Native Plants Help Waterways and Wildlife Thrive

Your landscaping will provide essential wildlife habitat when you include native plants.

Choose Native Plants for Healthy Habitats

Landscaping choices have a BIG impact on local water quality and our native birds, wildlife and insects. By planting native species, you create essential habitat that animals need for food and shelter. You can enjoy watching wildlife thrive in your own backyard!

Native plants:

  • Are naturally adapted to our climate.
  • Improve water quality by needing less fertilizer and no pesticides.
  • Require less water once they are established.
  • Resist native pests and diseases.
  • Are essential for native pollinators and wildlife who depend on them for food and shelter.

When planting non-natives:

  • Select only non-invasive, non-naturalizing, ornamental plants.
  • Look for drought-tolerant species that are adapted to our climate.
  • Avoid pre-packaged, wildflower seeds as they contain noxious/invasive, non-native weeds. For more information on invasive species, visit

How do I choose the right plants for the right place?

Planning your garden starts on paper. Every plant has specific requirements, so you need to understand your yard before you plant.

Map your yard by identifying the areas that have sun, shade, wind, moist and dry conditions. Understanding these characteristics and your soil is key to having a healthy thriving landscape. Start with identifying these key characteristics on your map, then research the appropriate plant for each condition.

Native plant nurseries in the area are a great resource, as they have information available to make landscaping your space easy! They can help you with plant selection guides, plant calculators to help you space your plantings and of course, native plants.

You’ll find tips for choosing native plants and determining your soil’s moisture in this comprehensive guide, “Grow Your Own Native Landscape.

Tips for removing and disposing of invasive species:

You can help protect our local natural areas by removing and replacing invasive species in your yard.

  • Loosen the soil with a digging fork and pull out as much of the root mass as possible.
  • Bag and trash the plants after pulling.
  • Never put invasives into the yard waste bin, compost pile or your jurisdictional drop-off site.
  • Never dump yard debris into natural areas or storm ponds.
  • Clean and wash your mower if you mow over invasive plants so plant fragments will not spread throughout your lawn.

Thurston County Noxious Weeds