are lots of resources available. Try watching some of these excellent Pollinator Habitat 101 webinars produced by Ohio State Univeristy.
Some of the takeaways include:
- Start with areas that are difficult to mow, such as steep slopes, wet areas or areas where grass is sparse.
- Plant keystone species and provide native plantings under keystone trees to provide selter and habitat for pollinator insects.
- Plants in masses to provide a buffet for foraging.
- Don't apply pesticides.
- Leave leaf litter, cut grass and plants, and dead trees in place.
A rain garden is a depressed area in the landscape that collects rain water from a roof, driveway or street and allows it to soak into the ground. They are typically shallow depressions that are filled with sandy soils and covered with mulch and dense native vegetation. When stormwater enters the bioretention area, the soil acts as a filter that removes pollutants before it the water is infiltrated or discharged.
They can be a cost effective and beautiful way to reduce runoff from your property. Rain gardens can also help filter out pollutants in runoff and provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds and other wildlife.
Where to source native material?
Other locations where you can purchase native plants and plugs, include but are not limited to:
455 W. Main St, Northborough, MA / 508-845-2143
Garden in the Woods, 180 Hemenway Road, Framingham, MA 01701 / 508-877-7630
Nasami Farm, 128 North Street, Whately, MA 01903 / 413-397-9922
14 Pearl Lane, South Hadley, MA 01075 / 413-548-8000
397 Boston Post Road, Wayland, MA 01778 / 508-358-2283
1028 Horseneck Road, Westport, MA 02709 / 508-636-4573
Hopkinton Garden Center, 93 East Main Street, Hopkinton, MA 01748
Chelmsford Garden Center, 160 Pine Hill ROad, Chelmsford, MA 01824 / 978-349-0055