Choosing Plants

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Quick Tips

  • Right plant, right place, right purpose. The right plant will defend itself against pests, fit the space, do well in the amount of sunlight and water that's available, and tolerate your soil's pH.
  • Planting trees? Think small. Small diameter trees require less maintenance and become established in the landscape more quickly than larger diameter trees.
  • Go native. Try growing some native plants. They’re well adapted to Maine’s climate, so that means less work and more reward for you. Purchase only nursery grown natives, not ones dug from the wild. Choose a few that are food for birds, bees and other beneficial insects.
  • Avoid invaders. Stay away from invasive plants. They spread uncontrollably, choking out native vegetation, which can change forever the availability of food and shelter for wildlife. Common culprits include purple loosestrife, Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet, Japanese knotweed, Norway maple, glossy buckthorn, and multiflora rose. If you’re harboring an invasive plant already, you migth consider removing it, including all of the roots. Although you need to have a plan top replace the invasive plant with a native or non-invasive alien plant. Maine Invasive Plants
  • Prevent the predictable. Avoid plants prone to pest problems. Shop for insect- and disease-resistant plants to further reduce the need for pesticides. You can get the low down on a plant’s pest-off powers from websites, plant books and catalogues, garden centers, nurseries, and your county Cooperative Extension office. The University of Connecticut Plant Database lists the "liabilities" of plants which helps you avoid problem trees and shrubs.
  • Plant buffers. Plant trees, shrubs and groundcovers to create "buffers" (natural filters) along shorelines and downhill of stormwater runoff. Do not rake up the "duff" (nature’s mulch of twigs, pine needles and leaves) in the buffer zone.

Plant Selection

Native Maine Plants from UMaine Extension

Plants for Pollinators

Recommended Plants from Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District