EcoTrack 11: Native gardens bring wildlife - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

EcoTrack 11: Native gardens bring wildlife

Report by Chris Vickers - email | bio

Posted by LS

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Jon Cross lives in the naturally rare habitat around Oak Openings preserve. He enjoys watching it flourish and is dedicated to maintaining the natural landscape.

"I love it.  It's very satisfying. It's a project that I can get outside in my spare time and help the habitat along the way," he tells us.

Jon's attention to the local habitat has benefited the Oak Openings ecosystem. A lot of work and restoration has gone into this grand scale native gardening project on Jon's heavily wooded lot.

"We have cleared out a lot of the underbrush.. the small maples, and it lets a lot more light down to the forest floor. What we have left is the black oaks, white oaks, witch hazel... things like that," Cross says.

The addition of a little sunlight has led to an explosion of native plants in the yard and on the forest floor.

"This is a downy false fox glove, and this is somewhat unique because it uses the roots of oak trees as host plants. So without oak trees, this little guy doesn't grow," says Cross.

If your considering your own project, here's some advice. Most importantly, before you do any native gardening, find out what grows best in your area.

Others may notice and you may find some pleasant, but unexpected benefits. Cross explains, "The amount of wildlife that's come back is astonishing. The number of birds that we've seen here as a result of this restoration is impressive."

But know that every habitat is different, and very sensitive to our presence. A little understanding will make nature feel at home, right here, in your backyard.

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