The latest thinking on ecological landscapes. Useful tips to improve our environment

Kim Eierman

Kim Eierman

Founder of EcoBeneficial!

Available for virtual and in-person landscape consulting, talks and classes.

Buy a copy of
The Pollinator Victory Garden!

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Flickr_Amelanchier blossom

Spring Planting With Environmental Impact!

Still wondering what to plant this spring? How about boosting the ecosystem in your yard with some native woody plants.  Replace invasive, exotic plants in your yard with some regionally native plants.  Check out the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower plant database to see if the plants suggested below are native to your area. Give me a shout if you need some help for your area.

And, let us know what natives you are planting in your yard this spring.


Remove: Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia Alata)
Plant: Butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Remove: Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Plant: Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)

Remove: Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Plant: Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Remove: White Mulberry (Morus alba)
Plant: Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

Remove: Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
Plant: Apple Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)

Remove: Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Plant: Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Remove: Princess Tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
Plant: Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)


Remove: Arrow Bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica)
Plant: Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

Remove: Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Plant: Pasture Rose (Rosa carolina)

Remove: Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
Plant: Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)

Remove: Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Plant: Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

Remove: Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
Plant: Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

Remove: Russian Olive (Elaegnus angustifolia)
Plant: Groundsel (Baccharis halimifolia)

Remove: Autumn Olive (Elaegnus umbellata)
Plant: Silverberry (Elaegnus commutatus)

Remove: Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Plant: Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana)

Remove: Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum)
Plant: American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum)

Remove: Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinensis)
Plant: Arrowood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Remove: European Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Plant: Possum Haw (Viburnum nudum)

Happy Spring Planting from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

Photo:  Serviceberry Blossom (followed by edible fruit!)

Photo credit: Flickr_Peter Stevens


  1. MarkG on April 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Great ideas, but unfortunately this list is totally misleading for all of us in deer country. Also, one might wish to check the Cornell site for ratings of various native Viburnum species for resistance to Viburnum beetle.

  2. Donna Lassiter. on April 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Natives I’m planting this spring are gray dogwood, heuchera americans, phlox paniculata, ilex glabra, monarda didyma, physostegia, clethra alnifolia, kalmia angustifolia.

  3. Kim Eierman on April 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Hey Mark. Thanks for the shout out. I have a bit of a different view about planting for the ecosystem in the face of deer pressure. I believe that restricting our plant choices to deer-proof only plants has a significantly negative impact on the the food web. There are other strategies for dealing with the insanely high deer population: proactive culling of deer, designing with target plants, planting less palatable plants in front of tasty ones, using deer repellents, and always planting diversely. These strategies will not eliminate the deer problem, but will certainly help with deer pressure while supporting biodiversity.

    With regard to Viburnum Leaf Beetle, I do suggest Viburnum nudum as the most resistant choice in the NE, but I still advocate planting a diverse palate of native Viburnum. If we eliminate these plants in our landscapes, we will lose them altogether. I haven’t had any damage to their favorite target, Viburnum dentatum, so there may be some individual resistance among plants of the same species. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

  4. Kim Eierman on April 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Great choices, all! I am a particular fan of gray dogwood. Takes more upland siting than most other shrubby dogwoods. Thanks for sharing your plant list.

  5. heather sandifer on April 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Hi, Kim, Is Amelanchier a good understory plant and does it thrive in both sun and shade? Also how does it benefit the environment? Great work!!

  6. Kim Eierman on April 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for the question, Heather. We have a number of native Amelanchier species in the US ranging from the short and sprawling Amerlanchier stolonifera (Running Serviceberry) to the much taller Amelanchier arborea (Downy Serviceberry) which can grow to more than 40 feet. They all produce fruits which are valuable to wildlife, and will bear the most fruit in full sun conditions. Most species will grow well in part sun, but you won’t see as much fruit production.

    More than 40 bird species relish Amelanchier berries, including Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Baltimore Orioles, and Eastern Towhees. The fruit is edible for us humans, too. I think the tastiest fruit comes from Amelanchier x grandifolia (a naturally occurring hybrid). The berries are very nutritious and quite high in antioxidants – great with morning cereal!

More from EcoBlog

Enticing Spring Ephemerals for Your Early Spring Garden – Part 1

With spring coming soon, we eagerly await the early blooms of the growing season.  One group of early-blooming plants that we often forget to use in our gardens are native spring ephemerals.  These plants grow naturally in woodland settings and awake from their winter’s nap, coaxed by the sun that…

Read More

It’s National Pollinator Week: Thank a Bee, and a Fly, and Even A Beetle

In 2006 the United States Senate designated the first National Pollinator Week as a way to recognize the importance of pollinators to agriculture and ecosystem health.  Sure, beekeepers and avid gardeners celebrate this week, but the average American is hard pressed to name even a single pollinator beyond a honey…

Read More

Remembering a Great Naturalist: A Toast to Carol Gracie

This past fall we lost one of the great naturalists of the Northeast, Carol Gracie.  Carol was not just a naturalist, but a botanist, photographer, lecturer, and author of four fantastic books:  Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast, Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast, Florapedia, and Wildflowers in the Field and Forest:…

Read More