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Native Plants for Shorelines

Introduction to the document SHORELINE RESTORATION 

The ribbon of land between the lake and cottage has undergone monumental changes since lake development began.  Many cottage owners removed the natural vegetation at the shoreline in an attempt to urbanize the area.  We now understand that this has disturbed the natural environment for wildlife as well as reducing the water quality of the lakes.  

Shoreline protection and an understanding of how it affects waterways is critical for wildlife habitat for a variety of species including spawning fish, aquatic insects, turtles and nesting waterfowl.  Shoreline vegetation also helps protect water quality.  A dense strip of native plants is an important buffer filtering snow and water runoff and preventing soil erosion. 

Experts agree that re-creating cottage shorelines with native vegetation is the best solution for water quality and long-term shoreline stability. This would be the way nature kept shorelines stable and our lakes and streams clean long before the impacts of human development.

The downside to this, if there is one, is that sourcing native plants tends to be difficult and expensive.  Most nursery stock of ‘native plants’ are hybrids. Many nurseries also carry invasive species and the buyer may not be aware of this.  Native plants, especially perennials, in specialty nurseries are often very small and may take time and effort to establish.  A list of Native plant Nurseries is provided at the end of the document.

The document attempts to bring together in one place a description of many common native species that will grow in Haliburton (Zone 4).  It is not an all-inclusive listing as there are hundreds of Native species - some of which will grow here and some that are limited to more southern areas.  Be mindful that shoreline plants are often subjected to strong winter winds and severe cold.  Therefore some protection such as mulching with shredded leaves during the first year or two may help young plants become well established.  

The Haliburton County Master Gardeners

Dinah Wilson,
Apr 15, 2014, 11:56 AM
Pauline Plooard,
Jan 9, 2021, 10:04 AM