coastal restoration

the challenge

This property, on a spit of land that juts out into the Bay with a southfacing view is truly special.  As you approach from the mainland you pass over a beach edged by low sand dunes with healthy native shrubs.   This habitat, has been substantially altered in the area that has been developed for residential use.  Lawns have replaced native beach grass and invasive plants shrubs line the roads, property edges and areas close to the shore. 

The dominate invasive plants include: Morrow's honeysuckle (a shrub), honeysuckle vine, beach roses and black swallowort vines (pictures).   There is also a considerable area in lawn that has limited wildlife value and is more susceptible to erosion than plants that have evolved to live on shifting sands.   

plant palette for restoration

All of the plants selected here are native to this area and are adapted to coastal conditions.   All are reasonable salt and wind tolerant and can handle sandy soils.   Some need wetter conditions than others,


Bird Cherry

Prunus serotina

Birds enjoy the cherries and the insects that live on the plant.   Decent fall color and attractive dark red bark on new growth.  

40' tall by 20' wide

There are some of these trees on the property.  They should be protected and encouraged.

American holly

Quercus ilicifolia

Birds love hollies and the american holly grown among other trees in a forest setting is looser and less stiff than the standard garden variety hollies.

Likes it wet.   Slower growing than deciduous trees.

up to 25' tall by 10'

Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica

Cool horizontal branching, fall color that starts with early single bright red leaves and then crescendos to an entire flaming red, Creates thickets in wet areas.  Tree on the left by the dunes

Pitch Pine

Pinus rigida

Wonderful curving branch shapes. good cover for birds, has winter interest.

up to 50' by 20'

This is a good choice fairly near the house to integrate the home into the landscape.   

Scrub  Oak

Quercus ilicifolia

Great for dry sandy areas.   Grows naturally in the dunes of outer Cape Cod.   Can handle storms.

Drought tolerant

up to 20' tall

Good choide for near the beach

Scarlet oak

Quercus coccinea

Bright red fall color, and a great shade tree.    Oaks are noted for supporting more species than just about any other plant.  

up to 60' tall, 30' wide



Morella pensylvanica

Good for privacy and to give birds cover

 small to tall shrub depending on wind stress


Vaccinum corymbosum

Beautiful fall color 

Forms colonies, Recommended for birds

Tall shrub

Groundsel Bush

Baccharis halimifolia

Great white flowers in fall, very tolerant of salt.   

Tall shrub


Amelanchier canadensis

The showiest spring tree of the New England woods.   Their white blossoms are showy yet delicate.   

Small understory tree

Sweet fern

Comptonia peregrina

Slow growing and spreading shrub with a wonderful scent and interesting flowers

Low Shrub


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Good ground cover with few weeds. Tolerates hot, dry, salty conditions

Very Low Shrub 

Beach Plum

Prunus maritima

Wonderful spring blooms for bees and fall fruit for birds - and jam 

low to tall shrub depending on salt spray and wind

Carolina Rose

Rosa carolina

Hardy beautiful rose with great hips.  Who doesn't love great hips

low to medium shrub

Red Twig Dogwood

Swida sericea

Good Winter color, 

Easy to grow

medium shrub