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Native Landscaping in the Southeastern US

Abigail England

e’ve all heard of invasive species. When we usually think of the term, we tend to think of animals such as insects, but plants can be equally destructive. When it comes to the south, kudzu is one of the best examples to give when it comes to invasive plants. The vine which was once native to China and Japan has spread mostly through the southeastern United States, brought multiple times due to its beauty and then sold for decoration. While it was thought to have been a good idea due to its help in the reduction of soil erosion, it has caused the opposite effect. The vine has proved to be more detrimental than good, with its growth causing the plants thriving in their native habitat to diminish due to the excessive amount of shade that the vine produces. This is a classic example of how too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

This requires action, and one way to fight these invasive species is through native landscaping. Native landscaping is the planting of native plants like flowers in our backyards to foster native species of animals while providing general environmental benefits. The USDA has many reasons why you should garden with native flowers in your region, including requiring less fertilization, providing more shelter for wildlife, promoting biodiversity, and requiring less water for gardening. Of course, there is a balance to be attained between introduced and native plant species, and by no means would it be 100% possible for everyone to have a completely native garden. Still, the University of Georgia cites many reasons why we should have more native plants, such as native wildlife being more likely to thrive in environments with native plants, native plants being able to withstand weather extremes that would normally affect introduced plants, and ecological preservation reducing the destruction of natural environments and ecosystems


1. Loewenstein, N. J., Enloe, S. F., Everest, J. W., Miller, J. H., Ball, D. M., & Patterson, M. G. (2022, March 8). History and use of kudzu in the southeastern United States. Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

2. Native Gardening. U.S. Forest Service. (n.d.).

3. Wade, G., Nash, E., Beckham, B., Crisafulli, S., & McDowell, E. (2009, September 1). Native plants for Georgia part I: Trees, shrubs and Woody Vines. University of Georgia Extension.;


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