native landscaping

Asked April 29, 2020, 12:05 PM EDT

Do you offer any advice on how to go about converting a yard from a weedy lawn to a yard that is primarily natives. My goal is to attract birds and wildlife. Do you test soil and give advice as to which plants are suited fro my location. Thank Yous Chris Summerss

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Hello

Start with a soil test as this takes a couple weeks to receive results-

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/dont_guess_soil_test_get_your_home_lawn_and_garden_soil_test_kit_today

There are many resources online from Extension and other organizations on native plants-

https://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/communities/description/10697/Mesic-Prairie

https://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/communities/description/10665/Wet-Prairie

https://www.westmichiganglsi.org/uploads/6/7/9/8/6798898/rain_gardens_native_plant_list.pdf

https://www.wildflowersmich.org/

Tool to search by regional conditions in michigan

https://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/plant_facts/plant-search-tool

General planning and planting information-

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/planting-and-maintaining-prairie-garden

https://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/

https://forestry.usu.edu/news/utah-forest-facts/how-to-create-a-wildlife-friendly-yard

https://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/getting_started/choosing_plants

There is a Michigan Native Plant Producers association.. Here is their website listing-https://www.mnppa.org/members.html

Weed removal in garden beds can be done by smothering with a mulch of cardboard, or 4-6 layers of newspaper. Cut the area short with a mower or weed whip first. Then cover with the mulch. Top this with a more decorative layer of chipped wood or shredded bark. Plant transplants through holes made in the mulch.

For seeding an area with natives the smothering mulch won’t work. You will need to kill the weeds by smothering first, chemically with glyphosate, or use hoeing, sod cutter tools or shovels to remove the undesired plants, then amend the soil according to the soil test, and finally plant your seeds. Remember that all seeds need to come in good contact with soil to germinate well. If you need more information on weed removal let us know. There is an establishment guide in the first link under “General planning” above.