In this paper, laboratory setup and results for wave attenuation and wave setup in the presence of vegetation will be presented. Results of wave attenuation by vegetation under nonbreaking waves show that wave damping is significantly larger under emergent conditions, being 15 to 20 percent greater per wavelength than that under depth-limited submerged conditions. Results of breaking wave energy dissipation and setup damping indicate that the reduction in wave setup by vegetation is within an order of magnitude as that predicted by theory. During breaking wave experiments, wave breaking was arrested by the vegetation thereby minimizing energy dissipation by breaking. For both wave attenuation and wave setup, depth and plant characteristics strongly influence the damping ability of vegetation, indicating that quantification of site-specific vegetation field properties is important for predicting wave hydrodynamic response. © 2009 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.