University of Maryland Extension

Pollinator and Native Landscape

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Our Mission

The Pollinator & Native Landscapes Committee programs educate and advise the public on:
  • Why native species are crucial to the health of our natural ecosystems and the future of our world; 
  • Why invasive species are harmful to the environment, the economy and human health;
  • How to identify native plants and invasive plants in Maryland;
  • How to focus primarily on native plants and control invasives in the landscape;
  • How to identify native and non-native insect species;
  • How to attract beneficial insects, other animals and microorganisms; and
  • How to include IPM (Integrated Pest Management) techniques in your garden and landscape routines.


Why Plant Natives?


The many textures, colors and habits of native plants can be combined in attractive designs. Choose a natural-looking or more formal style. 


Positively impact natural areas near your home.  Locally native gardens benefit pollinators and reduce risk to wild plant populations.


Many bees provision their nests with pollen from native plants, and butterflies and moths eat native species at the larval stage. Birds, in turn, feed an abundance of these caterpillars to their young. Going native supports this whole food web.


Conventional gardens often employ fertilizers, pesticides, supplemental water, and fossil-fuel using machinery – resulting in poor soil health, more erosion, and polluted stormwater runoff. 


How You Can Help Pollinators


Plant a succession of native blooms of different shapes, sizes and colors from spring to fall

Choose a variety of plants that support caterpillars.

Plant densely, using native groundcovers as “green mulch” and leaving some bare soil for the 70 percent of native bee species that nest in the ground.

Choose native species over cultivars.

Plant in drifts of 3+ to be noticed by pollinators.

PROVIDE WATER SOURCES including mud-puddling areas for butterflies. (Refresh water oftento deter mosquitoes. )

PROVIDE SHELTER and nesting sites for bees, caterpillars and others by leaving fallen leaves where possible and incorporating dead wood (stalks, logs, stumps) into the garden.


Action 1: Control Invasive Plants

Action 2: Avoid Pesticides



Virtual Consultations and Questions

If you have a question or would like to ask for help with your garden, please contact us at:

Certify Your Habitat to Help Wildlife!







Wildlife habitat gardens are a haven for local birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.  Tell us how your yard or garden provides habitat and the National Wildlife Federation will recognize it as a Certified Wildlife Habitat®.

 “National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Habitat Registration” 


Educational Resources 

Bee City USA:  Bee City USA is Howard County’s program of choice for their Pollinator Habitat activities.  [click on “About Pollinators”]. Bee City USA is an initiative under the Xerces Society - Pollinator Conservation Program  

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, by Douglas W. Tallamy, c. 2009 (updated and expanded), Timber Press, Portland OR; 360 pp.,

Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard by Doug Tallamy

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping, Chesapeake Bay Watershed, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service: or

Better Backyard–A Citizen’s Resource Guide to Beneficial Landscaping and Habitat Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Chesapeake Bay Program: 

Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration and Landscaping, VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage:  (includes invasive species).

Conservation Landscaping Guidelines-The Eight Essential Elements, Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council:  [click on “Resources”]

Mistaken Identity–Invasive Plants and Their Native Look-Alikes:

Garden for Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation:

Audubon Guide to a Healthy Yard and Beyond: 

Wild Ones Handbook–Green Landscaping: 



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University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.