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Coastal Landscaping in Massachusetts - Links to Additional Resources

Find landscaping options for controlling coastal erosion and preventing storm damage—provided by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) StormSmart Coasts Program.

This page provides links to additional information on coastal landscaping, organized into the following categories: General Information, Plant Identification and Descriptions, Plant Maintenance and Care, Invasive Species, Threatened or Endangered Species Habitat, and Wetlands Protection Act and Regulations.

General Information

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Plant Identification and Descriptions

  • American Beauties - A collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program, this website provides a list of native plants species, descriptions, and landscape plans for four theme gardens (bird garden, butterfly garden, dry sun, and moist sun) that are beautiful and good for wildlife, along with information on where to purchase native plants in your area.
  • Blue Stem Natives - This site provides descriptions of native plants, which can be searched for by interest (such as sustainability, wildlife, and beauty), targeted areas (such as shorelines and roadsides), or plant attribute (such as size, height, plant spacing, bloom time, and sun and water needs). The site also includes native plant resources, videos, a blog, and landscape design help.
  • Cape Cod Native Plants - This online tool hosted by Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) is designed to help gardeners on Cape Cod find native plants suited for specific sites and that complement their landscape design. Users can search for plants based on plant type, sunlight, soils, bloom month, size, and nature benefits. As part of their Native Plant Initiative, APCC also provides helpful resources, such as native garden design examples, Sources for Native Plants & Seeds (PDF, 134 KB), a List of Resources About Native Plants (PDF, 88 KB), and Recommended Presentations on landscaping with native plants (PDF, 104 KB).
  • Connecticut Native Plant and Sustainable Landscaping Guide (PDF, 114 MB) - From the University of Connecticut Extension Program, this guide provides comprehensive lists, descriptions, and photos of native plants (for Connecticut), including native forbs that grow easily from seed, native perennials for garden beds or rain gardens, low-growing ground covers, low-maintenance and alternative lawn options, native forbs for meadows, salt tolerant and coastal plants, and much more.
  • Go Botany - This website of the Native Plant Trust provides plant identification keys (both simple and advanced) to help identify over 3,000 common native and naturalized New England plants. PLANTS Database - This United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) website provides plant descriptions, characteristics and classification, distribution, and images.
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database - This site includes a search engine that links to and describes more than 7,000 native plants in North America, an image gallery, recommended species for specific regions, step-by-step guides for various planting activities, and even an "Ask Mr. Smarty Plants" forum for finding information to landscaping questions.
  • Salicicola - This site includes an online gallery where you can view nearly 13,000 photos of more than 1,300 plant species found in eastern Massachusetts, along with information on invasive plants, articles about local plants, and plant checklists for many parks, reservations, and other natural areas within the region.
  • University of Connecticut (UConn) Plant Database of Trees, Shrubs, and Vines - This online database gives plant attributes—such as habitat, form, seasonal characteristics, culture, and landscape uses—accompanied by images.
  • Vascular Plants of Massachusetts: A County Checklist - Developed by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, this CD provides current nomenclature and distribution for more than 3,000 native and introduced plants found currently or historically in the various counties of the Commonwealth, along with information on whether each species is considered native or introduced in the county.
  • CZ-Tip - Coastal Plant Identification: Common Native and Invasive Species Found on the Massachusetts Coast - To help you identify the plants on the Bay State’s coast, and sort the native species from those that originated in other areas, this CZM tip provides descriptions and photographs of some of the more common coastal plants in Massachusetts.

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Plant Maintenance and Care

  • Greenscapes Program - Part of the Greenscapes Massachusetts Coalition, this program website gives information about lawn care, alternatives to pesticides and herbicides, composting, water conservation, soil testing, and much more.
  • Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) - Educational material, conference and event information, and other links for landscape professionals, homeowners, and community groups to promote the design, installation, and maintenance of natural landscapes are available on this website.Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program - This University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension Program website provides a series of fact sheets, publications, and services. The factsheets include detailed information on topics ranging from landscape culture and maintenance, to insects and diseases, to particular information on certain plant species. A factsheet on rain gardens is also included.
  • Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) - This site includes consumer information on local nurseries, nursery stock, garden and lawn products, as well as a listing of professional landscape and lawn-care contractors.
  • Native Plant Trust - This comprehensive website offers information on native plants, invasive species, conservation and research, plant courses, events, and more.
  • American Beachgrass Planting Guide (PDF, 97 KB) - This guide by the New York Sea Grant Extension Program provides a summary of tips for planting American beachgrass in beaches and dunes.
  • Coastal Dune Protection and Restoration—Using 'Cape' American Beachgrass and Fencing - This bulletin of the Woods Hole Sea Grant and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Program addresses the restoration of a dune through case studies, tips, and other considerations, including preserving shorebird habitat and understanding the permit process.

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Invasive Species

  • Evaluation of Non-Native Plant Species for Invasiveness in Massachusetts (PDF, 272 KB) - This publication of the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group offers plant evaluations of 85 species and includes an annotated list of Invasive, Likely Invasive, and Potentially Invasive species in Massachusetts.
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - This web database provides a comprehensive inventory of invasive and potentially invasive plants in New England, as well as a page to report your own invasive species sightings.
  • Invasive Plants - This MassAudubon website lists common non-native invasive plants in Massachusetts and includes photographs and tips to help identify and manage them.

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Threatened or Endangered Species Habitat

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Wetlands Protection Act and Regulations

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