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Health, Science & Environment

Park City Native Plant Sale Aims to Reduce Water Consumption

Utah Native Plant Society
Wasatch penstemon in bloom on May 31, 2014 in Salt Lake County

The annual native plant sale takes place Saturday morning at Recycle Utah in Park City. Organizers say replacing that Kentucky bluegrass with Wasatch penstemon will help conserve water - an increasingly valuable resource in Utah.

Utah is the second largest consumer of water per person in the nation, and Utahns use about two-thirds of that water on lawns and landscapes.  Executive Director of Park City Conservation Association Insa Riepen says that’s an irresponsible and unnecessary use of a valuable resource.

“You spend a whole lot of money cleaning up your water, pumping it from here, there to everywhere, and then you’re going to water your lawn,” Riepen says. “Our main message is to find out how to not water the outside – our lawns, and our landscapes.”  Riepen says the answer is native plants. “They don’t need much water once established. They love our alkaline soil in Utah. Native plants are beautiful. If you want to see how they look in the great outdoors, go up to Snowbird, Albion Basin, and Alta, and look what blooms there. That could be your garden, they could be your backyard.”

This year at the plant sale, there will also be native compost available. Riepen says imported soil from elsewhere can indirectly use more water. “We import topsoil, spread it all over, and then we import noxious weeds. Noxious weeds are like big straws, they suck up all the water.  You want that water to boil your pasta, not to have noxious weeds,” she says.  

Native plants and soils, as well as do-it-yourself composters will be sold at Recycle Utah in Park City tomorrow morning from 9 to noon. Members of the Utah Native Plant Society will be on hand to answer questions. More information can be found at

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