View Our
Facebook Page!

Report Fraud, Waste,
and Abuse

Online Services Payments, GIS Maps, Tax Information
Contact Department contacts, Reports and Requests

Native & Exotic-Invasive Plants Resources

WQ Logo w leaves

Native & Exotic-Invasive Plant Resources


What are native plants?

Plants that are native are species that are naturally occuring in a region. They have evolved over time, & adapted to the conditions there; the climate, soil, & land formation.


What are the benefits of native plants?

  • They support our ecosystem by providing habitat & food sources for our local birds, insects, & mammals.
  • They support pollinators. Some like our monarch, are endangered!
  • Some have extensive, deep root sytems that can aid in: stabilizing soil, uptaking large amounts of water, fixing nitrogen in the soil, & breaking up compacted soil or clay.
  • In a garden or residential setting they can be lower maintenance, as they are adapted to the local climate, provided that they are planted with soil & sun preferences in mind.

Are these in your yard?

  • Passion flower (passaflora incarnata)
  • Paw paw (Asimina triloba)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) supports Zebra Swallowtail butterfly
  • Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) supports Monarch butterfly
  • Purple cone flower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • Beauty berry (Callicarpa americana)


Resources for native plants

  • TN Valley Wild Ones are Chattanooga's local chapter of a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting the use of native plants in landscaping and other sustainable land management practices. Check out their monthly free educational offerings, annual Symposium at UTC, Certificate in Native Plants educational program in partnership with Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, their native plant pollinator garden grants for schools, and pop-up garden tours.
  • The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories


Natives Collage resize

Images, clockwise: TN coneflower - Echinacea tennesseensis, Zebra swallowtail on buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis (watts_photos licensed under CC BY 2.0), Trumpet vine - Campsis radicans (Trompetenblume mit Biene by Gertrud K. under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), passion flower - Passiflora incarnata( "Common Passion Flower" by Just chaos is licensed under CC BY 2.0), beautyberry - Callicarpa americana, Monarch butterfly on milkweed (Monarch butterfly by watts_photos under CC BY 2.0), columbine - Aquilegia canadensis


What are exotic-invasive plants?

Exotic-invasive plants are non-native species that have been introduced by humans, either purposefully or on accident- that threaten native plant & animal communities, & subsequently the environment. Many of these were introduced in the landscaping trade, & some are even still used that way. Always research the plants you are introducing to your yard or other landscapes. 


Why are exotic-invasive plants bad for the environment?

  • Exotic-invasive plants out compete our native species. They have no natural predators here, so they flourish & can take over native plant & animal communities, & in some cases spread out of control (a good example is Kudzu).
  • They alter ecosystems.
  • They alter nutrient cycling.


Are these in your yard? 

These exotic-invasives are very common in Chattanooga. They will grow in forests, or garden, fields, etc. They are harder to control than typical garden weeds. Species specific management resources will help you eradicate these from your landscape. Unguided efforts can sometimes make the growth of these plants more aggressive or erratic, making management more difficult. Research will help you work smarter not harder.

  • Nandina (Nandina domestica)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei)
  • Privet (Ligustrum sinense)
  • Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)
  • Kudzu (Pueraria montana)
  • Honey suckle bush (Lonicera mackii)


Resources for addressing exotic-invasive plants

Invasives collage

Images from, clockwise: Nandina - Nandina domestica (Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut), English ivy - Hedera helix (Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia), honeysuckle - Lonicera maackiii (Richard Gardner), wisteria - Wisteria floribunda (Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University), privet - Ligustrum sinense (James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service), kudzu - Pueraria montana (Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut), wintercreeper - Euonymus fortunei (Chris Evans, University of Illinois).


How can I help?

Start with your yard! Resources for residential sites


Get Involved! The City of Chattanooga has many opportunities to learn and volunteer









Stormwater Division

1250 Market Street, Suite 2100
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 643 - 5877

To report an issue please call 311 at 423-643-6311

Click here to view information on the proposed FEMA Floodplain Map Update

Check Mocassin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant Information for sanitary sewer information

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea