Union County Free Native Plant Swap and Shop

Attract Pollinators, Birds, and Other Wildlife To Your Yard!

By planting native vegetation and eradicating invasive plants in your yard, you can do your part to help increase biodiversity throughout Union County and New Jersey! 

Pull invasive plants from your yard and bring them to this event, and you will be given a native plant FOR FREE to plant in its place!  Maximum – 3 native plants per household.  Toadshade Wildflower Farm will be on site with native plants that you can purchase, even if you do not have an invasive plant to swap.  Preorders are encouraged through www.toadshade.com.  See pages below for more detail.  Email park.env.services@ucnj.org with any questions.

What is an invasive plant?

Any plant that is not native (or does not naturally live in our area) that causes harm to the environment.  In most cases, invasive plants are able to overtake an ecosystem and use up valuable space and resources from native plant species.  They do this by being very effective and fast reproducers and by being habitat generalists – they live well in a variety of conditions.  Invasive plants have few, if any, natural predators or competitors (ie: deer, groundhogs, etc), so there is nothing to keep their population in check. Once established, these plants can continue to grow and spread, and can eventually form a monoculture – an area with just one plant species – which is devastating to biodiversity.

How many can I bring?

As many as you would like!  But we can only give you a maximum of 3 native plants per household.

How do I bring them?

Dig up the plant, roots and all, and place in a box, bag, etc.  Be sure to tie or tape the container so nothing “escapes”! 

Where do I bring them?

Use GPS directions for 452 New Providence Rd, Mountainside, NJ.  Before entering the Trailside Nature & Science Center parking lot, take the Dead End service road to the left of the yellow and green Trailside sign.  Follow that road downhill to the Scout Camping Area. There will be signs to help guide you.

How do I register and what plants will I be given in return?Please use the form above on this page. Any additional questions should be directed to park.env.services@ucnj.org. Plants that will be available for swapping (while supplies last) include:

  • Cardinal flower
  • Blue wood aster
  • Narrow leaf sunflower
  • Tall coreopsis
  • Tall white beardtongue
  • Swamp milkweed

How do I pre-order plants from Toadshade Wildflower Farm for this event?

Simply go to www.toadshade.com, and during checkout enter “Union County Swap and Shop” in the special requests box.  For the shipping option, choose “pickup.”

Is this a COVID-Safe Event?

YES!  Place your invasive plants in your vehicle’s trunk or back seat so that our event staff can easily remove them and load your new native plants.

What are examples of invasive plants?


Any questions can be directed to park.env.services@ucnj.org