Garden Protectors

In our vastly urbanized world, there isn’t much natural or undeveloped landscape left for wildlife, and the plants grown in our designated “green spaces” or yards, are often not native.

There are many specialized relationships that exist between plants, birds, pollinators, and other wildlife that are disrupted by invasive species. This is because native plants have co-evolved with native wildlife and insects. For example, black and pale swallow-worts are invasive vining perennials that outcompete native common milkweed, which is the preferred host of the larvae of monarch butterflies, studies have learned that when monarchs lay their eggs on these invasive swallow-worts, their larvae die.

Therefore, we must protect our gardens from further alteration from invasive plants.

You can help by taking the steps outlined below.


Agreeing to take these actions awards you this Garden Protectors Badge. 

Download this image and share it on social media to show how you’re a Garden Protector! To download, right-click the image and select “save as” to save it to your device. Then upload it on social media – tag @sleloprisminvasives or use hashtag #iPledgeToProtect.

Simple Steps

  • Grow plants native to your region.
  • Avoid non-native plants that self-seed because they have the potential to move outside of your garden.
  • Diversify your landscape.
  • Clean your lawnmower and all-terrain vehicles after use to avoid spreading seeds.
  • Use mulch that has been kiln-dried or make your own mulch.
  • Transplanting. To avoid spreading invasive worm castings, be sure to remove soil and rinse the roots of transplanted plants prior to planting in your garden.
  • Clean your tools between uses so as to not spread disease from plant to plant.
  • If composting, ensure the pile has 30 days of exposure to temperatures of 145 degrees or more to kill seeds from tougher weed species.
  • Take care of plant parts before composting: bag, tarp, dry, chip, or drown plant parts to ensure invasive plants do not take root.

Know Your Invasives

Learn to recognize invasive species you may encounter in your garden.


The resources below provide general management techniques that gardeners can use to control invasive species on their property. 

Get Involved

Report invasives found in gardens and assist early detection efforts. 

Aid Early Detection Efforts

Searching for invasive species populations in an effort to detect their presence before their populations become too large to manage is vital to reducing the impacts of invasive species on our natural ecosystems.

Click the link below to learn more about the species we’re enhancing early detection efforts for and to join our invasive species Volunteer Surveillance Network to aid this effort (training will be provided). 

Report Invasive Species

NYiMapInvasives is an online, collaborative, GIS-based database and mapping tool that serves as the official invasive species database for New York State.

 Click the links below to become familiar with iMap

Join a statewide early detection effort for spotted lanternfly and tree of heaven by adopting a grid square to survey for these species through iMapInvasives. 


Watch webinars, view brochures, and other resources to help you protect your garden from invasive species and support pollinators. 


View this list of flowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, and vines native to New York State. developed by the NYS DEC. 

Discover native plants, ranked by the number of butterfly and moth species that use them as host plants for their caterpillars.

NYS Integrated Pest Management:

Learn of native-friendly ornamental plants that are similar both in appearance and in cultural requirements to the invasive plants they can replace. 

The Invasive Plant Management Decision Analysis Tool (IPMDAT) helps natural resource managers to determine if an invasive plant control project is likely to be successful and if it warrants an investment of their agency’s or organizations resources.

Get involved with a national environmentally-conscience gardening group. 

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.

Community Science Tools

An easy-to-use mobile app that helps you identify native and invasive plants and animals. 

An easy-to-use mobile app that helps you identify native and invasive plants and animals. 

A science-based platform where you can share observations of plants and animals with a community of naturalists.


A list of prohibited and regulated invasive plants in New York state. 

An overview of recommended aquatic plants and fish for water gardening in New York State. 

A guide to native alternatives to ornamental invasive plants.

A regional photographic guide to a broad selection of invasive plants that are often confused with similar native look-alikes. 

A Guide to Native Platns for New York’s Great Lakes Shorelines.


 A homeowner’s quick guide to recognizing and preventing the spread of invasive jumping worms. 

This brochure includes a list of native alternatives to common invasive ornamental plants. 

This brochure features plants to avoid growing from the New England Wildflower Society.

This brochure features climate-smart native plants for the northeast. 


Dr. Douglas Tallamy, the author of Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope, explains the vital specialized relationships that exist between plants and pollinators and the importance of growing native plants in your yard. 

Watch a playlist of webinars that discuss the impacts of invasive plants and the benefits of growing native plants in your garden.