Why are Nebraska native trees so important?
Native trees, collected from a local provenance source is, first and foremost, key to ensuring a selection of the species that is adapted and ideal for our area and conditions. The extreme variability of our climate in the recent years has put even more emphasis on proven trees that can withstand these limits – from wide swings in temperatures, drought, flooding, strong winds, heavy snow and ice loads, and ever growing insect and disease threats – Nebraska is not an easy place to grow for a tree! But this can be viewed as an opportunity. Because of these extremes, we are fortunate to have the toughest, Nebraska native trees in the country! Our native, heritage trees have withstood decades and decades of these conditions and haven’t skipped a beat. The goal, when anyone plants a tree, is for it to thrive and contribute to a long-lived community forest for generations to come. So why not choose Nebraska native trees that are genetically proven to be able to do just that!
Not only can these trees withstand Nebraska’s extreme climate, they also support many species of birds, butterflies, moths, bees, and many wildlife. Without our natives, many of these unique creatures would not be able to keep the web of life intact or to keep existing. Using native trees and shrubs in our landscapes has benefits far greater than most of us realize, and it’s not just about bringing in the birds and the butterflies, but about how individual community forests are just small parts in a very large puzzle. Using native trees is a way to connect all these pieces making our communities healthier for our environment. Native trees support the web of life.
Genetic diversity goes hand in hand with native trees. By having more trees of seed origin rather than clones, we are setting our community forests up to defend against insect and disease threats, allowing a better tree survivability rate, and contributing to the ever changing and interesting fauna.
Want to see a list of Nebraska’s native trees and shrubs? Look at Nebraska Native Trees & Shrubs from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
Photo courtesy of freedomfightersblog.com