Walking through local forest preserves you may never guess the importance of what lies beneath the large leaves and flowering plants.

“They are very vital, one thing you might see looking around is that they hold the ground, their roots hold the soil and retain moisture,” said Plantologist for the DuPage County Forest Preserve Scott Kobal.

The roots of local plant life can go up to six feet deep into the ground, which is something the park district is capitalizing on.

“They absorb storm water, which is a problem in the area and has been for a long time. Its able to reduce flooding, so you will see a lot of natural plants in detention areas and they are built to collect water, and then we plant the native plants to absorb the water so that it doesn’t sit in the basins,” said Project Manager for the Naperville Park District, Peggy Pelkonen.

Prairie grasses like Indian grass, tall grass and coneflower have deep root structures that can soak up excess water.

However, other plants like wild geraniums, have gained ground for people to plant in their own yards because of how they can help your garden.

“The flowers we all know, one of the big things now with pollinators so these are food plants and nectarine plants,” said Kobal.

And to attract wildlife try anise sage for hummingbirds and, to add flying color to your garden try one of the areas most popular plants.

“Of course Milkweed! People are so anxious to plant it now to attract Monarch Butterflies because it is the only food for Monarchs,” said Pelkonen.


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