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Garden Obstacles: NYSDEC 2024 Seedling Sale - The NoNo's on their list!

Updated: Jan 7

This is the link for all the information you need to order:

I'm excited to see the NYSDEC has removed some of the awful non-native and sometimes invasive plants they have sold in the past. Unfortunately, they are still only using common names. This is still a problem because, without the scientific name, you don't know if it is really what they say it is. For example, I would be very leery of the American Cranberrybush as you need a good magnifying glass to see the difference between it and the European species.

The 2024 Seedling Sale is a great way to acquire native trees and shrubs but unfortunately, some of the trees and shrubs they are selling are nowhere near-native to even North America. Just because it's the New York State DEC, doesn't mean it's a native plant. They are just one of the responsible parties for some of the invasive plant issues we have here on Long Island. I created this list to help you navigate the good and bad, read on for helpful information when picking your plants. The above link is the catalog for the sale.

Lastly, stay away from the containerized stock as they are happier in the Adirondacks and further north, meaning they don't like the humidity in the summer.

The ones to stay away from or think about before buying from the DEC 2024 sale:

Conifer Species:

Pinus banksiana - Jack Pine - This northern North American native cannot handle the heat and humidity of Long Island, so it's a pass.

Pinus resinosa - Red Pine - Another Eastern North American native that cannot handle the humidity of Long Island. Prefers cool winters and cool summers.

Hardwood Species:

Populus deltoides x Populus sp. - Poplar Hybrid - Hybrid cultivar, most likely hybridized with European or Asian Poplar species. If it can't be narrowed down...step away!

Wildlife Habitat Shrubs/Small Trees:

Robinia hispida - Bristly locust - This species was introduced to North America and is listed as invasive in Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Some say it is native to the southeastern United States. It is not a good tree for small spaces, so be warned if you decide to purchase this. Look up Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) which is native to Appalachian and Ozark mountain ranges but is now listed as invasive in many states! It also goes by the common name of rose locust.

Salix purpurea ‘Streamco’ - Streamco Purpleosier - This is a male hybrid cultivar of Salix purpurea native to Eurasia. Instead, choose to plant Salix discolor - Pussy Willow (prefers moist to wet soil), Salix humilis var. humilis - Prairie Willow (prefers dry to average soil).

Photos (KMS Native Plants): Salix discolor (pussy willow), Salix humilis var. humilis (prairie willow)

Non-native Evergreens:

When it comes to evergreens, we only have several choices for native species. I don't have a problem with non-native conifers, but you can make your own decision.

Picea abies - Norway Spruce: Obviously, not a North American native. It is native to Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. Although it is not native, it is also not invasive. I don't see a problem with adding non-native evergreens to the yard as long as you do your research. This one gets very, very large and prefers consistently moist soil.

Other than not listing the scientific names, I'm so much happier with their offerings this year.

I hope this helps you make the correct choice for your yard. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kimberly at

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