Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees
Gardening Alternatives to Nonnative Species: An Illustrated Guide

By Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz

Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees
Gardening Alternatives to Nonnative Species: An Illustrated Guide

By Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz

“It will be difficult to pry this second ‘Gardening Alternatives’ book out of most Midwestern gardeners’ hands.…The authors make it so easy for us to grow our own personal piece of paradise—to respect and relish our glorious Midwestern roots. This isn’t a book that will gather dust on a bookshelf. Start digging.”

Susan Randstrom-Bruck, Chicagoland Gardening

“A great book to take to the garden center, Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees is organized so you can look up any woody plant in question and find recommended native plants with similar ornamental and cultural attributes, along with a description of their ecological benefits and some fun facts. The photography is extensive but not overly polished, aptly showcasing the simple beauty of native plants in real-life landscapes.”

Fine Gardening

“With power and a sense of urgency, the preface of the book explains its rationale.…The authors [have the] ability to make things small, [communicating] important concepts with an economy of words. The introduction expands upon the theme and is well-reasoned, wonderfully written and compelling―very compelling.…This book fills a very large gap; I know of none like it.”

The Prairie Promoter

“Beautifully illustrated…[Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees] demonstrates how native woody plants, often ignored or underrepresented in the horticultural trade, not only form the backbone of a functioning habitat but serve as life-giving agents to birds, and a vast array of beneficial insects…As part of [Audubon Great Lakes]'s Plants for Birds campaign, we at Audubon urge Midwesterners to secure a copy of [this book] and put its concepts into practice. The survival of our region's birds depends on human creations of gardens, yards, and landscapes resplendent with native herbaceous and woody species.”

Audubon Great Lakes

In this companion volume to the bestselling The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants, Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz offer another indispensible guide to replacing nonnative plants with native alternatives. This time, their subject is the native woody species that are the backbone of our gardens and landscapes.

Among other ecological benefits, native shrubs and trees provide birds and butterflies with vital food and reproductive sites that nonnative species cannot offer. And they tend to be hardier and easier to maintain. The authors provide a comprehensive selection of native woody alternatives that, season by season, provide effects similar to those of nonnative shrubs and trees used for ornamental purposes and shade. These plants are suitable for all garden styles, provide blooms and fall color, and have the same cultivation requirements as their nonnative counterparts. Nature notes alert readers to the native species’ unique ecological roles.

Unlike other gardening guides, Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees goes beyond mere suggestion to provide gardeners with the tools they need to make informed, thoughtful choices. Knowing which native species to plant for desired effects empowers landscapers and gardeners to take on a greater role in protecting our midwestern environment.

Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz are the authors of Prairie Directory of North America – The United States, Canada, and Mexico and The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants, winner of the 2012 Helen Hull Award from the National Garden Clubs. In 2014, Adelman was awarded an Audubon Chicago Region Habitat Project Conservation Leadership Award.   More info →


Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Blackhaw Viburnum in fall
Blackhaw Viburnum in fall

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Retail price: $29.95, T.
Release date: March 2017
484 illus. · 448 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $85.00, S.
Release date: March 2017
484 illus. · 448 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: March 2017
484 illus. · 448 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees

“One of the most important … reference books recently published is Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees: Gardening Alternatives to Nonnative Species… An extraordinary amount of information is found in this guide, including extensive descriptions of hundreds of non-native plants and their native alternatives to plant in your yard.”

The Plain Dealer

“[Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees] should be a staple in your home library. For any reader looking to transform their yard into a natural landscape with native shrubs and trees, it’s the only book you'll need as you start planning your new yard … It allows you to not only pick shrubs and trees based on their looks, but also on their value to birds and pollinators.”

Wild Ones Journal

“This companion to The Midwestern Native Garden offers suggestions to those seeking native woody alternatives to non-native ornamental shrubs and trees. Adelman and Schwartz divided the book into four seasons; each lists non-native plants but following each entry, at least one native woody species is listed that resembles the non-native plant in height, features and cultivation needs. Photos and illustrations are included on every page, which provide a necessary visual for the native plants suggested by the authors.”

USA Today

“A comprehensive and ambitious undertaking… Meticulously researched and annotated, this in-depth guide synthesizes a vast body of knowledge on subjects ranging from native and nonnative woody plants to biodiversity, lepidopterology (study of butterflies and moths), and ornithology (study of birds).”

The Gardener’s Path

“I found (Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees) fascinating, with non-native species listed in red and the descriptions of native alternatives for each in green…. I certainly didn’t appreciate (the importance of trees like) the American hornbeam as a host until I picked up a copy…. As a lover of nature, I've become much more likely to choose native trees and shrubs.”

Omaha World-Herald

“Profusely and beautiful illustrated with full color photography throughout, and impressively comprehensive, exceptionally informative, extraordinarily well written, and thoroughly user-friendly in organization and presentation… Strongly recommended for professional, community, and academic library Midwestern gardening, horticultural, and conservation collections [and] the personal reading lists of landscapers, gardeners, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.”

Midwest Book Review

“Adelman and Schwartz have created a marvelous reference [for] what trees and shrubs should be in our yards and why.”

Garden Clubs of Illinois

Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees…is packed with information and photos about native Midwestern plants and the species that benefit from them—primarily insects and birds…. With this in mind, [Adelman and Schwartz] dive in, dividing the book into seasons of the year as a way to introduce the benefits of native trees and shrubs.”

The Mike Nowak Show

“[Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees is] an indispensible guide to replacing nonnative plants with native alternatives with a focus on native woody species that are the backbone of our gardens and landscapes.”

Gardening Know How

“For nature lovers, artists at heart or homeowners who simply want low-maintenance landscapes, the authors make a convincing case.”

Columbus Dispatch

“Native landscapes are going strong in our area....There are some native tree and shrub proponents in our area who have published a book. What I love about it is the tree you see on the cover is Malus ioensis, Iowa Prairie Crab....[It's] great to be on the front of a curve.”

Byron Nursery

“This is a complete reference book.…Aside from specifying ornamental attributes, the authors include ‘Nature Notes’ to indicate species of butterflies, birds, and other pollinators that are attracted to the native shrub or tree.”

Donna VanBeucken, Accent on Natural Landscaping

Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees [is] such an impressive publication! It is beautifully written and illustrated and … a great practical guide. [Adelman and Schwartz] have given our region another powerful conservation tool.”


Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees points out that there is more to gardening than meets the eye. The authors observe that planting shrubs and trees to do double duty is the way of the future in North America.”

Blazing Star: Newsletter of the North American Native Plant Society

[Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees] rightly points out that woody species are the backbone of our gardens and landscapes. Moreover, they are critical reproduction sites and sources of food and shelter for a huge variety of butterflies, birds, and other wildlife. For those of us interested in promoting the return of declining species, native shrubs and trees are an essential part of the ecosystem.”

The Wetlands Initiative

“A nice touch in the latest book is explaining what trees and shrubs can give back within each season. What flowers in the spring and summer? What gives us beautiful leaf color in the fall? And what interesting bark, decorative shapes and evergreens can perk up your yard in the dead of winter?...Pick any tree or shrub in your yard. You'll find out whether it's native or not if you look it up in their latest book.”

Mom, I think I'm Poignant!

“The preface and introduction alone set this book apart. Those few pages unfurl revelations … Like no other, the book points to human failure to anticipate the repercussions of widespread importation and cultivation of alien plants as replacements for natives. The authors deliver much more than the title promises.”

The Cavity Conservation Initiative

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