Invasive plants threaten to take over our yards, parks, forests, and fields.
Why are Invasive Plants harmful?
- They outcompete native plants that provide food and shelter to native wildlife.
- They grow quickly and cover or shade out native plants that support pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects.
- They cover the land with monocultures (all one species over vast areas) which reduces biodiversity.
- They can block streams and cause flooding, and are expensive and difficult to control once established.
- Because most invasives come from distant lands, there are no indigenous insects or diseases to hinder their growth.
Combating the 5 Most (un)Wanted Invasives:
*See above for corresponding images*
1) Garlic Mustard: Focus efforts on preventing plants from producing seeds. Pull second-year plants by hand, disposing in sealed bags. First-year plants and second-year plants that haven't flowered can be sprayed with herbicide.
2) Vinca Minor: Dig and pull up by hand. Once you have pulled up as much of the plant as possible, rake up and destroy all parts of the weed. Do not leave any of it lying around, Cover the ground with cardboard and/or mulch to prevent more growth. Chemical weedkiller can be used as a last resort, applied to the leaves and the plant then takes the poison down to the roots.
3) Eurasian Honeysuckle: Selective herbicide application to foliage works when temperatures are above 65 degrees, and before seeds disperse in late summer/early fall. Well-established stands can be managed by cutting the stems to ground level and spraying the stumps with herbicide.
4) Japanese Knotweed: Digging is only appropriate for small patches when all material below ground can be removed in plastic bags for proper disposal, never with yard waste or to be composted. Repeated cutting or mowing works well. Herbicide can be sprayed onto leaves, injected into stems, or painted onto cut stems.
5) Winged Burning Bush: Can be hand-pulled or dug out. Herbicides are effective on foliage and if cut, stumps should be painted with herbicide immediately after cutting.
Blog author: Kairsten Nitsch, Watershed Coordinator