Plant Lists & Landscape Guides

Please take advantage of these well written and relevant articles, reports, lists, and tip sheets. If you know of others that you find particularly useful, please let us know! To search by author, enter his or her last name into the keyword search field.

Plant Lists for a Variety of Situations

Roberta Clark. University of Massachusetts Extension, n.d .

A general list of native trees and shrubs to consider for the landscape. Species are grouped by different growing conditions (sun/shade, soil moisture), and it has a good list of the best plants to use in coastal areas.

Robert J. Gegear. Univ. of Massachusetts, September 2020.

A list of native plant species that support our native bumblebees at risk, based on Dr. Gegear's current research. Planting these species is especially important to promoting bumblebee diversity.

Grow Native Massachusetts. 2020.

Lists native species of woody and herbaceous genera that host a significant number of caterpillar species, and therefore have an outsize impact on biodiversity— and that can be found in the nursery trade. Sometimes referred to as keystone species.

Heather Holm. Author & Educator, n.d .

Corresponding with Holm's list of recommended perennials, this list focuses on trees and shrubs for pollinators— and is organized by size from tall canopy trees, to mid-sized trees and large shrubs, to smaller shrubs.

Heather Holm. Author & Educator, n.d .

A list of 40+ valuable plant species, organized by habitat type, from one of the country's foremost experts on pollinators. This and other useful posters and lists can be found on her website at

Irina Kadis and Denise Stowell. Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance, March 2021.

This guide focused on plant species appropriate to the pine barrens of Plymouth County in Massachusetts offers a great list of species to consider for any coastal area of the state, particularly with sandy well-drained soils.

Jessica Lubell. University of Connecticut, n.d .

A great worksheet listing 40 native shrubs and their potential uses in the landscape. Includes information on growth habit (size), growing conditions, and potential for deer damage.

Jessica Lubell. University of Connecticut, n.d .

Ten tough and under-utilized native shrubs to use in many situations, that are also great alternatives when removing invasives and replacing them with beneficial plants.

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. n.d .

This list is especially valuable for coastal and southeastern Massachusetts. It recommends species best adapted for different planting zones within this unique environment, i.e. for the beaches, sand dunes, and coastal banks; as well as those more suited to the inland and sheltered areas of this region.

New England Wild Flower Society. n.d .

A list of about 50 plants that attract pollinators, both woody and herbaceous. Includes bloom time, flower color, and some specifics about which plants serve as larval hosts to butterflies.

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. 2015.

A list of about 25 pollinator plants, organized by bloom time (early, middle, late). Includes tips on planting for success and protecting pollinators from insecticides.

Articles Well Worth Reading

Alastair Fitter. Microbiology Today, May 2005.

On the importance of mycorrhizal fungi to plant roots, and their role in the uptake of soil nutrients.

Robert J. Gegear. Massachusetts Wildlife, No. 3, 2017.

Clarifies honey bee decline (an agricultural problem) versus native bee decline (an ecological problem). Includes recommended native plants for native bumble bees.

Steven N. Handel. Designing Wildlife Habitats (Beardsley, Ed.) Harvard University Press, 2013.

Outlines approaches to designing wildlife habitat in the ecological restoration of degraded urban areas, written by a noted scholar and restoration practitioner.

Douglas Tallamy. 2009.

The shortest and best summary available about why native plants are so essential to our gardens. An urgent call to action. Read this article if you have not yet read Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home.

Claudia Thompson. Bird Observer, April 2019.

Detailed story of our founder’s urban wildlife garden, created with native plants and ecological principles. The garden has welcomed over 80 species of birds, and it has been a great source of joy.

Leslie Van Berkum. American Nurseryman, August 2005.

A wonderful discussion of some of our more common woodland species native to the northeastern United States.

Primers: Understanding the Basics

Homegrown National Park, Inc. 2022.

This brochure is a great tool for spreading the word on the importance of creating native habitat in our communities. Learn eight steps you can take to start having an impact today, and how to record your efforts on the Homegrown National Park map.

Beatriz Moisset and Stephen Buchmann. USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership, 2011.

All about our native bees and the ecosystem services they provide. Covers taxonomy, anatomy, nesting and breeding practices.

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. 2012.

Although agriculturally focused (as are many soil discussions), this helpful primer covers nutrient cycling, the soil food web, mycorrhizal fungi, soil air and water regulation, soil organic matter, and management practices.

Chris Polatin. Land Stewardship Inc., September 2018.

Specific instructions on eradicating ten of our worst invasives here in New England. Includes photos and management techniques, both mechanical and chemical.

Kate Venturini and Caitlin Chaffee. University of Rhode Island Outreach Center, n.d .

Good introduction to designing with native plants and supporting wildlife. Includes advice on site assessment and offers several attractive model gardens.


Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Department of Fish & Game and The Nature Conservancy. 2010.

A report on biodiversity conservation in Massachusetts, with a focus on rare and endangered species.

Massachusetts Audubon Society. September 2017.

This graphical report is a great place to learn about bird habitats in Massachusetts, which bird species are most vulnerable currently, and what you can do to help.

New England Wild Flower Society. 2015.

A very comprehensive report about the significant challenges facing New England’s native plants and ecological habitat types, with recommendations for conservation strategies.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2016.

A conservation vulnerability assessment for all 1,154 native bird species found in North America. Over one-third of all species are designated as "Watch List," and over 80% have populations that are of conservation concern and declining.

Thomas J. Rawinski. USDA Forest Service, November 2014.

A report on the impacts of white-tailed deer overabundance in the Northeast. Includes some discussion of which trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are favored by deer.

Pat Swain. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 2016.

This document describes the natural communities of Massachusetts, as developed and organized the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and referencing the ecological regions present. The fact sheets for each natural community listed may be downloaded from the NHESP website.

Tip & Fact Sheets

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the University of Connecticut. 2014.

Valuable recommendations for the disposal of invasive plant material, to prevent their further spread after removal. Offers detailed methods based on each species' reproductive strategy.

Robert J. Gegear. Univ. of Massachusetts, November 2020.

A key for identifying our native bumblebees. Historically, we had 12 species; two of these species are now believed to be extirpated from the state. Three more species are declining and at significant risk. Refer to Native Plants to Support Bumblebees at Risk to find plant species that promote bee diversity.

Heather Holm. Author & Educator, n.d .

A quick season-by-season guide about when (and when not!) to dead-head perennial plants so as to support life for stem-nesting bee species. Plants with hollow stems provide essential habitat for overwintering and reproduction.

Jumping Worm Outreach, Research & Management Working Group. Cornell University, 2021.

A great summary of one of our newest invasive problems. Invasive Asian jumping worms are currently spreading throughout the United States and efforts to contain the spread require that we all learn these facts about their lifecycle and characteristics.

Deborah Smith-Fiola. Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension, 2004.

Mulch has the potential to benefit woody plants, but using too much of it can alter soil pH, deplete soil nitrogen, and damage or kill trees.

Claudia G. Thompson. Landscape Ecologist, 2022.

Our native bird populations are in steep decline— and creating landscapes that provide both habitat and food for birds is vitally important. These eleven tips are excellent guidelines for getting started.

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. 2016.

On the importance of pollinators, essential principles of pollinator conservation, and some interesting facts about native bees.