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Native Plants and Why You Should Use Them


The trailhead at the Bachman Lake Greenbelt featuring a walking path flanked by native shrubs and plants
The Bachman Lake Greenbelt trailhead path flanked by native plants

Plants that are indigenous to the Bachman Lake greenbelt area evolved in the unique climate that exists in North Texas. In addition to providing the aesthetic backdrop to our natural areas, these plants provide a number of ecosystem services critical to urban infrastructure. They promote a habitat for native fauna and aid in reducing erosion and the impact of flooding.


We know how unbearably hot some of our summers get, so we rely on native plant species to mitigate the heat island effect and to help filter out pollutants, giving us cleaner air and water. Re-wilded recreational spaces that preserve and utilize native plant species also create areas to help support and enhance physical and mental well-being. It's all connected!


In 2023, we began the removal of one-third of the invasive privet in the Bachman Greenbelt and planted a native plant trailhead to give our community an example of what could be possible. As as we battle to recover these 40 acres of lost park land, we need to continue working together to make the greenbelt an example of how native species naturally flourish and do their part for our environment.


Artist rendering of trailhead design for the Bachman Greenbelt
A rendering of the trailhead design for the Bachman Greenbelt

As invasive species spread and take over ecosystems, they decrease biodiversity by threatening the survival of native plants and animals. In fact, invasive species are a significant threat to almost half of the native U.S. species currently listed as endangered.


In addition to negatively impacting ecosystems, invasive species are also costly. It is very expensive to prevent, monitor and control the spread of invasives, not to mention the damage to crops, fisheries, forests, and other resources. Invasives cost the U.S. $137 billion annually. Some of the most harmful species cost in excess of $100 million annually.


At the Bachman Greenbelt, the most concerning and invasive species is Privet. No single treatment will eradicate Privet. There will almost always be a flush of new seedlings in the year following intensive control, especially along woodland edges. Some regrowth from lateral roots and stumps missed during initial treatment is inevitable. These seedlings and sprouts can be easily controlled with foliar glyphosate treatment, which is best done in the late fall. While Privet seeds in the soil seed bank only survive for about one year, birds and flooding can reintroduce seeds into the area. Follow-up monitoring and spot treatment of newly established plants should be done to prevent reinfestation.


Here is a CBS11 report on invasive plant species finally being addressed at the Bachman Greenbelt:




We have been extremely lucky to work with Patrick Dickenson and Daniel Cunningham with RootedIn to do the design of the nature trailhead and also to provide us guidance with the types of plants we should be investing in for the good of our environment. In the sprit of sharing and in the hope that you will adopt their recommendations for your yards, here are their recommendations:



 

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