Jersey-Friendly Gardens at Jakes Branch County Park

Jersey-Friendly Demonstration Gardens

The American Littoral Society designed five native plant gardens for different environmental conditions a homeowner or landscaper may encounter.  The SHIP partners planted and maintain the Jersey-Friendly Gardens along Plant Discovery Trail at the park, with the help of park staff, Ocean County Soil Conservation District staff, and many volunteers.  Click on the image below to get a birds-eye-view of the Jersey-Friendly Gardens at Jakes Branch County Park.

Jakes Branch SHIP Gardens Map

A map showing the different Jersey-Friendly gardens at Jakes Branch County Park.

There are several varieties of native perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs that will thrive in your yard, regardless of the conditions.  Click the links below to see a larger view of each Jersey-Friendly demonstration garden!

To see videos and photos of the gardens as they were built at Jakes Branch County Park, visit the following links:

Butterfly Garden: designed to attract pollinators; these plants thrive in areas with moderate-to-high levels of sun and fairly well-drained soil

Shade Garden: this selection of plants are ideal for shady areas that receive less than two hours of direct sun daily

Wet Garden: plants in the Wet Garden tolerate areas that remain wet after rainfall

Sun Garden: these sun-loving plants thrive in areas that receive six hours or more of direct sunlight daily

Rain Garden: this plant collection tolerates bouts of rain and short periods of drought; their roots help rain soak into the ground in areas where water runs off paved areas or through downspouts

What is a Jersey-Friendly Garden?

A Jersey-Friendly garden, yard or landscape is composed of both native and non-native plants that thrive in the existing conditions of your property, need minimal inputs such as fertilizer and water, and support an array of wildlife. Jersey-Friendly plants do not include invasive species. Invasive species are aggressive growing plants that take-over large areas, out-compete native plants for resources, create monocultures and do not support a variety of wildlife.

What is a native plant?

Native plants have evolved over thousands of years to be adapted to environmental conditions in a particular region and to the other plants and animals around them.  Want to know which Jersey-Friendly plants will work best in your Ocean County yard?  Explore the Jersey-Friendly Plant Database on the Jersey-Friendly Yards website:

Download this colorful guide from the Barnegat Bay Partnership: Going Native: Landscaping with Native Plants in the Barnegat Bay Watershed. The Bayscape for Barnegat Bay brochure from the American Littoral Society shows native garden designs that can be used in coastal areas.

 Soil Techniques/Turf Experiment

Changes in soil health, including root systems and the diversity of organisms living in the soil, are the core focus of the trial turf plots at Jakes Branch. Tilling and adding organic matter are two known techniques to reduce soil compaction and increase soil health. Download the SHIP at Jakes Branch Fact Sheet to learn more about the compaction of Ocean County soils and SHIP’s evaluation of the turf plots.


Watch the research scientists explain their experiments.


Talk a walk through the turf plots with project scientists.

Rain Barrels

Sustainable watering practices work with healthy soils to create healthy landscapes. Rain barrels are an important part of the onsite water management at Jakes Branch. Rain barrel building workshops and demonstrations were also conducted as part of the SHIP project, to help homeowners construct and install rain barrels to capture runoff and conserve water in their own landscapes.

A do-it-yourself rain barrel in action at Jakes Branch County Park.

A do-it-yourself rain barrel in action at Jakes Branch County Park

Participants with their newly made Rain Barrels

Participants with their newly made Rain Barrels

 SHIP Project Web Pages:

SHIP Main Page SHIP Project Logo What is Healthy Soil?   SHIP Project Logo SHIP at Jakes Branch  SHIP Project Logo

SHIP Resource Library

Ocean County Soil Conservation District
714 Lacey Road
Forked River, NJ 08731
(609) 971-7002