NYC Tree Bed and Rain Garden Planting

How to plant in tree beds and other public spaces

5/19/20241 min read

Here is some info from the City: New York City Tree Pit Planting. General rules are for young trees, you can plant full sun to part sun plants and for larger trees you need to adjust to more shade loving plants. In addition, plant no closer than 3 feet from the base of the trunk and do not plant from pots greater than one gallon in size to avoid damaging the tree roots.

In some neighborhoods there are rain gardens which are similar to tree pits but collect runoff from the street. Here are some rain garden resources: Rain Garden Stewardship and Plants for NYC Rain Gardens

Here is a non comprehensive list of appropriate native perennials for tree pits taken from NYC Plant Finder The ones I may have in stock (or similar) are in bold.

Native Perennial Plants for Tree Pits

  • Coral Bells--Perennial--Full Sun to Full Shade

  • Aromatic Aster--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Bee Balm--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Blue False Indigo--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Cardinal Flower--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Columbine--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Cotton Grass--Grass/Grass-like, Groundcover--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Fox Sedge--Grass/Grass-like--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Gray's Sedge--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Green Comet Milkweed--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Harlequin Blue Flag--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Marsh Marigold--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Poke Milkweed--Grass/Grass-like, Groundcover--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Prairie Sedge--Grass/Grass-like--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Prairie Winds Switch Grass--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Purple Milkweed--Grass/Grass-like--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Scouringrush Horsetail--Grass/Grass-like--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Shallow Sedge--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Shrubby Cinquefoil Goldfinger--Perennial, Groundcover--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Spotted Geranium--Grass/Grass-like--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Switch Grass--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Virginia Spiderwort--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade

  • Whorled Milkweed--Perennial--Full Sun to Part Shade (I have Butterfly Milkweed)

  • White Turtlehead--Grass/Grass-like, Groundcover--Part Sun Only

  • Appalachia Sedge--Perennial--Part Sun to Full Shade

  • Ostrich Fern--Grass/Grass-like, Groundcover--Part Sun to Full Shade

  • Pennsylvania Sedge--Perennial, Groundcover--Part Sun to Full Shade

  • Wild Ginger----Part Sun to Full Shade