Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, Inc.

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, Inc.

Kirkwood, Pennsylvania

Membership Type: Gold

Project Summary

Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, Inc. is a Founding Businesses for the Bay Member. We are a wholesale grower of mid-Atlantic and Northeast native trees and shrubs, supplying plants and forestry products for environmental restoration and conservation projects.

Octoraro utilizes numerous sustainable business practices in its operation to help mitigate impacts to the environment and improve the water quality and natural resources of the Octoraro Watershed. The Octoraro Creek is one of only two water courses that flow directly to the Chesapeake Bay below the Conowingo Dam.

It is our belief that water is our most valuable natural resource. We use drip irrigation technology that uses 75% to 80% less water compared to traditional overhead irrigation. Water is applied directly to the root zone and is computer-controlled to deliver the optimal amount for growth, without excess. This practice also decreases the amount of water that runs off the property. What water does flow from the nursery and neighboring agricultural lands is diverted into created wetlands, or our “local water quality improvement facility”, where native plants absorb excess nutrients prior to discharge back to the Octoraro Creek.

This is part of 14 acres of floodplain and riparian habitat that is planted and maintained with native plants that provide wildlife habitat and riparian vegetation along the Octoraro. Along with the created wetlands, a stream restoration site help controls stormwater runoff, decrease streambank erosion, and provides shade for the stream ecology. Non-native, invasive plant species are controlled in this area, including Japanese hops, Multiflora rose, mile-a-minute, and Japanese honeysuckle.

Octoraro decreases our use of plastic by collecting and reusing used plant containers from our customers and unusable containers are recycled for electricity generation.  We also recycle greenhouse poly film covering for use in the plastic lumber industry.

Other conservation activities include reduced energy use by operating electric utility vehicles and the use of passive lighting and low-energy LED lights in our new office.  We use local compost materials in our soil mixture. We also strongly believe and advocate for environmental education and donate plants to students and their conservation projects.

Themes Fulfilled

Clean Water
Climate Change Resiliency
Fisheries and Habitats
Other Green Initiatives
Since our inception, we have taken measures in our day-to-day operations to protect the natural resources of the Octoraro Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. Businesses for the Bay provides an opportunity to share these strategies with other progressive industry leaders and begin to quantify the impacts of these measures. We're excited to be a part of this program and believe it has some tremendous upside for the private sector to show how it's contributing to water quality and other community and health benefits throughout the region.


Jim MacKenzie

For more information about contacting this member, email Corinne Stephens.