Planting Native Plants in the Fall

Fall is the ideal time to plant native plants on your horse property.

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Planting Native Plants in the Fall
At Sweet Pepper Ranch we have a hedgerows of native plants as a wind and dust barriers and as an attractive visual boundary. | Photo: Alayne Blickle

For most of the country fall is the ideal time to plant all kinds of things from cool-season veggies, turf grasses and perennials to both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Yet, strangely, when it comes to planting many of us only think of spring. And not many of us horse owners realize how helpful native trees and shrubs can be on a horse property.

I am a huge fan of using native plants on horse properties. People, wildlife, horses, and the environment all benefit from a landscape of native plants. Native plants are those that have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. They have adapted to the geography, hydrology and climate and have co-evolved with animals, insects, fungi and microbes. These plants are the foundation of our natural ecosystems. As a result, a community of native plants provides habitat for a variety of native wildlife species such as songbirds and butterflies.

Logging, farming, ranching and development have led to a tremendous loss of native vegetation and, as a result, a loss of critical wildlife habitat. Enhancing our horse properties with native plants not only promotes native wildlife, it also helps to control erosion, provides a visual buffer and filter chemicals and nutrients

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

One Response

  1. re: Planting Native Plants in the Fall

    Are the plants listed in the article safe for horses to eat?  Maybe horses wouldn’t be attracted to them? Should they be planted outside of the pasture or inside?  Thanks.

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