Public Info

Union County’s Plant Swap and Shop on June 6th Promotes Local Biodiversity

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce an opportunity for residents to participate in a Plant Swap and Shop event, on June 6th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in the Scout Camping Area of the Watchung Reservation.

“We are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity for Union County residents to actively contribute to the preservation and restoration of our local environment,” Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “By swapping invasive plants for native ones, participants not only help combat the spread of harmful species but also help the growth of native habitats that support our local wildlife. We’re incredibly grateful for our residents’ dedication to creating a healthier, more sustainable Union County.”

Invasive plants, typically not native to the area, can quickly take over if not controlled. They outcompete native plants, making the ecosystem more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and environmental changes. Additionally, they often don’t provide food or habitat for wildlife. By planting various native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses, you’ll attract a wide range of native insects and birds. These creatures rely on these plants for nectar, seeds, and fruit, which keep nature balanced, resilient to changes.

Residents are invited to bring up to three distinct invasive plants and exchange them for up to three native plants, all at no cost. This initiative aims to promote the removal of invasive species from local ecosystems while encouraging the planting of native species, which are vital for supporting biodiversity and enhancing the natural landscape. Examples of invasive plants to bring for the swap are: Japanese barberry, pachysandra, butterfly bush, garlic mustard, porcelain berry, periwinkle, English ivy and Chinese silvergrass. These plants should be dug up recently and brought to the event with their root included in a sealed bag or box. The native plants offered for swap include Blue Cardinal Flower, Dense Blazing Star, Blue False Indigo, Joe Pye Weed, Swamp Sunflower, Swamp Milkweed and Black Eyed Susan.

In addition to the plant swap, participants will have the opportunity to shop for native plants at the event, courtesy of Toadshade Native Plant Nursery. Toadshade is a plant nursery in Frenchtown that specializes in native, perennial, propagated wildflower plants. Pre-orders through the Toadshade website at are recommended for convenient pickup at the event.

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all attendees, pre-registration for the event is required, with a maximum of 100 registrants accepted. Residents can register by visiting For more information about native plants in Union County, please download our free guide: “Plant This, not That.” Questions about the Plant Swap and Shop on June 6th should be directed to