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CUES: Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

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CUES from Mother Nature

Gardening with Nature

Just as in nature, there are various habitats in your yard: shady places, dry sunny areas, and steep slopes. Match your landscaping to the existing conditions. While high maintenance landscapes involve lots of mowing and plant care, alternative landscapes include a variety of plants properly sited for sun, shade, moisture, and soil. These plants also provide habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife.

Beckon Birds and Butterflies

Prairie Inspiration

Provide purple coneflowers and other plants like bergamot to attract butterflies. Bushes like viburnum (high bush cranberry) and crab apples will attract feeding birds to your yard. Ornamental grasses and prairie wildflowers are attractive, low-maintenance additions to your yard's sunny areas, and need little watering.

Rock On!

Dry and sloping areas are great places for rock gardens, which add lots of color.

Made for the Shade

Hosta plants and native woodland wildflowers and ferns do especially well in shady and partial sun areas of your yard.

Low Stress Equals Healthy Plants

Low Stress Equals Healthy Plants Birch trees thrive in cool areas of your yard with mulch and ground cover plantings to conserve moisture at their roots. If birches are planted in sunny areas with alkaline soil, they are prone to stress and subject to attack by the bronze birch borer.

Pesticides Kill the "Peregrine Falcons" of Your Backyard

Like peregrine falcons, black ground beetles and other predatory insects are at the top of the food chain. When you apply broad spectrum pesticides to your garden, these poisons are often more harmful to beneficial insects than they are to pests. Reduce your need for pesticides by using the principles of Integrated Pest Management that are illustrated below.

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Last modified on March 06, 2013