Sarasota News Leader

07/19/2013

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GOING NATIVE Firebush is a Florida-native plant. Photo by Rick Wielgorecki EVEN NATURAL PLANT SPECIES IN FLORIDA CAN REAP THE BENEFITS OF EXTRA ATTENTION FROM TIME TO TIME By Rick Wielgorecki Contributing Writer There has been some controversy in our fair county recently about the use of native plants in landscapes. Without rehashing the details or taking sides, I thought this subject would be fodder for an interesting discussion. An additional benefit is the reduction of nitrogenous pollution, which leaches into groundwater and drainage that runs off into our marine and aquatic waterways. The resultant growth of algae in both salt and fresh bodies of water shuts down oxygen and stresses There is a school of thought that is passion- all forms of life in those habitats. ate about the idea that growing Florida native species is the only way to go when design- It is folly, however, to believe that native plants ing gardens. Implicit in this rationale is that require no nutrition, moisture or regular care other than that which nature provides. these cultivars exist best in the environment in which they proliferate naturally. There also Most plants — regardless of their place of is an undeniably good argument that this ap- origin — will benefit from the moderate approach conserves water and nutrients. plication of fertilizers, whether the plants are

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