Invasive Trade-in Program

What is the Invasive trade-in program?

For Fall 2023, the Landscape Advisory Commission (LAC) is sponsoring a native plant replacement program targeting Buckthorn, Tree of Heaven, Callery Pear, and Bush Honeysuckle on private property.  If you remove (or have removed) one of these non-native invasive plants from your yard,  the LAC will give you a native tree or shrub for you to plant.  We would like to thank West Cook Wild Ones for their help with this program, and the Village of Riverside for funding the Landscape Advisory Commission. 

See below for details on the program and what you need to apply. 

  • Provide a photograph of the invasive plant on the property. The photo should show identifying features of the invasive. 
  • Provide a photograph of you with the invasive after it was removed. The invasive will need to be at least two feet tall. 
  • Native plants available for trade-in: Blue Beech/American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), and are 5-gallon pot size. Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) is available in a 1-gallon pot.
  • Applications are on a first-come, first-choice basis and supplies of replacement native plants are limited.  Applications should be made by September 10, 2023. Once supplies are exhausted you can choose to go on a waiting list if the LAC budget permits.  
  • One native plant will be awarded per address. Notice of award of a native plant will be made by email by September 20th, and pick-up will be in late September. 
  • You agree to water your new plant weekly for the first two years after planting whenever temperatures are above 80F and there is less than 1 inch of rain per week.  
  • Email the Landscape Advisory Commission at with questions.

The Application form is available here. 

Why Native Instead of Invasive?

Native plants are well adapted to tolerate our Midwestern extremes of climate including wet Springs, dry Summers, and arctic Winter blasts.  Since most natives have deep roots, they are beneficial for breaking up soil and reducing flooding.  Native plants also support wildlife, including birds, bees, and butterflies. 

Invasive non-native plants enter into an area, grow out of control and choke out native plants. Benefits of native plants are discussed in more detail at the links below. 

Why Native Plants Matter 

Why Native Plants?

Identification and Removal of the Invasive Plants

Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) 

Use the links below for more information on how to identify and remove Buckthorn. 

State of Illinois resource 

Morton Arboretum resource 

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Bush Honeysuckles (Lonicera tatarica, L. maacki, L.morrow)

Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Links for more information on identification and recommendations for replacements

Identification comparisons of invasive buckthorn to native plants

Healthy Hedges - recommended privacy screen replacements 

Invasive Hedge and Screen Replacement Guide 

How to Care for the Native Plants Available in the Fall 2023 program

Blue Beech/American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) use the links below: 

Morton Arboretum Resource

Missouri Botanical Garden Resource 

General Tree Information