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Beneficial Trees and Plants for your Home Garden

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Bring your love of nature home! The plants and trees you add to your garden and landscaping can support healthy urban habitats.

A fringe tree blooms in Central Park

The following trees are beneficial to wildlife and pose very little risk of property damage. Anyone who has lost a tree to a storm or has dealt with trees encroaching on power lines or plumbing can feel confident planting these! (our favorites are listed in BOLD)



Paperbark Maple





Kousa Dogwoods

Cornelian cherry dogwood

Smoke tree 

Winter king hawthorn 

Royal star magnolia 

Sweetbay magnolia 

Ann Magnolia

Flowering Crabapples

Red buckeye 

Carolina silverbell 

American hornbeam

Paw paw 

Witch hazel

Some plants can be invasive in nature and crowd out other plants. Honeysuckle is well known for creating dense thickets, for example. Many garden centers have removed invasive plants like honeysuckle from their inventory, but you will still find certain species widely sold. Seeds from these plants can be carried into the parks by wildlife, wind, or even on your shoes while enjoying the trails. When shopping for your garden, consider native plants to add beauty and ecological benefits to your space while supporting our work to keep urban natural areas healthy.

Plants to avoid:



Burning bush




Callery pear

Learn more about native plants: 

Choose Natives! Promoting Native Plants in the Mid-Atlantic

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