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5 Sturgis Corner Drive, Suite 1250, Iowa City, IA 52246


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Benthic Macroinvertebrate Water Quality Guide 


Getting Started With Smart Gardening


Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership 


Iowa State Extension & Outreach: Introduction to Iowa Native Prairie Plants


Tall Grass Prairie Center: Plant Iowa Native


Iowa Native Plant Society


Xerces Society-Organic Site Preparation for Wildflower Establishment 


Creating Habitat for Stem-Nesting Bees



Recommended Planting Lists

View or download this PDF file:

Johnson County Recommended Planting List


Why Johnson County Recommended Planting Lists?

Landscaping trees, shrubs, forbs, and grasses can easily impact surrounding wildlands. This is especially true in Johnson County, where many homesites are interspersed with native woodlands and other natural sites. Here aggressive, non-native plantings can easily invade natural communities where they eventually eliminate native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs, along with the birds and other animals dependent on them.

This listing of landscaping plants was prepared to help eliminate such unintended but destructive situations. The listing encourages the planting of native species (that is, plants that have grown in this region of the country for hundreds or thousands of years). These plants are best adapted to the local climate and soils and are well received by wildlife and birds, which use them for food and nesting sites. They are best suited to provide important ecological services, such as enhancing soils and fostering diverse and healthy natural communities. Listed natives will not become invasive or noxious threats to surrounding lands.

When purchasing native plants or seeds, we encourage avoiding cultivars whenever possible, and purchasing local genetic (“local ecotype”) stock when available. Local ecotype prairie seed is now sold by many reputable nurseries. Local ecotype seed of other types of plants will become more available in coming years.

Sometimes native plants do not thrive on today’s altered sites. Thus listings of non-native alternatives for such sites have also been included. Listed species have not shown signs of becoming invasive, at least at present.

And last, listings of plants that are invasive or otherwise problematic have been included. These should never be planted.

Invasive Brochures

Autumn Olive
Backyard Invaders
Black Locust
Burning Bush
Bush Honeysuckle
Canada Thistle
Chinese Bush Clover
Common Glossy Buckthorn
Common Reed Grass
Common Teasel
Crown Vetch
Eurasian WaterMilfoil
Garlic Mustard
General Invasive Brochure
Asiatic (Japanese) Hops