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.
- StormSmart Properties Fact Sheet 3: Planting Vegetation to Reduce Erosion and Storm Damage - This fact sheet developed by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) discusses how plants can help control erosion by stabilizing soils, breaking the impact of raindrops and wave splash, and trapping sand to build dunes.
- StormSmart Coasts Fact Sheet 6: Landscaping to Protect Your Coastal Property from Storm Damage and Flooding (PDF, 962 KB) - This 2009 fact sheet describes landscaping techniques that stabilize coastal banks and dunes and gives information on the benefits of coast-friendly landscaping.
- CZ-Tip - Dune Building with Beachgrass - Part of the CZM tips series, this web page describes how to plant American beachgrass, which helps stabilize dunes and prevent storm damage.
- CZ-Tip - Keep Waterways Clean by Filtering Pollutants with Plants - Learn how to strategically plant grasses and shrubs to slow and filter rain runoff—helping to keep coastal waters clean.
- CZ-Tip - Spring Planting on the Coast - This tip focuses on native species that are ideal for coastal landscapes, with tips on how to maximize the early growing season offered by the relatively warm ocean air each spring.
- CZ-Tip - The Fall and Winter Coastal Garden—Colors and Textures of Transition - This CZ-Tip talks about how to add character to coastal gardens—particularly in fall and winter months—by planting trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses with beautiful color, texture, form, and movement.
- CZ-Tip - Fall Planting on the Coast - Fall is an ideal time to plant because rainfall is usually plentiful and temperatures (and heat stress) are lower. This tip from CZM discusses what to plant and how to plant it for a thriving coastal landscape.
- StormSmart Properties Fact Sheet 2: Controlling Overland Runoff to Reduce Coastal Erosion - This CZM fact sheet focuses on controlling runoff, which is water from rainfall, irrigation, and other sources that flows over the ground surface. Runoff flowing over a coastal bank, dune, or beach can exacerbate other coastal erosion problems, and this fact sheet provides options to redirect water flow and reduce its quantity and speed to reduce erosion.
Plant Identification and Descriptions
- PLANTS Database - This United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) website provides plant descriptions, characteristics and classification, distribution, and images.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Plant Maintenance and Care
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Threatened or Endangered Species Habitat
- Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) - Part of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, NHESP provides Priority Habitat and Estimated Habitat Maps on this website to help determine if a proposed project is in or near mapped endangered species habitat.
- Guidelines for Barrier Beach Management (PDF, 12 MB) - This CZM publication includes information on beach and dune planting and restoration activities in threatened or endangered species habitat.
Wetlands Protection Act and Regulations
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection - The MassDEP website provides downloadable copies of the Wetlands Protection Act and Regulations.