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Forestry expert shares the No. 1 plant that homeowners need to add to their lawns: ‘My mind is blown right now’

“Our native bees need native species.”

“Our native bees need native species."

Photo Credit: @nativehabitatproject/ Instagram

Conservationist Kyle Lybarger (@nativehabitatproject) wants you to pay attention to what’s growing in your backyard. In a popular Instagram post, he urges viewers to start nurturing native flower species. 

Without them, a crucial part of the food chain could be lost

“Without native wildflowers, we don’t have native pollinators,” the expert from Alabama says while kneeling in a field of flowers called spring beauties. “We need to make room for these plants in our yards.”

Spring beauties are native to 30 states and are a favorite of thousands of pollinating bee species.  

Lybarger founded the Native Habitat Project after he graduated from college in an effort to help “overlooked” grasslands. Now, he and his team offer advice on what flowers and grasses are best for the ecosystem. 

Surprisingly, a common form of dandelion found in most yards is non-native. The European implant is a favorite for European bees. But the domestic pollinators are especially fond of homegrown blooms. 

“Our native bees need native species,” Lybarger says. 

In the video, Lybarger points out a bluet, a colorful native flower that was already sprouting in the February ground. 

Supporting the pollination effort is important because bees help fruit and vegetable trees to reproduce and grow food. In fact, more than 100 crops in the country rely on pollinators. 

Droughts, floods, and extreme temperature shifts caused by the overheating of our planet are among the factors impacting pollinators and the flowers they need to thrive. Lybarger encourages viewers to help out, one backyard at a time. 

“It’s actually pretty simple,” he says in the video. “If you want to support native wildlife, you have to support native plant communities.” 

One viewer was surprised by the news that dandelions are from Europe. 

“My mind is blown right now. How did I go 33 years of my life thinking dandelions were native?” the Instagrammer posts

Another viewer is taking Lybarger’s tip, saying, “I have replaced almost everything in our yard with natives. Doing the same at [my] family’s property.”

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