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Native Landscaping

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The campus at Chicago Green Tech features mostly plants that are native to this region of the Midwest and does not feature any traditional turf grass. Water conservation is critical at CCGT, and turf grass requires significantly more water to survive than do native plants. Grass roots are only a few inches deep so they dry out very quickly, but the roots of native plants can grow up to 12 feet deep and therefore are much more efficient at collecting and storing water. Turf grass covers approximately 20 million acres in the United States, covering more land than any single agricultural crop.

In addition to lots of water, regular grass needs fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in order to stay green and lush. These chemicals ultimately get washed into our rivers, ponds and lakes. Native plants have grown to adapt to the region and have built up a tolerance to the local pests, the heat and the cold, the times of drought and intense rain.This means they do not need chemicals in order to survive. There is no plan to use any landscaping chemicals at Chicago Green Tech and by not having any grass, there will be no need to mow or use other gas-powered maintenance equipment.

 

Native Landscaping

Landscaping with native plants is a good investment:

  • Native plants save money. A recent study of larger properties estimates that over a 20 year period, the cumulative cost of maintaining a prairie or a wetland totals $3,000 per acre versus $20,000 per acre for non-native turf grasses. Information from a study conducted by Applied Ecological Services.
  • Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife. Native plants attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing diverse habitats and food sources. Closely mowed lawns do not provide essential food or shelter to wildlife.
  • Native plants require fewer pesticides than lawns. Nationally, over 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns each year. Due to heavy watering and rain, pesticides run off lawns and contaminate rivers and lakes. People and pets in contact with chemically treated lawns can be exposed to unhealthy pesticides.

 
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