There are steps that you can take, whether you have a lawn or you have a container garden, to help improve the green space in your community. Look for organizations that plant trees in local schools and flower gardens at community centers. Simply being around trees is beneficial for your health, and working with the soil and growing your own food is satisfying – and exciting when you get your first harvest (no matter how small). So get outside, get your hands dirty, and get involved today!
Use native plants
Native plants typically grow well in native soil, require less watering, are more drought tolerant, and are more resistant to pests, because they have evolved alongside other native plants, animals, and insects. This means you don’t have to use as many pesticides and fertilizers to keep your lawn or garden healthy. A garden free of chemical products will support local pollinators without posing them harm, whether it is on your lawn or in containers on your porch.
If you are wondering which plants to use in the Dallas area, you can use this guide from SaveDallasWater.com. To learn more about our native plants, visit the Native Plant Society of Texas and the Native Plant Information Network from the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Don’t use invasive species! These will often overrun your other plants and could spread into other areas.
Plant a pollinator garden or install a pollinator house
Pollinators come in many forms – bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, and even bats. When you attract pollinators to your garden, they will pollinate your plants (of course), and keep them coming back year after year. They also help keep your plants healthy, and many are natural predators of pests. For example, lady beetles will eat aphids, and dragonflies will eat mosquitoes. This is why you want to create food and shelter for these amazing creatures, and there are many ways that you can give them the habitat they need:
- Use this planting guide for our “Eco-region” that tells you all about our local pollinators and the plants that attract them.
- Plant native milkweed, which is essential to the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.
- Change your mowing habits to support the Monarch butterfly.
- You can take the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge with the National Wildlife Federation.
- Reduce fertilizer and pesticide use to reduce the risk to bees and other pollinators.
- Download the BeeSmart™ Pollinator Gardener app here.
- Install a pollinator house.
- Join the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge efforts to increase and conserve Monarch Butterfly habitat
To learn more about pollinators, get free downloads and other resources, visit Pollinator Partnership.
Trees have numerous benefits; they provide your home with shade, fresh air, and help to reduce the urban heat island effect. They are also shown to have positive effects on our health. The official state Arbor Day is held the first Friday in November and fall is a terrific time to plant trees all across Texas.
- The first thing you want to do before planting a tree is to choose the right tree for your space. This in-depth tree selector and planting guide from the Texas A&M Forest Service will help you. Keep in mind that native trees are the preferred choice.
- This handy guide from the Texas A&M Forest Service will teach you how to plant a tree in “12 Easy Steps or Less”! If you are planting a seedling, download this guide.
- Make sure to properly prune and maintain your trees.