NEW NRCS Plant Materials Publication

Improved Conservation Plant Materials Released by NRCS

The NRCS Plant Materials Program, located in Beltsville, Maryland has just released the following publication, attached as a PDF for downloading.

The plant material program is involved with the collection, evaluation, selection and release of plants and seeds to solve resource conservation problems.  Their field testing, prior to release for production, allows plant materials to be grown under a variety of climates and soil types, to perform as needed.  These plants therefore, have known characteristics and proven soil and water conservation uses when used in their areas of adaptation.  Because much of the testing occurs in Beltsville, Prince George’s County, Maryland, the publication includes numerous natives and cultivars that are adapted for the Maryland coastal plain and Piedmont.

The plant materials program has released over 750 conservation plants to the public.  The attached document outlines each of those releases to provide a single source guide to plants that have been developed through NRCS.


The guide is useful as a cross-reference when we may purchase from Ernst Conservation Seed Company, and/or evaluate species that we may select for our ecological restoration projects.  When in doubt, its more appropriate to use plants/seeds considered native, referring to plants that occur naturally in a particular region, state, ecosystem or habitat without direct or indirect human activity, rather than plants being naturalized or introduced.

The NRCS has historically been responsible for promoting non-native alien invasives plants such as kudzu, sawtooth oak and multiflora rose for erosion-related or “difficult” situations.  This publication actually promotes the use of a few non-native lespedeza, bush honeysuckle and autumn olive for specific wildlife and habitat reasons, as they are producers of seasonal foods, some being nitrogen-fixing legumes, and/or may perform where other species may not.  It’s important to understand the mindset and mission statement of the NRCS, to protect and nourish surface topsoil, promoting sustainability.

Discretion is advised!

NRCS PDF Document:  mdpmcpu12494

My favorite native seed catalog – Earnst Conservation Seed PDF Catalog:  ernst-seeds-catalog

My favorite native tree seed catalog – Sheffield Seed PDF Catalog:  full_catalog0