Green Spot

Resource Guide

Native Plants & Trees

Many of the following websites have resources on native plants. 
  1. Native, YES List: We have a short list of native plant suggestions we commonly see in local nurseries to get you started. Any of these plants will automatically be approved for a rebate.
  2. Plant Native: PlantNative is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices.
  3. Wild Ones: Wild Ones strives to become a widely recognized voice for native plants and the sustainable landscaping movement, promoting increased use of native plantings that create living landscapes through grassroots efforts by example, education, marketing, and personalized support. Wild Ones has several local chapters. See Columbus, Ohio chapter
  4. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.
  5. Midwest Native Plant Society: A non-profit organization of amateur and professional naturalists, botanists, teachers, researchers, gardeners, birders, photographers and others who share a deep appreciate for our native flora and fauna.
  6. Plant Your Trees Right: Check out these tips from Franklin Soil and Water on how to plant your trees right. 
See more native plant resources in documents below. You can also review our Native Plant "Yes" List of plant purchases that will be approved for reimbursement through Community Backyards.

Invasive Species

  1. Invasive, Do-Not-Pant List: We will NOT provide reimbursement on any of the invasive species listed on our Invasive, Do-Not-Plant List.
  2. Ohio Invasive Plants Council: The Ohio Invasive Plants Council is a coalition of agencies, organizations, and individuals throughout Ohio concerned about the introduction, spread, and control of invasive, non-native plants in Ohio's natural habitats
  3. Midwest Invasive Plants Network: Provides resources to eliminate invasive plant species in the Midwest.
  4. OAC 901:5-30-01 Invasive Plant Species: The Ohio Administrative Code designates 38 species as invasive. No person shall sell, offer for sale, propagate, distribute, import or intentionally cause the dissemination of any invasive plant in the state of Ohio.

We refer to the Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC), the Ohio Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Midwest Invasive Plants Council (MIPC) for plants not eligible for reimbursement.


  1. Keeping rats out of your compost: In general, rats are looking for two basic things: food and shelter. In some cases, a compost pile ends up being both, and you can end up with a rat problem. Thankfully, with proper composting techniques and rodent proofing, there are several simple ways to both prevent rats from getting into your compost pile. Below are some helpful tips for keeping the pesky rodents away from your compost.
  2. Yard Waste: Yard waste can be disposed of in several ways locally. The easiest way is to contact the community in which you live and find out the procedures for curbside yard waste disposal. However, residents of Franklin County and pre-approved areas can take their yard waste to multiple locations throughout Franklin County. 
  3. Save More Than Food: For one Franklin County resident, nearly one pound of food is landfilled every day. That's nearly one million pounds per day! Learn more about why and how to reduce food waste. 
  4. Community Composting Programs: A number of communities in Central Ohio have implemented community composting drop off or curbside programs. Currently, programs are available in: Bexley, Dublin, Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Westerville, and Worthington
  5. Cornell's Compost: Truth or Consequences: Great introduction video to learn about composting from the folks at Cornell University. 

Rain Barrels

Homeowners, renters, and building managers can reduce stormwater runoff and promote infiltration by installing a rain barrel. Rain barrels collect and store water that runs off your roof and would normally be directed to the street and closest storm drain inlet.

Not sure how to install a rain barrel? Watch this installation tutorial video from the makers of the EarthMinded RainStation or contact Rain Brothers, LLC, a local one-stop shop for everything rainwater.

Rain Gardens

  1. Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative: The Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative (CORGI) is a collaborative effort to promote the benefits of rain gardens for community beautification and clean water. CORGI can provide you with education and technical assistance to help with rain garden assessment, design, and planting plans. Technical assistance is available for residents, community organizations, municipalities, and businesses. Reimbursements are available for residents in select communities within Franklin County. Learn more about Franklin Soil and Water's rain garden programs. For a quick reference guide, download our rain garden fact sheet.
  2. Master Rain Gardener: Franklin Soil and Water is launching the Master Rain Gardener program in late 2022. Sign up for email notifications about the program. 
  3. Franklin Soil and Water: Franklin Soil and Water can help with all things rain gardens. Cost shares are available for eligible residents in certain communities. Free technical assistance is available for all residents. 

Mosquito Prevention

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed and can breed in as little as 7 to 10 days. Rain barrels not properly installed or with open lids, can provide the perfect environment for them. Recommendations for reducing breeding sites include eliminating or emptying artificial water collection containers described as prime breeding spots for the mosquito species.

Be sure that you are not breeding mosquitos in your rain barrel by following these suggestions:

  • Install rain barrels with a diverter kit, which will keep the openings between the lid and the barrel sealed and keep your rain barrel from overflowing.
  • Empty barrels on a regular basis after and/or before a rainfall to control mosquito breeding cycles.
  • Use Mosquito larvicide tablets such as Mosquito Dunks ® inside barrels as needed to assure the control of breeding and development.
  • Clean all gutters and downspouts. Leaves, twigs, seeds, and other organic matter will create a water dam in which mosquito larvae can grow.
  • Perform regular inspections of your system to make sure that there are no cracks or leaks, and that all fittings and seals around the valves are intact.
By taking these precautions, your properly protected rain barrels can actually help prevent unwanted mosquito breeding by eliminating the standing water which results from a heavy rainfall. Learn more tips on how to prevent mosquitoes from Franklin County Public Health

Have a mosquito problem? Columbus residents can report mosquito problems to 311 by calling (614) 645-3111 or submitting on online request. Non-Columbus residents can report mosquito problems to Franklin County Public Health by calling (614) 525-BITE (2483) or complete an online request.

Soil Testing

  1. Soil Testing Available at OSU's Franklin County Extension Office: Testing available for gardens, home lawns, farm fields, and commercial horticulture operations at $11/sample. Call (614) 866-6900 for more information.

Stormwater Pollution

  1. PUP Campaign (Pick Up Poop): A local pledge program, “PUP” stands for Pick Up Poop. All dog owners can "doo" the right thing and scoop poop when walking and in your own backyard. The goal is cleaner water, healthier communities, and PUPing is the law! 
  2. EPA's Source Water Protection: How can you help protect source water? Check out these tips from US EPA on what individuals and communitities can do to protect our waterways. 
  3. Blueprint Columbus: Neighborhood capital improvement projects focus on relining sewer pipes and installing new green infrastructure to slow the volume of stormwater during large rain events, a major cause of combined sewer overflows. Free sump pumps are available for eligible residents in Blueprint neighborhoods! 

Sustaining Wildlife

  1. National Wildlife Federation: National Wildlife Federation is a voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat and inspiring the future generation of conservationists. 
  2. Audubon Ohio Chapter: The mission of Audubon Ohio is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats in Ohio by promoting conservation and biodiversity through education and advocacy
  3. National Audubon Native Plants Database: The National Audubon Center has a database of native plants that help sustain bird populations. 
  4. Bringing Nature Home- Doug Tallamy: Why should you consider planting native?
  5. Native Plants and Ecosystem Services- Michigan State University: Natives help attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Related Documents

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Native Plants, YES List
This is a short list created by Franklin Soil and Water to give suggestions of native plants we commonly see at local nurseries around Central Ohio. It is not an complete list of every native plant for sale, but it will give you a great start on selecting native plants.

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What Native Plants Should I Purchase and Where?
This is a brief list of native plants that can be found in local nurseries around Central Ohio, as well as a list of vendors that sell native plants.

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Native Plants for Best Stormwater Management Practices
This features a robust, comprehensive list of Ohio natives, including those commonly used for stormwater applications around Franklin County. Courtesy of Franklin County Engineer.

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Pollinator Friendly Plants
This document provides a list of pollinator friendly plant species and compares size, color, watering needs, and some other important notes. It is specific to Ohio and the Great Lakes region. Courtesy of the Xerces Society.

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How to identify your plant purchase
Not sure what plant that is while out shopping? This guide provides an overview of how plant naming works and some definitions. Use this to help identify plant purchases.

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Invasive, Do-Not-Plant List
Community Backyards will NOT reimburse any plants or varieties of plants listed on the Invasive, Do-Not-Plant List. These include state recognized invasive plants and plants that are concerning and potentially invasive in Ohio or nearby states.

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Invasive Plants of Concern in Ohio
This is a list of plants the State of Ohio is concerned about and that you should avoid planting. Courtesy of the Division of Forestry, Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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Ohio's Top 10 Most Invasive Plants
Ohio’s Most Invasive Plants: This brochure describes 10 of the most invasive non-native plant species in Ohio with information about their appearance, habitat, possible controls, and native species which can be used as alternatives in garden or wildlife plantings. Courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas & Preserves.

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Invasive Species and Noxious Weeds Species List
This list contains invasive species and noxious weeds in Ohio. It was provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) EQIP Program. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers protect the environment while promoting agricultural production.

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Ohio native nurseries, landscaping, organic lawncare, education and habitat products
This list contains a variety of vendors and service providers including nurseries, landscapers, lawncare, and more. Courtesy of Wild Ones-Columbus Chapter.

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